Deezer Elite brings "CD-quality" streaming to Sonos

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Update 11.09.14

The Deezer Elite service will be coming to Sonos in the UK in "early 2015", we've been told by a spokesman for Sonos in the US.

At a press briefing in Denver at the CEDIA Expo, we asked about the "high-res" music streaming mentioned in the Sonos/Deezer press release, but Sonos confirmed that its system can only handle streams up to CD-quality at 16-bit/44.1kHz. In other words, it can't handle true high-res audio like other wireless systems such as Bluesound.

Sonos also confirmed what it has said in the past, that it has "no plans" at the moment to make the Sonos system compatible with true high-resolution audio formats such as 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/192kHz. " We want to encourage people to start streaming music in better-than-MP3, CD-quality," a spokesman told What Hi-Fi?.

Published 10.09.14

Deezer Elite subscribers can choose from Deezer’s 35 million track library and stream CD-quality "or higher" music across their Sonos system.

The launch also sees Deezer become available to US users on Sonos for the first time.

Sonos already offers Qobuz as one of its streaming music services, which offers CD-quality streams. Deezer Elite appears to be offering high-resolution audio streams, with the press release pointedly stating the service will deliver "FLAC files at a standard of 1,411 kbps or higher", claiming "5x the top bitrate of other streaming services".

Deezer does, however, go on to say it "defines HRA as the same or higher sampling frequency and bit depth of a physical CD, which is 16-bit/44.1kHz or 1,411 bitrate (kbps), captured in a lossless format like FLAC, WAV etc.

"With the vast majority of music listeners using MP3 format (320 kbps or lower), the 1,411 bitrate standard represents a significant jump in music quality."

And Sonos, as far as we're aware, isn't able to support better than CD-quality music files. We've asked Deezer and Sonos for clarification.

Tyler Goldman, CEO of Deezer North America, said: "Deezer has built a global audience of over 16 million people by meeting the many needs of music consumers. Audio enthusiasts no longer have to choose between a streaming service and high quality audio, with Deezer Elite they can have both for the first time."

Deezer claims to have the world's largest music catalogue, as well as recommendations, playlists and other streaming service features.

Deezer Elite will cost $19.99 a month, which we wouldn't be surprised to see equal £19.99, but will launch at a promotional price of $9.99/month for users who sign-up for a whole year of the service. The cost for users who choose to pay monthly will be $14.99/month.

Sonos customers in the US can get a 30-day free trial of Deezer Elite beta from 15th September.

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