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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just installed Sirius into my auto and I thought I would post my first impressions of the service.


First, let me say that I have wanted Sat radio for a while but just had not pulled the trigger. I have researched quite a bit on which service to choose. In the end I made my decision based on the cost of hardware. I was able to get the Kenwood Sirius tuner free with a new Kenwood receiver. That, and I like Kenwood which is Sirius. The commercial free was factor but XM had already made the announcement that they were switching to com free as well. So anyway, I got Sirius with a new Kenwood receiver and it is not modulated.


The installation and activation was much easier than expected, just two cables to route and whala I could hear the preview channel. I used Internet activation and by the time I walked to my car the service was on.

Reception is very good, only a couple of half second drop outs in three days.


Sound quality- I am a little underwhelmed with the sound quality. My system is composed of the Kenwood Excelon 50 x 4 receiver(22 watts rms). Four infinity 6" speakers driven by the reciever and an infinity amplified sub, so my system is decent. The sound quality feels very underpowered, I have to turn the volume much higher than CD's or radio and it is just not as good as expected. I did not expect CD quality, but to me it isn't close to CD quality. It's not bad, its a little better than my best FM station but not by much.


I take a lot of long drives for work so I like to listen to talk radio, especially ESPN(gotta hear TK), and the talk channel sound is definitely a notch below the music. I read from several posts that xm talk channels were better than Sirius, and I believe they are right. The voices sound a little funny on the talk channels, almost like there is some reverb or a slight echo. Kind of a tin can sound. If I get a good signal, my AM espn radio sounds at least as good or a hair better than my Sirius. That being said, if I drive for 5 minutes my AM signal will always get some interference and squelch so the Sirius definitely wins there.



Programming-

I have not listened to all the channels but my main interests are Rock, specifically modern and alternative, and talk radio such as ESPN, News ... The Rock stations are OK, there is not a channel that I can just leave it on, because there isn't what I would consider a pure modern rock station. There are stations that play the music I like, but they also throw in songs from 80's bands like Guns and Roses which I'm not a big fan of. The alternative channel is pretty good, they play some more obscure songs that I wasn't familiar with but that is good for an alternative station by definition. I cant really compare with xm but looking at the xm channel list, there is a channel that looks specifically like my taste. For talk, news, and entertainment channels there seems to be plenty that would keep me occupied.


OVERALL

Overall, I am a little disappointed with rock music programming and the sound quality, especially the talk channels, but not majorly disappointed. I may not notice the sound quality after listening for a week or two, we'll see. Systems with separate amplifiers for the speakers probably sound much better than mine, but I would hate to hear it on a stock radio fm modulated.


That being said, my main reason for wanting sat radio is so when I get 50 miles out of town, I still have something to listen to and Sirius definitely works for that. I would love to be able to play xm in a side by side comparison in my vehicle but that probably wont happen. Overall I would say 3 *** out of 5 ***** stars. And that is my 2 cents.
 

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Welcome to the world of Satellite Radio Chris. Have you checked out Octane on stream 20 for modern rock? I'm also into rock and alternative, but I like the heavier stuff from both now and the past, and I love heavy metal especially black metal. Sirius seems to have shown a new devotion to rock music with splitting classic rock into earlier and later and with the addition of the Buzzsaw. Both providers have added a few mew rocks channels, it’s great to see a strong commitment to this genre of music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definately like 20. 21, 22 and 28(Faction I think?) are also pretty good. I agree the more channels the better, I would rather have to switch channels than be stuck with a 1 channel fits all catagory.
 

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Chris,


The exceleon series allows you to really adjust your sound frequencies settings this will help a lot. I have almost the exact setup but I have a Kenwood 800w amp. People in my car think Sirius music streams are like a CD in sound. Get a amp:)
 

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Yeah the talk streams sound like AM or streaming audio to me...


Octane (and the former RockHits) were much better than they are now... They never played crap like GnR. Hopefully that crusty crap will get removed from Octane's playlist...


I listen to Faction and AltNation mostly...
 

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I experienced much the same thing with my Kenwood system... I wouldn't say I am as unhappy as you are, but it is still a bit of a dissapointment with the volume difference.


One thin I noticed that was succesful was to adjust the base volume levels of each input, it helped greatly!
 

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I, too, am brand new to the Sirius club. I put in a stereo last weekend and activated the Sirius receiver on Monday (Very easy activation). I like music, but mainly wanted the service for talk stations. To that end, I am very dissatisfied in the audio quality. I understand that the music channels need more fidelity than the talk channels, but the talk channels sound like 32kbs MP3! I wish they would just drop 5-6 of the channels that few people listen to in favor of upping the quality of the talk channels. I think my favorite channel is RawDog, but sometimes it is so difficult to understand because of the bandwidth restriction that I just turn it off.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisb1
I just installed Sirius into my auto and I thought I would post my first impressions of the service.


That being said, my main reason for wanting sat radio is so when I get 50 miles out of town, I still have something to listen to and Sirius definitely works for that.
This was my main reason for getting sat radio, I often drive over 100 miles to get to the job site and half of the sites are in the mountains. So FM was not cutting it. My favorite station locally only 20 miles outside of town would die because another station on the same exact frequency would block it out. Going from classic to oldies...


I also find the talk radio stations less then stellar, it is like listening to streaming on the internet. The music stations only go out to about 15kHz (the same as local radio) in audio range, so that’s part of why they don't sound as clear as CD's do. Along with the compression... For some reason when the DJ's talk it sounds only somewhat better then the talk radio. It's like the compression can't handle the simple human voice range. Like it's optimized to deal with multiple frequencies mixing and changing loudness levels that music has. But when it comes to the human voice it has nowhere to go for compression because there’s so little to hide (multiple instruments combining sound, allowing to drop certain overlapping sounds because they won’t be heard by the ear) Or maybe we are more in tune to how someone sounds and you can pick up the compression.


I went with Sirius because of the portability of the tuner, and cradle has the built in FM modulator so I don't have to splice it into the truck radio. Also, my company vehicle has no CD or audio input, so FM was the only way to make it work.


Otherwise I'm mostly pleased with it, I have yet to test it in the deeper canyons in the mountains and off road places I go.
 

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I selected Sirius for a slightly different reason than programming. Assuming programming was relatively equal, I looked at each respective satellite coverage (orbit) and it seemed apparent that Sirius' coverage was superior. First, if I recall correctly, Sirius has 3 orbiting satellites in a high elevation -- almost 90-degrees (straight up). XM has only 2 satellites in a fixed (geo stationary) position and much lower in elevation -- something like 25-degrees. So if your car doesn't have a line-of-sight that low on the horizon you either drop out, or depend on ground repeaters. If you travel thru the boonies like I've done (where there are no repeaters) it would seem you've have more problems getting XM. The fact that XM has something like over 1,000 ground repeaters vs. Sirius' 100 must mean something.


In practice, I've been in deep, narrow canyons (i.e. 5000-ft) and always picked up Sirius. I didn't test XM, but know that I couldn't see that low on the horizon, so I expect it wouldn't have worked. Amazingly, I've been on the edge of the Country (west coast) with a 2,000-ft cliff to my immediate right and driven thru the CA redwoods where I was in such a thick forest that no daylight came thru (not to mention the leaves were wet -- absorbing frequencies in this band) and had 100% operation. Very impressive.
 

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chris, I too have an eXcelon. I love the sound. I didn't love the sound when I was using the FM modulator to plumb it. How is yours wired?
 
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