Sony WH-1000XM5 VS Focal Bathys Comparison Review

by: Matt Wieckowski
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Sony WH-1000XM5 VS Focal Bathys Comparison Review


In the realm of high-end Bluetooth headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys emerge as standout contenders, boasting an array of premium features tailored to satisfy audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Now gracing the shelves of Audio46, these headphones are commanding attention for their innovative technology and unparalleled sound fidelity, promising an immersive listening experience like no other. Whether you prioritize portability, advanced noise cancellation, or audiophile-grade sound quality, this comprehensive review aims to assist you in selecting the perfect headphones to complement your lifestyle and preferences.


Sony WH-1000XM5 

Focal Bathys

  • Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

  • USB-C charging cable

  • Manuals

  • Carrying case

  • Eighth-inch cable

  • Focal Bathys Headphones

  • Premium zippered carrying case

  • Analog audio cable (3.5mm)

  • USB-C charging cable

  • Manuals



The Sony WH-1000XM5 exudes a sleek and modern aesthetic, featuring smooth lines and premium materials that exude sophistication. With plush ear cushions and an adjustable headband, these headphones offer unparalleled comfort for extended listening sessions. On the other hand, the Focal Bathys impresses with its luxurious build quality, featuring a combination of brushed metal accents and supple leather padding for a truly premium feel. The ear cups are generously padded and ergonomically designed to provide a snug yet comfortable fit, ensuring minimal fatigue during prolonged use. Whether you prioritize portability, advanced noise cancellation, or audiophile-grade sound quality, this comprehensive review aims to assist you in selecting the perfect headphones to complement your lifestyle and preferences.


When it comes to design and functionality, both the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys cater to different preferences and lifestyles.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 features a sleek, minimalist design with touch-sensitive controls on the ear cups, allowing for intuitive navigation of playback, volume, and noise cancellation settings with simple gestures. Its Adaptive Sound Control analyzes surroundings for optimal noise cancellation, ensuring a serene listening experience in any environment.
In contrast, the Focal Bathys embraces a classic, luxurious aesthetic with premium materials like brushed aluminum and genuine leather. Craftsmanship is evident in every aspect, from precision-engineered ear cups to intricate stitching on the headband. Despite being slightly bulkier, the Focal Bathys delivers exceptional sound quality and performance, making it a standout choice for audiophiles.



In terms of Bluetooth connectivity, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys offer seamless wireless performance, catering to different user needs.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 boasts Bluetooth version 5.2, providing fast and stable connections with compatible devices. Additionally, it supports LDAC codec, ensuring high-resolution audio streaming for an immersive listening experience. Meanwhile, the Focal Bathys features Bluetooth version 5.1, offering reliable wireless connectivity and compatibility with a wide range of devices. With their advanced Bluetooth technology, both headphones deliver exceptional sound quality and convenience for on-the-go use.


When it comes to battery life, the Focal Bathys surpasses the Sony WH-1000XM5 with an impressive 35-hour runtime compared to Sony's 30 hours. Both headphones are equipped with rechargeable batteries and support USB Type-C charging, ensuring convenient power management for prolonged use.


The Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys present contrasting soundstage experiences tailored to diverse preferences and listening environments.
Sony WH-1000XM5 crafts a spacious, immersive soundstage through advanced DSP technology and virtual surround sound features, offering a concert hall-like ambiance with 360 Reality Audio format. This expansive soundstage enriches music depth, revealing intricate details with remarkable clarity.
Conversely, the Focal Bathys prioritizes precision and intimacy in its soundstage, boasting exceptional instrument separation and imaging. Its custom-designed drivers and meticulous tuning deliver a natural, lifelike soundstage, accurately placing instruments and vocals. This heightened clarity allows listeners to pinpoint individual elements within the music, creating an engaging listening experience.
In summary, both headphones excel in their soundstage presentation, catering to distinct preferences. Whether seeking enveloping immersion or detailed precision, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys offer exceptional audio experiences tailored to different listening styles.


The bass in the Sony WH-1000XM5 is characterized by its signature boomy quality, often overshadowing other frequencies. While it delivers a powerful punch, clarity and precision, particularly in the lower midrange frequencies, may be compromised. Nonetheless, adjustments through the Sony Headphones Connect app enable users to fine-tune the sound for better balance without losing impact. Appreciation of the XM5's bass-heavy profile heavily depends on personal preference, especially for genres like electronic and hip-hop.
In contrast, the Focal Bathys delivers a more balanced low-end experience characterized by depth, clarity, and restraint. While not as thick or impactful as some headphones, the Bathys offers excellent bass definition and texture, with subtle rumble in the sub-bass region adding richness to the sound. The bass remains controlled and well-integrated with the overall mix, providing a realistic timbre and solid punch without overpowering other frequencies. Its balanced bass response appeals to listeners seeking a more nuanced and natural sound signature.


The midrange of the Sony WH-1000XM5 exhibits clarity and texture, particularly in the upper frequencies, while the low-mids may appear clouded, affecting the presentation of male vocals and certain instruments. Despite this, the overall midrange is more balanced compared to previous models, offering a transparent mix with textured layers that energize the music. The XM5 excels in delivering an even and dynamic soundstage, especially with complex arrangements where each element receives emphasis.
The Focal Bathys presents a dark and consistent timbre in the midrange, which adds depth and drive to its sound signature. While the low mids contribute to a lingering cloud effect, it enhances the impact of instruments and vocals, particularly in heavier tracks. The Bathys excels in handling complex arrangements with clarity and detail, offering a balanced presentation where vocals and instrumentals coexist harmoniously. Its darker midrange profile may appeal to listeners seeking a more immersive and impactful listening experience.


The Sony WH-1000XM5 showcases improved response in the treble frequencies compared to previous models, with clear and well-defined highs. The EQ adjustments available in the app enhance the treble further, adding sparkle and dimension to the sound signature without introducing harshness. The XM5 offers controlled high frequencies that contribute to an immersive listening experience, maintaining a balanced sound profile across various genres and tracks.
Despite its darker sound signature, the Focal Bathys delivers well-represented highs with natural detail and control. While lacking the liveliness of some headphones, the Bathys provides a smooth and graceful response in the high frequencies, complementing its overall frequency response. Cymbals and high-frequency elements maintain proper definition and texture, contributing to a cohesive sound signature that stays true to its intended profile.



As someone who deeply appreciates both headphones, let me share my take. The Sony WH-1000XM5 wins me over with its sleek design and user-friendly touch controls, offering a comfortable and stylish listening experience that's hard to beat. While its bass can be a bit overpowering, it adds a certain punch to the overall sound. On the flip side, the Focal Bathys captures my heart with its balanced sound signature and impeccable clarity across all frequencies. Both are exceptional in their own right, but when it comes down to audio quality, the Focal Bathys edges slightly ahead for me.

In summary, whether you choose the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Focal Bathys, you're in for an unparalleled audio journey. These headphones redefine wireless listening with cutting-edge features and superior performance. Consider your priorities: Sony's sleek design and intuitive controls versus Focal's exceptional sound quality. Whichever you pick, you're investing in a premium listening experience that elevates every moment. Explore your options and embark on a remarkable musical journey with these exceptional Bluetooth headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Focal Bathys are available at Audio46.

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