On a scale from low to high quality - MP3 - CDs - SACD - how does this rate? - AVS Forum
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Old 06-19-2003, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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On a scale from low to high quality of Digital music - MP3 - CDs - SACD - how does this rate?
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Old 06-19-2003, 10:10 AM
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The music channels on Sirius are lower than CD quality, the talk channels are about a 64k online stream. XM's talk channels are better, and music channels are almost as good as Sirius for what I've heard.

Nothing close to DVDA or SACD.
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Old 06-19-2003, 11:42 AM
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It's mp3 quality. When I first started listening, the compression was obvious. Then again, I'm picky about these things. Now that I rarely listen to anything else, I almost never notice it unless I try.

I have XM. I have no actual knowledge of their technology, but it seems clear they allocate bandwith to stations based on content. The classical stations seem to get pretty good bandwith - the compression isn't that apparent. On pop music, the sound is clearly closer to good mp3 than to CD quality. The talk stations are crunched, you can tell they get low bandwith.
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Old 06-19-2003, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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on my scale, I did not even think of putting Internet steaming audio, I did not know that they compressed talk that much.
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Old 06-20-2003, 01:47 PM
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I think XM's in-house music channels sound as good as the very best mp3 I have heard, plus there's more high frrequency air than mp3...less phasy-sounding in the highs.

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Old 06-26-2003, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JamesMH
The music channels on Sirius are lower than CD quality, the talk channels are about a 64k online stream. XM's talk channels are better, and music channels are almost as good as Sirius for what I've heard.

Nothing close to DVDA or SACD.
As I recall, when the two services were launched, several mags/reviewers did comparisons and XM was consistently ranked higher in listening quality. I went with XM. I recently added the Delphi Skifi unit for home and our other family vehicle. It works well inside our home without visible line of sight to the satellite. I seldom have a dropout using XM in our vehicles...rock solid.
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Old 06-27-2003, 07:49 PM
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I think at first Xm did have a higher data rate than Sirius. In march Sirius increased their data rate. When I started considering sat radio I was convinced xm was better from all the reviews I read. I had wanted to do a direct audio input into the factory head unit on my wifes 2001 suburban and found no one in our area could do that. I had to go with a fm modulator.

Then I saw the Kenwood music keg. It required the Kenwood fm modulator to control the Keg and Kenwood was giving away a Free Sirius tuner. So I went with it.
The music quality is very good . I can't really say how it compares to cd or mp3. I have noticed that Sirius seems to boost the bass and add some !QUOT!ambiance !QUOT! to the music. Even with the fm modulator I tend to need to turn down the bass when listening to Sirius verses the bass setting I use for listening to Cs's.
On thing I do know for sure is that Satellite Radio sounds much, much better than listening to Fm radio.
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:27 PM
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One thing I love about XM, luckily in my area, is there's tons of terrestrial repeaters.

Inside my home, I don't need line-of-sight to the satellites. I work off of the terrestrials. Easiest way to see which signal you're locked onto on the Delphi SkyFi units is to power the unit off, hit 2-0-7 on the keypad and then the 'Enter' button in the center of the dial.

That'll power up the Delphi unit and if you hit the 'Display' key a couple times, you'll see signal strengths off the satellites and terrestrial if you're near them.

Cheers, Kermee
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Old 06-28-2003, 04:38 PM
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A simpler way to tell - if you switch stations and it says "Loading", it is buffering from the satellite. If it doesn't say "Loading", it's receiving locally from repeaters.

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Old 07-07-2003, 10:20 PM
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I recently bought a Cadillac Escalade with a Bose XM radio. I am frankly shocked at how good both the popular, as well as the classical channels sound. While obviously it does not sound as good as my SACD, it certainly does not sound like an MP3 file either. I previously used a Delphi unit with a cassette adapter in my previous vehicle and got nowhere near the quality I'm getting now, so the amplifier/speaker chain is probably the limiting factor and not the bandwidth.
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Old 07-08-2003, 02:03 PM
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I'd rate XM's music quality as pretty close to the best MP3's can offer, and it's actually improved much since I installed it in my Taurus over 1 year ago.

There were much more compression artifacts then...

and XM rules!

Robert Clark
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Old 07-08-2003, 08:05 PM
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Xm and Sirius do not sound as good as a good high rate mp3, there is no way!
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:31 PM
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I have had XM through a direct connection to my head unit and through FM modulation. Neither connection is as good as a mid quality mp3 (128K or above). However, I still love my XM!:)
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Old 08-05-2003, 12:17 PM
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Right. I have a Pioneer DEH-7400MP with the IPLINK connect to the XM receiver. I have a Terk antenna and I live just outside of DC - so I have good signal. I play 160kbps MP3s encoded with LAME at high quality on this head unit. I can switch back and forth between XM and the MP3s easily. While XM sounds great, it doesn't do well with highs. You can hear the dithering quite easily on cymbals, horns, saxophones, some vocals, etc... It shows up a lot on jazz. Still love XM though.


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Old 08-16-2003, 11:30 AM
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I have XM at home. As they played some Police tunes. It just so happens that I had MP3, CD, and SACDs of the same songs. This gave me the opportunity to review the source w/o having to change anything else.

I'd rank it in this order: 64K MP3, XM, FM Radio, 192K MP3, CD, and then SACD.
(All Clear Channel FM radio stations actually use a version of AAC. Their music is stored on Compaq servers.)

This places XM pretty far down the list as far as audio quality is concerned.
I'm actually thinking about giving my XM receiver to my wife since she isn't as picky and might appreciate it more.


Quote:
Originally posted by JamesMH
Xm and Sirius do not sound as good as a good high rate mp3, there is no way!
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Old 08-18-2003, 05:21 PM
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I just got Sirius in my car and had a chance to try it out over the weekend. I would say the sound quality is comparable to about 128K MP3. Overall it's pretty good, but you get that sort of muddy, shimmering sound on high frequencies such as symbols that is typical of low bit rate compression. Definitely not as good as CD or the VBR MP3s I ripped from my CDs. It's kind of hard to compare to FM because the problems are different. FM lacks high frequencies so you may not notice what is missing, and as the signal decreases you get a variety of sound degradation. With Sirius the highs are there, but sometimes they sound wrong. The sound quality is very consistent, but it is all or nothing. Either you get the typical sound quality or you get silence when the signal drops too low. I prefer Sirius to FM, but the reception of the FM stations I listen to may not be the best it can do.

I'm not using a FM modulator or tape adapter, so can't comment on how they affect the sound. The setup is a new Kenwood head unit, Sirius tuner and antenna.

So far I'm a happy new customer. It would be nice if the sound quality was better, but I was mainly interested in content. I was really bored with homogenized corporate owned FM and the limited play lists they use. So far I've heard a lot of stuff on Sirius that I've never heard on FM, plus many songs I haven't heard in a long time. And of course no commercials is great!

John S
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Old 09-06-2003, 06:11 PM
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"I'd rank it in this order: 64K MP3, XM, FM Radio, 192K MP3, CD, and then SACD.
(All Clear Channel FM radio stations actually use a version of AAC. Their music is stored on Compaq servers.)"


XM used AAC Plus at 128k.
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