XM audio quality

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by PaulBigelow, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. PaulBigelow

    PaulBigelow Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 5, 2002
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    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

    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
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

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