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  1. #1
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Satellite Radio...a new way to enjoy HT

    four weeks ago i began a subscription to Sirius radio.
    WOW, as a music lover, its a god-send. I'll list pros and cons based on my experience.

    Satellite receiver = Sanyo CSR-10 (comes w/ home and car kit and FM mod built in) $150
    Receiver = Harman Kardon AVR-525 - 7.1 receiver for controling 2 zones

    Pros
    • 65 commercial free channels
      scrolling artist and song (some with year released)
      wide range of music categories...from bluegrass to old-school rap
      using 3.5mm plug..you receive CD quality sound
      Ability to plug into audio input of your AV receiver so you can use all surround formats
      Ability to use AVR to fine tune your sound like in PLII or NEO:6 (Bass management)
      Using AVR, listen to music while watching TV or any video source (Playstation II)
      Online streaming of all music channels (XM doesn't offer)
      Real DJs...like back-in-the-day type (no song sponsored by 'Ben Gay' type crap)
      NFL network channel
      NFL Sunday Ticket (Directv charges $180)
      Audio output to calibrate with your system
      Small and portable thanks to built in FM modulator


    Cons:
    Other than music channels - do have commericals... like ESPNews,NFL channel, CNN, etc
    Only 20 presets (imagine filling 20 with FM radio)
    FM modulator emits static if you have a local (strong) station. Trail and error to find best sound.
    To get CD quailty in your car, must have a deck with an AUX input.

    Since this is a HT forum, i'll speak to what's important. Running satellite radio through your AV receiver provides many options and lots of fun. Converting to 5.1 formats and tweaking them can bring some great sounding music that fills a room.
    Music quality varies...on channels that play newer music, digital quailty. Older music sounds like a inferior CD mix. Overall, majority are superior to your best FM station.

    disclaimer:
    I don't work for Satellite Radio, but as a music lover, i can say 'do yourself a favor' and research it.

    Sirius gives you a free trail online, so you have nothing to lose and 65 music channels to gain.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular JamezHill's Avatar
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    I have Sirius in my truck and in the home. I would say it sounds like 96-128 kbps at best. What's scary is that they've *improved*. I hear XM is no different though.

    Glad you like it, the music selection *is* a much better alternative to FM, but for the most part I just use streaming audio streams (Shoutcast) for home use. The 192kbps are nice

  3. #3
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    I got the "Sportster" model to switch between my car and home, though it mostly stays in my car. The reason I got it and have kept it so far is the music selection. I'm tired of all the pop I hear on the radio and like the variety on satellite radio, especially the jam band station. However, I've been rather disappointed by the sound. Before I bought it, just about every review praised the "near CD" quality, which is much better than FM. Well I wish it sounded as good as FM to me. The compression artifacts can be very noticeable, especially in audience noise from live recordings, high-hats, and the "s" sound. Has anyone with Sirius noticed this? It seems to vary by station and even different days, but it often sounds like a bad mp3.

    My other issue is that one of the benefits of satellite radio is supposed to be that you can listen to crystal clear radio across the country, without having to change stations. Well this works when I am around town and have the FM modulator set to a station that doesn't have anything on it around here, but if I go on a long trip (which I often do), I start hearing static and other noise as I drive through an area that has a station at that frequency, which means I have to find another frequency with nothing on it and switch my sportster to it.

  4. #4
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E Ray
    I got the "Sportster" model to switch between my car and home, though it mostly stays in my car. The reason I got it and have kept it so far is the music selection. I'm tired of all the pop I hear on the radio and like the variety on satellite radio, especially the jam band station. However, I've been rather disappointed by the sound. Before I bought it, just about every review praised the "near CD" quality, which is much better than FM. Well I wish it sounded as good as FM to me. The compression artifacts can be very noticeable, especially in audience noise from live recordings, high-hats, and the "s" sound. Has anyone with Sirius noticed this? It seems to vary by station and even different days, but it often sounds like a bad mp3.

    My other issue is that one of the benefits of satellite radio is supposed to be that you can listen to crystal clear radio across the country, without having to change stations. Well this works when I am around town and have the FM modulator set to a station that doesn't have anything on it around here, but if I go on a long trip (which I often do), I start hearing static and other noise as I drive through an area that has a station at that frequency, which means I have to find another frequency with nothing on it and switch my sportster to it.
    Ray, the reason your disppointed with the sound quality is due to using the FM modulator. This is a useful feature, but to get the 'near CD quality' you will need to use the supplied mini-plug to RCA cable. This cable plugs into your receiver (sportster) and then into your 'AUX' input of your vehicle CD player. If you do not have an 'AUX' input, i strongly suggest purchasing a new CD player with this input.
    The quality of music greatly improves. This will also emlinate the need to switch frequencies on trips.

    Also, if you have a home kit, there should also be a cable for the same connection into your AV receiver or such. If you do use the cable connection..leave the FM modulator on and then you can listen to it from anywhere in the house you have a FM tuner. Works great when i'm in my basement.

  5. #5
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    Or if you have a cassette deck, use a cassette adaptor to connect to your sportster.
    "and no one seems to understand the glory of guitar, when out of tune, the off timing, the singers who can't sing, - the beauty of punk!"

  6. #6
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpm32
    Or if you have a cassette deck, use a cassette adaptor to connect to your sportster.

    a cassette adaptor will not be a sound improvement over the FM modulator. It will sound as good as a cassette. To hear the best sound available...you need to connect via cable to the AUX input.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    a cassette adaptor will not be a sound improvement over the FM modulator. It will sound as good as a cassette. To hear the best sound available...you need to connect via cable to the AUX input.
    Umm, of course the aux in is the best option. But the cassette adapter with the head properly aligned will most definitely sound better the the FM modulator. If one only has the choice between the cassette and modulator because they do not have an aux in, the cassette is the choice to make. Now if the poster doesn't have a cassette player (not many new cars do these days) they should go for a head unit with the aux in.
    "and no one seems to understand the glory of guitar, when out of tune, the off timing, the singers who can't sing, - the beauty of punk!"

  8. #8
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpm32
    Umm, of course the aux in is the best option. But the cassette adapter with the head properly aligned will most definitely sound better the the FM modulator. If one only has the choice between the cassette and modulator because they do not have an aux in, the cassette is the choice to make. Now if the poster doesn't have a cassette player (not many new cars do these days) they should go for a head unit with the aux in.
    your probably right, i haven't heard a cassette played in years so i assumed it still has a ton of hiss and distortion. Maybe later cassettes were higher quality. Wow, now that i think about it...i haven't heard a cassette in...say 8 years or more.

  9. #9
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    I have Sirius with my Dish subscription and listen to it all the time. Personally, I can tell a huge difference between the satellite vs. playback from a cdp. It's a lot closer to 128k MP3 if you ask me. I had this discussion with Wooch a while back and he attributed it to the compression the signal suffers. Now, I don't have my stb connected to my avr with a toslink, only rca's, so there is a possiblity the sound would improve using the dac's in my avr. Still, I doubt it will sound as good as cd. The bottom line is that I wouldn't do any critical listening with it, but it's fun as hell for background music and just rocking out .

    I'd love to get it in my car, which is pre-wired for Sirius, but I shudder at the thought of them sticking that damn antennae on my trunk and ruining the lines of the car. Priorities, my man. We must have our priorties !

  10. #10
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    I have Sirius with my Dish subscription and listen to it all the time. Personally, I can tell a huge difference between the satellite vs. playback from a cdp. It's a lot closer to 128k MP3 if you ask me. I had this discussion with Wooch a while back and he attributed it to the compression the signal suffers. Now, I don't have my stb connected to my avr with a toslink, only rca's, so there is a possiblity the sound would improve using the dac's in my avr. Still, I doubt it will sound as good as cd. The bottom line is that I wouldn't do any critical listening with it, but it's fun as hell for background music and just rocking out .

    I'd love to get it in my car, which is pre-wired for Sirius, but I shudder at the thought of them sticking that damn antennae on my trunk and ruining the lines of the car. Priorities, my man. We must have our priorties !
    top, your right on....when i compare my sirius (via AUX input) against the a CD, the quality of sound doesn't measure up. Hence, Sirius referred to their quality as 'CD-like' sound...similar to Directv and Dish. However, its still far above FM. I'm sure in the next year or so the sat.receivers will have a digital connection, but the car audio companies need to provide the input. It'll all be good in a year or so and the quality will equal CD.

    Hey, the antenna is small and the wire is tucked out of sight on the inside so no biggie for me. It sure has made my 2 hour per day commutes more fun. The way i see it, I now get 2 hours of music listening without interruptions....you know the kids-dogs-wife-tv....now, if I can manage to stuff my Revel's into my Saab

  11. #11
    nerd ericl's Avatar
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    Just found out I am going to get this XM compatibleYamaha receiver with an activated XM antenna for review. I'm excited! I want to hear what the buzz is all about. Hopefully the sound quality is better than decent.

    -Eric

  12. #12
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    Just found out I am going to get this XM compatibleYamaha receiver with an activated XM antenna for review. I'm excited! I want to hear what the buzz is all about. Hopefully the sound quality is better than decent.

    -Eric
    eric, i'm curious as well since you will bypass the external satelite receiver and elimate the mini-RCA cable. It should sound superior to my setup. So be sure to post your opinions as others are heading in that direction.

    Another cool feature...ability to use your surround formats and tweak them. I love listening to my sat. radio in Logic7 Music and DTS:NEO Music.

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