The Sony WH-1000XM5 have some new challengers. KEF's Mu7 are a similarly high-end pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones with a typically stylish design and bags of features. So should Sony be worried?
On paper, yes. The Mu7 are designed by KEF's longtime collaborator Ross Lovegrove, the man behind other KEF products like last year's Mu3 wireless earbuds, the £140,000 Muon speakers and the Award-winning Muo Bluetooth speaker. That means the Mu7 get KEF's staple flowing, sculptural look.
They're made of aluminium, which should make them feel more premium than the Sony XM5 and Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, both of which feel less luxurious than their predecessors. The headband promises to be lightweight, providing a snug acoustic seal while exerting minimal ear pressure. The ear pads are made from memory foam and mould to fit your head, while they also rotate to let the headphones fold flat.
Your colour options are Silver Grey or Charcoal Grey.
But there's a lot more to these than just a natty design. They've been "custom-tuned by the KEF engineering experts", with the 40mm full-range drivers promising to reveal "even the most subtle acoustic details". KEF claims they also preserve the integrity of a recording with little intervention.
We'll reserve judgement until we've reviewed them for ourselves, but they do support up to 24-bit/48kHz audio files thanks to Qualcomm's aptX HD wireless codec.
The active noise-cancellation (ANC) uses filters to capture background sounds before using a specialised algorithm to target individual frequencies. For calls, your voice is isolated by Clear Voice Capture (cVc) to minimise other sounds.
The right ear cup features a capacitive touchpad that you use to answer calls, skip tracks and adjust the volume.
Bluetooth 5.1 is the order of the day, while the battery lasts for an impressive 40 hours – that's 10 more than the Sony XM5. You'll also get eight hours' use from a 15-minute fast charge. And if you want to listen wired, there's a 3.5mm headphone port (though you'll need an adapter to use with most modern smartphones).
So how do they compare for price? At £349 (about $389, AU$619), the KEFs are cheaper than the Sony XM5 (£380 / $399 / AU$550) – though the latter are regularly discounted – but pricier than the Sennheiser Momentum 4 (£300 / $349.95 / AU$549.95). The KEF Mu7 are available now – look out for a full review soon.
aptX HD Bluetooth: What is it? What devices and headphones support it?
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless vs Sony WH-1000XM5: which headphones are best?
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