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Poor sound quality of Sirius satellite radio

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Electronics' started by nmurray, Aug 16, 2008.

    nmurray guest

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    I have a '08 M3 E92 with the option of Sirius satellite radio and frankly sound quality is fairly rubbish. When on MP3, CD or radio the sound is full and rich but switch over to satellite it sounds like a over compressed MP3. You know like there is someone playing tambourine in the background : )

    I have only sat in one other BMW with satellite, an '07 335i owned by a friend of mine who says she never uses it as the quality is so poor. (sounds just like mine)


    Has anyone else been stupid enough to get this option and find the same thing? BMW of course say it sounds fine…


    Thanks!
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    az3579

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    Satellite radio may be a step up from standard radio, but it is still radio. The quality isn't going to be as good as your CD because the bandwidth that would be required for CD quality audio from satellite would be much greater. It's clearer, but not better quality than your standard radio.

    It's just something you're going to have to get used to, unfortunately. What you're asking, for example (using computer networking terms) is you're asking for broadband speed/quality from a dial-up connection.


    In other words, it's not BMW's fault.

    nmurray guest

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    That's just it, the radio even non HD stations sound so much better. Sirius claim CD quality on their web site… and it sounds pretty good in non BMW's…

    Thanks for the advice however : )
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    az3579

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    Well that's just not true, regardless of who says it. It's a known fact that Sirius isn't CD quality as it's all compressed media, and compressed media never sounds as good as the full, original, uncompressed media.

    Usually, non-audiophiles can't tell the difference between a 320kbps compressed mp3 file as opposed to a completely uncompressed file, but there is quite a bit of difference between radio quality (Sirius or not) and CD.


    Perhaps in the future, but for now, we'll have to make do with iPod/CD's for the good quality stuff. ;)

    Jonathan Spira guest

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    I had the first BMW in the U.S. with Sirius (that same car was also the first BMW - and therefore the first car period - with factory Bluetooth I might add ;)) and sat radio was an interesting technology several years ago. The sound on most of the music streams (that´s what Sirius called them at launch, not ,,channels``) was so-so; they give classical music a bit more bandwidth so it doesn´t sound that tinny like the other music stations do). I found the fact that I could listen to CNN or the BBC in the car pretty sick though, and therefore concluded that it was an interesting way to provide content but it was not any sort of high-end audio enhancement.

    That having been said, lots of things have changed since early 2003 when I thought it was interesting. Most notably, Internet radio has come onto the scene.

    I tend to listen to podcasts and live Net radio (could be Bayern 4 or Ö1 streaming live for example) in the car much more than local radio. I didn´t even consider ordering Sirius in the 550i. I did order HD Radio to learn more about the technology and the additional stations are interesting and the sound is better than sat radio to be sure. (I´ll add that the quality of Net radio in the car can vary greatly but having 10,000 plus stations available for free is still much more interesting to me than 100 Sirius streams.)

    Going back to the OP´s issue, first of all the sound in an E92 is generally less pleasing than an E90. I don´t know whether your friend´s 335i is an E90 or E92 (or E91 or E93 for that matter) but there is a significant difference in the sound and it has to do with the car´s interior.

    But going back the original premise of the sound sounding compressed, that´s exactly it. There is really nothing you can do except to listen to HD Radio or your iPod or other MP3 player (with music ripped at a decent rate hopefully) and that will provide you with many hours of Musikfreude am Fahren.
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    116812

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    Poor Sirius sound quality

    Yes, I agree that the sound quality of Sirius and Sat radio in general is quite poor and has gotten worse.

    I am a dual subscriber, with XM in a factory installed Acura TL, and Sirius in my 2003 530I as an aftermarket.

    The sound quality is actually a bit better with Sirius, but in the summer, with lots of trees overhanging the parkways in the northeast, the signal routinely breaks up, sometimes to the point that it is not listenable.

    I don't recommend satelite radio now as its promise of great selection. deep playlists, and superior sound quality has not been fulfilled. Many options are available today (IPOD, HD Radio, etc.) that were not here a couple of years ago.

    It is just not worth the expense and the hassle of a separate antenna, whether we get a 'best of' Sirius or XM package.

    I think sat radio's time has come and gone.

    Don

    nmurray guest

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    Sirius satellite ... the VHS of radio

    Thanks Don,

    Good to know it is not just me, and with a bit of luck this post will help people avoid the mistake selecting the option for this by gone product in their new cars.

    kmccorma guest

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    I have an XM receiver that transmits using the built-in FM Modulator. The sound is "good enough" to be entertaining, but definitely NOT CD quality. After a while if it is the only thing you listen to, you get used to it. Satellite radio is also great for listening to my favorite Talk Radio hosts.

    cobradav guest

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    Selecting SAT Radio is really an issue of content not quality. I would suspect the average person does think that they are getting "better" quality audio with satellite and that is unfortunate that it is marketed that way. Once you know how the system works and that the compression codecs wreak havoc with musical content you simply need to determine if that is what you really want. In my case I use about 99% of the speech content provided and 1% music. Of the 99% speech content, 95% of that is Olde Time Radio and the source material is not all that great in the first case, so I am perfectly happy with my choice.

    One of these days they will drag me kicking and screaming into the modern world of electonics. For now I have to see what the Shadow is up to.

    Jonathan Spira guest

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    Of course the average person probably believes that HD Radio is "high def" radio. :D

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