XM audio quality versus Sirius... (1 Viewer)

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mnassour

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 1, 2004
125
3
Honest, no troll, and I'm not trying to start a flame war!

Here's the deal...I've been heavy into XM for about a year and a half, have radios in both cars and the house, etc., etc., etc.

Recently, an accident took my wife's car out of commission and I used the opportunity to install one of the new Sirius Sportsters in the rental car just to sample the service. Given that the NFL is now there and BBC1 is coming, I was considering switching over.

However...I'm hearing what to my ears at least, seems to be some kind of digital distortion on Sirius that I have not heard on XM. Yes, I'm somewhat used to XM's compressed audio, and have learned to live with that sometimes-painful digital breakup that happens whenever loud high-frequency sounds (like cymbals) are heard. However, I'm hearing the same on Sirius...and more.

In addition to the breakup on cymbals, it sounds to me like there's a distortion in voices, especially when I hear several singers in chorus, and other high-frequency audio as well. It sounds to me like a Real audio stream, at best. And the voice channels on Sirius sound much more compressed than on XM, like they're being given a VERY small slice of bandwidth.

I haven't had the chance to AB the two, but hope to get the Sportster into the house this week to compare its audio to my current Delphi.

The kicker is, I'd really like to switch over to Sirius. I've discovered I like the music selection better and I'm really happy that BBC1 and the NFL are there. The long and short of it...am I hearing things, or have others here had the same experience? I don't expect either service to be truly high fidelity, but the sometimes digital distortion that I hear on XM seems much more widespread on Sirius.

Thanks...and I'd like to hear from those of you with "golden ears"!

Mike Nassour / Austin TX
 
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charper1

Bourbon Tester
Supporting Founder
May 18, 2004
18,442
6
I'm Nationwide
I tried XM before too and never had that audio breakup, but soo learned I liked the Sirius programming and expansion plans better. All I can really say to your issue is that I have two in the car and one permanently in the house (all 3 are XACT) and I have never experienced any break except the obvious when I am in a carwash or closed garage.
 

minorthr

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jun 8, 2004
1,123
1
earth
We have XM and Sirius. The breakups you are hearing are not normal. They could be from a antenna thats in a bad spot on the car or maybe when it was installed the antenna wire got cut somehow. From your post I'm taking it that the sportster is new, it is possible that it is not working properly.
 

mnassour

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 1, 2004
125
3
Well, when I say "breakup" let me be more specific.

I can continue to hear audio, the signal does not drop out, and the reading on the meter always gives me a good level on either terrestrial or satellite.

What I am hearing is that the audio sounds like a weak internet stream running at, say, 32K. High frequencies like cymbals sound very distorted and multiple voices tend to have a "warbling" in them, somewhat like the old single side band shortwave radios (if anyone remembers those<grin>).
 

minorthr

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jun 8, 2004
1,123
1
earth
Is this just on one channel, a few or all? If its one or a few are they talk stations? I believe Sirius using a system that dynamically changes compression of the streams. Sometimes the talk stations get compressed a ton. If its on every channel I would really exchange the unit and see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn't then I'm at a loss as to what to tell you to do then.
 

mnassour

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 1, 2004
125
3
charper1 said:
Instead of breakup does it sound like a tiny echo in a metal can?

That's exactly what the talk channels sound like, much more so than on XM. I hear the same symptom (of overcompression?) in the music as well, just not as often..and it's not as obvious. In music, I hear it in high frequencies such as cymbals and when multiple voices are being heard.

As far as which channels, the talk channels are the worst, and it seems to vary from song to song on the music channels.

I'm betting that I may be hearing what passes for normal compression on Sirius, that I'm just not used to it's "sound".

Part of this may be my background. I've been in TV production since 1976 on the news and then the commercial side of the business. Part of my duties right now include monitoring audio for broadcast and webcasting from the Texas Senate.

That might explain why the compression I'm hearing reminds me of the artifacts that Real Media introduces into an audio stream.

If this is the case, then it's back to XM, regardless of the Sirius programming.
 
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mnassour

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 1, 2004
125
3
Nope, the antenna checks out fine as signal strength is always at 60%-100% when I'm listening.

The bottom line...go to Worst Buy, pick up XM Roady, return Sirius Sportster. Problem solved, as the digital artifacts I heard on Sirius are absent on XM.

No, that's not to say XM is perfect, but the talk stations appear to be MUCH clearer and I don't hear that "swishing" sound on the music, either.

Too bad, I really liked Sirius' programming.
 

dalec21

SatelliteGuys Family
Supporting Founder
Jul 14, 2004
75
0
East Tennessee
sir vs xm

Sirius
sirius-42.jpg


XM
xm-44.jpg


bear in mind these are done by a rank amateur that has no idea what he
is doing

..Dale
 

Vick

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 26, 2004
16
0
You are exactly right. I hear al these artifacts ha you have mentioned, some ever since I got the radio about 2 years ago (that cimbal voice..) and that is typical fo compressed audio. But recently (about few months ago) ever since they started to expand their lineup with base ball channels and others the quality went down considerably. My favourite channel was 41 Boneyard because there was nothing like it in the USA but now that channel sounds like $H*T.
I am sure they know that but like any other business they don't care about quality, only quantity.
 
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