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How does E* receive the Sirius music channels?


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25 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:03 PM

I just bought a new car with a Sirius receiver. I was shocked at the poor quality (like a 64kbps MP3 file or worse in the case of the spoken word channels) on the car radio. I even compared the same song as it was playing on the "Classic Rewind" channel. It sounded metallic in the car but fine on my TV.

I presumed that E* received the channels directly off the same satellites that Sirius uses but the difference in sound quality is striking. I know that some have complained about the lack of quality off E* however the car radio makes E* sound excellent by comparison.
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#2 OFFLINE   klang

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 05:02 AM

Maybe it is the equipment in the car? I've had factory installed Sirius or XM in my cars for years and never noticed the sound quality being as bad as you describe.

#3 OFFLINE   dishrich

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:21 AM

Maybe it is the equipment in the car? I've had factory installed Sirius or XM in my cars for years and never noticed the sound quality being as bad as you describe.


Agree; on the contrary, at least in my car, SXM sounds a LOT better than it does on DISH...

#4 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

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#5 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:58 PM

Maybe it is the equipment in the car? I've had factory installed Sirius or XM in my cars for years and never noticed the sound quality being as bad as you describe.


You are the first person to say anything good about Sirius in a car. On other forums where I posted a similar complaint I heard from Dodge owners who hear the same lo-rez sound.

Actually it sounds better today then it did the day I brought the car home. So either my brain is filling in the blanks or the radio is somehow better. I did take it in for service but they could not do anything to resolve my problem.
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#6 OFFLINE   scooper

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:50 PM

If they are cutting too many bits off, the audio quality will suffer greatly. For my taste - I want at least 192kbps and would prefer 320kbps if I'm listening to MP3 type music - adjust as necessary depending on the codecs they're using. I find that Sirius on Dish is quite nice - even on the TV speakers.

Also - "car audio" is definately an oxymoron - I have never heard a really great car audio system that compares to even a relatively low end home stereo.
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#7 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:45 AM

Car makers often off several levels of audio systems. In addition the interior design of the car has an impact. Sirius or any audio input in my Chyrsler Town & Country with the top audio system is excellent.

#8 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:04 PM

It sounds like the bit rates on Sirius are variable. Some channels sound acceptable others sound metallic or under water. While I have no interest in Howard Stern I listened for five minutes. That channel sounded 1000x better than other spoken word channels such as The Patriot channel and The Catholic Channel.
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#9 OFFLINE   eclipsetrb

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:08 PM

most stock car stereo speakers suck

#10 OFFLINE   Grippy

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:33 PM

Much of it has to do with the station and the source file. I found that the 60's music sounds very bad but the classics sounds quite good.

#11 OFFLINE   DaveM

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:25 AM

I just bought a new car with a Sirius receiver. I was shocked at the poor quality (like a 64kbps MP3 file or worse in the case of the spoken word channels) on the car radio. I even compared the same song as it was playing on the "Classic Rewind" channel. It sounded metallic in the car but fine on my TV.

I presumed that E* received the channels directly off the same satellites that Sirius uses but the difference in sound quality is striking. I know that some have complained about the lack of quality off E* however the car radio makes E* sound excellent by comparison.



I don't know if this is of any help, but just doing some quick, rough bitrate calculations of the "60s at 6" and the "70s at 7," and using my EHD, Sirius on Dish appears to be at around 192 kbps -- which I'd assume is sourced from some sort of unfettered backhaul feed vs. simple recompression.

Thus, I'd honestly be surprised if Sirius was currently pumping out anything higher than 192 for the cars. Probably more like 128 these days for stereo music channels (though...this is just a guess on my part). :)

#12 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:56 PM

Since the crappy audio comes and goes, I wonder if the poor audio is caused by poor signal reception. I just wonder if there are better quality Sirius radios (better d/a converters or higher sensitivity RF receiver) that don't have that phasey comb-filtered sound on the spoken word channels.
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#13 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:47 PM

The only issues I've noticed with my Sirius car radio are reception based.
There is a section of road with heavy trees (practically a canopy) where when the leaves are wet the signal bounces a little ... and I've had a bobble when going under some underpasses (depending on construction of the underpass).

There have also been places where I expected to lose signal (places where AM or FM are lost) where Sirius keeps working. Sometimes RF is unpredictable.

#14 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:31 PM

Our auto radio produces excellent Sirius sound. We also have dead spots as we are in the redwoods but we either get quality sound or no sound. In two years, I've never experienced poor quality sound. And we listen to the same "channels" through Dish at home.

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#15 OFFLINE   Volatility

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:05 AM

Maybe it is your car speakers? Or the reception? I never had a sound problem when i had Sirius.

#16 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:46 AM

If they are cutting too many bits off, the audio quality will suffer greatly. For my taste - I want at least 192kbps and would prefer 320kbps if I'm listening to MP3 type music - adjust as necessary depending on the codecs they're using. I find that Sirius on Dish is quite nice - even on the TV speakers.

Also - "car audio" is definately an oxymoron - I have never heard a really great car audio system that compares to even a relatively low end home stereo.


On my 37" SHARP AQUS set SirusXM sounds great, but on my Magnavox 19" set its crappy.

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#17 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:53 PM

Maybe it is your car speakers? Or the reception? I never had a sound problem when i had Sirius.

The same speakers sound fine for FM & Digital media (CD's and jump drive audio files).
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#18 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:01 PM

I side with those who find Sirius satellite feeds very thin. I suspect less than 50 kbps a lot of the time. I'd like it if they'd halve the number of stations and double the bandwidth.

My car stereo plays several other formats at much higher Q than Sirius.
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#19 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:27 PM

I've had both Sirius and XM in cars. My Nissan Cube has a pretty decent stereo system with a factory XM radio. I found the XM to sound a bit better than the Sirius. In fact, I dropped the XM for a time and installed a Sirius radio, with direct connection to the cars receiver. The XM definitely has marginally better sound.

I find the quality of satellite radio to be ok, but not great, but when I hook up my iPod in the car and crank it up, wow! The difference is amazing. The limitation isn't in the speakers and amp. Satellite radio is just barely good enough for use in a noisy car with crummy acrostics.

I do find the Sirius/XM channels sound much better on Dish. I play them through a pretty decent A/V system. They are nowhere close to CD quality, but for general background listening they are acceptable.

I only wish Dish would offer a package that included all the Sirius/XM channels so I could drop my boom box radio in the house.

#20 OFFLINE   dmspen

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:30 AM

I have two cars with Sirius/XM - a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 2012 Ford Focus. When sitting in the driveway, cars next to each other, same channel on both, the Focus sounds thin and garbled comared to the Odyssey.

This makes me suspect the quality of the receiver in the vehicles are the determining factor. I've heard talk shows where I couldn't understand what was being said (in the Focus).

Another tidbit...the Focus drops signals MUCH more than the Odyssey. When I go under the freeway overpass near home, the Odyssey doesn't miss a beat, but the Focus drops every time.

However, the Focus buffers up to 12 songs for replay...except the feature is a pain to get to...

#21 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

I have two cars with Sirius/XM - a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 2012 Ford Focus. When sitting in the driveway, cars next to each other, same channel on both, the Focus sounds thin and garbled comared to the Odyssey.

This makes me suspect the quality of the receiver in the vehicles are the determining factor. I've heard talk shows where I couldn't understand what was being said (in the Focus).

Another tidbit...the Focus drops signals MUCH more than the Odyssey. When I go under the freeway overpass near home, the Odyssey doesn't miss a beat, but the Focus drops every time.

However, the Focus buffers up to 12 songs for replay...except the feature is a pain to get to...


Is it possible that one car has Sirius and the other XM? I know my XM radio suffers from dropouts a lot more than the Sirius radio in the same car. XM comes from three geosynchronous satellites while Sirius has three satellites that are not in a true geosynchronous orbit.

#22 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 05:54 PM

I have two cars with Sirius/XM - a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 2012 Ford Focus. When sitting in the driveway, cars next to each other, same channel on both, the Focus sounds thin and garbled comared to the Odyssey.

This makes me suspect the quality of the receiver in the vehicles are the determining factor. I've heard talk shows where I couldn't understand what was being said (in the Focus).

Another tidbit...the Focus drops signals MUCH more than the Odyssey. When I go under the freeway overpass near home, the Odyssey doesn't miss a beat, but the Focus drops every time.

However, the Focus buffers up to 12 songs for replay...except the feature is a pain to get to...

BINGO! I have that feature on the MKZ. I suspected that that feature may "dumb down" the digital resolution. I'd give up that feature if it meant that the bit rate would increase.
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#23 OFFLINE   homeskillet

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:40 PM

SiriusXM broadcasts with limited bandwidth availability, typically audio stations will transmit around 32-41 kbps (some are in mono even) and the talk stations are less. I know the traffic stations are around 8 kbps. 

 

When lots of play by play sports are going on, they steal bandwidth from each station to make up the difference to add the sports broadcasts. 

 

Dish Network receives the Sirius audio feed directly from SiriusXM via a direct fiber connection. 



#24 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:48 PM

SiriusXM broadcasts with limited bandwidth availability, typically audio stations will transmit around 32-41 kbps (some are in mono even) and the talk stations are less. I know the traffic stations are around 8 kbps. 

 

When lots of play by play sports are going on, they steal bandwidth from each station to make up the difference to add the sports broadcasts. 

 

Dish Network receives the Sirius audio feed directly from SiriusXM via a direct fiber connection. 

Would that be at the bitrates you mentioned above, or a higher rate?


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#25 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:49 AM

Far higher.  I know the internet feeds are AT LEAST 128Kbps.  I can't remember the exact number.






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