Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files

DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet

Ear anatomy

Listen up! Here are some soundbites - so to speak - from Wi-FIispeaker/player suppliers.

Sonos is intending to provide access to Deezer Elite streaming lossless audio for its US customers. It was announced in a Sonos blog and beta testing started on September 15 with a 30-day free trial. Deezer, it says, is only available on Sonos.

The company says listeners will get ”access to millions of tracks in high definition audio (16-bit, 44.1kHz, FLAC lossless) to hear every nuance of your music.” Deezer Elite gives you access to some 35 million songs in this high-resolution audio (HRA) format and Deezer says it “is the first global HRA streaming service available to consumers and it’s offered exclusively through Sonos.”

To get this started US Sonos customers should “open any Sonos Controller and go to Add Music Services, followed by Sonos Labs if in the desktop app.”

Deezer’s website says “Music quality has gone backwards from vinyl to CDs to MP3s and Deezer Elite reverses that trend.”

We understand 16-bit FLAC is equivalent to CD-quality and much better than the lossy MP3 files we’re all used to. You can get better-than-CD quality with 24-bit audio and DVD-Audio uses this with a 96kHz or 192kHz sample rate, both giving many more samples per second than 16-bit FLAC at 44.1kHz.

The greater the number of bits and the higher the sample rate the larger the resulting sound file. Sonos and Deezer say that 16-bit FLAC at 44.1kHz “represents a significant jump in music quality” over MP3 files, which are compressed to save space on devices and shorten download time. The two say you should be able to hear the music as the artist intended.

Deezer streaming music is available to subscribers on their smart phones, tablets, notebooks, TV, HiFi and car audio systems. If the beta trial impresses you the promotional price for Deezer Elite on Sonos is $9.99 a month for users that sign up for a full year of service, 50 per cent off the regular price of $19.99 a month. A global roll-out will follow.

DTS says the MartinLogan, Paradigm and Anthem speakers and electronics brands have joined its Play-Fi ecosystem, meaning they can play music streamed in over the internet and sent to the speakers using standard Wi-Fi. The speakers make use of licensed DTS technology to do this and the music is sent to the speakers in lossless format. So if it streams to the house in lossless format then that’s what you hear.

That means that, if you are a Deezer Elite subscriber, and if Deezer Elite is available outside the Sonos customer base - big if this - you’ll be able to hear its lossless music through speakers using DTS technology. ®

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