XM radio goes surround

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

mrindenver

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
69
Location
Denver
http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article.asp?section_id=2&article_id=1510&page_number=1

I hope that Sirius follows. Right now XM seems to mostly do classical in surround. Nonetheless, it's good to see that somewhere out there, there is still an interest and development of surround music technology.
As I understand it, the Neural process is a matrixed stereo signal. Aren't I getting pretty much the same thing playing my Polk xm receiver through the DPLII circuit?

I like it, but it is hardly a breakthrough. Am I missing something?
 

TopTip

Well-known Member
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
111
I read the so called "White Papers" on their web site. They are so long on prose and so short on facts and theory that it is hard to tell what it does.
 

Kazaam

701 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
777
Location
Midwest, USA
I have Sirius and the sound quality seems to be pretty bad---maybe equivalent to about 96 kbps MP3, at times? I am really disappointed at how often I can hear the audible effects of whatever lossy compression scheme Sirius uses. I can't speak for XM, but is it really any better?

I'm all for getting surround sound out there more. Heck, I no longer immediately laugh when I read about Surround Sound MP3's. Having done a lot of recent listening to MP3 at 192 and 320 rates I'm thinking it actually might not sound half bad. In fact, I often find myself listening to an MP3 and thinking how much better it would sound if there were a discrete mix for the rears. But I just don't know if going surround is worth it when the initial satellite stereo quality is so poor to begin with.

That said, this could eventually end up being a very cool feature if the satellite companies can increase their sound quality/bit rate per channel. And, of course, if the necessary equipment to decode the surround signal were made practially standard in all hardware. (Yet, another stumbling block.)
 

mrindenver

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
69
Location
Denver
I have Sirius and the sound quality seems to be pretty bad---maybe equivalent to about 96 kbps MP3, at times? I am really disappointed at how often I can hear the audible effects of whatever lossy compression scheme Sirius uses. I can't speak for XM, but is it really any better?

That said, this could eventually end up being a very cool feature if the satellite companies can increase their sound quality/bit rate per channel. And, of course, if the necessary equipment to decode the surround signal were made practially standard in all hardware. (Yet, another stumbling block.)
I understand your disappointment with the sound quality of sat radio. However, a few -- a very few -- of XM's channels seem to be allocated with a slightly higher bitrate than others. Still, when I want critical listening, I go to my SACD/DVD-A/DTS rack.

I honestly think that any increased bandwidth would more likely go into additional channels, not improved sound quality. I don't consider sat radio as a critical listening source, so I try to expect no more than what it is.

And, as usual, only those of us who have trained our ears to hear the difference can actually hear the difference. My wife thinks it is fine.
 

johmbolayaSQ

Well-known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2003
Messages
198
Location
Pacific Northwest
I have Sirius and the sound quality seems to be pretty bad---maybe equivalent to about 96 kbps MP3, at times? I am really disappointed at how often I can hear the audible effects of whatever lossy compression scheme Sirius uses. I can't speak for XM, but is it really any better?
I just read about this in a magazine I received, but if it sounds as good as a 96 kbps MP3, I don't know if that's going to convince me to try out digital radio.
 

Kazaam

701 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
777
Location
Midwest, USA
I just read about this in a magazine I received, but if it sounds as good as a 96 kbps MP3, I don't know if that's going to convince me to try out digital radio.
I've only had Sirius for a short time, but I might have been too generous when I said 96 kbps MP3. It's probably worse than that. I was disappointed at just how easily I was able to hear the effects of the compression. The compression codec is definitely not transparent and adds colorizations to the music. I listen to plenty of MP3s on my iPod or on MP3-CDs, and I find them quite acceptable in the car when using bit rates of 192 or even 128 MP3, so I'm not hating on compressed music just because I'm an audio snob or whatever. I just assumed it would sound equivalent to maybe 128 or 192 MP3---it's not. In my opinion, the actual sound quality of Sirius isn't much better, if any, than the sound of the Sirius 3-day internet stream trial that is at a measly 34 kpbs WMA. I'm disappointed at the free ride many publications have given the sound quality of satellite radio.

I recently had the opportunity to hear XM Radio in a friends car and also on a setup at a local store, and it appears to show fewer signs of colorization due to the compression (when compared to Sirius). However, it still sounds worse than a strong FM station. But my experience is still fairly limited with XM.

All this negativity aside, though, and I'll admit that the playlist programming is pretty good---at least on Sirius. The signal is always strong. And I get a much better selection of music than FM, though I still hear mostly hit songs. Moreover, I get to hear a little more variety than even my thousands of songs on the iPod can provide. So as long as the price remains at $12.95, I guess it can be another music option for me when I'm in the car.

So I don't want to tell anyone not to get satellite radio. It still has benefits, afterall. And, I think, it probably has a decent future.
 

jrahrah

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
212
Location
South Jersey
Ever since I got my satellite radio, it is all I’ve been listening to in the car. I never took notice to the sound quality, because I was just so in to the diversity and depth of the genres of music I like. But since hearing complaints on this forum, I decided to get critical.

It stinks! You all opened my eyes and ruined it for me. Thanks, I hope you’re all happy.

Nonetheless, I will try my best to ignore it, and hope for the day it gets better. The content for me is still better than anything on commercial radio, and in my opinion-worth the price.

I am going to write Sirius and complain about the overly compressed garbage they are airing.
 

Kazaam

701 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
777
Location
Midwest, USA
Ever since I got my satellite radio, it is all I’ve been listening to in the car. I never took notice to the sound quality, because I was just so in to the diversity and depth of the genres of music I like. But since hearing complaints on this forum, I decided to get critical.

It stinks! You all opened my eyes and ruined it for me. Thanks, I hope you’re all happy.

Nonetheless, I will try my best to ignore it, and hope for the day it gets better. The content for me is still better than anything on commercial radio, and in my opinion-worth the price.

I am going to write Sirius and complain about the overly compressed garbage they are airing.
Sorry about that. :eek:

I have a love/hate relationship with my Sirius. Well... It's probably closer to a "like/hate" relationship. Some days I think I'll just cut my losses (expensive equipment and install fees) and cancel the subscription once my 6 month subscription runs out. Then, other days, I figure, well, $12.95 is affordble enough that I can just keep it since it's hooked up and listen to it as little or as much as I want. Some days I figure I can tolerate the low sound quality; other days, like today, the sound quality literally pains me. However, the programming is definitely better on Sirius than what I hear on terrestial radio. I'd absolutely be in love with satellite radio if the sound quality were significantly better. I hope it improves.

Unfortunately, I don't think piggy-backing surround sound onto the existing stereo signal qualifies as a real audio improvement. I also don't think bandwidth should be sacrificed to add video content, either---something allegedly also in the works (at least with Sirius, if not also XM).
 
Top