Sirius or XM. Sound Quality and Future Enhancments - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 161 Old 01-21-2012, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
satradio91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hello,

I currently listen to the Sirius via the OEM stereo in my car. I plan on replacing the OEM headunit in the near future and will have to buy a satellite radio receiver. I love the content on Sirius but like many others I am not satisfied with the sound quality.

I know that before the merger XM had marginally better SQ, is this still true? Also do modern receivers have better SQ than some of the original ones? The stereo in from 2003.

I have been reading rumors about some features of satellite radio 2.0 such as on-demand and a Pandora competitor. What satellite network will get these enhancements? What network will continue to receive new enhancements throughout the years? Is the content the same on both networks?

Lastly if I purchase a yearly subscription to sirius can it be transferred to XM when I change my system?

Thanks.
satradio91 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 161 Old 01-22-2012, 02:14 PM
Senior Member
 
rc05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 359
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked: 52
I'll see if I can answer some of your questions.

Subjectively, XM sounds better than Sirius to me. It's not a huge difference though and you might not think it's better. I think they use different codecs though, and XM's may be better.

The purported 2.0 features are only going to be on the XM platform. It's rumored that they want to move everyone to the XM platform, but the Sirius side is getting a new satellite early this year, so that may not be happening for a while, if at all. I'm betting the XM network will be the one they're trying to move forward with, though. The 2.0 features right now are only "Xtra channels" which are only on a few new XM radios. Otherwise, the content is the same with the exception of MLB play by play on XM only, and I think Howard Stern is only on the Premier XM package. XM also has a very small handful of music channels that are only on XM. I'm probably missing some channels, but in general, the content is the same.

You can get cross-platform multi radio discounts now, but I'm not sure if you can transfer a yearly plan between them yet.
rc05 is online now  
post #3 of 161 Old 01-23-2012, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
satradio91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for the reply. The interesting that sirius is getting a new satellite. I wonder if SQ will improve after? Would you think that an improved headunit/ sound processor will help the SQ of sirius?
satradio91 is offline  
post #4 of 161 Old 01-23-2012, 04:28 PM
Senior Member
 
rc05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 359
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked: 52
The new satellite is probably for backup right now in case the three old satellites go out, as they're reaching the end of their lifetime. I'm not sure if getting a new head unit will improve things, maybe marginally, but Sirius's compression is pretty noticeable.
rc05 is online now  
post #5 of 161 Old 01-26-2012, 03:15 PM
Member
 
shelbygt500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I had an XMp3 portable unit up until two years ago when XM added their "artist fee" to the bill and decided to give it up as I only had it for one talk show and the music channels sounded like crap. Last year my wife bought a new car with sirius and I couldn't believe how crappy it sounded. The HD radio in her car sounded much better. XM and Sirius compress their channels so much, I don't know who would pay for it. It sounds like your listening through a thin wall. I use Pandora through my Iphone and it sounds much better in the car than satellite. JMO
shelbygt500 is offline  
post #6 of 161 Old 01-26-2012, 09:28 PM
Advanced Member
 
zoetmb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbygt500 View Post

I had an XMp3 portable unit up until two years ago when XM added their "artist fee" to the bill and decided to give it up as I only had it for one talk show and the music channels sounded like crap. Last year my wife bought a new car with sirius and I couldn't believe how crappy it sounded. The HD radio in her car sounded much better. XM and Sirius compress their channels so much, I don't know who would pay for it. It sounds like your listening through a thin wall. I use Pandora through my Iphone and it sounds much better in the car than satellite. JMO

Totally agree. Pandora sounds phenomenally better than Sirius. One of the problems with Sirius (don't know if this is also a problem with XM) is that there are tremendous phase distortion problems. I don't know if this is an artifact of the compression or an artifact of the satellite transmission.

If you listen to the different signal (Left minus Right) on Sirius, you hear sound artifacts that sound exactly like the sound effects that are usually used in movies when they show a satellite in orbit. It's uncanny.
zoetmb is offline  
post #7 of 161 Old 01-29-2012, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
satradio91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for the replies.

So it it seems there is no real difference in SQ between the two, i'll just get an XM unit.

My biggest problem has been that sat radio is much quieter than the other sources requiring me to increase the volume until there is distortion. Hopefully a new radio will fix that.
satradio91 is offline  
post #8 of 161 Old 03-02-2012, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
 
Netko350Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I just got a new vehicle with Sirrius. I had a XM portable unit in my old SUV and the SQ of Sirrius is HORRIBLE. Bitrate sucks. XM sounded way better.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Netko350Z is offline  
post #9 of 161 Old 03-13-2012, 12:42 AM
Senior Member
 
Jetmeck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
Had Sirius for years and think some of you have faulty receivers as mine has always been very clear and near cd quality.
Jetmeck is offline  
post #10 of 161 Old 03-13-2012, 12:56 AM
Senior Member
 
Geremia P.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Denver
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

Had Sirius for years and think some of you have faulty receivers as mine has always been very clear and near cd quality.

Try a pair of these.

Geremia P. is offline  
post #11 of 161 Old 03-13-2012, 06:01 AM
Senior Member
 
Jetmeck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geremia P. View Post

Try a pair of these.


BS......try a better receiver. Nothing wrong with Sirius and no I don't work for them.
Jetmeck is offline  
post #12 of 161 Old 03-15-2012, 07:37 AM
Senior Member
 
Brad Bishop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 16
While I think the receiver can make a difference in audio quality, I've noticed a definite drop in quality over the years on XM and Sirius (actually haven't listened to Sirius in 3 years) but the drop is there.

When they first started up ≈10 years back it really did sound great and that was one of their selling points.
Brad Bishop is offline  
post #13 of 161 Old 03-15-2012, 07:40 AM
Senior Member
 
EricST's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Agree ,I do. The over all audio qty via my iphone pluged into the AUX port is 10 X better then XM from my head unit in my car.

May the Force be with you.
EricST is offline  
post #14 of 161 Old 03-15-2012, 06:11 PM
Senior Member
 
Jetmeck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricST View Post

Agree ,I do. The over all audio qty via my iphone pluged into the AUX port is 10 X better then XM from my head unit in my car.

Thinkin you need the above hearing aids....come on guys...really ????
Jetmeck is offline  
post #15 of 161 Old 03-16-2012, 02:19 AM
Senior Member
 
Geremia P.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Denver
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

Thinkin you need the above hearing aids....come on guys...really ????

Really. XM and Sirius over satellite sound terrible.
Geremia P. is offline  
post #16 of 161 Old 03-16-2012, 07:39 AM
Senior Member
 
Jetmeck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
actually it sounds fine. check your equipment...........
Jetmeck is offline  
post #17 of 161 Old 03-19-2012, 08:49 AM
Senior Member
 
EricST's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

actually it sounds fine. check your equipment...........

What's to check? All I know is the volume level is 10X loader via ipod ->AUX then the XM.
I have a standered Hyundai head unit with built in XM.
And BTW, I cancelled my service last night.

May the Force be with you.
EricST is offline  
post #18 of 161 Old 03-21-2012, 08:02 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Savageone79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Carbondale IL
Posts: 2,454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Yes the iPhone app sound quality is what the satellite quality should be. The satellite feed is much worse especially in the high end. If you have speakers that don't reproduce the high end well you can hide a lot of the faults.
Savageone79 is offline  
post #19 of 161 Old 03-21-2012, 12:25 PM
Senior Member
 
Jetmeck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savageone79 View Post

Yes the iPhone app sound quality is what the satellite quality should be. The satellite feed is much worse especially in the high end. If you have speakers that don't reproduce the high end well you can hide a lot of the faults.

whatever guys if you put in a cd in your head unit it will be the same deal as far as volume goes. Signal strength. That way on most every HU you will find and your iPhone mp3 is better than your satellite ? Be real.
Jetmeck is offline  
post #20 of 161 Old 03-21-2012, 01:17 PM
Senior Member
 
Brad Bishop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

whatever guys if you put in a cd in your head unit it will be the same deal as far as volume goes. Signal strength. That way on most every HU you will find and your iPhone mp3 is better than your satellite ? Be real.

I'm really not sure what you're arguing at this point. Are you saying that if I turn up the volume on my satellite radio source that I can make it as loud as a CD?

I think you did make a minor point earlier in the thread that the quality (not volume) of the satellite source is dependent on the components and I'll admit to having different performance with different tuners from the same satellite company (when Sirius and XM were separate).

That said, most people (and I'm thinking you're the sole exception) would agree to these statements:
- "The quality of the music on satellite radio (both sides, XM & Sirius) is worse today than it was back when it started due to them adding more channels and increasing the compression (digital)."
- "Some channels sound better than others because some channels are more heavily compressed. As an example, SiriusXM Hits 1 is probably the least compressed and sounds the best. Even then it leaves a lot to be desired to how it used to sound."
- "Over the years the engineers have tweaked the compression and sometimes this resulted in better sounding channels"
- "At no time was satellite radio as good as a CD. It has been as good as a good-quality mp3 in the past but that is not how it is currently."

I've personally experienced varying degrees of quality over the years. I remember around 2006 when I thought Sirius' compression was getting out of hand and it really sounded bad. I remember them fixing it a few months later. Then I remember when I switched from Sirius to XM and I thought XM sounded muddier, but their play lists were a lot better.

Since that time I've definitely noticed a degradation in quality on their satellite fed service. I'm not Mr. Audiophile, either hooking up all sorts of equipment to measure it. I've just noticed that it sounds a lot worse today that it has in the past. I really wish they'd drop a dozen channels and bump up the bitrate on the rest of them.
Brad Bishop is offline  
post #21 of 161 Old 03-22-2012, 08:47 AM
Senior Member
 
EricST's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
All I know is the qty isnt good enough for me to keep paying for it when plugging my ipod into the AUX input and listening to my MP3's sounds 10X better,clearer and Loader.

May the Force be with you.
EricST is offline  
post #22 of 161 Old 03-26-2012, 10:15 AM
Member
 
bwturner1951's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Interesting discussion here ladies and gents. I gave up Sirius about a year ago when I got so hacked off at them for keeping the Sirius and XM components separate, requiring a subscription to each even if you have an XM ready radio HU in your car and a Sirius Home Connect tuner in your home. My wife really likes Sirius though so last night I relented and reinstated my account. I signed up for one radio (Sirius HomeConnect connected to my A/V system) and internet streaming.

If I am understanding this discussion correctly, it sounds as if the internet streaming has better sound quality (subjectively) over the direct satellite signal. I have an externally mounted antenna for my HomeConnect tuner so I never have any issues of signal loss but if there is empirical evidence that the signal quality (bit rate/compression) is that much better over internet maybe I need to rethink my choices.
bwturner1951 is offline  
post #23 of 161 Old 03-30-2012, 08:47 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Savageone79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Carbondale IL
Posts: 2,454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Well the Internet feed is 64kbps AAC where as the satellite feed is variable but usually 24-46kbps. So even at the highest bitrate the satellite feed is less than the Internet. Given the same source material the Internet feed should always be better.
Savageone79 is offline  
post #24 of 161 Old 04-06-2012, 06:29 AM
AVS Special Member
 
hphase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 2,999
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savageone79 View Post

Well the Internet feed is 64kbps AAC where as the satellite feed is variable but usually 24-46kbps. So even at the highest bitrate the satellite feed is less than the Internet. Given the same source material the Internet feed should always be better.

Interesting. I know there are lots of faux experts contributing to this thread, but in spite of that, there may be some truth to the story. Recently I rented a car that had an add-on XM receiver that plugged into the aux input on the radio. I figured I could save a few bucks next time by using my XM internet streaming app (with my all-you-can-eat data plan) so I figured I'd try it out. Apart from a few places out in the boonies where the stream couldn't keep up, I was amazed at how much better the phone sounded than the sat radio. More separation, better sound, and all through the same aux input on the same radio. And it's not just volume (we all know louder is better, right?)

I know these topics are sometimes considered state secrets, but I wonder if XM has implemented another round of data rate squeezes on their satellite platform, further crippling the sound from what it was just a few weeks ago. Oh for the good old days of separate Siruis and XM systems and higher data rates per channel.

What reliable programs are there that can determine the current data rates being used via sat and on-line?
hphase is offline  
post #25 of 161 Old 04-23-2012, 09:47 AM
Member
 
Rob1956's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
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.
Rob1956 is offline  
post #26 of 161 Old 04-28-2012, 05:41 AM
Member
 
norbert26's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
As of last fall when the Edge and Lynx radios were released XM on the XM side of the platform has begun broadcasting extra channels only available on the edge and lynx radios. This quietly began with NO announcement from XM. You can also hear these extra channels with an online sub.
norbert26 is offline  
post #27 of 161 Old 05-01-2012, 07:58 PM
Newbie
 
bliptrip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savageone79 View Post

Well the Internet feed is 64kbps AAC where as the satellite feed is variable but usually 24-46kbps. So even at the highest bitrate the satellite feed is less than the Internet. Given the same source material the Internet feed should always be better.

This. Doesn't matter what Sirus / XM receiver you are using, the sound quality for music is REALLY lacking. 30kbs does not sound good, even for talk radio. I had to turn off "Here Comes The Sun" on one of the rock stations on my truck's Sirus receiver because it sounded like it was being played underwater.

Even an internet feed of 64kbs is inexcusable.

Unfortunately as more young car buyers come forward there will be no incentive to improve the sound quality. Satellite radio is being sold to 20-somethings who have been raised on super compressed ipod music cranked to distortion through low quality earbuds. They just don't know there is better sound quality to be had.
kkirsche likes this.
bliptrip is offline  
post #28 of 161 Old 05-04-2012, 06:55 AM
Member
 
Cornflakeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 191
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I recently changed vehicles and went from a Sirius aftermarket headend to a XM OEM. The difference in sound quality was very noticible. But I chalk that up to the new car having the tweeters in the dash. Its just a better setup.

I wont talk about how XM wants to stick it to me and charge me more just to have Howard Stern. I mean Sirius and XM are the same company, right? They need to get their head out and realize the majority of us are there for Howard and Howard only.
Cornflakeguy is offline  
post #29 of 161 Old 05-04-2012, 04:13 PM
Senior Member
 
dclark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 431
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hphase View Post


What reliable programs are there that can determine the current data rates being used via sat and on-line?

Back in the day when the xm forum was active, got more than a post every month (we all left sat!) it was possible to determine bit rate with an xm myfi portable. The myfi's (I still have one in a drawer) could be set to record,you would see much it recorded (length) and doing the math, you could determine bit rate. The more is was able to record, the lower the bit rate.
XM back in the early/mid 2000's had a bit rate of around 48kbps, at least that is what I remember Deep Tracks was at. Then they started adding stuff like extra spanish stations (yeah, like that's just what we need, right?) and they dropped the rate over the years until it is at around 28kbps. At that point, even my wife noticed it and we canceled it. If you called them after each downgrade, they'd same the same thing- adjust the bass and treble controls!
The feed off my iphone was much better sounding but it still was horribly, horribly dynamically compressed. The beginning of U2's "Streets Have No Name" would be as loud as the crescendo, AC/DC's "For Those ABout To Rock" would have the canon volume dropped to be the same level as the rest of the song. If you were to record this on a tape deck, I bet the needles would stay at the same reading, always!
Last I went to their website, they were boasting having "digital quality sound"- what the F--- is that supposed to mean?
dclark is offline  
post #30 of 161 Old 05-04-2012, 10:13 PM
Senior Member
 
rc05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 359
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked: 52
The Xtra channels sound a lot better, it's too bad they don't have anything good playing on them.
rc05 is online now  
Reply XM and Sirius Satellite Radio

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off