Deezer's streaming music service has been around overseas for years, and it's finally coming to the United States this month in the form of Deezer Elite, which delivers CD-quality audio through the interwebs. Finally, high-resolution audio that makes sense.
The new Deezer Elite service is exclusive to the US for now, and it's also starting as an exclusive for people who own Sonos systems. It's unclear exactly how long that exclusive partnership will last. The service will stream lossless FLAC files at 44.1 kHz/16-but. In the parlance of streaming music data, that translates to 1,411 kbps, or 4.4 times higher quality than the 320 kbps maximum on services like Spotify.
That's not just an arbitrary number of bits either—it's CD-quality, whichis the highest rate audio anybody needs. Any more bits are statistically and scientifically unnecessary. Of course, science won't stop companies like HDtracks or Pono from trying to sell you 192 kHz/24-bit audio, which is fine if you want to drop the money and use the hard drive space. Unfortunately, it makes things like streaming music impossible. All we need is 1,411 kbps, which thanks to advances in technology is finally possible in streaming form.
Deezer Elite has some drawbacks. First of all, those CD-quality files are going to eat up bandwidth quicker than your Sonos stream, so if you're limited by your ISP and you listen to lots and lots of music, you could run into some data cap issues. What's more, it's not clear how exactly you're going to be able to access the service on your mobile devices or cache it for offline playback if it's locked into Sonos.
Finally, Deezer Elite is expensive. It'll cost $20 a month, which is twice what unlimited services like Sonos and Beats Music cost. There's an introductory half-price deal, but in the long run, you'll have to pay a premium for higher quality music.
Still, Deezer Elite is really exciting for audio nerds, and as an audio nerd, I think it's exciting for all of us. This is the real evolution of music delivery. All the conveniences of digital, without sacrificing audio quality. We'll let you know if Deezer Elite is as awesome as we suspect when it launches in beta on September 15th. [Sonos]