cd's no more Sirius satellite 90% of the time now [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-13-2006, 01:43 PM
I find myself listening to satellite music 90% of the time now instead of cd's. Before anyone slams me this is not Sirius vrs XM discussion. Now I know most responses will state cd is much better quality etc... but I find satellite music to be very very acceptable in sound quality and also in the music selection that is played is fantastic, new old you name it they have it. Also I have never actually done a comparison with the same song between satellite and cd it would be interesting to do a double blind comparison at the same volume etc...

The last high end shop I was in was playing DISH and the owner said it was always on but of course for an audition a cd was used.

I will probably never buy another cd again. Does anyone else have the same experience?

Jim Clark
01-13-2006, 02:08 PM
Good gawd no. While it's bound to be an upgrade over traditional radio, which I generally have no use for, for me there's not going to be a substitute for listening to what I want to listen to when I want to listen to it. Why would I pay money to listen to what someone thinks I want to listen to, when I can do it myself?

Now, if I was one of those crusty types that thinks all the good music has already been written and that no good music is released anymore then it might be a great thing to be able to sample some things on a much broader scope. I'm not one of those people though. The internet has opened the door to tons of great tunes by the way of MP3 samples as well as word of mouth, ie. Rave Recs. I'm not going to bad mouth sat. radio since I don't see it as a bad thing in any way, shape or form. Still, it's never going to replace my own song selection until they come up with some sort of streaming where I am my own programmer.


01-13-2006, 07:36 PM
Supposedly Sirius uses a highly compressed datarate of about 65k, but recently improved its sound quality by updating the codec. People posting on other boards have mostly given XM the edge with sound quality and attributed that to XM using a higher sampling rate and bit depth (but supposedly using a similarly compressed datarate). A lot of this is conjecture, but it seems that the bottomline is that Sirius uses a more compressed signal than MP3 and an improved codec.

At home I have the XM music channels that Directv provides turned on fairly frequently (their Beyond Jazz and electronica channels have some great tunes going), and I have managed to do a few A/B comparisons whenever a song from my CD library comes on. The difference is actually obvious if you pay attention. The highs are more subdued, and the sound in general has more of an abrupt quality. But, the sound seems more laid back, and flatter in the details with a less dynamic presence.

My understanding is that Directv uses a compressed MPEG-2 audio stream with the audio encoded at a 32 kHz sampling rate, which is lower than the 44.1 kHz rate used by CDs (and the 96 and 192 kHz rates used with DVD-Audio). This means that the high frequency "brickwall" with the audio occurs below 16 kHz, which is well within the audible range. This is a step down from CD audio, but is still superior to FM radio, which has a more limited frequency range and a lot more background noise.

N. Abstentia
01-13-2006, 09:17 PM
I also have the XM channels with DirecTV and thanks to MusicLab, Deep Tracks, and The Loft I've discovered lots of new music that I otherwise would never have heard. It's great for background music or I'll turn it on in Zone 2 which is outside on the deck area to have some music going on out there. I used to burn a CD full of wma's and let it randomize but thanks to XM I don't have to fool with that.

As far as replacing CD's...never. I've bought more CD's since Direct picked up XM actually :)

01-13-2006, 10:25 PM
Not even close.

Like Wooch and NA, I get XM with DirecTV and I bought my wife Sirius for her car over Christmas. For me, Sirius is far too compressed to ever get me to stop buying cd's. The audible compression actually starts to annoy me after awhile on a lot of the rock stations. NA hit the nail on the head when describing the benefits of sat radio: it exposes you to artists you might not otherwise have heard and compells you to buy their discs. In fact, right before I popped over here I was on the site looking for hi-rez discs.

01-14-2006, 05:18 AM
As much as I like Sirius, it's for the content, not the sound quality. This will undoubtedly get better as the technology matures. Some of the channels are being favored with more bandwidth I suspect. Others, like the npr channels, sound like highly compressed mp3's. None of the channels sound anything like cd. The best of them are more like FM quality. The worst are almost unlistenable. Regardless, the lack of relentless and obnoxious commercial content is enough reason to buy into the technology for me. A no-cost alternative are podcasts. Any mp3 player can be used. There are a number of ways to listen in your car or through other audio systems. Most are crap but there are more and more high quality and entertaining feeds out there now. For those of you that want a sample, download a podcasting client (Juice is my favorite and free) and check out the following. The Ricky Gervais podcast is especially entertaining. Cut and paste these into your client (ipodder, itunes, ipodderx..) and check them out.

Lastly, if you think Satellite content is acceptable, a free and better sounding (depending on the bitrate of the station you tune into) is Shoutcast. Go to and pick from virtually any genre and stream to your hearts content. The sound quality of many of these stations has improved dramatically over the last year or two. If you find a channel you like, you can record any of it for later playback on a portable in your car system, home system or stream it directly to your home system any number of ways. For recording, I use a mac with audio hijck pro. The pc equivalent is Total Recorder Pro.

01-14-2006, 10:27 AM
It sounds like XM has better sound than Sirius, Sirius comes with my DISH package so that is the only reason I have it. There is an add out from Polk Audio for a "high end" XM receiver, wonder if that makes a difference. I too have found different channels have different sound quality. The contemporary jazz channel sounds very good to me at least. I have never listened to NPR or news/sports channels so they may be more compressed and not sound as good.

But the bottom line I think for many sat users the sound is acceptable. Acceptable being the key word not perfect or better than cd but acceptable to listen to. I find myself as I get older I listen to the music more than how the music sounds. I think everyone knows what I mean, we all have a great demo disk but it may not be the type of music we usually listen to.

Of course this group has much higher standards, so I do understand some people not finding the sound quality acceptable.

I do understand that sat exposes everyone to new music and that can generate new cd sales, however in my case I am happy just with the sat music playing a mix of music that I like but would not even know what group to buy unless I really track what I listen to and write the names of the groups down.