Sonos owners in the UK can now listen to Deezer Elite, the latest CD-quality music streaming service, and the upgrade is free to existing Deezer Premium+ subscribers - but they'll need to commit to paying £9.99 a month for a full year. That makes it cheaper than rival CD-quality streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz which typically cost £20/month.
Deezer persists in referring to its Elite service as "high-definition audio" when in fact - as we have repeatedly pointed out - it is streaming at 16-bit/44.1kHz, the same resolution as CD. That means its streaming service is using the same audio quality as rivals such as Qobuz and Tidal.
In an email to its subscribers today, Deezer says: "You can now listen to performances as the artist intended with digital lossless capture of the original analogue audio sources. Experience the music at five times the bitrate [of MP3]: 1411kbps vs 320kbps."
The Premium+ option allows users to explore 35 million tracks in FLAC lossless quality (16-bit/44.1kHz), but initially the Elite service is only available on Sonos until the end of 2015. Deezer is expected to develop the CD-quality service for other platforms in due course.
First published 10.03.15
From March 19th, the service will be introduced in more than 150 countries – the UK included – in a phased roll-out that will first give existing Deezer subscribers the chance to upgrade for free.
The service streams lossless FLAC files at a standard of 1,411kbps "or above" and first launched in the US last autumn. But this exclusive partnership with Sonos is now expanding it further.
For the sake of clarity, we should point out that Sonos can't handle anything above CD-quality streaming (16-bit/44.1kHz) so any reference to "high-resolution streaming" is slightly misleading. Certainly the Deezer Elite service will offer lossless CD-quality streaming on Sonos, like Qobuz and Tidal, but not better-than-CD true high-resolution audio formats such as as 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/192kHz.
Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Canada are among the regions that will sample Deezer Elite for the first time as it looks to become the "largest global high-definition streaming service".
MORE: Read our Qobuz review
MORE: Read our Tidal review
If you're a Sonos owner and a Deezer Premium+ subscriber, you can upgrade for no extra cost if subscribing for a year. Sonos promotional users, meanwhile, can upgrade for €36 for a year.
Pricing for new users is yet to be announced and will be confirmed in March, with a 30-day free trial to be included. Features include the chance to search through a 35 million-strong library.
In addition, Deezer Elite gives you the opportunity to discover new music courtesy of FLOW and other radio offerings, recommendations and playlists. You can also use multiple devices.
"Our partnership with Sonos offers the ultimate experience for music fans, combining the best wireless home music system with the best music streaming solution,” said Tyler Goldman, CEO of Deezer North America.
"With over 200,000 new users in the first few months since launch, making the service available globally is a natural next step to satisfy the unmet needs of audio enthusiasts across all markets."