Sirius XM vs the "other guys"

Discussion in 'Streaming Services' started by AlTinkster92, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi folks, just a question. I signed up for free trial of XM the other day. I presently have Spotify premium and also Tidal. I use the Tidal almost every night but the last couple days I have noticed that XM seems to have a little punchier sound. Was wondering why? Is XM music compressed somehow and I wonder what speed they stream with? The increased "punchiness" is almost preferable to the other guys and its got me scratching my head as to why. Anyone else experience what I am? Thanks in advance. :) AL
     

     

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  2. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    That "punchiness" is dynamic audio compression...not to be confused with digital file compression. FM radio uses it to be "louder" among other things than the other guy.

    Last I remember XM's bitrate stream is pretty lite--somewhere between 64 and 80 kbps.
     
  3. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    I believe Sirius XM uses variable bit rate compression that is allocated to the needs of their various channels.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As far as why it is sounding better ... would suspect that it has something to do with the patching on your audio rig. How you are setting up it ... this hooked up to that .... etc.
     
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  4. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    Yep. Hence the 64-80 kbps I noted. Satellite has way more bandwidth constraint/allotment than a terrestrial streamer.
     
  5. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, appreciate the help. I hate to say I kinda like the compression somewhat, I listen on Fisher tube gear with a simple DAC. Also wonder if upgrading the DAC would be worth the effort. How would one get that XM sound on Tidal etc? Thanks again AL :)
     
  6. RichPA

    RichPA Don't drive angry Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    SiriuxXM over the internet (as opposed to the crappy satellite signal) is certainly listenable, but doesn't hold a candle to Tidal. On the other hand, if you want to hear new-to-you music, you can't beat SiriusXM.
     
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  7. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

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    I set my Spotify to the maximum setting (forgot what it is called). Sounds pretty good. SXM from skybirds does not sound as good. A little better from the Internet app. I have a theory that SXM has higher bitrates for more popular channels (Classic Vinyl). Satellite real estate is super darn expensive.

    I like SXM for the actual DJs. Best way to hear something new. Let someone else do the work. Spotify eliminates the need for me to carry around a shoebox full of CDs when I travel or go to parties. Dad-in-law wants to hear Stan Kenton? Hey, I've got it.
     
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  8. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    Sirius XM is good for talk, and nothing else. I've heard a lot better AM radio (and on mediocre tuners)
     
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  9. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

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    I wonder what the ratio of Sirius XM in automotive systems to Sirius XM in home systems is. Could it be that Siruis "punches up" the sound to better fit the automotive environment?
     
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  10. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    I listen to Sirius XM at home (not car) .... through the Dish Hopper Sat Receiver (DVR) ... optical out (toslink) > Schiit Modi 2 Uber > 2ch Home Stereo. I can also take the RCA out of Hopper > Home Stereo ... optical sounds better, not night & day.

    Mostly Classic Rock ... Deep Tracks, Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind, The Bridge, 1st Wave, Willies Roadhouse & others. Channel quality varies with the Classic Rock channels sounding good (not great) but something like Margaritaville sounds low res lossy. The audio quality is good enough on the Classic Rock stations to tell the difference between well mastered songs & others on my rig.

    Have not noticed a "punchy sound" .... I think of Mono when I hear that term.

    I've heard Sirius XM in rental cars w/ factory stereo's & speakers ... again sounds okay ... what I've come to expect out of non-luxury rental car factory sound systems.



    As a point of reference ... I stream Tidal (High Quality 320kbps AAC) ... which sounds better than Sirius XM ... some low res Internet radio stations (Tune In) sound worse than Sirius XM on my audio rig.

    Never heard Sirius XM over the Internet ... it would be more expensive (if you don't already own a car radio subscription) than Tidal HQ ... so I will probably never take that route.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  11. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Condorsat, you can sign up for a free trial like I did, you get 30 days and no CC needed either....

    XM in our CTS has that same punchiness as well. Beats me why though... It sounds better than FM.
     
  12. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2017
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  13. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Have a trial subscription that came with the new car. Sounds terrible to these ears, selection of jazz is pretty pathetic. I won't be subscribing, but they appear to have sold my email address to hundreds of other marketeers. What a PITA.
     
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  14. Herr Eickhorn

    Herr Eickhorn Born again Alien

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    I just got SiriusXM Internet Radio going in my main rig. Its flowing straight from my modem into my Yamaha RX-A1000 receiver (had to update firmware) with a Cat 6e Ethernet cable. And it sounds damn good! Make sure to set the bandwidth to MAXIMUM on the SXM web site. Not only is it very listenable but its also free since we have a SXM all access subscription in our Lexus. Customer support at SXM told me its only 95 kbps. My receiver show the codec as being AAC+. I wonder if thats why it sounds so good?
     
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  15. satkinsn

    satkinsn low end audio Subscriber

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    Jumping into an old thread for anyone who still cares. My info comes from postings over on the XM fan board, where they track such things. As always, I'm no expert, could be wrong. etc.

    - Everyone who says Sirius and XM are bandwidth starved, highly, highly compressed is in my opinion...correct. That said, Sirius and XM, despite being the same company for the last half dozen years, use different audio compression schemes. As noted by another poster, XM uses AAC+, (I believe it's also called HE-AAC) while Sirius uses a different codec, whose name escapes me at the moment. Among XM fans at least, there's a consensus that AAC+ sounds better.

    - Probably more important is the amount of processing the signal undergoes after compression. From what I've read - and my own listening bears this out - Sirius pushes processing hard; it's like FM loudness on steroids. Everything, from the quietest to the loudest passage, comes out the same. It will drive you insane, and not slowly.

    The XM fan board reports that as of mid-year last year, it appeared the XM side dropped most/all post-processing, resulting in markedly better sound. I have Sirius in my car, built in, but am encouraged enough by this news that I've acquired an Onyx Plus XM receiver and plan to install it to see if I can hear a difference.

    Finally, in my little town Sirius now has significant dropouts. I believe this to be related to the decommissioning of a couple of satellites, but don't know for sure. An early test with the Onyx, which would rely on the XM satellites as I understand it, was not encouraging.

    s.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
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  16. jdmccall

    jdmccall Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I've never had a good listening experience with SiriusXM, which I have only heard over a Dish receiver's HDMI output to a Marantz NR1602 receiver -not exactly high-end. But on the other hand, I've had many good experiences with Pandora's free service. A 30-second advert after every fourth track is a bit annoying but is tolerable. I've even thought Pandora at 128 kb/s usually sounded better than Rhapsody (RIP) at 192. I had Spotify for a while at (I thought) 320 kb/s, but it 's sound did not impress me either. Come to find out, it may have just been a 128 kb stream, too. [I wish streaming services would be more forthcoming about their tech!]
     
  17. tnmike1

    tnmike1 AK Member Subscriber

    I have Sirius in two cars, my Venza which I use around town, and a Chrysler van which we use for trips from Knoxville down to FL, usually a 12 hr drive (with stops for the dogs and gas and eating. WIll keep Sirius for the van, but dropping for the Venza. Seems it's always dropping out or gets "spotty" and for $240 per year, gotta be something cheaper., Looking at Spotify to Bluetooth between my smartphone and the Venza. Does anyone know how much data is burned using streamers like Spotify???? Not as concerned with sound quality in a car as I am about cost of using the streaming source
     

     

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  18. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    I think T-Mobile offers free data for a bunch of music services, probably including Spotify. Not sure about allowed bandwidth, most likely throttled down somewhat.
     
  19. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    Approx. usage per hour (Spotify Tiers)

    Normal (96 kbps) 42 MB
    High (192 kbps) 84 MB
    Extreme (320 kbps) 140 MB

    ergo your 12 hour trip using the extreme SQ setting would consume approx. 1.68 GB
     
  20. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Spotify has a Extreme platform now? Thought all they has was free and Premium....
     

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