Poor Sirius Sound Quality - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-30-2003, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Now I know why all the stores where you purchase satellite radio have rinky-dink sound systems to demonstrate their products. The sound quality sucks! I listen to streaming internet audio everyday and a 20k windows media stream sounds better than Sirius. A 64k MP3 stream sounds much better than Sirius. What is the actual bandwidth? If it is 20k they should find a better codec. Music sounds thin and lifeless and talk sounds like they a talking in a tin can with lots of phase distortion. Plain old FM radio even sounds better than Sirius.

On the positive side, I do enjoy the commercial-free programming. And the wide choices for informational radio (CNBC, ESPN, ect.) I will continue to listen just for these reasons.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-30-2003, 03:41 PM
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Try XM. I know that BuggyBoy and all those Sirius people will come here and tell me how wrong I am etc. etc. but XM sounds much, much better. Many people share that opinion. I know that if you were to say that XM sound is yuckie the Sirius folks would tell you to try theirs out.

So. Let's just say the two services have different technologies and sound different. You may well prefer the sound of one to the other. My XM sounds close to CD on a very good system and most definitely better than FM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-30-2003, 03:56 PM
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Sirius and XM use deferent codecs, but they both sound about the same (just above poor). It is almost good enough for background car listening, but will not work in the HT environment. They both have the same amount of bandwidth and about the same number of channels. I think it comes out to about 48kbps per music channel. This is way to low to convey anything close to CD quality. I wish one of them would make the decision to go near HI FI and drop to about 50 streams and then it could be passable sound and would have my $s. I want one of them and get excited until I go and listen with headphones and then the tinny sound makes my teeth hurt.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-31-2003, 01:37 AM
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I dont just say that it sounds good because I love Sirius, but it really does sound better to ME.

What type of system and how have you connected it?
An improperly installed system, bad components, or even a bad EQ setting (DSP Processing especially) can make a huge difference in perceived audio quality. A good system with Sirius sounds incredible, and IMO way better than anything that i've heard out of my old SKYFi Home unit.

Each compression technology has its own group of fans, and I am one of Perceptual audio. It sounds alot better to me than codecs that just chop off audio, which is what I hear in AAC+. If there were more mids and highs I would love XM's sound quality too.. but it doesn't fit me, Sirius does.

BTW, Sirius encodes music streams at around 60 Kbps for streams like "The Pulse", and up to around 85 Kbps for streams like "The Vortex" or "The Rave". Sirius also has more workable bandwidth than XM does because of how they have their 12.5 MHz sorted out (3 vs. 5 carriers).. but if you don't like the codec used and sound produce, by all means, get something different. Assuming that this isn't a technical error on your receiving equipment.

Sterling
Moderator at SiriusBackstage.com
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-31-2003, 06:22 AM
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Greg_Smith

In every store I went to they had Sirius or XM for that matter hooked up thru FM modulator. These modulators suck to high heaven. I believe they cut FR to like 10-12Khz. I just got Sirius hooked up thru FM mod and it sounds poor. I did some checking and ran very long RCA cables from my tuner to home stereo. The sound was much better and very close to any audio channels I get thru Dish Network. I am going to rip out factory radio this weekend and replace it with aftermarket system so I can go directly in.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-31-2003, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by CKNA
In every store I went to they had Sirius or XM for that matter hooked up thru FM modulator. These modulators suck to high heaven.
I do have a FM modulator on my Kenwood Sirius Receiver. This may result in some of the loss of fidelity. I didn't want to use a cassette adapter, but I may try using one just to see if the modulator significantly degrades the signal. I have used cassette adapters for playing MP3s and a long time ago for CDs and this did not seem to degrade the signal significantly. Also much of the sound degradations are clearly related to the compression. Speech sounds similar to the satellite phones you here on news broadcasts.


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I am going to rip out factory radio this weekend and replace it with aftermarket system
The way they build radios into the dash now-a-days this is difficult. And the sound quality of factory receivers is pretty good. There would have to be major improvements in sound quality for me to replace the factory stereo.

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post #7 of 13 Old 07-31-2003, 10:27 AM
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let me just add that every once in a while at xmfan.com someone comes along and complains of horrendous poor bitrate style sound quality. in virtually all cases, it turns out the person did not firmly plug in the audio cable and they come back and give a big "duh."
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-31-2003, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg_Smith

The way they build radios into the dash now-a-days this is difficult. And the sound quality of factory receivers is pretty good. There would have to be major improvements in sound quality for me to replace the factory stereo.

Greg [/b]
Wow. I am not sure what factory sound systems to which you are referring. I have yet to hear a satisfactory stock sound system and have heard plenty of 'supposedly' premium stock sound systems. In practically every instance I have been aware of a QUALITY aftermarket receiver is a significant step up in audio quality over a stock radio. And let's not even begin to talk about the stock speakers most OEMs use.

SIRIUS will sound the way it is supposed to sound if is installed via direct line to a Sirius capable receiver. FM mods have never sounded good even for CD quality sound. Keep in mind that a FM modulator is limited to the frequency band of FM, therefore any source that comes through your FM radio will sound like FM radio.

Also, the next time any of us hear someone criticizing Sirius radio's sound quality let's make sure to ask how they are receiving their signal.

djb
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-01-2003, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by gammite
SIRIUS will sound the way it is supposed to sound if is installed via direct line to a Sirius capable receiver. FM mods have never sounded good even for CD quality sound. Keep in mind that a FM modulator is limited to the frequency band of FM, therefore any source that comes through your FM radio will sound like FM radio.

Also, the next time any of us hear someone criticizing Sirius radio's sound quality let's make sure to ask how they are receiving their signal.
Are you saying the only way to adequately listen to Sirius is with a direct connection? You would think with an FM modulator would have signal quality up to FM broadcasts. I feel it is significantly worse. If the FM modulators significantly degrade the signal, why do the major electronics manufacturers sell them?

Could the people who feel Sirius sound quality is good tell us which equipment they are using?

Greg
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-01-2003, 11:00 AM
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Are you saying the only way to adequately listen to Sirius is with a direct connection?
Yes, if sound quality is a concern (the same goes for XM). An actual cable connection is significantly better than a tape adapter. Kenwood is a good choice for Sirius enabled head units.
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-01-2003, 02:43 PM
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I agree! especially the exceleon series.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-01-2003, 03:32 PM
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The reason why FM Modulator systems are so popular with XM and Sirius is because the majority of consumers want an easy solution to connect it to their factory systems. They don't want a headunit replacement, that's why OEM deals are so significant for each company. They will drive sales later on, the aftermarket will only account for a small number of overall sales.

I have a Kenwood KTC-SR901 Tuner, and a KDC-319 (2002) Headunit.

Sterling
Moderator at SiriusBackstage.com
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-01-2003, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg_Smith
Are you saying the only way to adequately listen to Sirius is with a direct connection? You would think with an FM modulator would have signal quality up to FM broadcasts. I feel it is significantly worse. If the FM modulators significantly degrade the signal, why do the major electronics manufacturers sell them?

Could the people who feel Sirius sound quality is good tell us which equipment they are using?

Greg
THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM SAYING.

FM Mods are for folks that want an easy way to connect to a system that is not Satellite Ready. They in no way represent what the signal actually sounds like. As I stated above, in my opinion FM Mods do not sound good. They are convenient for folks that do not have a discerning ear and want a simple install.

Also, I do not feel that the FM Mods degrade the sound quality as much as they are not capable of transmitting the full bandwith that is available if one has a direct connection. I mean if push came to shove I would use a FM Mod. However, I would not expect to have the sound quality that Sirius is capable of.

My system is the following:

Kenwood Excelon 817 receiver
Kenwood Excelon 10 Disc CD Changer
Kenwood Sirius Satellite Receiver with Terk Antenna
AudioControl 3.1 Line Driver/Equalizer
Kenwood 6" P601 components with 1" tweeters for front stage
Kenwood HQ 691 6x9 for rear fill
2 Kicker Comp VR 12" dual voice coil 8 ohm subwoofers
MTX 2300 amp for subwoofers
MTX 4320 for interior cab audio
Lightning Audio 1 farad Capacitor
Optima Red Top battery
Monster Cable all around (i know, i know. please no monster flames)

gammite
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