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XM audio quality

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   PaulBigelow


    Stunt Coordinator

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  • Join Date: Nov 05 2002

Posted July 06 2003 - 07:57 AM

Hello, I'm a new subscriber to XM. I admire the service a lot and music-wise, it is an incredibly refreshing alternative to commercial radio. I have the Delphi Sky-Fi system with home adapter. Only two annoyances: 1. Self promotion -- too many short blurbs promoting XM. In some ways it reminds me of "Radio Disney". I can't listen to Radio Disney. Radio Disney must say the phrase "Radio Disney" every 5-10 seconds between programming. Radio Disney, this, Radio Disney, that, on and on and on. It's a bad habit and "XM" needs to tone it down. 2. Sound quality -- What is the bit rate XM uses for compression? After listening a lot with headphones something in the sound doesn't seem right. Do different channels use different bitrates? Does XM use MP3 files for its transmissions? While XM can sound pretty good, to me, a lot of the vocals have a metallic / phase-y quality. Congested, beat heavy, music can hide this quality pretty good. Speakers and room acoustics can mask the defects as well. Good headphones are absolutely unforgiving. Listening to a stereo Frank Sinatra cut was very, very revealing. While the voice was recognizable as Sinatra's the voice did not seem natural at all -- almost as if it was played through a metal horn PA speaker. The music sounded pretty good but the vocal quality was way off. I hear this quality in some tracks and not in others so it makes me wonder about the source material. MP3's? I've used Mini-disc since 1993 and am familiar with the reduced bit rates and am generally quite pleased with the MD sound -- even the LP2 mode for ATRAC, to me, sounds better than what I am hearing for XM (I think LP2 is 192kbs). At this point, based on my experince, while XM has some qualities of CD, in other aspects it is way off. Any thoughts on this? Could my equipment be defective? Does it matter if the reception is from satellite or repeaters? Best regards, Paul Bigelow
Best regards,

Paul Bigelow

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 42,332 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted July 08 2003 - 04:44 AM

Hi, Paul!

Take a look at this thread:


I think this is all bandwidth related issues
and from what I understand, both XM and Sirius
are affected.


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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