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Will they ever make Sat radio sound better then FM?


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Brian Elwood

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Posted September 08 2005 - 04:36 AM

I have listed to a number of XM and Sirius units and all of them still have that very high . . . .tinsel sound. Sure, they sound better then SOME FM stations but Sat radio still have that unique sound quality. I do find it awesome in my car and will never be without it. I can't decide if I should buy a lifetime contract or go year to year. Funny thing is - the ONLY time I have had it cut out is in an open space. No problems in my garage or even in the 1st underground floor of a parking garage. What's up with that!!! I thought I had to have line of sight or something.
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#2 of 13 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 08 2005 - 05:41 AM

Brian, I'll try to answer your second question first, but it will be difficult because you didn't state which satellite radio service you own. I find Sirius has a lot more dead spots than XM radio. This is primarily due to the fact that Sirius satellites orbit higher in the sky and can't get under overpasses or any sort of roof structure. Sirius was supposed to expand the number of repeaters to combat this problem but here in Central NJ I still get dropouts. That's the only explanation I can give you if it is Sirius you are having a problem with. As far as satellite not sounding any better than FM.... The problem is available bandwidth. Both XM and SIRIUS were only allocated a small amount of bandwidth. They went the obvious route of offering variety over sound quality. This meant that by offering well over 160 channels of content they would have to compromise on sound quality by compressing their audio. Both XM and Sirius have fine tuned their channels so that talk radio gets far less bandwidth than the music channels. It's more evident on Sirius where talk radio sometimes sounds like it is coming out of a soup can. However, you'll hear IMPROVED audio quality on the more popular music channels simply because the bandwidth is being intelligently diverted. I and everyone else wishes that satellite radio would offer High-Definition music. It's sort of funny that commercial radio is doing it -- but let's face it -- who wants to hear high definition music followed with DJ banter and commercials? I would much rather listen to commercial-free satellite radio with its wider playlists (especially evident on XM). Besides, I could see other problems if satellite becomes high-definition. Imagine how outraged the music industry would be if people could record high definition audio right off of satellite.

 

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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted September 08 2005 - 05:10 PM

Considering I primarily listen to XM in the car, high def radio is kinda a waste for me. I'd rather have the content, and there is plenty of channel ideas not covered by satellite currently for it. I'd like XM to upgrade their online stream, but since the firewall has tightened up at work, that's less important than it used to be. Jason

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Thomas_A

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Posted September 09 2005 - 04:36 AM

I have XM in both vehicles- soon in the house. I know in the Vehicles FM does not even come close too the sound quality of xm. My XM is almost as good as CD. I cant say anything about Sirus...I have no experience...Just on XM.

#5 of 13 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 09 2005 - 05:48 AM

I read people knock satellite radio sound quality quite often. Here's my take.... Satellite Radio sounds best in a car with a decent sound system that includes a subwoofer. You need to tweak the audio output to your liking. I find adding bass and loudness helps immensely. I burn music to CD on a regular basis from YAHOO UNLIMITED. That service provides their music downloads at 192kbps. If I understand correctly, a CD is around at least 320kbps. The CDs I make at 192kbps sound a little better than XM or SIRIUS radio. For that reason I would estimate that both services compress their music below 192kbps. This is STILL better than FM radio -- especially for the fact that satellite provides crystal-clear audio with absolutely no background noise that you normally hear on FM broadcast. Depending on your car stereo and the way you hook up your unit (factory install or direct connect is the best solution), it would be difficult for non-audiophiles to distinguish between satellite and CD. If you are using the FM transmitter to listen to satellite -- well, it's gonna sound only like a strong FM station. Satellite radio also sounds amazingly good on boomboxes and through computer speakers. However, if you try to push satellite radio through an expensive home system, you may not be happy. The best solution for home stereo systems is to integrate a satellite receiver that has optical output.

 

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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Thomas_A

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Posted September 12 2005 - 04:03 AM

Ronald...I'll let ya know when I get my Yamaha Home reciever going with XM here shortly. I agree...If your using FM modulator...then what is the point IMO- The sound will only be as good as the FM tuner in your radio.

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted September 14 2005 - 01:58 AM

The digital audio on CDs is uncompressed and far exceeds 320 kbps.
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#8 of 13 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 14 2005 - 04:37 AM

Tom, Thanks for the clarification

 

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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob_L

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Posted September 14 2005 - 05:05 AM

CD rate is around 1400Kbps, quite a lot more data. But the important thing in compressed audio is the perceived quality of the playback since psychoacoustics are involved when the compression algorithm is deciding what data to throw away. I still wish that XM had a better perceived playback quality than it currently does; but -- as Ron knows -- I'm still a fan of the service for its convenience and the taste and intelligence of its programmers.

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Brian Elwood

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Posted September 19 2005 - 04:51 AM

I have a pretty good system in my car (I hope - cost $1400 LOL) and Sirius very very rarly has a dead spot. I just went on a vacation and it really only cut out once or twice. I think it's a bandwidth problem. The more I tweak my car system the better I can get it but still, not perfect. With all that said - I'll never go back and am considering a lifetime contract for Sirius which I think is way better then XM bang for buck. Just better rock and more of it. (just my opinion).
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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted September 19 2005 - 07:40 AM

Different strokes for different folks. I tried Sirius first, and while initially excited, the lack of depth really killed it for me. Also, there wasn't much beyond the Rock genre that really interested me. There is just more for me to listen to on XM. Not to say XM doesn't have its problems as well, but I much prefer it to Sirius. Jason

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Brian Elwood

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Posted September 21 2005 - 08:24 AM

I'm basically 95% rock, thats why I picked sirius, plus the fact that friends here in Madsion have big time XM reception problems and also since I have DISH Net I'm familier with it. He can't even us XM in the city - maybe it's because Sirius is higher in the sky??
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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Gerard Martin

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Posted September 22 2005 - 01:43 AM

Brian They already have its called Polk XRt12 for in-home use. Check it out if you have an opportunity.
Jerry




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