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· Hall Of Fame
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4,351 Posts
You can thank your local radio stations for that.

Originally, satellite radio was supposed to have TWICE the spectrum they now have - but the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) fought it and got the FCC to cut the allocation in half.

So, with limited bandwidth, some channels have to be compressed more than others. the "worst" ones are the ones that require the least fidelity - like the traffic and weather channels. The talk and sport channels can be compressed more than, say, the music channels because you only need 1 channel for talk, versus 2 channels for stereo music.

Someday in the future, SiriusXM will take the 2 pieces of bandwidth they have (the original slices allocated to Sirius and XM when they were separate companies) and "merge" the services for real so that channels are not being broadcast in two different transmission schemes (the Sirius and XM encryption methods were different and incompatible). In theory, at that point, you could have twice as many channels as you do now - or less than that but a LOT better sound quality than now.
 

· Cool Member
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13 Posts
I'd be happy to deal with that. The other day I was listening to The Bridge on Sirius. Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" came on. When it came time for Lindsay Buckingham's famous guitar solo at the middle and the end of the song, it sounded like his guitar was underwater. Just horrible. My credit card had just been charged $206 for another year, and I thought, that kind of money for this crap?
 

· Hall Of Fame
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3,743 Posts
I changed my subscription to Internet only for my car. I now just plug my iPhone into the AUX port for my car and launch the Sirius app. I can't believe how much better it sounds! Much more definition. Bass I never knew existed in some songs. Crisp highs and clear mid tones. It's a night and day difference. It's cheaper too, and I can play Sirius on my iPad or computer so it's much more versatile then being chained down to a car radio.

Plus I've found more stations. Not only are there a few extra "Internet only" channels, but to visually see all the channels on an iPhone or iPad and scroll through them, you really get to see what's out there. Never really had time to do that on a car radio.

Also I never lose signal in parking garages, heavy tree cover or under bridges. It's 100% uninterrupted on my ride to and from work. I just ordered a car vent clip mount and USB cigarette lighter adapter for power. Can't wait till it gets here.

Sirius should put out radios that receive this better quality audio by using switched digital multicast over cellular data. Like how switched digital video for cable, they need switched digital audio.
 

· Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.
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15,115 Posts
Interesting! The only reason I might re-sub to Sirius is for in-dash traffic info.

The internet connection is something I didn't know about... So in effect are they not competing with Pandora, Spotify, Slacker and whoever else?
Will they state what bit rate they put out on internet connections?
 

· Hall Of Fame
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3,743 Posts
"Laxguy" said:
Interesting! The only reason I might re-sub to Sirius is for in-dash traffic info.

The internet connection is something I didn't know about... So in effect are they not competing with Pandora, Spotify, Slacker and whoever else?
Will they state what bit rate they put out on internet connections?
I'm not sure the bit rate, but it sounds much better than what comes through the satellite radio. I got an Internet account for $38 for the year. It's something like 3.50 a month but prepay the year and get one month free. Now my wife has a sat radio in her car, but she doesn't have aux input to take advantage of cellular phone app playback. I just had them shut off my car radio and added the Internet acct because it was cheaper. I originally was going to cancel the whole thing, but they offered my wife's radio for 1/2 off.

I guess it sorta competes with Pandora. It's just their channel lineup plus some extra channels and some on demand shows, concerts, etc.
 

· Mentor
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40 Posts
I cancelled my SXM sub two days after I bought my new car. SXM told me I still had 30 days free, I said shut it off, it sounds terrible. Now I use TuneIn on my iPhone and enjoy great programming from 181.fm sites. Not going to waste my money on any services like Pandora that don't offer quality programming.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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3,743 Posts
I thought about using Pandora only, but the issue is discovering new music. Sirius has stations that will rotate in new music as it becomes popular. While there's great music on Pandora, how does one learn of new stuff?

Tune in app looks great too. Heck, I can even get my counties police scanner through that app.
 

· Legend
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1,086 Posts
I have a Starmate 5, and the when I am on a talk channel, it easily records well over an hour and 10 minutes of programming, leave it on a music channel, and it just records 45 minutes, as advertised.

Data rate for talk is considerably lower, and it really shows there.

I also tend to forget when I am listening from the buffer, and the interruptions for overpasses and tunnels and such occur long after I have been there. Conversely, though, the radio appears to work in obstructed areas just fine, LOL.
 

· AllStar
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83 Posts
I've been doing some critical listening (as critical as my 62 year old ears can be) to both SiriusXM and Pandora. I've concluded that Pandora One pay service is far better than the satellite service. I'm debating whether after 8 years as a Sirius subscriber to drop it in favor of Pandora. I have an unlimited data plan on my Android phone, so data caps aren't a problem. The only problem I see is having to plug the phone into both power as well as the Aux, input of my car or home system. Interesting statement earlier about exposure to new music. But at 62 I find myself being less interested in new music, and prefer stuff I already know. The non music programs I listen to on Sirius like Howard, Koktails with Patrick, etc. are filled with nearly as many commercials as terrestrial radio, and I think I could get along without them. My subscription renews automatically in March, and it might be a good time to make a break and try it
 

· Godfather
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433 Posts
After 1 ride in my in-laws car with SXM, I knew I would never give them a penny for that poor quality... I use spotify and it's easy to find new music... I used to use Pandora, but when you don't like a song too many times ,they force you to listen to it anyway... Spotify will let you listen as if it's your own music library...
 

· Legend
Joined
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1,086 Posts
I use my Starmate in 2 vehicles. One, the sound system is all aftermarket, not highend, but not cheap either. I like the sound quality.

My other rig is a newer Chevy Silverado. That one, I just plug the Starmate into a jack on the dashboard. Sound quality on the stock system isn't anywhere close to what I would consider acceptable for music, but it's OK far talk/news.

I've never been in a car/truck with a 'premium' sound system, so I can't comment on that, but the current indash Am/Fm/Cd system is pretty disappointing.

LOL, however, I will give them this, the Am tuner is WAY better than the one in my Onkyo receiver. :lol:
 

· Godfather
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392 Posts
Interesting thoughts here on quality. I have been using the internet streaming part of my friends service, its a WMA 128kbps stream as shown on my Denon receiver in the house.
Two days ago I bought a new Alpine 149 head unit for my car and added the SiriusXM tuner. WOW, it sounds HORRIBLE, damn near sounds mono.
I am going to sample the iPhone app stream against the Sat stream, and see what the difference is.
 

· Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.
Joined
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15,115 Posts
Maybe my ears have degraded, but now Sirius sounds better than it did six months ago on the classical channels I listen to when using Sirius.

Still for my money (it's "free" now due to a new car.) they could halve the number of channels and double the bit rate on the rest.
 
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