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Brad Fitzpatrick

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XM radio can blow me [Feb. 17th, 2005|04:00 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick

Is it just me (and my dad), or does XM Radio sound like an over-compressed mp3 coming through a tincan telephone?

My XM radio free trial is expiring soon and there's no way in hell I can pay for that sound quality. Cut some stations and give each station more bandwidth. Christ.

But I hear Sirius is worse?

[User Picture]From: djenigma
2005-02-18 12:10 am (UTC)
no, it's not you.

since i spend so much time at my computer, i thought i'd try out xm's online radio free trial rather than going out and buying an actual receiver.. glad i did the trial rather than paying for it outright; the quality is HORRIBLE.
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[User Picture]From: grahams
2005-02-18 12:56 am (UTC)
But does their online service actually deliver the AAC stream they transmit over the satellite, or is it an mp3/real stream?
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[User Picture]From: bitwise
2005-02-18 12:13 am (UTC)
IIRC it's 64kbps AAC with SBR, so it's not just you.

SBR== the decoder making up a bunch of high frequency sounds to replace the ones we threw away in our shitty encoding process.
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[User Picture]From: moonwick
2005-02-18 12:27 am (UTC)
I agree with you. I've got XM, but I don't listen to it as much as I'd like just because it sounds so terrible. I've gotten used to it somewhat, and I can ignore it when it's on in the background, but you're right: it's far from CD quality audio.
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[User Picture]From: vanbeast
2005-02-18 12:30 am (UTC)
I noticed it in your car, too. Maybe it's just your receivers? I imagine it'd be easier to get a good solid lock on the signal when not moving.

I've heard a lot of people who are really happy with it. I've also heard that Sirius is better, but who knows?
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[User Picture]From: crschmidt
2005-02-18 12:37 am (UTC)
We listen to the Sirius online broadcasts at work: I don't know about the non-online stuff, a coworker is the subscriber. The quality of the online stuff is clear to me definitely doesn't sound tinny or anything, but we don't listen to the most complex stations either: usually 80's music, which osunds crappy no matter what ;)
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[User Picture]From: krellis
2005-02-18 12:38 am (UTC)
To my ear the music isn't that bad, but the speech is terrible. It's like they optimized the compression for one but not the other. That, or I just can't hear it during the music. In southern NH they have terrible coverage, too, with tons of drop-outs in medium-dense forested areas and when going under some bridges. Yet a little further south in Boston or Providence I could get clear signal while in an underground parking garage where I couldn't get any AM or FM stations. Learn how to buffer, guys!
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[User Picture]From: moonwick
2005-02-18 12:54 am (UTC)
They do -- one satellite broadcasts about five seconds behind the other. In cities they have ground-based repeaters that compensate for not being able to have a consistent view of the satellites, which you likely won't have out in a forested area.
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[User Picture]From: mountain_hiker
2005-02-18 12:39 am (UTC)
I've actually had no issues with XM. I'm not an audiophile, though, so it sounds just fine to me.
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[User Picture]From: wilmygirl
2005-02-18 12:55 am (UTC)
It sounds ok to me....
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[User Picture]From: christowang
2005-02-18 01:03 am (UTC)
I don't think AM/FM is any better, and I sure as hell can't deal with the 20 minutes of commercial per hour.

I listen to it for O&A, and the music is just used for ambiance.
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[User Picture]From: scsi
2005-02-18 01:38 am (UTC)
Sirius sounds CD quality to me, of course i play it loud.. No complaints here.
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From: zztzed
2005-02-18 01:58 am (UTC)
My family has the Sirius music channels via Dish Network and they sound fine to me, though I listen mostly to Hard Attack and I have pretty low standards for audio compression transparency anyway And I don't know if Dish gets a seperate feed of Sirius that they compress themselves or if they get the same feed that Sirius broadcasts.
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[User Picture]From: moonwick
2005-02-18 05:26 am (UTC)
Nope, pretty sure that FM beats XM hands-down. FM doesn't suffer from terrible compression artifacts.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-02-18 05:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, FM sounds great in my car.
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[User Picture]From: shmivejournal
2005-02-18 02:44 pm (UTC)
Are you talking about the XM quality through the web radio interface, or the actual signal as received from the satellite?

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[User Picture]From: jeremyleff
2005-02-18 05:57 pm (UTC)
You can actually stream it on the Net?

I've been listening to a lot of DVD-Audio lately which is better than CD so I'm a little spoiled.
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[User Picture]From: moonwick
2005-02-18 07:34 pm (UTC)
The satellite signal. IIRC, the online stream is even worse.
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[User Picture]From: smackfu
2005-02-18 02:31 am (UTC)
I've heard it was supposed to be aacplus (TM I'm sure). That sounds pretty good streamed on the web at crappy bitrates, like on MPR.
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