Sonos announced today, the addition of an exclusive new streaming service available on it’s popular multi-room speaker systems, called Deezer Elite. With the ability to playback millions of songs at CD- quality, the service is able to take advantage of the highest resolution at which Sonos speakers can perform, to offer a much better sound than some of the other streaming choices on the system. As such, Sonos is calling the new service “high definition.”
Most other music streaming services that work with Sonos, like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify, top out at MP3 quality audio. As you probably are aware of by now, MP3 audio loses a lot of the digital information contained in the original recording in order to condense tracks for easier storage and streaming, but it also loses a lot of sound quality.
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Deezer Elite’s music should sound deeper, richer, and full of range, able to reach the same quality as those CDs you’ve got stored in the closet. Supposedly 16bit / 44.1kHz resolution. Imagine how that will sound coming from your home audio system?
It’s important to note that while Sonos is calling the service high definition, the term is a bit misleading. Listeners who’ve been following the rise of devices like Neil Young’s PonoPlayer or Sony’s new Walkman will likely be familiar with another term: High Resolution Audio. Also called high-res, the term is described any audio that is above CD-quality sound, usually starting at a resolution of 24bit / 48kHz.
Theoretically, audio at that higher resolution should offer even better sound than CD’s, and there is a big push in the audio industry to move from the paltry sound of MP3’s (far below CD quality audio) to the growing availability of high-res music files for a better user experience.