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Posted: 3/29/2012 6:19:40 AM EDT
I got an XM radio for my car a few months ago. It's nice that there are so many channels to listen to, and I get the same channels no matter where I'm at.

The part that I don't like...is that the sound quality just seems sub-par compared to normal radio station, and CD/MP3s. Do they compress the music to save on band-width or something? Some sounds are worse than others...but overall, it just sounds kind of "thin".

Also...I thought the whole deal with XM radio was "no commercials" and "no talk".....hell, it seems like most of the music channels have DJ's, and they talk more than they play music. Is it going to get worse? Are advertisers getting away from radio, and trying to saturate XM radio now?
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:21:36 AM EDT
I had factory XM/Sirius in my last truck and I really liked it. No issue with sound quality and the DJ's talking weren't really that distracting (at least on the channels I listened to).
Maybe your sat receiver sucks or there is some bad connection somewhere.



Speed
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:23:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2012 6:24:39 AM EDT by ScaryBlackGuns]
Welcome to post merger satellite radio.

Talk stations will be the most compressed and the compression on each music station varies by channel and how many sporting events are running.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:24:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2012 6:24:37 AM EDT by Credge]
Music quality sounds fine to me.

ETA: Except for Liquid Metal. They EQ the fuck out of the bass.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:24:38 AM EDT
Factory installed on my Charger––no issues here with sound
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:25:47 AM EDT
Sounds as good as MP3s out of my car's speakers. I blame your setup.

"Also...I thought the whole deal with XM radio was "no commercials" and "no talk".....hell, it seems like most of the music channels have DJ's, and they talk more than they play music. Is it going to get worse? Are advertisers getting away from radio, and trying to saturate XM radio now?"

I have not noticed this problem. I've never heard a single ad on any of the music channels I listen to, and the DJ's are mostly cool (except for that Madison chick. She sucks). Hell, once a month Drew Carey DJ's on Little Steve's Underground Garage. They certainly don't talk more than they play music. And the only ones that really talk that much are the "special" DJ's like when Tom Petty or Drew are on whatever, and that's fine because they usually mention cool stuff.

They do talk a lot on Faction, because they do that stupid Ellis show on there ALL. THE. TIME. and I hate it. Only channel that regularly plays Social D and Dropkick and instead they have that ass hole talking.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:26:09 AM EDT
How are you connecting to your stereo?

Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:26:12 AM EDT
What kind of radio did you get? I've got a Pioneer Inno, and the only time it doesn't sound great is when my FM modulator that I run it through, is acting up.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:29:12 AM EDT
Sound quality is most effected by how the SAT is connected to your radio.
If you are using the collar around your car's antenna, that is one of the worst type of connections.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:29:18 AM EDT
From the standpoint of reception:

If you live in an area with lots of tall buildings, tall trees, or mountains then you will probably experience poor reception on satellite radio.

But aren't satellites overhead??? No, generally speaking, they are not. The receiving antenna needs to be able to 'see' the satellite. When building get in the way, your reception suffers, but may still get through due to peculiarities involved with the refractory nature of radio waves (yes, satellites transmit on RF).

Someone can probably talk about the bandwidth and the problems of cost involved. I would bet that they have had to reduce the bitrates to save on cost.

Lastly, aftermarket equipment. Using aftermarket equipment can be a crapshoot. Installation can be an issue as well, if it was improperly installed it can cause problems.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:41:24 AM EDT

Assuming your not using an FM modulator, which if you are there is your problem.

If your not,

Well it has already been mentioned, it is due to compression. Pretty much like if you burn your own Mp3 CDs and use a low bit rate. Some people are claiming they have no issue with sound quality. Keep in mind that the technology between XM and Sirius are not the same. Technically Sirius is suposed to have better Sound Quality. Since it arrived second they used some newer compression technology and specifically some better de-compression technology. They were said to have included some "sound re-creation" similar to what a BBE adds to a stereo system. It was supposed to have extended the low end frequecies, which are usually the most noticable loss in compression and create better over-all transient response.

Even though they have merge the recievers and antennas are still different.

As far as more Jibber Jabber, I think that has to relate to revenue, if they can play 1 less song per hour multiply by x amount of radio programming, that is real savings. The other thing was some people were actually complaining that they miss not hearing a DJ ocasionally. Mainly for the latest Music news and Pop culture news. So I think they try to balance it out a bit.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 6:47:57 AM EDT
Too much compression

Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:02:34 AM EDT
The compression seems reasonable to me on the music channels, certainly my (factory) XM receiver sounds better than over the air FM broadcast. You can probably hear some differences between CDs and XM, but not objectionable and a definite improvement over FM. I'd look at your system.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:24:07 AM EDT
I've have it and it sounds like crap for me. My last car also had it, and it sounded like crap there too. Last car it was part of the factory radio, this car it is the add on radio.
That being said, I can;t go back to terrestrial radio - Ive tried, and it's unbearable in terms of commercials and morning radio in general. Whenever my SAirius renewal comes up I negotiate like hell. I'd never pay full price for it.

I'm going to have to look into fixing my setup if so many here aren't having issues, I always thought it was a compromise inherent in the system. Radio and CDs sound great, just the sat radio and MP3s that sound bad.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:40:06 AM EDT
The problem is data compression. I can hear it plain as day, although I do have Sirius radio and it isn't bad enough that I won't listen to it.

I do go to lengths to avoid compressed music everywhere else though. All my portable music files are uncompressed wave files, for example. Even an MP3 at 320kbps sounds bad to me compared to anything uncompressed.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:43:09 AM EDT
Sound great to me. Pioneer Z120 BT.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:45:32 AM EDT
if you are having issue with sound quality, i'd say it has to do with how your satillite receiver is hooked to your stereo. I was in a rental that had XM a while back and sound quality was excellent.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:46:11 AM EDT
Sounds excellent on my 2011 Chevy Cruze stock radio.

If it is music or Wilkow blaring, it sounds great.




Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:47:11 AM EDT
factory installed on my GMC truck. Sound is great. Much better then FM.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:49:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By paul1911:
factory installed on my GMC truck. Sound is great. Much better then FM.


Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:50:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ScaryBlackGuns:
Welcome to post merger satellite radio.

Talk stations will be the most compressed and the compression on each music station varies by channel and how many sporting events are running.


Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:52:10 AM EDT
If you have a smart phone with unlimited data you can get the I Heart Radio app free. The girl has it and uses the 3.5mm jack from the phone to the radio to play her faves.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:54:40 AM EDT
Something else to think about to, XM/ SIRIUS is also transmitted on the sat frequencies over ground based antenna's in some area's.


Link Posted: 3/29/2012 7:55:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2012 8:00:55 AM EDT by gsxrmike]
Originally Posted By gus:
Even an MP3 at 320kbps sounds bad to me compared to anything uncompressed.


I find this statement hard to believe, it is almost impossible to hear the difference of an MP3 at 320Kbps, if that is the case why do you not buy your audio on DVD? Since that has a higher sample rate?

At 320kbps there is virtually no loss in measurable sound quality, namely only floor noises are removed.


ETA: If you honestly can hear a difference then you have a poor/faulty Mp3 encoder. 192k is considered lossless by the human ear!

Link Posted: 3/29/2012 8:42:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By gsxrmike:
Originally Posted By gus:
Even an MP3 at 320kbps sounds bad to me compared to anything uncompressed.


I find this statement hard to believe, it is almost impossible to hear the difference of an MP3 at 320Kbps, if that is the case why do you not buy your audio on DVD? Since that has a higher sample rate?

At 320kbps there is virtually no loss in measurable sound quality, namely only floor noises are removed.


ETA: If you honestly can hear a difference then you have a poor/faulty Mp3 encoder. 192k is considered lossless by the human ear!



I can easily hear the difference on my home stereo and my speakers, as well as on the near field monitors on my PC, or through a high quality pair of headphones. In the car, outdoors, or through a PA system I can't hear a difference enough to worry about. 320K is better by far than what you get from satellite radio though. I used 320K MP3's on my iPod until the 160Gb model came out, and had to re-rip all my stuff without compression before I was really happy.
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