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Thread: Sound Quality

  1. #11
    beautyfish is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2012 Posts: 1
    I just had my Sirius StarMate 8 installed a couple of days ago. The radio was a Christmas gift from my wife to help with my daily two hour commute. It only took a few minutes for me to notice how bad the sound quality was when compared to any decent stereo FM radio station in my broadcast area. I also listened to NPR and compared it to the Sirius NPR channel, which was broadcasting the same content at the same time. It was night and day. The Sirius sound featured reduced bandwidth, digital artifacts similar to low quality mp3s, and even made talk stations difficult to listen to. In the digital world, this is just ridiculous. I'm extremely disappointed. As a professional musician and audio producer, I don't see how I'll be able to stand this after my initial subscription period runs out.

  2. #12
    OlManRivah is offline
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    Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 10
    I read a lot on the Forums about the bad audio quality on Siriusxm. I just bought a Buick Enclave and it has a trial xm. I find the sound is very good. This Buick has a nice sound system and everything sounds good. Possibly, this system can handle the compression better than some.

  3. #13
    sixtn39 is offline
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    Joined: Apr 2012 Location: NW Illinois Posts: 2
    My new to me 2011 Ford Taurus SHO's Sirius stations sound pretty good to me also. Of course, it might me be that my 64 year old ears don't function as well also.

  4. #14
    deckm56 is offline
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    Joined: Apr 2010 Location: Perkasie, Pa Posts: 9
    Much as I like Sirius' programming the sound quality could be alot better. I've been a subscriber for about 10yrs and have seen it go down hill in the past several years. At first I thought it was because my old Starmate Replay crapped out and that my new Starmate was worse. In fact the the FM signal on it was much worse and thankfully my new car had an aux plug. The car also came with a free XM trial and what I found was that if I flipped back and forth between the Starmate and the car that the sound quality was significantly better through the car. I can live with that but what I've noticed alot is that the sound is kind of warbely for lack of a better description. It sort of reminds me of when I used to have a sensitive turntable and if you walked past it with a heavy foot it would would flutter the sound. It's most noticeable during very quiet musical passages like soft piano playing. Probably something to do with compression or whatever but it really sucks!

  5. #15
    sfguy is offline
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    Joined: Sep 2012 Posts: 2
    I have a car with an excellent sound system and was, frankly, surprised by how bad SiriusXM radio sounds. From best to worst in the car I would say: DVD-Audio (sadly there's a very limited selection because this really does sound good), CD Audio, 320 bit MP3, 192 bit MP3, FM, SiriusXM. This is *EXTREMELY* disappointing since I really like the musical variety more than Pandora since I like so many different types of music. If anything, satellite radio should *at least* sound as good as an iPod.

    I'm going to stay a subscriber for now because I jog/run a lot and the iPhone app sounds halfway decent through small Bose in-ear headphones and I like being surprised by what song comes up next, but I really wish they would *at least* improve their Internet streams to 256kbps (or 320 ideally, but nobody does that) so that it sounds as good as iTunes on a semi-decent computer system. Using the SoundBlaster Control panel can help a lot since I an add special effects and the music is processed at 96 instead of 44, but there's only so much that can be done.

    Come on SiriusXM, give us the option to change sound quality for Internet streaming. I realize there might not be a lot you can do for car radios since the technology is already kind of old.

  6. #16
    sfguy is offline
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    Joined: Sep 2012 Posts: 2
    P.S.: does anyone know the bit rate that SiriusXM is actually using?

  7. #17
    SiriusBuzz is online now
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    Joined: May 2007 Posts: 2,674
    The internet stream use to be 64kb only a couple of years ago. It was only recently that they "upgraded" to 128k.

    As far as internet feed goes, it is variable depending on the station. More popular channels have better quality audio. They do this because their spectrum is limited. I'd rather see them cut some dead weight and up the more popular channels ever more.
    Charles LaRocca
    SiriusBuzz Founder

  8. #18
    gellenb is offline
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    Joined: May 2011 Posts: 4
    Well I finally dumped my last Sirius subscription, and changed to As I think I mentioned a while back, I had a Nissan factory radio that a Sirius exec brought back for me, and a Starmate 8. The quality on both was bad in my opinion.

    Recently, I did some testing using my old Blackberry Bold (not exactly a high quality audio device) into a cassette adapter and used the free app set to use the AAC-HE 40kbps streams. These 40k streams definitely sound better than Sirius! So whatever Sirius is using for a data rate/ compression is lower than that. And under's free account, you can set the rate up to 96K. If you get a paid subscription (which costs less than Sirius) you have the options to go up to 256K. At that speed the sound is amazingly great, even with the crappy way I connected it.

    This clearly isn't for everyone as the channels are music only, and would require a decent data plan with their phone carrier, and good data coverage. I have an unlimited data plan, and when the weather warms up, I'll make a connection directly into the car radio or just use an fm transmitter.

    It's just sad that CD Radio which became Sirius was to have high quality CD like sound, and doesn't even come close to providing what they started with. I had Sirius before the radios were publicly out I never thought there would be a day that I would close my account.

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