Stream audiophile grade music with Deezer Elite, now available on Sonos

Deezer is marking its US debut by announcing a premium streaming service in the country called Deezer Elite, which will work exclusively on Sonos systems. Through the service, you'll be able to stream over 30 million songs from Deezer's catalog in the lossless FLAC format with a quality of 16-bit/44.1kHz (or around 1,411 kbps), which is is a significant improvement over what other streaming music services like Spotify offer at 320 kbps.

US customers will get first access to Deezer Elite, with the beta scheduled to commence from September 15. The service is available at a launch price of $14.99 a month (set to increase to $19.99 soon), or $120 a year in the US, and will be available globally at a later date. All Sonos users get a 30-day trail to try out the service.

Sonos users, are you looking forward to streaming high-quality tunes?

Source: Sonos (opens in new tab)

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

19 Comments
  • Absolutely! I'm looking forward to a higher quality listening experience.
  • Not to nitpick, but 16/44.1 is not audiophile-grade music. That's only CD quality. Most audiophiles are going to be listening to at least 24/96. Still, it's good to see that a service is streaming FLAC. Anything that gets us away from the compressed crap that too many people think is good quality.
  • I agree and will add that streaming music and audiophile do not go together. At least not with current tech. Posted via Android Central App
  • CD quality is actually audiophile quality. The reason 24 bit/96 khz has never made a breakthrough is because if you put any human being in a blind test (especially an adult with the naturally degrading hearing ability), they will not be able to tell the difference. In fact, I've even read pretty serious analyses showing that 24 bit sound with a too high bandwidth can actually degrade the perceived sound quality, as speakers can have problems coping with the distortion created by the ultrasound frequencies, much in the same way a subwoofer gets degraded performance if the higher frequencies aren't filtered properly.
  • I think the ability of people to discern the difference depends on two things: their hearing and the quality of the source material. If you have a good studio master, and the conversion is done well, it most certainly makes a difference. The difference between the CD and DVD-A versions of LA Woman is astounding. But if you have music that was recorded with CD reproduction in mind, I'm not sure if you can tell much difference. By the time it's been processed, with all the audio jacked up so everything is loud, no amount of increased quality of the playback medium can keep it from sounding like crap. I remember a conversation I had with the owner of the radio station where I worked during high school and college. He was lamenting the loss of "warmth" when music went from vinyl to CD. At the time, I disagreed with him and said how much better CD's sounded. About 14 years later, when I heard DVD-A and was able to compare it with the CD versions of some classic albums, I realized what he meant. Increasing the bitrate really made a difference, at least to me.
  • It's true that 16 bit sound leaves no room for remastering, but, that's a really irrelevant argument as I think most masters are recorded in 24 bit these days. From there on, you have almost indefinite margins to work on while still not ruining the final product. Vinyl is The Opposite of audiophile. :) Vinyl is a cool retro hobby, though, there is not a single ounce of audiophile quality in the technology. No two LP's sound the same. That's the end of that discussion. The "warmth" you hear in an LP is noise. It's just a cool hobby, like stamp collections, timepiece collections and such.
  • It's true that vinyl has issues, but it has one thing going for it: it's analog. Look at it this way. Suppose I take a pen and draw a curved line. That's analog. Now, to reproduce it digitally, I sample that drawing. If I do it with a low bitrate, then you can see the "stair steps" in the digital reproduction. It's not a curve. As I increase the bitrate, the number of samples increases, so what you see in digital form looks more and more like the original curve, but the "stair steps" are still there, only smaller. At some point, they become imperceptible to the human eye, but, in reality, they're still there. The question is at what point does the sample size make them imperceptible to us. That's where you should be, since going way over it unnecessarily increases file size without measurable benefit. It's been argued (correctly, I think) that 16/44.1 isn't that sweet spot. Of course, I'm talking about the final production copy. For the master, you create it with as high a bitrate as you can reasonably do, since you don't know what you'll need to do with it in the future. But to get back to vinyl, what I'm saying is that, for all its pops and other noise, it was analog, so you didn't lose fidelity because of too low sampling. You may have lost it for other reasons, but that wasn't one of them. I prefer digital, but I think that, while CD's sound much better than formats like MP3, we can and should do better. SACD was certainly a better solution, as was DVD-A, but, unfortunately, they didn't really catch on.
  • The analogue part is the flaw. It's created through an analogue process, i.e. lots of distortion to suppress all the way through the recording and printing process. It's not a plus. Think of it this way. As much as possible of the process getting that favourite guitar riff recorded in that iconic New York studio transported all the way from there into your ears is always better off being digital, because any analogue step will just degrade the sound and add noise. And it will be degraded A LOT if you insist on listening to an LP. The argument that digital music isn't perfect in the range well outside what any human being can hear doesn't improve any of that noise you get with an LP. The tricks they use to fix all of that LP noise and distortion is by using advanced filters, coils and tubes. Ta-da there you get your "smooth natural warm sound", by destroying the sound even more. :D I like LP's too. I grew up with them. But, they're not audiophile, no matter how expensive the equipment is. They're just retro.
  • Is the Sonos exclusivity a limited time thing? I sure hope so... D:
  • *don't :D
  • This is groovy, but what we really need (maybe I just haven't seen it yet) is a resource to buy FLAC or otherwise lossless quality music. I hate streaming services. The commercials, or paid subscription. Puke. I have an enormous capacity SDxc card in my S4, which contains most of what I like out of my music library, but it's ridiculous that one still has to physically purchase a CD to get lossless audio, or submit to mediocre mp3 purchases from Amazon or the like. Even if they're hosting 320kbps files, ANY copying of an mp3 immediately degrades the copied file, which means whatever destination you decide to download to after purchase will be the highest quality you'll get out of that $.99+ mp3. I would be willing to pay 1.5 times that per song, to have the ability to get it in lossless, but even that is still going to cost me more than buying a physical CD, which I can "archive" on a storage device in whatever format I deem necessary in case the CD breaks or gets stolen.
  • I agree there need to be more alternatives. The places selling lossless music often charge $20 for a digital album, just as a fee for not ruining the sound with compression. It's as if they don't want to make money. :) I think 7digital is working on creating a larger FLAC archive, but it just feels like they're working too slow. I wonder if it's the studios trying to keep the physical media alive by preventing online stores selling higher quality media.
  • I've had this debate with a friend of mine, who is albeit a bit of an elitist, but he maintains you're paying for a premium that costs more to provide. I maintain that is only true to a marginal extent. Storage costs are a fraction of what they were last year, and the year before, etc. At this point, servers hosting lossless audio and running out of space isn't really the issue. It's asking someone to turn the "autopilot" off when it comes to how purchased music is provided in the "goods" sense of the word, not "services". I heard a buddy of mine make a similar claim about finally finding a certain artist/album he was looking for online in FLAC format, and it costing $20 to buy. One has to wonder what logic is behind this, when most people will willingly trade the $5-$10 premium of convenience, for a quick trip to their closest brick-and-mortar store where they can find a used copy for $5 out the door. Even if it's new, it can be had for $10 just about anywhere CDs are sold. There's always ongoing debate about how to limit piracy and the solution has always been the elephant in the room: make it affordable, reasonable, and accessible.
  • The worst part of it is, $20 is a pretty low-ball figure for lossless music. I've seen plenty stores charging over $30 for a digital album. Then you really have to wonder what they're thinking. :)
  • There are. You can even buy 24/96 or 24/192, but it's not cheap.
  • So now there's Deezer, WiMP, and Qobuz for 16/44 streaming.
  • I'm in the UK and have used Deezer and can tell me American friends that Deezer is definitely a worthy competitor to Spotify. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is just a ploy to sell more of these Sonos speaker systems. Let me know when this service is actually made available to people without the need to buy specific hardware.
  • There is always quite a bit of debate about hires vs cd vs mp3 formats and the sound quality that results from them. What tends to be overlooked is that BY FAR the biggest factor ruining sound quality in music today is the MASSIVE dynamic compression being applied to all tracks. I can listen to a 320kbps MP3 that I have uploaded myself to Google Play Music and stream it back, and it will sound fantastic if it is from a good quality master. The exact same track from Google's own servers, or Spotify's will be compressed all to hell! Sure, lossless and higher resolution formats are an improvement from MP3's, but my point is that the biggest issue with the sound quality of all these services could easily be fixed if they took some care in streaming tracks that aren't excessively compressed (dynamically, I'm not referring to lossy compression which is a different thing all together). Look up Loudness Wars people!