Deezer vs Spotify - bitrate / sound quality

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by fufula, Nov 1, 2013.
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  1. fufula
    Both services claim "up to 320kbps" bitrate, yet some people say they hear a difference in sound quality between the two and insist Deezer sounds better than Spotify. Is anyone able to confirm this? Has anyone done any extensive A/B comparisons? If so, can you point me to the songs where you hear the difference? The difference is obvious to me between normal and high quality streaming or, say, Rdio and Deezer/Spotify HQ, but Spotify and Deezer in high quality mode sound exactly the same.
    I'm just curious about this. If the difference is as apparent as some people say it is, I should be able to hear it. So is it me or is it yet another case of people hearing something that isn't there?
  2. shondek
    Hi fufula I did a comparison last night and Deezer is miles better than Spotify ..Sound wise spotify is smoother and can sound more impressive than Deezer but I feel Deexer is much more musical ie you can follow the interplay of the musicians better , Prat is superior, diction is better, music sounds more exciting and alive. The only thing going for spotify is its more stable. Although I think having spotify loaded affects Deezer ..that could be chrome ..ill be comparing browsers today.Even comparing Deezer through my Note 2 pissed over spotify which has a higher bit rate ..this is through 10GBP skullcandy earphones(which are amazing!!!)and aktiv Linn Klouts
  3. fufula
    Hi there,
    were you using a dedicated app on your Note 2? If so, what's the bitrate in it? It's only 128kbps in the Windows Phone app vs 96/160kbps (the latter is optional) in the Spotify app.
    As for desktop, are you talking about web players or were you using the Spotify desktop client? If so, did you enable high quality streaming and disable normalization and hardware acceleration?
    There's also WiMP and MOG that offer 320kbps streaming if you want to test even more stuff.
    shondek likes this.
  4. shondek
    Hi Fufula its the dedicated app on phone ..its only 120 odd kbps but I don't hold too much credence with bit rate ..I have an mp3 player that sound better than a wav player and all iPhones..I judge it more how the player renders the file; compressed or not. Linn DS klimax playing mp3 sounds close to magik DS playing flacs..spotify was maxed out ..always thought it sounded really dull ..thanks for the heads up
  5. fufula
    To me, even between 160kbps and 128kbps the difference is easily discernible, with the former sounding better. Deeper soundstage, more space between instruments, punchier bass and the highs aren't as garbled. Then again, it's hardware and OS dependent. Not to mention the sound coming out of my phone ain't nothing to write home about, and that's putting it lightly.
    I did some more tests with the desktop players, as that's what I'm mostly interested in.
    I measured the amount of data downloaded per song for at least 20 different songs on both, Deezer and Spotify. It turns out that with the high quality streaming enabled Spotify always streams 320kbps files. Deezer, on the other hand, seems to stream a lot of files at only 128kbps even though I always kept HQ enabled. What's interesting is that despite the differences in bitrate, I couldn't easily tell which service sounded better. So it makes me wonder, does the music I used for the tests sound equally bad in 128kbps and 320kbps or do both companies get 128kbps encoded material from the labels but only Spotify reencodes it at 320kbps (which would be kinda stupid)?
    Does anybody use these services? If so, it'd be nice if you guys could chime in on this. I'm going to try and compare some music that I own physically with the streamed stuff some time later this week.
    My setup:
    Essence ST > DT990PROs
    Samsung Omnia M > MH1Cs, KSC75s
  6. shondek
    I hear you fulula .that's good to know but for me Deezer at 128 sounds better than spotify at 320 much more musical ..I know some Naim heads who buy CDs from Naim and rip them to the same high quality mp3 that can be downloaded from Naim site and they can't get their mp3s to sound good as Naims ..which do you prefer D or S!?
  7. fufula
    I did a lot more A/B testing with Deezer HQ/Spotify HQ (and / foobar FLAC for good measure) using well recorded music. Spotify always came out on top when Deezer streamed at 128kbps (even though it was set to HQ streaming the entire time) and it wasn't really discernible when it streamed at 320. So, to answer my own question, it was the former.
    It seems Deezer encodes the less popular stuff at 128kbps hoping people won't notice to preserve bandwidth. So the "up to 320kbps" statement on their website basically translates to: it's either 320kbps or 128kbps. And if you happen to be listening to less known stuff like I do, you'll be getting most of your music at crappy 128kbps. My recommendation is to stay away from this particular music streaming service until their get their act together and start serving all of their collection at an acceptable bitrate.
  8. shondek
    Hmm not so sure about that F..let peoples judge for themselves ..spotify sounds more Hifi and impresive..smooth but to my ears Deezer is way more musical and listenable. .bass midrange and treble blah blah blah spoty wins ..but dead boring ...did you do a blind test fufula or were to looking at the numbers while listening ..numbers mean hehaw
  9. fufula
    I did blind tests. I also asked other people what they thought and they confirmed what I thought (without me telling them which one *should* sound better or anything like that of course.)
    320kbps Spotify streams sound better than 128kbps Deezer ones, not that I'm discovering America here (the thing that surprised me was that so much stuff from Deezer was streamed at 128kbps; Rdio streams at 192kbps and they've been getting a lot of flak for that.) Let's say it's an opinion, though, and if some people doubt that -- go ahead and decide for yourselves...
  10. Harryhar
    I ran into the same problems with Deezer.
    Of all the music I have tested on Deezer, non was played back at the advertised 320 Kbps. It's always between 128 and 160 Kbps. Regardless of the HQ switch which does not make any difference in quality.
    When play music  from Deezer via a Sonos device, the same music is streamed at 320 Kbps.
    I have contacted Deezer about this issue and they just tell me they stream at 320 Kbps, but when you measure the output with a Scope or spectrum analyzer you see it's not the case. I've tried al sorts of albums.
    With Spotify I don't see these problems.
  11. imeem
    what bitrate is deezer @ standard quality? I notice that my 128 kbps mp3 sounds better than deezer. One thing i notice is that the bass is deeper. I'm using the desktop version. 
  12. fufula
    Standard quality is 128kbps. What software are you comparing it against? What settings?
    Also, regarding the non-HQ with HQ enabled issue: when testing the bitrate on my PC, I used the method of measuring the amount of data downloaded and converting it to the appropriate units. I made sure to disable any auto-updates and/or apps that could interfere with the measurements beforehand. At the time of testing I didn't encounter any music encoded at 160kbps, which, of course, doesn't mean there isn't any.
  13. imeem
    I'm comparing with jriver media center via wasapi and using speakers. for deezer, i try turning up the volume to see if the bass response wold improve, but it still not as deep as compare to the same music file on my computer @ 128 kbps. 
    EDIT: i did some more testing. I tried foosbar and tried directsound. It seems like the sound difference is due to jriver and wasapi combined. Using them separately, my 128 kbp files sound pretty much the same as deezer. However, the combination of jriver and wasapi gives my music a bit more punch even tho i disabled all DSP. So something is altering my music. 
  14. fufula
    That's probably it. Unless you did the tests expecting jriver to sound better and it's just placebo. From what I've read, dsound should sound just like WASAPI/ASIO if no streams are being mixed, but that's just theory.
  15. imeem
    read my edit.  using jriver and wasapi separately, deezer and my 128 kbps file sounds the same. Using them together, the difference between the low-end is like night and day. 
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