The sound of silence: after the WH-1000XM5, where does noise-cancelling go next?

When designing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM5, there are a million considerations that need to be made. For starters, you need to design around sound quality with quality drivers and built-in amplifiers. You need at least a single processor to decode incoming information over Bluetooth and handle the intricacies of hearing ambient noise and calculating counter waves to cancel it out. You’ll need a battery to power the whole thing, obviously, and an app that can talk to the headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has all those things, many of which are among the highest quality we’ve seen on a pair of wireless headphones, perhaps only rivaled by Sony’s previous flagship headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4, and the Bose QuietComfort 45.

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