XM Radio & Polk XRt12 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-15-2006, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't see a thread exclusively for this unit, (just mentioned within a few others), so I thought I'd start one.

Since my Denon 3805 wasn't XM ready, I bit the bullet and picked this up yesterday along with a 3-year subscription to XM. My miscellaneous ramblings so far:

1. Programming. I got the Polk and an XM subscription for one channel only: Fred on 44. It's the only place to find the music I like, which wasn't even popular in its own time: late 70's - 80's Punk/Post Punk/New Wave. So far, Fred is awesome.

2. Sound Quality. I guess I should have done some research first! For whatever reason, I just assumed a satellite-based radio service coupled with a reference component audio device would yield PCM-quality audio. My assessment so far is that this is marginally better than AM. Does anyone know of any plans for XM to upgrade the quality of their signal?

3. 5.1 channel sound. Once again, my bad! The sales guy at Tweeter told me that this unit would pass a 5.1 signal as long as I was using either a coax or optical connection to my receiver. What he didn't mention was that I the receiver also needed a "neural-capable" processor to achieve 5.1. Hrmph.

4. XM's future. As this unit is XM only, I sure hope that XM stays viable as a going concern, or this will be a $250 paperweight!

I'd appreciate any comments from you all on any of the above.....thanks!
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-17-2006, 04:14 AM
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The Polk is a nice unit; I have one myself. I have it connected via Toslink to a Denon 5803. I have found that putting the 5803 in Dolby PLIIx Music mode does reasonably well with the audio from XM. Granted, I listen primarily to 82 The System, so can't say what this would be like for Fred. But you might give it a try.

There is no real 5.1 on XM. It's really just matrixed stereo. While the "neural surround" is the official decoder, Dolby PLIIx Music mode also understands the matrixing and will give you a very close surround to what "neural surround" would render.

The biggest thing affecting sound quality is the bitrate of the channels. There have been a lot of threads about that across multiple forums. For that, it doesn't matter what XM receiver you use (I have 3 different XM units, myself) -- it's a function of the bitrate used for the channel. Sirius has similar issues. But to say one or the other is better is not really possible, as XM might overly compress a particular channel for music genre X while Sirius does not, yet Sirius over compresses the music genre Y channel.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-17-2006, 08:49 AM
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I really like the Polk too. I've actually been wanting to purchase one for myself for quite some time now. I really should go and do it soon.


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XM and Sirius satellite radio reviews, receivers, and programming
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-21-2006, 08:47 PM
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I happen to have a Denon 3806 receiver. The sound is best on acoustic tracks such as on The Loft (Channel 50).

I have greatly improved the sound by adding an X-Fi Platinum sound card to my computer and running the signal through my computer and out from my computer sound card via coaxial digital cable to my receiver. I had the sound card added to an old computer.

This allows me to:
a. Further increase the gain of the signal
b. Equalize the signal
c. Upsample the signal to 96k

The sound card costs about $150, but is worth the cost with regards to sound quality. It also adds an extra Coax and Toslink digital input and output to my system.

If you want to extract every bit of quality out of XM give this a try.

The beauty of my setup is I can do an A-B comparison because I have the Polk hooked up both directly to the receiver and indirectly through my sound card. The difference is easily noticable, but takes some time to learn the adjustments to make on the software.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-22-2006, 10:21 PM
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I am looking at buying the polk xm receiver. what does it offer over the more fragile low grade bestbuy xm receivers?
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-28-2006, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldavid20 View Post

I am looking at buying the polk xm receiver. what does it offer over the more fragile low grade bestbuy xm receivers?

Bidirectional serial control so you can automate control of it and see what song is on through your PC. For example, check out how I control mine. I can tune any station that I want by clicking on the remote control then pressing the XM button just like the real remote control.

Furthermore, I mounted a touchpanel in the kitchen, so I can turn on XM in any zone of the house. Pressing those blue source buttons on the left brings up a screen where I select the source, then it'll take me to this screen.



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post #7 of 10 Old 12-09-2006, 06:31 PM
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Where can you find the rs232 codes for this guy ?
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-29-2007, 10:05 AM
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Does the current Polk Xrt12 receiver handle the extended song titles?
Newer XM receivers at first show the 16-character song title, and then display a 32-character song title.
They call it "Extended PAD data" and it's not available on older receivers which means to me that it might not be available on the Polk.

Anyone know more about this?
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-29-2007, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aegrotatio View Post

Does the current Polk Xrt12 receiver handle the extended song titles?
Newer XM receivers at first show the 16-character song title, and then display a 32-character song title.
They call it "Extended PAD data" and it's not available on older receivers which means to me that it might not be available on the Polk.

Anyone know more about this?


It displays only 16 characters.

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post #10 of 10 Old 03-02-2007, 07:56 AM
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ALong the same lines, I currently own the XRT-12 and have been running it via Digital coax to my Harman AVR525 for about a year. I also am running analog out at the same time to my whole house audio system so I can have XM house wide. I recently however sold my Harman Kardon and am upgrading to either a Marantz SR7001/8001, or the PIoneer Elite VSX-82/84. Both have built-in XM capability, the Pioneer can decode the "new" HD Channels though, the Marantz can not.
I have been told by my Marantz dealer that I should keep the Polk and will get better sound quality through it, but am curious if anyone else who has either the Pioneer or Marantz receivers has had experience with a similar setup and can comment directly. I am not to worried about the Surround capability either.
To be honest, most of my critical listening comes from SACD or DVD-Audio anyway, and XM is usually on as back ground music so it isn't a big deal, but if the capabilities of say HD XM would give me another HQ audio source I might consider a change.

Any comments are appreciated.
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