Sirius or XM. Sound Quality and Future Enhancments - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 254 Old 02-11-2013, 11:40 AM
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Hi Millerandy -

We would like to help. Send us an email with your contact info to sxm_help@siriusxm.com and we'll be able to place you on our DNC list from there.

Thanks,
SiriusXM Digital Care Team
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post #62 of 254 Old 02-14-2013, 05:29 AM
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After all these years, I've finally had my first experience with satellite radio (in my car). I remember back when DirecTV switched from their former music provider to XM, and feeling that the audio quality went down, and I didn't really like their programming as well as their previous provider (forgot now who that was), at least for the channels I listen to. I just found out they had a "free preview"... stumbled upon the fact when I suddenly started getting traffic info in the navigation system in my car. So I tried the satellite channels, and sure enough they were on (or at least most of them). But wow, it really sounds bad. Really really bad. I normally capture streams off of internet radio stations (like 1mix radio, etn.fm, sonomafm, etc.) and put them on SD cards to play in the car. Those range anywhere from 128-320kbps, depending on the station, and generally sound very good. Satellite radio can't even compare. Even much worse than FM (not to mention HDRadio). I'm not even sure if my car has XM or Sirius hardware (it's an '11 Audi A4, FWIW).

I can't believe people pay for this. Seems to me they'd be better off if they could combine some of their content into fewer channels to allow for higher bandwidth to each channel. I'm sure some would complain about losing their favorite channel, but what good is your favorite music if it sounds bad? I would consider paying for the traffic data, but the audio channels are just horrible.

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post #63 of 254 Old 02-14-2013, 05:43 AM
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In my car Sirius sounds better than FM. BTW the bitrate varies by channel - higher for music and more popular channels.
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post #64 of 254 Old 02-14-2013, 05:09 PM
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If I remember correctly you used to and may still be able to pay for just traffic. If you have the right hardware you can even get weather data from them.. It works pretty well.
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post #65 of 254 Old 02-16-2013, 09:35 AM
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My dealer's radio tech (Ford Dealer) will replace my complete radion system, stil under warranty. This was offered to me, no argument from me or the dealer. They would not elaborate as to what the new radio system will do to eliminate the problem with the poor sound quality of my Sirrius radio in my 2010 GT Mustang.

I will post my results to you after I check out my new system.
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post #66 of 254 Old 02-16-2013, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capitol5555 
. . . . the poor sound quality of my Sirrius radio in my 2010 GT Mustang.
Don't get your hopes up too much. It will still sound like crap. Analog FM runs circles around satellite radio. (HD radio even sounds much better & that's still not a very high bar)
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post #67 of 254 Old 02-16-2013, 02:01 PM
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When I purcahsed my Mustang, the sound quality from Sirrius radio was excellent. I understand Sirrius made changes to their sateliite. I have XM radio in my '07 Buick and it is excellent ever since I purchased the car.

I have nothing to lose by having a new system/radio installed in my Mustang. If it does not solve the problem, I will cancel my Sirrius subscription.
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post #68 of 254 Old 02-24-2013, 08:02 PM
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I cannot see anyone being happy with sirius xm quality at least what I get in Saskatchewan Canada. I read a description of phase distortion and that describes it. I listened to a distorted song directly from the xm receiver on high quality headset - the same distortion was there. I happened to have the same song on MP3, sounds fine on the headset and over the system. I sent requests for help to sirius XM to which I received a promise that someone would call - they did not!! I would switch to a high quality provider in a second if I had that option ( would miss BB kings bluesville though).
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post #69 of 254 Old 02-27-2013, 01:44 PM
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The sound quality was pretty good about 7ish years ago. The playlists were pretty good, too. They actually tried to focus on it.

Then some marketing guys decided more was better and they kept cramming new stations onto the satellites until we ended up with the muck that it is today.

The thing is: I can understand cable or satellite (TV) adding new channels. There's always some channel someone is screaming for. With satellite radio, who's screaming for any channel? There's 20ish rock channels.Yes, there are different subsets of rock but you could easily squeeze that down into just a few channels. There's no on clamoring for the a new modern Reggae (or whatever) channel. You could easily cut back on what they have now and no one would notice. Most people don't even know how many channels they have. They'd probably guess over 100 but they wouldn't know beyond that so it's not like that magic high number is pulling people in. They've added 20 or so channels when they released the Lynx (SiriusXM 2.0) but who cares. What channel is in that new set that anyone say, "You know, I can't live without it." (or more importantly, I wouldn't pay the subscription without it).

Still, more and more channels are added and we end up with a sub-par listening experience. I'm not even audiophile guy and I think it's sub-par. I don't need CD quality but I'd like a decent MP3 quality sound.

I have lifetime so I use it. I like it for the mere fact that I can drive from city to city and still stay on the same station and listen to it without hunting for another local station like we used to do. I can't say I'd recommend it to friends or family (especially now that lifetime subs are gone) nor would I pay some monthly fee of $20ish for it.
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post #70 of 254 Old 02-27-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bishop View Post

You could easily cut back on what they have now and no one would notice.

Marketing research and experience does not back you up. Most people lean to more channels than quality. Same for TV.
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post #71 of 254 Old 03-06-2013, 05:36 PM
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I've had 2 Infiniti's with XM and the sound quality was really good. I had no complaints whatsoever. I just traded off my Infiniti G37 and got a VW Jetta that came with a Sirius Sat tuner. When I activated the new radio I was horrified by the sound quality. I thought the Jetta sound system must be crap, but when I double check the FM sound quality, it sounds ok. Not nearly the quality of the Bose stereo in the G37, but good enough to listen too. What is up with Sirius? I just renewed for a year and after reading the posts in this forum, I'm seriously considering cancelling. I thought maybe there was something I could do to improve the sound, but now I'm not so sure. I'm terribly disapointed!
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post #72 of 254 Old 03-07-2013, 03:51 AM
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Mine sounds as good or better than FM in a Mercury.
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post #73 of 254 Old 03-17-2013, 02:33 PM
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I know this is a stale feed but - I like the XM content and also don't like the sound quality. I have the iPhone app subscription for SiriusXM and I think the sound quality is better. I just plug the phone in to my head unit via USB and it works very well. You do need a good data plan. We have several cars so this avoids a subscription for each car - just about $3/ month for the iPhone after the first car.

I also have an Airport express and Apple TV connected to my home sound system and this gets me XM there as well.

It has been a good solution for me.
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post #74 of 254 Old 03-17-2013, 09:48 PM
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wow.. thought I was crazy! I was an early adopter, had it since 2001. We (wife and I) have always loved XM. Have it in the car and truck (pioneer and delco/bose). Now I have a new Jeep and have a Sirius receiver. The first thing I noticed was the horrible compression! I thought maybe it was my Jeep, but this weekend, I spent some time with family and rode in my dad's Ram and mom's Kia.. both have factory Sirius and both sounded horribly compressed. I guess I won't be adding a 3rd vehicle to my sub when the 12 mos trial is up. Too bad because I really wanted NFL/NASCAR frown.gif

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post #75 of 254 Old 03-23-2013, 07:48 PM
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There is way too much compression on sirius. Hihats and other high frequency instruments sound extremely distorted as a result. I wish they would drop the useless channels and free up the bandwidth for better sq on the stuff people actually want to listen to.
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post #76 of 254 Old 03-29-2013, 07:23 PM
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Guys, first of all - thank you for this thread and taking the time to write some observations. I never write myself and feel guilty, so this time, having come out of my ordeal with FREE 2nd Day UPS SiriusXM Edge unit with car and vehicle kits to replace my Sirius Sportster 4, I have myself several observations:

1. Sirius is being phased out and will be gone by 2015. They are squeezing it out of the pipeline and the tech department at SiriusXM Corp is very aware of that. This is a done deal. Sirius platform is over. Whatever new Sirius unit you buy - it'll have only old technology and bad codec sound.

2. XM is being replaced with SiriusXM but on XM platform. Thus, everyone with XM is cool. SiriusXM is slightly better for extra channels. Sound difference is immediately better on XM or SiriusXM from Sirius units.

3. Be nice when contacting Sirius, and they WILL HELP. They do want to keep you as a customer - $15 a month is a very solid revenue. They'll go out of their way to ensure the next $45 billing takes place. Don't use them because of this, but work with them. Their email and FB page respond within minutes/hours. I found them to have and conduct excellent communication, and whoever has bad experience probably has bad attitude to begin with. Being nice goes a long way.

My story: after reading this forum, I just wrote a short, polite, well-substantiated email of frustration to their generic support how Sirius sound quality sucks and has gotten worse and I love the service, but consider to quit it and have issues recommending the company to my friends, since the quality sucks. They emailed and CALLED me NEXT DAY! A wonderful lady from NY gave me a day to research new XM units (she warned me that it'll be a "like new" refurbished unit), pick one (I didn't go for Lynx as I don't need the touch screen and felt unethical pushing for the most expensive item for free). I asked for Edge. She said - yes, will send it with a car kit. I said I'll need a house kit too and would love to buy a refurbished discounted one. She said no worries. 48 hours later, for free, at my door were two boxes - with both kits and the Edge in them! The service swap took about 3 minutes over the phone and was free as well. That's it! I have new Edge with both kits for free, switched over for free, and am a forever happy customer, recommending the company left and right. Customer experience of the decade for me, hands down!

4. Mounting in cars: GUYS, c'mon - be creative. Here's what I've been doing for years (and that's also why I didn't want Lynx). Buy industrial velcro by Velcro or 3M. Attached the soft side to any flat surface in your car; stick the studded velcro to the bottom of the car dock. Voila! I even travel with a soft velcro - stick it on in friends' and rental cars, and later when it's time to give the car back - just wipe with water or alcohol - and it leaves no marks and no damage. Industrial velcro keeps the unit very secure and even has enough strength and resistance for me to push all the buttons. Five years of velcro mountain and going. Zero footprint, zero damage to the car, super neat and looks great. Lynx's car dock doesn't have a flat bottom - thus I ruled it out right away.

5. Also, Edge seems to be an easier unit to control via simple genre buttons and a nob. Lynx is a beautiful, great unit - so if you're stuck in between and don't care about physical buttons and flat car dock surface - get it. I played with Lynx at Best Buy - it is amazing. No bugs, no nothing. One of top tech products out there. Maybe in a new car I'll consider Lynx a year or two from now. Edge works very nicely too. Sound is definitely not CD quality, but is "good enough" (I produce music and have JBL towers, Tascam monitors, 12 gage wiring, etc. at home, so very picky - Edge sounds good enough for me, GREAT to everyone else).

6. Sirius antennas work great with XM units. I didn't have to rewire my home or car - and both have 100% reception via very old Sirius antennas on the new SIriusXM Edge unit. That's it!

So, the bottom lines:

- XM is better sound than Sirius
- Sirius bye bye by 2015, XM here to stay
- SiriusXM Inc. knows about it and works with customer on it
- be nice, polite, professional when communicating with them, use their FB page for answer within minutes
- Velcro is the best mountain option!

Good luck!
Yuri

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post #77 of 254 Old 04-20-2013, 08:49 PM
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Wow, there is a lot of BS on here.

First, we can only hope "Sirius" will be gone by 2015, but it won't be, nor will XM. What wasn't mentioned is that the radios that are in your brand new 2013 Jeeps and 2013 Fords were designed and built years ago- like 5-10 years ago. That's how far out new cars are designed, including the Sirius or XM radios. There is no way for Sirius to be gone by 2015 because there will be cars being built with Sirius radios in them in 2015- those cars have a life expectancy of at least 10 years- how do you feel Ford would like it if they built a car with an obsolete (or near obsolete) radio in it? At some point- I suspect Sirius/XM will start putting a hybrid radio into cars which will be able to receive current XM/Sirius signal and whatever new signal the company will broadcast when it completely merges.

See, Sirius/XM has a limited amount of bandwidth that it purchased from the Government. I've heard people discuss that when the government initially put aside the spectrum for satellite radio they anticipated only one provider. Congress demanded two, so the FCC simply split the spectrum in two. Regardless, Sirius/XM are currently splitting that bandwidth into two separate systems to broadcast essentially the same channels. So, they have to broadcast two 80's channels, two 90's channels, etc. Eventually, and I mean like waaaay down the road, Sirius and XM will completely merge which will allow them to only broadcast one 80's channel, one 90's channel on a combined bandwidth. In theory, that should allow for a much better sounding product with much higher bandwidth. That product will most likely utilize the XM sat constellation, and probably the XM radios, but not necessarily. The idea that XM or Sirius sounds better now is silly, IMO. They both use the same bandwidth and likely very similar compression formulas....

HOWEVER, individual channels on both Sirius and XM can and do sound better or worse depending on the station. As some astute writer above pointed out- nothing sounds better than Howard 100 on Sirius. And I mean NOTHING. Nothing on XM, nothing on Sirius, because Howard negotiated in his contract to have a set bandwidth on Howard 100. And no, you won't get that with the Howard channel on XM- it sounds like crap. Because Howard didn't negotiate for that. Ive noticed that some music channels sound better than others. For example, on Sirius, for some reason I think the Springsteen channel sounds horrible. But others, such as the GD Channel, sound a bit better (but bad compared to regular radio). I assume that Sirius and XM play with different bitrates/bandwidths on different channels, for reasons I don't completely understand.

On Sirius, the worst sounding channels are the traffic channels and then the play by play channels.

But we can hope, at some point in the future- when they finally combine the bandwidth and Sirius/XM truly becomes one, the channels will sound better. Whether your current XM or Sirius radio will work then, I've no idea....but remember, Sirius/XM guaranteed the government when it merged that no radio would ever become obsolete- which means that they likely will send you a brand new one if necessary...
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post #78 of 254 Old 04-21-2013, 04:18 AM
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If it is a lot of BS your BS is nothing new! Why don't you add some BS we don't already know?
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post #79 of 254 Old 04-29-2013, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob1956 View Post

Sound quality on Sirius and XM can be excellent. But the services severly limit the bitrate to most channels. Howard 100 and 101 get the full bitrate possible and music, when they play it, sound great. I have a Sirius Sportster 5, a pretty recent radio and some channels sound awful. I recently heard Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" on Classic Rewind and Lindsay Buckingham's guitar solos sounded like they were under water. The opening electronic sounds from the Moody Blues' "Your Wildest Dreams" sounded all over the place. I heard "Go Your Own Way" on Stern's channel coming out of a break and it sounded near CD quality. So Howard gets the good stuff, most other channels are second class citizens, I guess. Spa also sounds good.
I'm the new owner of a Lincoln MK Z with "My Touch". I can't believe how bad Sirius sounds in my Lincoln. It's beneath the quality of the car. While this is my 1st Sirius satellite radio, I have been getting the Sirius music channels for years as part of my Dish Network subscription. The Sirius music channels sound 1,000X better over Dish than is does in my MK Z. While listening to "Classic Rewind" in the car I heard a song with a comb-filter effect that did not belong. Just to be sure, I ran into the house and tuned to the same channel on my TV while the song was still playing. Sure enough, the SQ on my TV blew away the car receiver.

As to Howard 100 & 101, just for curiosity I tuned to one of them for five minutes. Sure enough the SQ was 100x better than Sirius Patriot or The Catholic Channel. So little bandwidth is allocated for those channels that sometimes the phone calls are not intelligible.

I'm on a 6 month "trial" subscription. If the channels I actually listen to continue to sound "under water" (comb filter / Doppler effect) I doubt I will subscribe.
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post #80 of 254 Old 04-29-2013, 03:51 PM
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Are you really comparing two different sound systems in two different places at two different times? Thought so.

Despite the quality of the car I would have it checked with a "1,000X better" difference. I think it sounds pretty good in my Mercury.
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post #81 of 254 Old 04-30-2013, 02:46 AM
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I think I'll add that while sound quality for SiriusXM is not what it could be and not what it has been in the past, it's fair to say that it's about FM Quality.

Regarding the talk radio channels: I listen to them quite frequently and I've never was at the point where the compression was so bad that it just sounded garbled. If anything, the talk radio channels sound just fine for what they are: talk radio. During some of the bumper music it's probably the equivalent of AM. That's about it. If you're having a problem listening to someone calling into the show you're listening to and everything else is fine but the call then it's likely the person's cell phone.

If you're expecting "CD Quality" on all channels then you're going to be disappointed. If you expect AM/FM (with similar playlists, as well) but it works everywhere and you pay for that and you're OK paying then you'll be satisfied.

The 'it works everywhere' really is nice to me but I have lifetime. I don't know that I'd dish out $20 (or whatever the going rate is) for 'it works everywhere' when there are nice alternatives such as podcasts, Slacker, Pandora, etc. - but that's just me.
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post #82 of 254 Old 04-30-2013, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary J View Post

Are you really comparing two different sound systems in two different places at two different times? Thought so.

Despite the quality of the car I would have it checked with a "1,000X better" difference. I think it sounds pretty good in my Mercury.
Two different sound systems at the same time. My car was in the garage, I ran into the house while the current song was still playing. It was Yes "Leave It". The compression on Sirius was so bad it sounded like "Itchycoo Park" (Comb-filter/phased). No such crappy sound on the same channel via Dish Network.

Either "My Lincoln Touch" has a crappy D/A converter or Sirius is over-compressed to the nth degree.

Also the two "Howard" channels sound fine. First he screws Sirius' inverters by selling his options the same week he got them and then he hogs up all the bandwidth. tongue.gif
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post #83 of 254 Old 04-30-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bishop View Post

I think I'll add that while sound quality for SiriusXM is not what it could be and not what it has been in the past, it's fair to say that it's about FM Quality.

Regarding the talk radio channels: I listen to them quite frequently and I've never was at the point where the compression was so bad that it just sounded garbled. If anything, the talk radio channels sound just fine for what they are: talk radio. During some of the bumper music it's probably the equivalent of AM. That's about it. If you're having a problem listening to someone calling into the show you're listening to and everything else is fine but the call then it's likely the person's cell phone.

If you're expecting "CD Quality" on all channels then you're going to be disappointed. If you expect AM/FM (with similar playlists, as well) but it works everywhere and you pay for that and you're OK paying then you'll be satisfied.

The 'it works everywhere' really is nice to me but I have lifetime. I don't know that I'd dish out $20 (or whatever the going rate is) for 'it works everywhere' when there are nice alternatives such as podcasts, Slacker, Pandora, etc. - but that's just me.
What I'm hearing is not "AM or FM" quality -it's friggin' SHORTWAVE quality - a phasey mess!
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post #84 of 254 Old 04-30-2013, 03:35 PM
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Nothing changes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary J View Post

Are you really comparing two different sound systems in two different places at two different times? Thought so.

Despite the quality of the car I would have it checked with a "1,000X better" difference. I think it sounds pretty good in my Mercury.
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post #85 of 254 Old 05-01-2013, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael P 2341 View Post

What I'm hearing is not "AM or FM" quality -it's friggin' SHORTWAVE quality - a phasey mess!

Then my guess would be either:
a) there's something wrong with your tuner or wiring and you should contact Ford about it.
b) your expectations are too high

Maybe find someone and get a loaner Sirius unit (PNP) that you could plug into your stereo's Aux-In and see if it sounds any better. That'd at least let you know: "OH, it's my stereo," or, "Oh, that's just about as good as it gets"

I think what I wrote above is a fair assessment of the current sound quality and I think most others would agree.
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post #86 of 254 Old 05-01-2013, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bishop View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael P 2341 View Post

What I'm hearing is not "AM or FM" quality -it's friggin' SHORTWAVE quality - a phasey mess!

Then my guess would be either:
a) there's something wrong with your tuner or wiring and you should contact Ford about it.
b) your expectations are too high

Maybe find someone and get a loaner Sirius unit (PNP) that you could plug into your stereo's Aux-In and see if it sounds any better. That'd at least let you know: "OH, it's my stereo," or, "Oh, that's just about as good as it gets"

I think what I wrote above is a fair assessment of the current sound quality and I think most others would agree.

Not me. The sound quality is atrocious. I mostly listen to sports talk and live pbp. Atrocious.......


Perhaps I misremembered.

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post #87 of 254 Old 05-01-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bishop View Post

Then my guess would be either:
a) there's something wrong with your tuner or wiring and you should contact Ford about it.
b) your expectations are too high

Maybe find someone and get a loaner Sirius unit (PNP) that you could plug into your stereo's Aux-In and see if it sounds any better. That'd at least let you know: "OH, it's my stereo," or, "Oh, that's just about as good as it gets"

I think what I wrote above is a fair assessment of the current sound quality and I think most others would agree.
I did contact Lincoln about the issue. The local dealer was no help.
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post #88 of 254 Old 05-01-2013, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael P 2341 View Post

I did contact Lincoln about the issue. The local dealer was no help.

That's because it's SiriusXM's problem, not your dealers. It's a known issue, at least by me. I don't know how many customers I have had to try three times as hard to keep their service because of this issue alone. I've never listened to a Sirius, as I have XM, but i could listen to my sisters Kia Soul just to check it out.
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post #89 of 254 Old 06-26-2013, 04:56 PM
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Interesting discussion here - I just traded in my 2009 Audi A4 with Sirius for a Cadillac ATS with XM and I think the new XM Radio is crap compared to Sirius. All the highs distort with compression artifacts.... won't be renewing my sub. Never really noticed any compression artifacts on the old Sirius radio.

Eating humble pie....
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post #90 of 254 Old 09-04-2013, 06:44 AM
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Since I notice many people complaining about recent purchaces versus their older units, I wonder if the problem is somehow related to the newer receivers? I have 2 older XM units - one in a factory radio in a Hyundai (2009) and one in an aftermarket XM box from like 2003. I also had a aftermarket receiver added to my 2005 Ford. All of these sounded fine - pretty much like a reasonable quality MP3. Very little if any phasing issues and good fidelity - certainly not great but in a car it sounded good. I have a new ford explorer 2013 with Sirius and the quality is horribly phasey. And no I do not need my ears fixed. I put the cars side by side and listened to the same content and 6 different people could easily hear the difference. I have also rented several cars (fords, chryslers etc ) With Sirius and without exception, they all had the phasey sound on all music channels - no variation. So my conclusion was that this was a Sirius issue but it seems some people have the opposite experience. I am hoping to be able to rent something NEW with XM so I can compare the new XM receivers to my older ones - but until then, my ears tell me that Sirius sucks.
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