Sony WH-1000XM6 Wishlist – How Sony Can Improve Their Flagship Bluetooth Headphones

We all know that the release of the Sony WH-1000XM6 is inevitable. It’s almost been two years since the launch of the XM5, which seems to be the lifecycle of Sony’s flagship wireless headphones. While there hasn’t been any official news about the XM6 yet, other headphone brands have been upping their game when it comes to sound quality, ANC, and battery life. The XM5 still stands firmly at the top of the market, but there’s a lot that Sony can do that could bring the 1000x series to the next level.

Since the release of the XM5, we’ve seen the emergence of premium Bluetooth headphones like the Focal Bathys, Bowers & Wilkins PX8, and DALI IO-12. The 1000x series has never entered that price bracket, but there could be some lessons that the XM6 could take from them. The audiophile market and Sony’s consumer market intersect more than you might think, considering the 1000x series continuous support of the LDAC Bluetooth CODEC. Direct competitors to the XM5, like the Sennheiser Momentum 4 have their advantages over the XM5, but the XM6 could also take notes from it, and greatly improve upon its design.

AptX Lossless

It’s unlikely that Sony will ditch LDAC, but some form of lossless CODEC should be considered for the XM6. Many true wireless earbuds have already started to incorporate aptX Lossless, from the Denon PerL to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4. With the XM6, Sony could find themselves ahead of the curve by having one of the few over-ear Bluetooth headphones with aptX Lossless. Using Spotify in its current form with this CODEC won’t change anything, but Apple Music, Tidal, and Qobuz enjoyers might find more benefits. This is especially if you’re connected to a reliable WiFi network. However, I can’t see Sony adopting any technology from Qualcomm for the XM6, so this might be the least likely scenario.


The 1000x series has always allowed straight analog audio through a detachable 3.5mm cable. While this has always been a good option to get better audio from your Bluetooth headphones, recent releases have been utilizing USB-C to increase sound capabilities. Some headphones like the Focal Bathys and Bowers & Wilkins PX7S2e now offer built-in DACs. This allows you to connect your headphones straight to your USB-C port on your smartphone, but it also enhances the sound by bypassing the built-in sound chip in your phone and using the headphone’s instead. Ideally, this chipset would upgrade the sample rate and bit depth from your phone, performing better sonic properties in response. This seems to be where the over-ear Bluetooth market is going, as it makes the most sense with the lack of 3.5mm headphone jacks on most smartphones.

Battery Life Upgrade

The standard for battery life on consumer headphones has shifted since the release of the XM5. Sennheiser’s Momentum 4 was one of the first consumer Bluetooth headphone’s to apply this with its massive 60 hour battery life. Now, many other headphones are following suit, even ones that cost significantly less than the XM5. It would be disappointing if the XM6 shipped with the same 30 hour battery life as the XM5.

ANC & Call Clarity

These are two things that Sony already leads the market with, so I don’t see what they could possibly make better. Sony’s QN1 noise-canceling processor is still fairly new, and is already pretty advanced. If Sony is already leading the market in noise-canceling technology, it’ll be interesting to see if they develop it further. As for call clarity, this is another one of Sony’s strengths. Some headphones have been using MEMS microphones, which have helped improve their voice clarity. However, as with the ANC, I think Sony already has a good thing going with their current microphone principle so I don’t expect to see it changed.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.