Preserving Deezer Hi-Fi Quality with Node

Hi Folks,

I’m switching to Deezer to get hi-res audio quality (1) and I want to make sure it’s preserved all the way.

My streamer is Bluesound Node which is plugged in my pre-amp (2).

I can stream to the Node using the Deezer apps or the BluOS apps that come with the Node. They both have a mobile and desktop version. I prefer using the latter. I’m on an Apple ecosystem so it’s macOS/iOS versions.

When using the Deezer apps (either desktop or mobile), the only way is to use AirPlay (that I assume is AirPlay 2 since all my gear is pretty recent). I read here that "AirPlay 2 protocol which authorizes streaming in 16-bit/48kHz from any Apple device (iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac)". Deezer Hi-Fi is FLAC 1141 kbit/s according to this support page. Interestingly, when streaming via AirPlay, I perceived a small but annoying lag (~1 sec) when pausing or switching songs.

When using the BluOS apps (either desktop or mobile), I don’t have to explicitly choose AirPlay, it goes to the Node automatically. The controls are also snappier. I assume they use some other protocol to get to the Node. However, the BluOS applications are much less user-friendly than the Deezer ones that I prefer.

So my questions to you are:

  1. Does audio quality gets degraded when using AirPlay? (does FLAC 1141 kbit/s "fits" into 16-bit/48kHz?)

  2. Where the lag comes from when using AirPlay and is there any way to remove it?

  3. How does the BluOS communicate to the Node? I’m not aware of a "Deezer Connect" similar to Spotify Connect or Tidal connect.

  4. Am I overthinking all this?

Thanks for your help!



(1) Why switch to Deezer?

  • I want Hi-Fi audio

  • Qboz is not available in Canada where I live

  • I don’t want to use MQA, so Tidal is out of the equation.

  • I leaving Spotify over the Rogan vs. Young incident. You can read my thoughts here.


(2) Not that is relevant, but here is the rest of my setup:

  • McIntosh C712 / MC7100 (semi-vintage)

  • Focal Sopra No. 1


I also experienced the lag with the Deezer app via Airplay to both Node and later NAD C658 which both use BluOS. Going through BluOS, it was much more responsive with no lag. The problem is that I liked the Deezer app so much more than the BluOS app due to the native metadata (similar artists, etc) and user interface. Ultimately I went with Tidal due to Tidal Connect. You don’t have to deal with MQA if you go with their Hi-Fi tier at $9.99 US.


deezer is just redbook resolutiom if i am not mistaken, so it isn’t high res, so to speak

still, blu os should have direct access to deezer as a streaming supplier with log in and push button access within the blu os interface screens

Thanks @toro3 for sharing. I'm happy to see I'm not alone experiencing that. From what I've read, the downsampled MQA streamed by Tidal hifi tier ends up being of a lower quality of Deezer FLAC 1141 kbit/s. But again, it's hard to find a definitive confirmation to this, despite al the information available one the web. 

Really, the information I'm after is if AirPlay is messing-up the audio quality and how to get rid of the lag...



Unsure where the lag stems from - whether from BluOS, Deezer app, or AirPlay. What I can say, is that this issue was experienced within my similar configuration approximately 1.5 years ago regardless of the multiple BluOS updates and hardware (Node then to NAD).

In respect to AirPlay, I’ve preferred Connect features via Spotify or Tidal. Primary reason is because my phone’s battery would be drained quicker than usual with AirPlay. I also felt, and someone correct me with this notion, that with Connect you’re not streaming from your phone, but instead using your phone (or tablet) as a simple remote for the Node which is actually doing the streaming instead of your phone with AirPlay. Within the Connect framework, I would presume it would be a better/simpler stream vs phone>streamer>preamp/amp>speakers via AirPlay, even if using Deezer FLAC which may be better than non-MQA Tidal. These are big assumptions on my part, though!