I admit it. I am snob when it comes to music quality. If I’m at someone else’s house, their music system can sound just fine to me but, at home, no, only the best will do. I’m like the princess and pea. Something just isn’t quite right.
High fidelity is a very personal and subjective experience. Each time you upgrade an audio component, you train your ears to hear just a little bit more and you find yourself tweaking. It starts with simple upgrades to your amplifier and speakers. Nothing wrong with that. Then you buy a DAC and it opens up another world (I bought a PS Audio DAC and it’s sublime). It doesn’t take long before your in the territory of power filters. Now that’s a slippery slope!
Needless to say, you can noodle and tweak for an eternity. Even so, everything starts with the quality of the source. The source, I tell you! The better the source material, the more bang for the buck. Most streaming services don’t go much higher than 320Kbps. That’s fine if it’s piped through a pair of sweaty wireless earbuds from your mobile phone, while you’re on the treadmill (or you are in the middle of heated sex and your attention is divided; maybe, only then) – but when it comes through an elegant, high end, high-fidelity, super-duper music system – no, no, no! You must have CD quality audio at the very least, the very least!
Ripping high-def CD’s can be a job in an of itself. Believe me, I’ve done it and it’s a pain in the ass. Thankfully, the folks at Deezer have done all the heavy lifting for you.
I first came across Deezer when I was searching for ways to improve upon my first Sonos audio system (it was a gift, so don’t shoot me; they make passable audio components but great software). Their Apps are so feature-rich and their components so easy to use that I momentarily lost myself, yet I had to see if I could push the envelope.
Thankfully, they sell the Sonos Connect Receiver, so you can ditch their rubbish and install all the McIntosh components you want. I sent the Deezer audio stream to my own amplifier and speaker setup (which I had so painstakingly matched after a delightful afternoon at an audio gallery wherein the kindly salesperson helped me out of my pants in the demo room; she said it was the Mozart; she loses her mind and she’d do anything for Mozart – and she did). Then, I purchased a DAC to put in the middle. I was streaming from my own ripped CD collection, so the results were amazing. However, I grew tired of ripping CDs and I wanted to find a streaming service that would give me the quality I wanted.
I was using Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music and Rhapsody – all of which have quality restrictions. None of them offered full fidelity, CD quality streaming audio. Then, I encountered Deezer.
Deezer streams CD quality audio as FLAC lossless. And, happily for me, Deezer integrates directly into Sonos. This allows me to search and maintain a library of albums that I like within the Sonos library. Thankfully, Deezer also has an extensive collection. It may not be as large as Apple Music but it come very close. Given their French origin and passion for Jazz, they are particularly good in those categories.
If you don’t have a Sonos system, no worries. Deezer has a computer-based software program that you can use, too. In addition, they have Apps for iOS and Android that will stream to our phone/tablet. Now, you can compose your own travel music playlist and have CD quality sound wherever your phone can take you. So, next time you find yourself on a roadtrip and Nigel brings out his roadtrip playlist of avant garde yodelling, you can trump him with the entire Miles Davis CD collection in your pocket. Bear in mind, though, that the cache can get quite large and use a lot of memory.
The monthly dues are at the upper end. I’m paying roughly £14.99 a month for the service, which some may say is steep. Steeper than Netflix, yes, but Netflix has a lot of crappy television, whereas Deezer has works of Art to be listened to in the way the artist intended – without having to trawl through the bargain basement bin. The quality difference is substantial and I don’t mind. And if you think 14.99 a month is steep, let me introduce you to Madame Roux! Her clients pay thousands of dollars a month for her services on a retainer. If I asked her just to make love to my ears, as I do Deezer, you’d be lucky to get away with anything less than several hundred, I assure you!
If you are an audiophile, I cannot rate Deezer highly enough. As a bonus, they have a very good recommendation and discovery system called, “Hear This”, in which they make suggestions based on your listening habits and existing library. I have made many great discoveries this way, so they have kept me highly engage.
Click here to visit the Deezer website.