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Sirius/XM sound quality?

Discussion in 'SiriusXM Satellite Radio' started by ozzy1028, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. ozzy1028

    ozzy1028 Thread Starter PIT MEMBER

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    Didnt see this posted anywhere else. Is it just me or did the sound quality drop significantly when the merger happened? I know it wasnt that great to begin with on the old sirius, but it now sounds like listening to "am" all over again.
     
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  2. Rey

    Rey @ your service Staff Member HERE TO HELP YOU!

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    to me the sound quality was not very good even before the merger. i have stuck to only hearing some talk shows due to the poor sound quality for music
     
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  3. Remilk

    Remilk Member

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    My ears are 56 years old. I think the sound quality on XM is very good. I have a MyFi that is listen to with headsets, in rental cars using the AUX-in, and at home in the Altec-Lansing Desk unit and through my Sony sound system.

    My wifes. Roady XT sounds nearly as good as CD in her PT Cruiser and I think the Honda OEM unit in my Element sounds great.

    Just my opinion, your most likely will vary.
     
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  4. mrweather

    mrweather Member

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    I think the audio is encoded (compressed?) at a bit rate of about 20 kbps. Neither XM nor Sirius has ever divulged what rate they use.

    For me I find the sound quality of the music channels to be about on par with broadcast FM stereo; the talk-only channels range from okay to terrible.

    I never expected CD quality when I signed up. In fact, I would say true audiophiles would never listen to satellite radio due to the compression.
     
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  5. rogerpl

    rogerpl Active SatelliteGuys Member Pub Member / Supporter

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    Sound is good for me. I use mine through cassette player.
     
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  6. snathanb

    snathanb Supporting Founder Supporting Founder

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    To my ears, it's good enough to listen to in my car, but I'd never listen to it with headphones on.
     
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  7. paja

    paja Member

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    As someone who has subbed to both services since they both launched, the AQ has gotten worse on both over the years. I listen less to starad because of the lousy AQ.
     
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  8. jegrant

    jegrant PIT MEMBER

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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.
     
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  9. dsclark

    dsclark Member

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    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!
     
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  10. HD MM

    HD MM SatelliteGuys Guru

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    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.
     
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  11. dsclark

    dsclark Member

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    Not even- FM sounds much better than sat radio! FM will take the music and dynamically compress it, but what you are getting is musically intact and the frequency range is still 30-15k.
    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.
     
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  12. Hoopnoop

    Hoopnoop Member

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    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.
     
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  13. ecostar

    ecostar New Member

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    Some stations

    I'm using an X-ACT sitius radio, works perfect but BBC Radio 1 don't sound like un the UK and sometimes I like more over internet using realplayer, maybe some stations are better than others.
     
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  14. dsclark

    dsclark Member

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    Not a prayer of getting better. One huge problem is that they use different encoding schemes. So, they can't consolidate channels. They started offerring best of channels which further took away bandwidth.
    If they were to say, buy out everyone's siri reciever and replace with Xm for free, they could consolidate and really improve sq a lot, even equal internet sq. But, there is no money at all for that.
     
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  15. fourbye99

    fourbye99 New Member

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    I remember when both XM and Sirius,both started.The big push was the "CD sound Quality"and no commercals! I got XM in 2003 ,it seams to me at that time XM used to sound much better.Now it sounds little ,or no better than FM.It depends on the channell.It's something about the highs,that make me want to turn off the unit.I only keep XM because of some of the music channells and I have a Pionner Inno,so I can record a song,or show,even after it started,with track info.I love it.You can't do this with FM. So I will put up with the sound,for now.We'll see what changes are instore.
     
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  16. dsclark

    dsclark Member

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    They used to claim "near CD quality", then they claimed "digital quality". Digital quality? WTH is that????

    The highs sound bad because they use too much compression. Originally digital compression was design to sound close or identical to the source. I remember when the minidisc and digital cassette first debuted back in '92 or so. it was like if there is an explosion in the recording and some one were to burp, the explosion would mask the burp and you wouldn't hear it. So, if you can hear it, why record it? This was lossy in it's infacy. It really picked up steam with mp3 players. Now, under tones of instruments and voice are being removed. So, yeah, it is noticeable, even annoying.
    WHen I first started listing to XM, it was FM quality. When people talk about quality, they try to compare one medium that can have some hiss and reception problems (FM) to another that is immune to that, but gives you less of what was recorded (xm). Yes, hiss and intereference is bad, but at least FM broadcast what was recorded, not a fraction.
     
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  17. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014! Pub Member / Supporter

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    Interesting observation.
     
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  18. stuckingoo

    stuckingoo PIT MEMBER

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    Last summer I tried an aftermarket FM modulator and the sound was so bad I had Best Buy rip it out for a refund. A few months ago I bought a new car with XM preinstalled so there is none of that wireless FM modulation crap.....sound is considerably better and I'm now a subscriber. SQ varies considerably IMO....it's not audiophile quality but I've personally never believed that a car was a good environment to bother with high end sound.
     
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  19. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014! Pub Member / Supporter

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    Side Note:

    I tried podcasts and downloaded music on an iPhone as a substitute. Obviously, AQ is poor out of the iPhone. Thru a reasonable sound system on my computer, AQ still not good. Thru Aux In port in my car, still not as good as one would like, AQ wise. And I don't consider myself to have particularly good hearing. But maybe BDs, DVD-A & SACD have spoiled me, not to mention plain old CDs. For voice, podcasts & such, iPhone is OK. Just so much easier via iPhone, as compared to lugging around a bunch of CDs. But it's clear, iPhone just isn't anything to crow about, AQ wise. But if Sirius/XM goes under, it's a substitute.

    Yes, satrad AQ leaves a bit to be desired. Not quite CD quality, IMHO, but way better than MP3 & iPhone/iPod stuff. I paid ten bucks for a Moody Blues album from Apple, and it's essentially unusable due to poor AQ. For music, I'll stick to optical media, or satrad. Too many commercials on FM.
     
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  20. john262

    john262 Member

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    I just wish they could reduce the number of channels that they offer so that they could free up bandwidth and decrease compression.

    I think that most people would prefer better SQ even if that means reducing the number of channels. Some of those music channels are playing music that is so obscure that IMO they could drop it and few people would notice. If you want to listen to that obscure music there is plenty of it on the Internet.
     
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