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Any chance of audio quality increase?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Has there ever been mention of future plans to crank back up the bitrate of the music stations? What is it at now? 32kbps? I can hardly listen to any of the rock or acoustic stations because of all the compression. It sounds like am radio! The pop stations are barely listenable as well. Have they ever mentioned increasing the sound quality? It doesn't have to be perfect but even 64kbps would be much improved.
post #2 of 15
Having had sirus/xm since its near inception, I can tell you that SQ has improved. They have changed their low bitrate codecs over the years. I find the SQ tolerable. Given the actual bitrate which I have read is in the 30-60's range the SQ is phenomenal.

The biggest advantage is the consistency of the signal. I get XM everywhere. The Pandoras and Slackers of the world fade when your cellphone signal fades. Very frustrating for those of us who drive through the backwoods on a regular basis.
post #3 of 15
What happened to Dead Channel 23? Since Tuesday it has sounded significantly worse, both in car and in home via internet/pc. Did they bump the bandwidth even worse??
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savageone79 View Post

Has there ever been mention of future plans to crank back up the bitrate of the music stations? What is it at now? 32kbps? I can hardly listen to any of the rock or acoustic stations because of all the compression. It sounds like am radio! The pop stations are barely listenable as well. Have they ever mentioned increasing the sound quality? It doesn't have to be perfect but even 64kbps would be much improved.

I kind of doubt it. Marketing more stations is an easier sell than marketing audio quality, since they call it "digital quality" anyway and most consumers are too dumb to know the difference. I don't have Sirius in the car and I find myself listening at home to Pandora rather than Sirius because the audio quality is so much better. So I'm giving up my Sirius sub when it expires next week. I'll miss a few of the stations, but it doesn't matter because I hardly ever listen.

I may have posted this before, but Sirius really screws up the phase of the signal. I don't know if this is because of the poor bit rate or not. If you listen to the difference signal (Left minus Right) which is the portion of the signal that is only in stereo and has no mono component, you hear artifacts that sound uncannily like the sound effects used in movies when they show you a satellite orbiting in space. That has always cracked me up. Maybe one day I'll get an online only sub. That sounds much better.
post #5 of 15
The total bandwith is limited. The only way to increase the bitrate is to decrease the number of channels. Many of us would love that. But it ain't going to happen.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
They have so many waste stations though! Just get rid of like 10 that don't do anything and up the bitrate on the music stations by 10%. If we could get 40-64 kbps we would at least approach the neighborhood of cd quality instead of the worse than FM quality it is now.
post #7 of 15
not all channels have same bandwidth the more popular channels have more , thats why you notice some are clear and others are crap.
post #8 of 15
I just got a three month trial subscription to Sirius/XM for my Lexus. I must say the sound quality is much better than using my SL-100 and the FM Modulator.
post #9 of 15
I must say i'm disappointed in the SQ on XM. I got a free 3 mo sub in my Cadillac and I signed up for a year because I loved the extra channels with no commercials but the SQ does suck. My caddy has a decent sound system and CDs sound much better and a fair comparison was when I had the same cd in my car as what's on XM..... compared the 2 and the XM sounded dead. No punch, very flat.

I don't think it's just because of the bit rate because I played a CD with recorded MP3s for comparing. I think the music signal from xm is intentionally compressed to make it sound ok on earbuds with out distorting when played loud. They reduce the dynamic range which removes the peaks and fills the valleys more so the chaep earbuds can handle it. Sounds like crap on a decent system though. Some refer to this as increasing the loudness.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudandClear View Post

I must say i'm disappointed in the SQ on XM. I got a free 3 mo sub in my Cadillac and I signed up for a year because I loved the extra channels with no commercials but the SQ does suck. My caddy has a decent sound system and CDs sound much better and a fair comparison was when I had the same cd in my car as what's on XM..... compared the 2 and the XM sounded dead. No punch, very flat.

I don't think it's just because of the bit rate because I played a CD with recorded MP3s for comparing. I think the music signal from xm is intentionally compressed to make it sound ok on earbuds with out distorting when played loud. They reduce the dynamic range which removes the peaks and fills the valleys more so the chaep earbuds can handle it. Sounds like crap on a decent system though. Some refer to this as increasing the loudness.

It's actually hard to reduce the dynamic range on pop music any more than it already is because most CDs are produced with unbelieveably little dynamic range (less than LPs had). CD's have a capability of 96db of dynamic range, but no one uses it because everyone wants their record to sound the "loudest", no matter how bad it sounds and how much listener fatique it causes.

Don't confuse audio compression (reducing peaks) with file compression (reducing bandwidth).

I was at a producer session at the Audio Engineering Society convention a few years ago and one of the producers surmised that if dynamic range was reduced as much as it is today back when the Beatles became stars, he wondered whether they would have been successful. He maintained that fatique would have set in listening to their music. Interesting point.
post #11 of 15
To me the audio quality is better in the morning and worse in the afternoon.
On the drive to work it sounds okay - on the drive home the "tinniness" is at times unlistenable.
post #12 of 15
SQ has been diminishing over the years. As a previous poster said: "more channels = worse SQ." Right now it's embarrassingly bad. Some channels (SiriusXMU) are unlistenable, because the algorithm they use just crushes things like jangly guitar and open hi-hats.

A million years ago XM actually had a few HQ (high quality) stations, so it's certainly possible to get it to not sound like warmed over crap.

Personally, as an XM/Sirius early adopter, I'm about this close (' ') to dumping it for a Spotify subscription, which would work nicely with my bluetooth system in my little VW.
post #13 of 15
shurster, are you talkin about the satellite audio streams or the internet ones or both? wouldn't it be nice to see some spectral analyses or FFTs or super-nifty lissajous patterns subtracting the original signals from the received/reconstructed signals on a channel-by-channel-basis? i suppose only the siriusXM engineers get to see those.

usually i listen in car or on TTR1 or headphones/iphone and find the audio quality to be fine for the original-Sirius music channels, at least . i haven't listened to XMU much however, or any of the XM music channels. tonight i'm amplifying the iphone output via my ancient monster DCM timeframe speakers & large old amp... when i crank it, it sure does sound "muddy" or "too compressed". that's as far as i can pin it down for now as to what my decibel-addled/nonprofessional/rock-concert ears notice.

however I find the TTR1 so awesome that i'm looking at all sorts of other internet-wifi-players - primarily for siriusXM but for whatever else too, that spotify, dogify, catify, whatever it takes to get some decent audio quality.

for example, any recommendations for which is the web site/stream which the maximum-bandwidth-consuming/maximum-quality good-old-grateful-dead audio streaming?

10-8/10-10....
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tveli View Post

shurster, are you talkin about the satellite audio streams or the internet ones or both? wouldn't it be nice to see some spectral analyses or FFTs or super-nifty lissajous patterns subtracting the original signals from the received/reconstructed signals on a channel-by-channel-basis? i suppose only the siriusXM engineers get to see those.

Satellite streams.

Years ago in some other XM forum, there was a long technical discussion of compression algorithms, with graphs and everything. It degenerated into a bunch of fanboi namecalling, oddly.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
The quality does seem to vary but it appears like the last few days the quality has been a little better. Hard to say for sure as even from hour to hour it varies some times. I would be happy if they even just gave us 64kbps AAC quality (which shouldn't be asking much!)
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