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Old 09-30-2009, 3:00 PM   #1
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XM Radio sound quality?

Hi everyone! I just signed up for 5-months of XM for $20.00 it was a special offer mailed to me. I never renewed XM after I got my NonTech package RDX over a year ago.
Anyway are you people happy with the sound quality of XM?
I think it sounds like a poor quality MP3 download!!
My Non Tech Package audio system ain't great but CD's sound fine. Is it the XM tuner that Acura uses or is that the way XM is?
Sure wish HD radio was available instead.
I have HD Radio at my home and it sound absolutely great.
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Old 09-30-2009, 3:39 PM   #2
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It's XM. The quality stinks as a rule. Some channels are apparently streamed at a higher bit rate than others (so some sound better than others), but as a rule, they all sound like FM radio or worse. I keep it because of the variety, certainly not because of the quality. In fact, the quality is why I will never pay full price for it. As soon as I can't get deals anymore, I'm out.

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Old 09-30-2009, 6:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gsvette View Post
Hi everyone! I just signed up for 5-months of XM for $20.00 it was a special offer mailed to me. I never renewed XM after I got my NonTech package RDX over a year ago.
Anyway are you people happy with the sound quality of XM?
I think it sounds like a poor quality MP3 download!!
My Non Tech Package audio system ain't great but CD's sound fine. Is it the XM tuner that Acura uses or is that the way XM is?
Sure wish HD radio was available instead.
I have HD Radio at my home and it sound absolutely great.
I too have a base (non-tech) 2008 RDX. I also find the XM sound quality not consistent, meaning, some stations sound better than others. I bought a 3-year XM plan after my freebie ran out because I like the variety. By the way, I believe the base stereo is actually quite good in the RDX but as an audiophile knows the sound system will only sound as good as the source. Iíve ripped some MP3s and put them on CD and they sound great in the RDX.

P.S. I noticed during the summer months with heavy foliage the XM would sometimes fade in/out trying to get a signal. Eventually it fails to receive and stops working completely. The only way I can get it to work again is by shutting off the car and restarting (kinda like rebooting ones computer.) Anyone else experience this annoyance?
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:47 PM   #4
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Haven't seen that problem on mine - I just lose signal temporarily when I go behind a mountain or steel building. Otherwise, the signal strength is pretty consistent. There is no doubt in my mind that they compress some stations more than others - and I wouldn't consider any of them 'high' quality. The talk stations sound worse than AM at times....

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Old 10-01-2009, 3:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I'm not hearing things, the concensus is the quality is not very good on XM!

Carbon2008RDX I have not had this problem in my RDX. It does fade under bridges and parking garages but overall reception is quite good!
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Old 10-01-2009, 9:58 PM   #6
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It totally depends on the channel. Some are crisp, clear, and dynamically wide. Others are tinny, mushy, and unimpressive.
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Old 10-02-2009, 7:02 PM   #7
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streams in accplus codec, usually quality is equivalent of 64kbs to 128kbs audio file -- aka sounding like shit.

even the better sounding channels which id equate to 128kbs stream, sound bad...xm is for content not sound quality - but then theres an argument to be made for its content or lack there of...if it werent for keeping the family plan open, id have cancelled mine a very long time ago...great in theory but like everything else it gets old...its like paying for cable in your car the way they structure pricing...id be more inclined to love XM if its quality approached the 256kbs range -but think about it, for people who love music, what is there to love about stuff sounding like its coming thru a meat grinder....you have fabulous stereo equip in your car, to enjoy & love music, yet you have to listen to this garbage pouring out of it. my 2.
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Old 10-03-2009, 7:08 PM   #8
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streams in accplus codec, usually quality is equivalent of 64kbs to 128kbs audio file -- aka sounding like shit.

even the better sounding channels which id equate to 128kbs stream, sound bad...xm is for content not sound quality - but then theres an argument to be made for its content or lack there of...if it werent for keeping the family plan open, id have cancelled mine a very long time ago...great in theory but like everything else it gets old...its like paying for cable in your car the way they structure pricing...id be more inclined to love XM if its quality approached the 256kbs range -but think about it, for people who love music, what is there to love about stuff sounding like its coming thru a meat grinder....you have fabulous stereo equip in your car, to enjoy & love music, yet you have to listen to this garbage pouring out of it. my 2.
To me, even my 128K MP3s sound better than the best XM station. I'd estimate more like 22-32K for the talk stations, and 64K for the good ones. I definitely agree - it's for content, not quality. I think it's worth $77/year for the content....but DEFINITELY not worth full price.

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Old 11-20-2009, 3:00 PM   #9
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I have a Sirius unit for my car that I tried hooking up to my nice home theater system and wow, did it ever sound horrible. Very tinny! I almost couldn't listen to it.

Oh well.. I guess its the price you pay for convenience on the road.
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Old 11-22-2009, 12:29 PM   #10
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Maybe it's just the channels I listen to but the sound quality of all my XM stations are just as good as FM or listening to my iPod. I'm happy with it.
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Old 11-22-2009, 2:30 PM   #11
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Maybe it's just the channels I listen to but the sound quality of all my XM stations are just as good as FM or listening to my iPod. I'm happy with it.
You just may not have a very discerning ear - and that's not meant as an insult. Mine isn't great (I can't tell the difference between a nice Sony stereo and a high end audiophile system). However, for the most part, I can tell the difference between XM and FM. FM just has a wider frequency and dynamic range than all the XM channels I've heard.

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Old 11-22-2009, 5:15 PM   #12
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Catnippants - Not taken as an insult at all. Actually I'm huge into audio and home entertainment so sound is very important to me and tend to think I have a good ear for good sound quality. I guess I would just say that from what I hear of people talking about XM quality (i.e. static and all) I don't get any of that. Maybe people are blowing it out of proportion but from what I read on here it sounds to me like people are having read bad experiences. I'm not.
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Old 11-22-2009, 9:41 PM   #13
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Catnippants - Not taken as an insult at all. Actually I'm huge into audio and home entertainment so sound is very important to me and tend to think I have a good ear for good sound quality. I guess I would just say that from what I hear of people talking about XM quality (i.e. static and all) I don't get any of that. Maybe people are blowing it out of proportion but from what I read on here it sounds to me like people are having read bad experiences. I'm not.
Ah....well I don't get any static or other extraneous noise. It just sounds overly compressed to me. The talk stations are the worst, with even the best music stations sounding like 96K mp3s to me...

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Old 11-22-2009, 9:41 PM
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