Should I Return My Sirius Christmas Present?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Luke*Ho, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. Luke*Ho

    Luke*Ho Extra

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    My wonderful wife got me the following for Christmas today:
    Kenwood KTC-H2A1 tuner, KPA-H2C car docking kit and the KPA-H2H home docking kit. I have been dying to try satellite radio. However, I have concerns about the sound quality. I will use sat radio primarily for my car. I currently have an Alpine CDM-7872 running thru amplifiers with component speakers and a subwoofer in the trunk. I like my music. Since I don't have a cassette player and my HU doesn't have RCA inputs, I must go buy a FM modulator correct? Will I be happy with the quality of the sound thru a modulator? My other option is to take everything back and upgrade my HU. Here is where my sat radio ignorance begins. Help me answer the following:
    Do I have any other options with my current setup?
    If I buy a new HU that is sat radio ready, do I still need to buy a sat radio tuner?
    If I buy a new HU that is say XM ready, can't I just hook up a Sirius tuner thru the RCA imputs anyway. If I really like the Alpine HU (XM), but want Sirius, or vice versa, why aren't the two compatable? If I want to use sat radio in my house, I assume that I connect the docking station to a boom box or receiver via the RCA connections. What is the advantage of buying a $200 home unit vs the docking station? Thanks for any help you can give to educate me.
     
  2. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Quote:
    Since I don't have a cassette player and my HU doesn't have RCA inputs, I must go buy a FM modulator correct?

    Not Nessicarily. It looks like PIE makes adapters for Alpine HU to convert the CD changer input into an AUX.

    http://shop.store.yahoo.com/xmfanstore/pieauxinaf.html

    Start there. If that doesn't work for you, we will talk more.

    Jason
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Luke,

    First and foremost, welcome to satellite radio.

    If you are concerned about sound quality, do not
    go with FM modulation.

    I'll try to answer your questions best I can, and
    hope that any misinformation I may accidently give
    will be corrected further in this thread.

    Quote:
    Since I don't have a cassette player and my HU doesn't have RCA inputs, I must go buy a FM modulator correct?

    As Jason pointed out, the fact that you have a
    Kenwood HU will help. Hopefully it has a CD-changer
    jack in its rear. If it does, PIE makes a cable that
    you can hook the car docking station right into. The
    resulting sound quality will be the best you can get
    without having a unit that is already Sirius-ready
    (that will give you the best sound - slightly better
    than what I just described above).

    Quote:
    If I buy a new HU that is sat radio ready, do I still need to buy a sat radio tuner?

    Yes, however Kenwood is probably still running
    their promotion where you get a FREE Sirius tuner
    with the purchase of selected Head Units. The tuner
    is simply a box that sits in your trunk that decodes
    the satellite signal.

    Quote:
    If I buy a new HU that is say XM ready, can't I just hook up a Sirius tuner thru the RCA imputs anyway.

    You are probably better doing it the opposite way
    as the Kenwood (Sirius ready) units most readily have
    the inputs in the back to add an AUX unit, such as
    an XM SkyFi unit.

    This is my situation. I bought the Kenwood Excelion
    869 (and then upgraded to 969). The Kenwood is
    Sirius ready, but I also plugged in an XM SkyFi unit
    via the HU's rear RCA inputs. I have BOTH services.

    Naturally, the audio from Sirius sounds more robust
    because the HU is hardwired for Sirius. The XM is
    slightly less robust because it is being fed into
    the HU through RCA cables.

    This kind of setup may be a bit financially excessive
    for most individuals. The Kenwood HU cost me $400.
    The Delphi SkyFi and car kit cost me about $200. On
    top of that I am paying for two services that is costing
    me about $25 a month (with tax).

    It sounds like you want a unit that will play BOTH
    in the car and at home. In that case, you are better
    off getting a car and home kit with a standalone
    tuner (XM Delphi SkiFi or similar Sirius unit). If
    you don't want to go with FM modulation (and I don't
    recommend you do) you'll need to upgrade your Head
    Unit to one with RCA inputs in the rear or CD changer
    controls.

    It's a bit expensive, but ultimately, there are quite
    a few of us that have done some substantial upgrades
    to our car audio system in order to get the best sound
    possible out of satellite radio. It's important to do
    so because the audio quality is *somewhat* limited to
    begin with and everything you can do to enhance the
    audio will ultimately enhance your listening experience.

    Hope I made sense here, Luke. There are so many
    options here that you can do. Please ask anything
    you want and we will help you pick the right solution
    that fits your financial and listening needs.

    Ultimately, you will LOVE satellite radio.
     
  4. Luke*Ho

    Luke*Ho Extra

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    Thanks, Ronald. I am beginning to understand. It looks like I will upgrade my HU. I want the better sound. I've been wanting to upgrade my HU anyway to take advantage of playing mp3s. Though I like Alpine, I will go with Kenwood or another sirius compatable HU. I want to try sirius over xm. Would a Kenwood HU sirius ready sound significantly better with a sirius sat tuner hardwired into it or with a mobile sirius hooked in via plug and play? Is there a great difference in sound? I may want to take advantage of the mobility option of a plug and play tuner over a hardwired tuner. Your thoughts?
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Quote:
    Would a Kenwood HU sirius ready sound significantly better with a sirius sat tuner hardwired into it or with a mobile sirius hooked in via plug and play? Is there a great difference in sound?

    You asked the right person.

    Absolutely, a hardwired unit sounds better than PNP.

    I had an Alpine XM-Ready unit. I wanted to try
    Sirius so I ripped the Alpine out and bought a
    Kenwood.

    The Kenwood sounds significantly better than
    the Alpine.

    If you can afford it, buy the Kenwood 869 or 969.
    They are part of the Exceleron series (Kenwood's
    top of the line) and they are beautiful head units.
    The 869 and 969 are the SAME units except the 969
    has a slightly better display.

    The only problem I see right now is that XM is
    actually the better music service (sans the
    commercials). Sirius is having a lot of problems
    right now with their programming. Repetition
    runs rampant over there. However, I have talked
    with Sirius management and big changes are on the
    way in the next few weeks that will make the
    service better than ever.

    You should be okay with Sirius just as long as
    they make the promised changes over there.
     
  6. Luke*Ho

    Luke*Ho Extra

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    Ronald,I am getting sat radio smart quickly. Went out to Best Buy and Tweeters today. Not much help with the sales people, but I am zeroing in on one of the Kenwood Exceleron series HUs. You just can't beat the free tuner deal. Now I am deciding between the 469 model ($229) which does NOT have MP3 capability vs the 569 model (299)which can play MP3s. Would love to go up to either model you described (869 or 969) but too much $ for me to spend right now. Do you play many MP3s? Anyone out there care to comment on MP3 capability or not? Anyone have any recommendations on where to buy? Both BB and Tweeters were sold out of the 469 and 569 models. Thanks.
     
  7. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    It depends on if you listen to MP3's or not. If you have a bunch of MP3's already on your computer, and a bunch of blank CD's, I say go with the one that plays MP3's. If you don't, get the cheaper one. If it were me, I would get the cheaper one, as I don't every plan to use MP3's in a car.
     

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