Review: Deezer Elite on SONOS delivers 1,411 kbps audio

When you think of music services, your mind may not immediately turn to Deezer. Well it should. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying Deezer on the...

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When you think of music services, your mind may not immediately turn to Deezer. Well it should. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying Deezer on the web, through the Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps, and now through the SONOS. While most services focus on tracks and albums, Deezer features a full service of discovery, exploration, charts and apps to make sure your constantly listening to the music you want to.

One of the biggest hassles with music is the time it takes to curate your tastes and even the smartest service that looks at your play history and recommends based on that has issues. As a solution to this, Deezer offers radio channels and ‘Let it Flow’ that provides you with curated music playlists or your own personal radio. Just choose your genre and you’re straight into music that suits whatever mood you’re in.

Whether your after the latest dubstep to get you through a late night coding session or a chillaxing sunday session, there’s so many ways to get at the music you like and even more to get at music you’ve never heard before.

The key selling point with Deezer is it’s higher quality audio compared to other services. On a premium plan, Deezer streams to you 320kbps audio which sounds amazing. It’s difficult to communicate how great audio sounds in text, but it’s akin to the visual difference between a HD and 4K screen. You ears, like your eyes are capable of perceiving far more detail than you ever though possible.

If you’re into premium audio, especially around your home, you’ll be familiar with SONOS. Recently I added a PLAYBAR and SUB to my growing collection of SONOS speakers around the home and now Deezer is a service supported by SONOS. This means all that music is available to listen around your home, and you can take that music out of your headphones and share it with friends and family.

When I moved past TV audio for movies, TV and video games, it became clear just how important audio is to the experience. When audio is the experience, quality matters and Deezer delivers in spades. Quality only matters if it’s the right music playing and that’s why Let it Flow is so important to the success of Deezer.

Deezer Elite

While 320kbps is great, audiophiles won’t be happy with that. These are the people who have the best hearing and want their audio to sound like it’s coming to them as a direct feed from the recording studio. Deezer Elite is an exclusive offers for SONOS customers that offers uncompressed  FLAC audio streams at 5x the bitrate at a staggering 1,411 kbps.

Setup is a breeze, just jump into the SONOS app, go to services, tap on Deezer and sign up or sign in. Typically audiophiles are forced to work hard to enjoy their high quality audio and Deezer now makes that easy.

Bandwidth

Streaming HD Audio will impact users bandwidth, and effectively, using Deezer Elite is closer to streaming a TV show or movie than audio. Fans of hi-res audio may want to keep an initial eye on their data plans, and they can always elect to drop down to 320mkps should they need to.

Pricing

A Deezer Elite plan will costs US$14.99pm or US$119.88 per year and while this is a premium price over other streaming services and SONOS systems certainly aren’t cheap, it offers a quality unavailable elsewhere. Official Australian pricing has not been confirmed, but if user have a current annual Deezer Premium+ subscription then you can upgrade for no extra cost. However, this will be different for month by month subscribers.

Overall

The audio sounds fantastic, particularly when the Sub and Playbar combination. The SONOS smarts understand what other components make up the audio arrangement and leverage the best part of each speaker to deliver the best audio experience. Of course audio enthusiasts will spend time tweaking the EQ to get things just right, but the best position to be in is to start with the best quality source.

The audio from Deezer Elite, through SONOS is fantastic, is it that fantastic that you should run out and drop a couple thousand dollars on audio gear, probably not, but if you love audio, you’re probably not scared by those prices. If you already have a SONOS, moving to Deezer is an easy transition to make and in my time using it, I fell in love with it. The device support is fantastic and discovery and app solutions for getting to new music easily make it a success.

More information at http://www.deezer.com/offers/elite and http://www.sonos.com/en-au/streaming-music

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