Sony Introduces Spatial Audio With Head-Tracking To Its 1000XM5 Headphones

Sony is taking quick action to ensure that WH-1000XM5 headphone owners are not left behind after the release of the WF-1000XM5 earbuds, which have gained several new features. (Putting both of those products in the same sentence really emphasizes the confusion of Sony’s product names, right?) The company has released a firmware update for the headphones that brings them to the same level as the wireless earbuds by adding support for head-tracking spatial audio. Like the earbuds, you will need a phone running Android 13 or later, and dynamic head tracking only works with compatible video apps.

Even better, Sony now allows WH-1000XM5 owners to use both multipoint and LDAC simultaneously. After installing the latest update, you can listen to high-bitrate music from streaming services like Amazon Music and Apple Music while maintaining a multipoint Bluetooth connection to two devices at the same time. Previously, LDAC was not available when multipoint was enabled through the Headphones Connect app. But now you can enjoy both features, just like with the WF-1000XM5.

 

WH-1000XM5 owners can now connect to two devices at once even while using Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec.Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge 

After reading my review of Sony’s latest flagship earbuds, many people commented that they don’t see the value of dynamic head tracking and how audio shifts based on head movements when watching videos. I believe this feature can add immersion and spaciousness to certain movies, but it’s not essential. Additionally, its availability depends on the phone you’re using. Google Pixels and other devices support dynamic head tracking, but Samsung Galaxy devices do not because Samsung prefers its own ecosystem-exclusive implementation.

Sony Introduces Spatial Audio with Head-Tracking to its 1000XM5 Headphones

The ability to use LDAC and multipoint simultaneously is a more substantial addition for those who prioritize high audio quality. Currently, this firmware update is only available for the WH-1000XM5 headphones, so it’s uncertain whether Sony will extend these features to the M4 or LinkBuds series.

To install the latest update, you’ll need the Sony Headphones Connect app for either Android or iOS. Once you’ve paired your headphones and they appear in the app, you can download the new firmware.

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