Originally Posted by Gary J
Learn about variable bit rates.
Included in my statement about "magic codecs" -- of course VBR techniques are already fully in play for all the app-based streaming technologies I was using as comparisons, as well as many MP3s.
And some channels are given more bandwidth (music) than others (talk).
The SXM sats transmit about 4.4Mb/sec TOTAL. I count around 80 music channels on the current satellite lineup card. That's about 55kb/sec average per channel BEFORE you add in the non-music channels (which each get about half bandwidth IIRC). I believe that at least one of the classical stations still gets 64kb/sec, and that that's as good as it gets these days. (In the old days of XM classical got more, and there was at least one eclectic/"audiophile" station that also got more; but there were many fewer channels overall at the time). No amount of improvement to codecs will make those bitrates sound good.
XSM terrestrial repeaters.
Come on man, I specified "via sats" about six times. And while I don't have any technical details, the term "repeaters" implies the same data rate as what's being repeated (i.e. the satellites) to deal with shadows and dropouts. Repeaters are also used and useful in exactly the same places where the alternative streaming path is most readily available.
It's not so easy as "tiny sliver of bandwidth allotted to each channel".
But it's not much more complicated than that, either; there's only so many ways to slice up a pie.
Again, I'm not trying to convince anybody who thinks SXM sounds good that it doesn't. But claiming that those who think it sounds bad compared to other sources just need better equipment is simply wrong.