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I have to admit, that I end up listening to KISS XM & MIX XM, even though they do play commercials (which I do change the channel as soon as they come on) just because of the superior AQ they are given by Clear Channel. It's noticeably better / less compressed than XM's equivalent 20on20 and Pulse 26.
I have been a subscriber for five years. SQ has gone down and down. I got an Iphone a couple of weeks and was shocked how much better SQ was on streaming music from Pandora- it is almost like CD's! XM sounds like am.
I called to cancel last week and was offered three months free to keep one unit active, so my wife will keep it . Rumour has it they were charge soon for online even if you are a regular subscriber, so it will be bye bye for me!
Satellite Radio is better than AM/FM and probably on par with MP3 sound. However, it's not as good as CD quality. I'm content with it for now.
Sat takes that sound and dynamically squash it like FM, However, they also use a very low bit rate so that unlike FM, you are not hearing everything that was record. That is why vocals will lack timber, cymbal sounds don't sound right,the music overall sound flat and voices can sound garbled. Talk stations actually sound worse than my local high power AM station and oh, if you try one of the traffic/weather stations, it is often so compressed as to be unintelligible!
"MP3 sound"? That's vague. MP3's can sound great or horrible, depending on the bit rate. Sat radio is worse than a 64kbps mp3, which is pretty bad.
I agree with most of the previous posts in that Sirius's sound quality is not at a CD level and is roughly comparable to FM sound quality (and may be worse). I just hooked Sirius up through my Onkyo receiver and am disappointed regarding the SQ as it was touted to me as being comparable to CDs. It did help some when I put my receiver on full channel stereo but still is quite distorted.
Is there any chance they will improve SQ with the merger? Is there a bandwidth issue such that if they have more satellite capacity they will have less compression?
It simply doesn't make sense to me that they would compress so much unless they had to as part of competing against one another (Sirius and XM). I would think the even non-audiophiles would much prefer the service if it had CD-like sound quality.