Sirius SQ any better? - AVS Forum
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XM and Sirius Satellite Radio > Sirius SQ any better?
sebberry's Avatar sebberry 01:01 PM 10-06-2009
I have had my Sirius receiver out of the car for a few months (working on a Car PC project and haven't had the wiring in the car). Wondering if any improvement has been made to the SQ in the last few months or if I should just go ahead and cancel my subscription before it renews.

Thanks.

johninbricknj's Avatar johninbricknj 08:48 PM 10-06-2009
sebberry's Avatar sebberry 09:02 PM 10-06-2009
I don't need better reception, I want less audible compression so my music doesn't sound like a 28k radio stream.
mantar's Avatar mantar 07:27 AM 10-07-2009
It's hilarious how Sirius plays those remastered Beatles tracks when the Sirius sound quality won't do any justice to them.
Bodycount's Avatar Bodycount 09:44 PM 12-01-2009
Someone told me the max output on Sirius for any channel is 64kbps. And the news and sports channels are even lower.

How can they keep subscriptions with sound quality that bad?

I can still hear the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps. Going lower than 128 is unacceptable to me.

My new car came with a 3 month subscription to sirius and I will not be subscribing to it once it runs out. I rarely listen to it anyways because FM stations give me better sound.
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 07:00 AM 12-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodycount View Post

Someone told me the max output on Sirius for any channel is 64kbps. And the news and sports channels are even lower.

How can they keep subscriptions with sound quality that bad?

I can still hear the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps. Going lower than 128 is unacceptable to me.

My new car came with a 3 month subscription to sirius and I will not be subscribing to it once it runs out. I rarely listen to it anyways because FM stations give me better sound.

You are not taking any compression algorithms, coding algorthms, or modulation modes in to account at all.

You are wrongly assuming that there is ANY similarity between MP3 and Sirius. There is not.

So Sirius should go 128kbps because that's how you rip MP3s? Makes no sense.

To answer the OP... If you have a good radio, a direction non-FM connection to an aux port, into a good radio with a graphic-EQ where can amplify the edge frequencies, it sounds pretty good to me. But still not CD quality, never will be unless you want them to drop about 100 channels.

So if you love music / sports / howard etc.. go for it. If you're an audiophile, don't waste your money.
Jgatie's Avatar Jgatie 10:20 AM 12-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodycount View Post

Someone told me the max output on Sirius for any channel is 64kbps. And the news and sports channels are even lower.

How can they keep subscriptions with sound quality that bad?

I can still hear the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps. Going lower than 128 is unacceptable to me.

My new car came with a 3 month subscription to sirius and I will not be subscribing to it once it runs out. I rarely listen to it anyways because FM stations give me better sound.

Comparing bitrates without taking the particular codec into account is useless. Actually, it is worse than useless, it is misleading. Some codecs sound better at lesser bitrates than others. For instance, iTunes or WMA at 128kbps compares to MP3 at 192kbps. So comparing your MP3's to Sirius at 64kbps means nothing without knowing the compression algorithm in detail.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 09:40 PM 12-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgatie View Post

Comparing bitrates without taking the particular codec into account is useless. Actually, it is worse than useless, it is misleading. Some codecs sound better at lesser bitrates than others. For instance, iTunes or WMA at 128kbps compares to MP3 at 192kbps. So comparing your MP3's to Sirius at 64kbps means nothing without knowing the compression algorithm in detail.

Someone once posted elsewhere that listening to Sirius (not online) sounds like listening to AM radio in stereo. Is this a fair comparison?

Also, how would the SQ be if u listened with your headphones plugged in the aux or output jack of the Sirius unit, say, Sportster 5?
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 06:02 AM 12-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

Someone once posted elsewhere that listening to Sirius (not online) sounds like listening to AM radio in stereo. Is this a fair comparison?

Also, how would the SQ be if u listened with your headphones plugged in the aux or output jack of the Sirius unit, say, Sportster 5?

It's much better than AM, at least the music is.

The talk is similar to AM because they intentionally alot little bandwidth to talk channels to save room for music channels.

The SQ is almost as good as a good fm station, but still a tad worse.

Listening through any direct connection is best, headphones or an Mp3 AUX-in port on your car stereo.

Think of it this way... an FM radio station takes a CD quality and modulates it and the result is FM quality. If you take a sirius radio that is already starting at close to FM quality, then you modulate that by using your radio's FM tranmitter or the FM direct connect, it's only going to get worse.

My solution: I went to Walmart and got a Sony XPLOD car stereo for $100. It has an aux-in port and a built in Graphic EQ. They have a preset EQW mode called XPLOD that really amps the edge frequencies that are often ramped off by Sirius' modulation. And it really sounds a lot better.

At home, I just use a FM tranmitter so I can listen anywhere in my house. It sounds fine because my speakers throughout my house aren't the best anyway, so it sounds like FM which is fine for me.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 11:28 AM 12-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post

At home, I just use a FM tranmitter so I can listen anywhere in my house. It sounds fine because my speakers throughout my house aren't the best anyway, so it sounds like FM which is fine for me.

Thanks for the info. What do u use to connect the power to the receiver? Did u use a universal AC/DC adapter?
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 10:45 AM 12-10-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

Thanks for the info. What do u use to connect the power to the receiver? Did u use a universal AC/DC adapter?

I went to tss-radio.com and got a home kit for my radio.

I put the antenna on my roof. I used tub/tile caulk to hold it on. It's waterproof, not permanent, and doesn't require drilling into my roof.

I ran the antenna cable through a window, gently closed the window on it without cutting the cable, to the receiver in my room. The home kit comes with a dock and AC adapter. I hooked to to the CCrane FM transmitter through the headphone jack.

I did the simple modification to up the power on the ccrane.

So I just pick a clear FM frequency, and can listen on any radio anywhere in my house.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 08:26 PM 12-10-2009
I got the radio the other day. The SQ is ok. A little worse then FM, like you say. I'm disappointed with the lack of terrestrial repeaters in area. In my apartment I dont get any reception. I just realized that I need to be facing east and the apartment is concrete which results in pretty poor reception to begin with. Looks like buying a home kit isn't probably a good idea and it's pricey too. If I can find the specs for the radio (power requirements and polarity) I might try to bring it to work (we're facing south but I can see east) and listen to it through the line-out jack.
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 06:19 AM 12-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

I got the radio the other day. The SQ is ok. A little worse then FM, like you say. I'm disappointed with the lack of terrestrial repeaters in area. In my apartment I dont get any reception. I just realized that I need to be facing east and the apartment is concrete which results in pretty poor reception to begin with. Looks like buying a home kit isn't probably a good idea and it's pricey too. If I can find the specs for the radio (power requirements and polarity) I might try to bring it to work (we're facing south but I can see east) and listen to it through the line-out jack.

Remember it's satellite radio... SATELLITE....

The vast majority of the US has no repeaters. Unless you live near a big city, it is purely satellite radio. Satellite frequencies will not pierce through your roof and walls like FM does.

Would you expect to watch DirecTV with your satellite dish sitting on your couch?

No.

Putting the simple little antenna outside is so quick, so easy, and you'll get perfect reception.

Facing south might be a good thing because there is a new geostationary satellite in the south, point your antenna towards Texas.

My brother uses an FM transmitter at work. Put a little clock radio on your desk and listen.

Most people just stream over their computers at work. Or else have a Stiletto where they can listen over wifi.
sebberry's Avatar sebberry 02:00 PM 12-11-2009
I disagree with the idea that Sirius sounds close to FM quality.

Local FM stations here come in very clearly and with great dynamic range. If they compressed the music at the station to fit onto their music servers, I can't see it being encoded at anything less 256kbps 44.1khz. When free of FM static, it comes in as clear as playing a CD.

Now Sirius is another story.

Anyone with iTunes can see a wide list of internet radio stations. Many of them are 128kbps or higher. To me, Sirius music channels sound like a 56k internet radio stream, no better. Flip back and forth between 56 and 128k internet radio stations and you'll hear what I mean.

Sirius is compressed to hell, has no dynamic range and isn't very clear. It makes listening to music unenjoyable.

I guess that's what us music folks have to put up with so other people can listen to a football game. And he kicked, and missed! Now the other team has the ball and is making a dash, kicked and missed again! Siriusly, sports needs no place on the radio.
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 02:19 PM 12-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebberry View Post

I disagree with the idea that Sirius sounds close to FM quality.

Local FM stations here come in very clearly and with great dynamic range. If they compressed the music at the station to fit onto their music servers, I can't see it being encoded at anything less 256kbps 44.1khz. When free of FM static, it comes in as clear as playing a CD.

Now Sirius is another story.

Anyone with iTunes can see a wide list of internet radio stations. Many of them are 128kbps or higher. To me, Sirius music channels sound like a 56k internet radio stream, no better. Flip back and forth between 56 and 128k internet radio stations and you'll hear what I mean.

Sirius is compressed to hell, has no dynamic range and isn't very clear. It makes listening to music unenjoyable.

I guess that's what us music folks have to put up with so other people can listen to a football game. And he kicked, and missed! Now the other team has the ball and is making a dash, kicked and missed again! Siriusly, sports needs no place on the radio.

Sirius also has 128k internet streaming.....

FM is not CD quality.....

You can't compare bit rates of MP3s, internet radio, and satellite radio without taking the coding, modulation, etc.. into account.

Not all Sirius music channels are equal. Some have more bandwidth than others.

Many of us love all of the sports talk. I also mute out the talknig heads on TV and listen to the homer local announcers on Sirius during the games...

If you're an audiophile, Sirius is not for you. For others, it's an amazing entertainment delivery service that can be used at home, work, and in the car. I'd give up my HDTV before I'd give up my stiletto.
sebberry's Avatar sebberry 02:29 PM 12-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post

Sirius also has 128k internet streaming.....

FM is not CD quality.....

You can't compare bit rates of MP3s, internet radio, and satellite radio without taking the coding, modulation, etc.. into account.

Not all Sirius music channels are equal. Some have more bandwidth than others.

Many of us love all of the sports talk. I also mute out the talknig heads on TV and listen to the homer local announcers on Sirius during the games...

If you're an audiophile, Sirius is not for you. For others, it's an amazing entertainment delivery service that can be used at home, work, and in the car. I'd give up my HDTV before I'd give up my stiletto.

I don't understand why someone would want to listen to someone else kick a ball, but that's just me.

What is the point of SATELLITE radio if their internet streams offer better quality than the satellite service? There are hundreds of online radio channels available for free. Internet is not the market where Sirius radio
belongs.


Yes, my experience with FM is that it is very near CD quality, at least in my car which has a pretty decent sound system.. The lows are present and clean, same for the highs.


Besides, if you can get 100+ channels of HDTV over satellite, why does my PAID Sirius service offer little quality improvements to AM radio?
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 02:29 PM 12-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebberry View Post

Besides, if you can get 100+ channels of HDTV over satellite, why does my PAID Sirius service offer little quality improvements to AM radio?

I don't know.
That's why I am only trying Sirius for three months. I want to experience it first hand, but the antenna and all the cables are a real nuisance, especially if you're moving the receiver between vehicles. I can't listen to Sirius at work due to network restrictions. Sirius USA charges extra to listen online while Sirius Canada does not. For me, listening to Sirius is an alternative to a smartphone with data option. I dont have to lock-in to a long term contract, unlike with a smartphone. I also dont have to worry about my bandwidth.
scottmo2020's Avatar scottmo2020 10:46 PM 12-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

I don't know.
That's why I am only trying Sirius for three months. I want to experience it first hand, but the antenna and all the cables are a real nuisance, especially if you're moving the receiver between vehicles. I can't listen to Sirius at work due to network restrictions. Sirius USA charges extra to listen online while Sirius Canada does not. For me, listening to Sirius is an alternative to a smartphone with data option. I dont have to lock-in to a long term contract, unlike with a smartphone. I also dont have to worry about my bandwidth.

For me, I like Sirius's music channels because they have everything you ever wanted and then some. And, it is more like "real" radio instead of listening to someone's CD changer (like Lastfm, Pandora, etc). I like the online streaming radio through my smartphone, but it is a pain to plug it in to power and audio cables, launch the player, wait for it to connect, deal with any buffer if I am in a low signal area, worry about bandwidth, etc, then disconnect everything when I leave the car... With Sirius I just turn it on and it plays. It takes 2 seconds to change the channel. There are no commercials on the music stations. I will say though that I have noticed sound quality going downhill in the past 9 months and the music playlists have shrunk, but I still find it a good value considering all of the other content it comes with. I have a docking station in my car and one in the house, with everything wired up so I just move the receiver from one dock to the next. Can't get any easier.
sebberry's Avatar sebberry 12:18 AM 12-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

I want to experience it first hand, but the antenna and all the cables are a real nuisance, especially if you're moving the receiver between vehicles.

Pick up a second car kit and wire it up nicely. It's then simply a matter of sliding the receiver out of the base and into the other one.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 02:36 AM 12-13-2009
I was driving around today and listening to Sirius/XM and I do find all the wires and connections to be a real PIA. Even if they're tucked away, I still don't feel comfortable leaving them in open view. That would be an invitation for a thief to wanna break-in. In my apartment, I can't even get Sirius/XM so there is no benefit there. When listening to a smartphone, I never have it connected to my cigarette lighter so that doesnt affect me.

The sound quality is really bad, I found. It's considerably inferior to LastFM, Pandora, and Wunderadio. The only good thing going for it is that you don't have to worry about bandwidth. Changing stations is a PIA too. I only have 30 presets and even then, I don't know what is where. It's a lot simpler and the quality is much, much better with a smartphone. I find there is still a lot of talk or advertising, especially on HS 101 and CNN or Fox News. That's not acceptable when you're paying for a premium service.

I doubt I will spend any more money on either an extra car kit or boombox. After my 3 months are up (I have to pay for it) I will not renew my subscription. Perhaps when the Squality gets better, I may reconsider.
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 06:40 AM 12-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebberry View Post

I don't understand why someone would want to listen to someone else kick a ball, but that's just me.

What is the point of SATELLITE radio if their internet streams offer better quality than the satellite service? There are hundreds of online radio channels available for free. Internet is not the market where Sirius radio
belongs.


Yes, my experience with FM is that it is very near CD quality, at least in my car which has a pretty decent sound system.. The lows are present and clean, same for the highs.


Besides, if you can get 100+ channels of HDTV over satellite, why does my PAID Sirius service offer little quality improvements to AM radio?


Hey, if you don't like it, you don't like it....

To answer your questions:
The FCC only gave sat radio a very small amount of bandwidth, then split it in half. That's why Sirius niternet radio has a higher bit rate. Sirius satellite radio could compete, but they would have to merge both spectrums, forcing 18 million subscribers to buy new radios. Probably would not be a good move for a struggling company.

Your 100+ HDTV channels have much more bandwidth, plus your dish points to SEVERAL different satellites operating at differing frequencies and using different modulations. For example, most DirecTV HDTV channels are in the Ka band and MPEG4, while the SD channels are MPEG2.

As for internet radio.. Enjoy.. while you can... Not practical in the car unless you magically can jump from wifi hotspots.. and forget about the cellular option. ATT just announces that 3% of their users are taking up 40% of their bandwidth thanks to audio streaming and they will have to cap internet usage and start changing penalties to the biggest users. Calls are being dropped. Internet radio is probably at least 20 years away from being a feasibile delivery system.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 09:02 PM 12-15-2009
Maybe it's just me....I find it quite frustrating when people comment or defend Sirius' audio quality by saying they (Sirius) has 128 kbps (if you listen online). That's a moot point since Sirius radios can't acquire wifi or 3G data. And I agree, it seems most people who listen to Sirius are not into music, but mainly sports or talk radio. It's the music channels are there, much like there is sometimes music be played in an elevator.
TVOD's Avatar TVOD 02:19 AM 12-16-2009
Of course if one is listening on line there are many free and often better choices for music. Now if only the satellite AQ was anywhere near the 128k wma online stream it would be acceptable. AAC+v2@24kbs sounds far better to me than the Siruis satellite AQ. As mobile streaming becomes more widespread I have to wonder how Sirius will survive. But if the majority are mainly after talk, they may serve a function. AM radio is still around.
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 10:24 AM 12-16-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsgroup View Post

Maybe it's just me....I find it quite frustrating when people comment or defend Sirius' audio quality by saying they (Sirius) has 128 kbps (if you listen online). That's a moot point since Sirius radios can't acquire wifi or 3G data. And I agree, it seems most people who listen to Sirius are not into music, but mainly sports or talk radio. It's the music channels are there, much like there is sometimes music be played in an elevator.

I'm not defending Sirius' audio quality.

The other poster asked why he would listen to Sirius when he could listen to an 128kbps online stream, and I was simply reminding him that Sirius does too. So saying one is better than the other based on bit rates is an unfair comparison.

Hey, if want to sit in front of your computer and listen to music, there are a zillion options out there. Go for it, and enjoy.

For me, I listen on my patioo, through my entertainment system, in my garage when working out, while running, in the car, at work where streaming audio is not allowed. I also love Howard and NFL Radio, and always listen to the homer Steeler announcers while watching the games.

If you're simply an audiophile, then don't subscribe to Sirius. It's that simple. In fact, you should just pirate songs online at 300+ kbps and fill up an ipod with huge storage and enjoy. You're not the target audience for Sirius, Mel K. has stated that on several occasions, yet you complain about it.

Don't buy a Ford F-350 and then complain about fuel efficiency, doesn't make sense.

Many are thrilled with internet radio. That's great. I can't stand it. Too limited. Too much of a hassle. I like being able to email a DJ and get a request on. I like the channel surfing miles away from my computer. I like learning about all thats going on with 80s hard rock from the Eddie Trunk show, and Breakfast with the Beatles. I like hearing Mike Tomlins comments on NFL radio. I listen to Howard daily. I like hearing stuff that Little Steven and Tom Petty consider to be buried treasures.

If a simple music delivery service is what get's you fired up... look elsewhere. For me, I wouldn't trade all this great content for cd-quality music. I can get CD quality music from many other places (ever hear of a CD?). But I can't get all of the above anywhere else. So I choose to subscribe. You will probably choose to cancel. Different strokes .....
Bodycount's Avatar Bodycount 11:13 PM 12-16-2009
Well I had 4 free months of Sirius radio in my new Kia. It just turned off last week and I do not plan to renew it.

If the quality was better and not so compressed, I would consider it.

To me it sounds like a 64kbps mp3. Yes I know you all said that you can't compare the two. But listening to a MP3 of that quality and then listening to Sirius music stations, they both sound the same. Very compressed.

I don't listen to talk radio really. I like music. And yes I understand Sirius isn't the option for me. I did like the Hair Nation station though. I grew up in the 80's so listening to those hair bands brought my some good memories for me.
Lew L's Avatar Lew L 08:49 AM 12-17-2009
I want to play Sirius through my high-end home system. Is there a difference in quality (with respect to the music stations) between Sirius through their home satelite antenna system and Sirius streamed through the internet?
ClubSteeler's Avatar ClubSteeler 09:14 AM 12-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew L View Post

I want to play Sirius through my high-end home system. Is there a difference in quality (with respect to the music stations) between Sirius through their home satelite antenna system and Sirius streamed through the internet?

In my opinion.... sound quality from worst to best is:

Standard Internet < Sirius Radio < Premium Internet < DirecTV
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 08:58 PM 12-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post

I'm not defending Sirius' audio quality.

The other poster asked why he would listen to Sirius when he could listen to an 128kbps online stream, and I was simply reminding him that Sirius does too. So saying one is better than the other based on bit rates is an unfair comparison.

Hey, if want to sit in front of your computer and listen to music, there are a zillion options out there. Go for it, and enjoy.

For me, I listen on my patioo, through my entertainment system, in my garage when working out, while running, in the car, at work where streaming audio is not allowed. I also love Howard and NFL Radio, and always listen to the homer Steeler announcers while watching the games.

If you're simply an audiophile, then don't subscribe to Sirius. It's that simple. In fact, you should just pirate songs online at 300+ kbps and fill up an ipod with huge storage and enjoy. You're not the target audience for Sirius, Mel K. has stated that on several occasions, yet you complain about it.

Don't buy a Ford F-350 and then complain about fuel efficiency, doesn't make sense.

Many are thrilled with internet radio. That's great. I can't stand it. Too limited. Too much of a hassle. I like being able to email a DJ and get a request on. I like the channel surfing miles away from my computer. I like learning about all thats going on with 80s hard rock from the Eddie Trunk show, and Breakfast with the Beatles. I like hearing Mike Tomlins comments on NFL radio. I listen to Howard daily. I like hearing stuff that Little Steven and Tom Petty consider to be buried treasures.

If a simple music delivery service is what get's you fired up... look elsewhere. For me, I wouldn't trade all this great content for cd-quality music. I can get CD quality music from many other places (ever hear of a CD?). But I can't get all of the above anywhere else. So I choose to subscribe. You will probably choose to cancel. Different strokes .....

Dude, I appreciate your objectivity. You seem to be one of the very few Sirius/XM subscribers who are not out there (on the web) writing that the SQ is good. You have very valid reasons why you choose satellite radio. IN my case, I am really frustrated that Sirius/XM has lowered their audio quality. I really like Sirus/XM programming but it's just not enough for me to listen to crappy SQ because I flip all over the dial...sometimes I listen to talk radio but most of the time, I listen to music. There is only so much of tinny audio I can listen to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post

In my opinion.... sound quality from worst to best is:

Standard Internet < Sirius Radio < Premium Internet < DirecTV

However, you got me totally confused on this. What is standard internet? IMO, even if you listen to the net via a telphone 56K connection, I think you're still going to get 128 kbps streaming audio.
barbie845's Avatar barbie845 09:59 PM 12-17-2009
Quote:
What is standard internet?

If you don't pay for the premium service SXM Standard Internet Stream is 32k.
Newsgroup's Avatar Newsgroup 06:53 PM 12-18-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by barbie845 View Post

If you don't pay for the premium service SXM Standard Internet Stream is 32k.

OMG. I didnt even know that standard interent is available. How much does that cost?
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