XM Radio Review - thumbs down - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 110 Old 08-13-2004, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a Roady2 last weekend. Hooked it up directly using a mini to mini stereo cable to the mini aux port of a decent sound system. I'm sorry but this thing just isn't up to par. Sound is best described as muddy with little high end. I'd put it one notch above AM and below the quality of FM. I EQ'd it to death and got it sound decent but still not up to par. Just to verify it was the roady, we hooked up a laptop using the same cable and the mp3's sounded much better than the sat radio. Same thing with CD's and MP3 CD-RW's, all sounded great except the Sat Radio. We did try the Roady at several outdoor locations with no obstructions with the same result. I can't say I was thrilled with the station lineup either. The 80's station was playing a lot of songs that I've never even heard and the only decent station I could find was "BoneYard". Very dissapointing... I'm probably going to return this today and maybe give Sirius a try.
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post #2 of 110 Old 08-13-2004, 01:47 PM
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Yeah try both services before you decide.

Hey you can always wait for the new PNP by sirius

http://prn.newscom.com/cgi-bin/pub/s...ail&tr=1&row=1


It is availabe on the Home Shopping Network this weekend.

The SIRIUS XACT XTR1 "Stream Jockey" Plug & Play satellite radio, manufactured by XACT Communication, will be first introduced to the public via the Home Shopping Network on Saturday, August 14 from 11:00-11:20 am ET and 9:00-9:20 pm ET.

Let me know how it works.
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post #3 of 110 Old 08-13-2004, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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hmmm, I'll check that one out tomorrow.

I just returned my Roady 2 and canceled my XM sub. The girl at XM asked me why I wanted to cancel so I told her the truth >>

"Well, this was first experience with satellite radio and I was very disappointed. When I did get a signal, it sounded a little better than my AM radio but not as good as my FM. If DirecTV / Dish network can deliver 900 channels of crystal clear TV from a satellite, I don't understand why XM can't deliver decent sound? If this is the best you can do, you have a rough road ahead of you."
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post #4 of 110 Old 08-14-2004, 07:56 AM
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I installed a Roady2 in my car (also using a direct conncection to the head unit) and for the most part, agree with your views as to the technical side of things.
I think the reason that the sound isn't 'up to par' may be due to the amount of compression used to fit all the content into the frequency band they have. Perhaps a satellite expert can chime in here. Does XM have their own birds, or do they buy space on someone else's ?
I also have big problems with signal dropouts. I have the antenna mounted on the roof of my car and still have problems when there is heavy tree cover to my West, I live in the northeast.

Now for the reason I like XM. No commercials or a-hole disk jockeys. Worth the price of admission right there !

Gotta figure that satellite TV and radio are still in their infancy, hopefully the technology side of things will improve.
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post #5 of 110 Old 08-14-2004, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I watched HSN this morning, 8/14 and even checked out their website but no mention of the new Xact Sirius PNP you mentioned?
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post #6 of 110 Old 08-14-2004, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dkraut
I watched HSN this morning, 8/14 and even checked out their website but no mention of the new Xact Sirius PNP you mentioned?
Home Shopping Network cancelled the show due to the hurricane. It will be rescheduled. In the meantime look around at the unofficial Sirius fan site for pictures of the new Xact, Blaupunkt and the fisrt of next week the Sportster will be posted.

Sirius Ready Radios and Plug and Plays
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post #7 of 110 Old 08-14-2004, 08:06 PM
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I've had XM (Delphi SkiFi) for over a year and agree that sound quality leaves much to be desired. I mostly listen to the gab news & sports, and the comedy channels are great.

I don't have Sirius so I can't comment on whether the music sound quality is superior to XM. The problem is overcompression and the DSP/ambiance XM seems to add. The dynamic range is better that FM, but detail is lacking.

I really have few reception problems, though.
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post #8 of 110 Old 08-15-2004, 11:04 AM
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I just bought a new Audi that has XM installed. I dont think I'll be renewing my free 3 month demo either. Its just like cable, more stations doesnt mean anything worthwhile on.
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post #9 of 110 Old 08-15-2004, 02:01 PM
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I had the XM SkyFi unit for about a year and a half, and came to the same conclusions as everybody else as far as the sound is concerned. I had it connected via the cassette adapter(and later the Wireless FM modulator). While the sound is not the greatest(not even close to what I expected) It is still better than anything one could receive from conventional radio. No disc jockey's, no commercials on the music channels, and the OVERALL content of satellite was what I went into it for.

But I just recently switched over to Sirius(Audiovox PNP unit connected to stereo via a cassette adapter) because I liked the overall content more than the current XM lineup. Like dkraut stated above, I too listened to the 80's station and would hear songs i never heard before, and also not even remotely interested in. So I made the switch. While the content is improved IMHO with Sirius, the sound quality was the same as the SkyFi unit.

I think some might be expecting too much with satellite radio. Maybe sometime in the near future they will improve the overall sound quality. But that may be a while, it ever.
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post #10 of 110 Old 08-16-2004, 07:22 AM
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I just recently leased a 2004 Honda Accord EX V6 that has the XM radio built into the car. I was very impressed with the quality of the sound on XM. In my experience the sound was definately better than FM and no dropouts so far. I was so impressed that I went to CC and bought a second XM receiver for my home (Delphi SKYFi with the home adapter). When I first hooked it up to my little JVC mini stereo aux input in my bedroom, the output level of the receiver was so low (even with the line out level on the reciever maxed out) that I had to turn up the volume so high that the noise was a real issue and quality was very bad. I then had an issue with stringing the antenae cable accross the room to my stereo. I did some searching on GOOGLE and found www.ccrane.com who sells a small FM transmitter designed just for the XM SKYFi. I purchase this and hooked it up to the reciever and then used my FM on the mini stereo and
man that really solved the problem. The signal is now strong with no noise and crystal clear. No loss in quality and the transmitter is powerful enough that I now have XM radio from any FM receiver in my home. I think the quality issues for the Roady 2 and any of the satellite radio recievers that are an after market add-on for autos is the FM transmitters or cassette adapters used. My first auto CD player had the cassette adapter and the quality was terrible. So I don't know how to solve the auto issue except to suggest using this FM transmitter (it comes with both an ac adapter and it can also run on two AA batteries). If you are using one of these receivers in the home, I can definately attest to the quality of this FM transmitter when uses with the Delphi SKYFi XM reciever.

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post #11 of 110 Old 08-16-2004, 07:46 AM
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The best sound will be had in a direct connect setup. I have both Sirius tuner and a plug and play wireless fm setup and the direct connected sirius tuner blows it away. You just lose the portability.
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post #12 of 110 Old 08-16-2004, 01:27 PM
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I used an inexpensive analog line pre amp to boost the input signal from the Delphi SKYFI before buying the FM transmitter and in my case to my ears, I could not tell any difference in audio quality and I love being able to use any FM radio in my home.

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post #13 of 110 Old 08-18-2004, 01:15 PM
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I love XM! The sound quality is excellent on my units. Sounds better than FM for sure. The people above must be audiophiles because there are 2.6 million listeners enjoying fantastic reception, quality and music. Don't believe the above threads because XM is the great! (I think these are Sirius radio Posts.
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post #14 of 110 Old 08-18-2004, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rplenty
I love XM! The sound quality is excellent on my units. Sounds better than FM for sure. The people above must be audiophiles because there are 2.6 million listeners enjoying fantastic reception, quality and music. Don't believe the above threads because XM is the great! (I think these are Sirius radio Posts.
Either you didn't read the posts at all, or you have ZERO comprehension skills.

The topic is the sound of satellite radio in general. Yes, title of the post is about XM sound quality, but if you cared to read what some of us said, it is SATELLITE RADIO AS A WHOLE is less than what we were led to believe as far as SOUND QUALITY is concerned.

BOTH services SUFFER from this. The sound quality is LESS than what I expected(I had XM for a year and a half until switching to SIRIUS about 3 weeks ago.) My switch had nothing to do with SOUND QUALITY, just content available.

I think most here would agree that the sound between the two systems is the same(unless like you stated there are audiofiles, which I am not). It all depends on the connection you can get with your satellite set-up. AUX RCA red/white inputs seem to be the preffered method, but I am sure there are people out there who would EXPECT more if they switched connections from a wireless FM modulator to a AUX input. SOME PEOPLE WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED.

Also(this is off topic) I have never seen so many people take the service they have as the ULTIMATE SERVICE. THE OTHER SUCKS. BLAH BLAH BLAH.

rplenty, with your post in which you state the amount of subscribers to XM, sounds to me like a bit of desperation. It actually sounds like a commercial. Just because other people have the other service, doesn't mean that they feel that the service you subscribe too is a first rate, second rate service. More and more people on these forums are becoming less and less informative, and more and more like salesman, or just down right combative.

I had XM, and for the most part, liked the service. But after a year and a half I decided to switch because I liked the content much more on the current SIRIUS lineup. I have kept my XM equipment, and may someday return, if Sirius begins to lose my interest, and XM changes the content on their service to more of my liking. Hell, I may even join another service if another service comes along.

The point is don't ACCUSE posters of being shills for either service, and don't feel like you are being screwed/left out/got the wrong service/etc.... just because someone does not like/or switches/from one service to another. People have their reasons for having one or the other(or BOTH for that matter).

NO ONE CAN PREDICT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

I'm sure if one of the satellites for either service was struck by an asteroid, people on these forums would ACCUSE posters of the other service of causing the catastrophe.
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post #15 of 110 Old 08-18-2004, 10:30 PM
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Wow. Mr RPlenty up there is just new to posting and made a three line comment in response to a very negative thread regarding XM, starting with the title.

Of course it's open forum here and forum content and titles are all good with me..until we get to personal attacks....

Hope we don't need a closed thread in this small corner of avsforum...
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post #16 of 110 Old 08-20-2004, 06:52 AM
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I agree that the sound quality is not all that it could be. However, the addition of an optical out port has helped quite a bit. I can't quickly find the website but search other threads in this forum.
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post #17 of 110 Old 08-20-2004, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are my latest findings...

I went into RadioShack today because I found out that they now sell Sirius. They had a boombox playing Sirius with an Orbiter SR4000 PNP Receiver which was connected to a rooftop antenna via what looked like an RF repeater or maybe FM transmitter? I promptly perked up my ears and went over and started playing and this thing sounds damn good! Now to confuse the issue even more, I came back to work and told a colleague about my satellite radio saga and he told me that he knows someone with a factory installed XM unit in their SUV and that it sounds great!?!?

My only conclusion is that the sound quality is very much dependent on the receiver itself. For those that suggested a direct connect, I tried that with my Roady2 and it still sounded like absolute crap (one notch above AM radio). I did play with the output level as well to no avail so I guess the XM Roady2 is what caused my sound quality issue? Anyway, I was more impressed with the Sirius programming so I'm going to do a little more research on their equipment and give them a try...

Cheers!

Dave
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post #18 of 110 Old 08-21-2004, 12:53 AM
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I have my XM Roady connected directly into the aux in on my car stereo. I'd say it's better than FM but not quite as good as CD. However to say the sound quality is poor either means you're using FM modulation (which I did have and wasn't THAT bad considering) or you just nitpicking. What do you expect from multiple streams being broadcast from the SKY?????!?!?!
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post #19 of 110 Old 08-21-2004, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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If you would have taken a few minutes to actually read this thread, you would have known that I also used a direct connect aux in into a high end JVC mini system. In addition, I used the exact same cable and aux in connector to inject MP3 files into the JVC system from a laptop, which sounded light years better than my XM Roady2. You mentioned that your "Roady" sounds good via Aux in? Maybe you have the original Roady and maybe there is something wrong with the Roady2? or maybe I had a bad unit? As I mentioned, I visited a Radio Shack just yesterday and the Sirius Orbiter 4000 PNP unit sounded excellent! and that I know someone with a factory installed XM unit in their GM vehicle and they say it sounds excellent. I think the underlying theme of this thread is that the sound quality is highly dependent not only on the method of signal injection (direct aux in, FM transmitter, tape adapter) but also on the receiver itself.

Regards,

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post #20 of 110 Old 08-21-2004, 12:02 PM
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Dave - yours it not the first post to complain about audio quality of satellite receivers. It won't be the last. Those who do have a problem will be sure to be vocal about it. The vast, vast majority who don't have a problem with it most likely won't post anything, or post rarely.

The media reviews all side with those of us who are satisfied with Sat. radio. The content is superb, and the sound quality, while NOT CD quality, is still better than FM and quite satisfactory.

I have read this and other forums for months. The folks who have a problem with sound quality fall into two categories:

1. Those with standards set too high.
2. Those with equipment problems.

It sounds like you are #2. Try and fix the problem or return your unit as defective.

**edited for typos

There! I've run circles of logic around you!
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post #21 of 110 Old 08-22-2004, 01:23 AM
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Dan.... you've crystalized my thoughts eloquently. I think alot of these people are expecting too much. I mean we pay $10-$13/month for 100 channels. I think it's a great deal and so what if it isn't "CD quality"... I don't think it has to be. Are these same people willing to pay extra for a premium stream??? I doubt most would. Besides, if quality is a concern, then why not go for an iPod instead?
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post #22 of 110 Old 08-22-2004, 07:01 AM
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I've had XM for the past year and a half. At first, I went to CC to have them install an add-on XM receiver to my existing car stereo. Simply put, the sound quality sucked. Drop offs, sounded like it was in a tunnel, etc.

What I didn't realize (due to my own ignorance at the time) was that the FM modulator was to blame. It was not a true digital connection. I ended up replacing the head unit in my vehicle with an XM ready Pioneer unit and the sound quality improved tremedously.

IMHO, the sound quality I receive rivals CD quality. I've had more than a few people comment on the quality of the sound regarding this. I think those who have sound issues are using FM modulation to receive the signals. Those who have XM ready head units are hearing much better sound.

Anything but Direct AUX IN will result in a degraded signal and sound quality.
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post #23 of 110 Old 08-27-2004, 03:28 PM
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As a side note, I have Sirius through the Dish Network setup and the sound quality is excellent. Obviously it is a direct connection. We only listen to a few of the music channels and mainly as background music but the quality of the raw signal seems to be very good. I would rate it above FM and below CD. I am even able to send it around the house using one of these wireless 900 MHz links and as long as you don't get a body in between the antennas it comes through with good fidelity and separation. I have debated adding Sirius to the car but did not want to pop for a dedicated receiver. My take after reading the threads for the last couple months is that anything less than a direct connect will likely result in a sound quality degradation and that pretty much makes sense.

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post #24 of 110 Old 09-17-2004, 12:44 PM
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dkraut

Quote:
can't say I was thrilled with the station lineup either. The 80's station was playing a lot of songs that I've never even heard and the only decent station I could find was "BoneYard". Very dissapointing... I'm probably going to return this today and maybe give Sirius a try.
You're upset because the 80's station played songs you'd never heard???

Dude, that's the best part of Sat radio. Hearing stuff you've never heard. Sometimes it sucks, but man, a lot of the time it's great.

And if "BoneyardXL" is your favorite station....heh....it all sounds alike, so I guess it passed your "I need to be familar" test?

Some people aren't happy unless they're bitching.
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post #25 of 110 Old 09-22-2004, 12:10 PM
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I love my XM. I have to admit I don't have an audiophile's ear when it comes to rating sound quality, but to say it sounds like AM sounds a bit harsh.

And I LOVE the content. Personally I've discovered tons of new bands on the new music channels. Plus I hear the great "classic" alternative stuff on TWO different channels.

Oh well, YMMV.
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post #26 of 110 Old 09-22-2004, 01:49 PM
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dkraut

Like I said as a consumer you should try both services. The quality of the audio depends on the listener, plus by trying both services you can see which programming you like.

As for people posting on trying to make you stay with one service are usually diehard fans of either company, these people are the worst advice givers. uhmmm cough don't want to mention his name rplenty(XM lover)


As for as programming goes, not everybody likes the B-Music(IMHO) some of us are just casual listeners who want to listen to popular songs that they grew up with, so Sirius may be a better fit. If you are a music junkie who likes to listen to every freaking record, then get XM.
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post #27 of 110 Old 09-22-2004, 05:33 PM
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I'm an XM subscriber, but hardly a die hard fan or cheerleader. The defects in audio quality are heard if you connect to a quality system with revealing speakers. True, the vast majoritiy of subscribers will no doubt be satisified with the sound quality. I'm not a true audiophile, but reasonable fidelity is important to me and XM falls short at the moment. I still like the service, however, and hope they can improve. A good start would be to quit adding ambiance, DSP, and whatever else to the music and present the original recording as the artist intended. Also, improving the digital compression technology and increasing the bitrate would eliminate the tinniness and digital artifacts we are hearing.

I'm game for "high definition" digital radio, if it ever becomes a reality.
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post #28 of 110 Old 09-27-2004, 08:43 PM
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My wife and I have had XM for about 9 months, and just love it. Is it CD quality, no, does xm claim that it is, no. There is a brick wall cut off at about 15k hz, and depending on the channel, some are much more compressed than others.

From what I have experenced, most of the drop outs have been due to improper antenna placement, local topography and lack of a ground station when there isn't a good view of xm's two sats.

Consider this, if you drive long distances, the sound is much better than fm stations fading out as you drive out of a coverage area.

Sailn...
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post #29 of 110 Old 10-01-2004, 03:12 PM
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"Now for the reason I like XM. No a-hole disk jockeys. Worth the price of admission right there !" Not for long! Starting Monday 10/04/04 "Opie & Anthony"! Yee Haa!

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post #30 of 110 Old 10-05-2004, 02:46 PM
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I was getting seriously disappointed in my Roady 2. There was so much interference that it was really making me doubt if this was such a great idea. Oh yes, I loved the music selections and variety. No commercials. That was great. But feeding it through my fm was so annoying.

Until last Friday. I was just fiddling with it and I took it off my air vents. Suddenly the sound got crystal clear. I then realized that it wasn't the antenna on my roof giving the signal but the unit itself. Problem was on my car I couldn't find anyplace to put it but on the air vent. Frustrated I just hooked it back up to the air vent but not the same vent the one to the right of it. Perfect! Now while I won't go as far to say I never get any interference, it's very limited and not persistant like it was before.

I'm a happy camper now. I'll probably get a direct hook up when I get a new car next year.

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