Anyone else running XM thru a decent 2 ch system?

I got XM about 18 months ago (one of the first 5,000!) and I have grown totally addicted to it. The subscription price for the service is $10.00/mo. I would give up both my cable TV at home and my A/C in my car before XM.

As far as sound quality goes, it is a notch below CD's, but very acceptable on the music channels (more bandwidth is allocated to them), especially if run through tubes.

I am using the SkyFi (~$200.00) unit, with a car cradle (self explanatory) a "boombox" cradle, which makes it totally portable, and a home cradle, which bummed me out at first as it has a line level mini-plug out.

I found a supplier for sterling silver twisted pair mini --> RCA interconnects, which should help over the one-step-up-from-basic cable I have now.

While some here would poo-poo the idea of digitally delivered radio, let me say this. The content is stunning, in both breadth and quality. I have it on nearly all the time - car, house, work. I have found that it has really altered my listening habits. I am buying fewer CD's, but the ones I am buying are titles really good stuff that I would have likely never heard of before becoming an raving XM fanatic.

If anyone is interested in augmenting their system with what is basically the ultimate content device, get the SkyFi, by Delphi. It is the best suited for connection to a home system, and can go anywhere.

If you are into discovering new music on a daily basis, you are in for a treat.
No, but I've often considered it. Maybe I'll get one this weekend and try it out!
I have it in my new car, and must say I'm really happy with it. Your thread is interesting because I'm looking into getting the PC receiver offered by XM. It allows the user to look up the entire line-up of all the stations at once on the screen: who and what's currently, or about to be, playing. Also, you can indicate what bands or songs you would like to hear and it notifies you when a station has it in the cue, about to be played. My only hesitation has been trying to find a way to channel the music to my main system (and not have it only play on the PC). I'd like to learn more about your solution of the mini plug to RCA.

The SkyFi, by Delphi can take your XM pretty much anywhere.

The basic radio costs 129.95, but needs a cradle. The home cradle is 69.96 and gets you to your stereo easily.

The car cradle is 69.95 and uses a dummy cassette interface. You can go straight via 1/8" stereo patch if your auto head unit has an aux input. Otherwise, there is a (50.00) FM modulator that sounds surprisingly good. Remember, there is a lot of ambient noise in a car, anyway.

They also have a "boombox" cradle, which is 99.95. It is exactly what it sounds like, except it looks really slick - kinda like something designed by B&O. Runs on a/c power, 12v or D batts, but it is pretty power hungry for usinf the D's all the time.

I use it in an extended way with one of those 29.95 emergency car starter batts with a 12v cord when I go down to the courts to shoot baskets for hours at a time with it.

The beauty of this system is that one subscription (9.95/mo) gets you XM everywhere.

The PCR (what you are looking at) is only 69.95 total, but limits you to one location. It uses either USB or 1/8 mini for sound out. I am not sure. It is cheaper because it uses your computer for display/software intrerface. You would need a PC there, no matter what.

The SkyFi would be much more flexible for you.

Grahamndodder, you're right... and I agree with your assessment in terms of flexibility. What I like about the PC version is its ability to rapidly view the entire line up, and that it can notify me of pending air play of favorite bands, etc.
Yes, it's a drag that it happens only at your PC, which is why I'm interested to find out if there is a way to channel that music to my system, as I do with my MP3 library (via my Audiotron). But I would be in heaven if I could have unlimited access to my MP3s and XM. Especially now, with their 'Family Plan' rates for those with multiple XM receivers.
Any links on where to find more info on the Delphi model? Cheaper to buy it online or at a local store (which stores?)?
Links for SkyFi:

Tuner and system, except for boombox:



As for pricing, it is almost the exact same price everywhere. They can't keep them in the stores, no incentive to discount.

BTW, the tuner comes with a remote control, which works no matter what cradle you are using.

I don't think you're going to find a bargain. I bought my home unit at Best Buy, same price as the Web.

I agree about the selection and generally about the sound. Only problem I've had is the "level management" (their term) and how it works (poorly) on the classical channels. Classical music can have silences between the notes and this is where the "level management" stinks the most. Notes kind of crumble as they decay into silence. Sometimes the silences after a note can be instantaneous, like dropping into a black hole suddenly. I've asked them about it but like most corporations, they're heavily into denial.

I still like it, tho'.especially for the jazz stations. You have 30 days to like or not to like.
I notice some of the music stations have the same names as those of Sat/Cable stations that come with your Sat tv. service.--- (Sure,I know there are 3x's more of them)Are those the same exact 30 we get with our Sat/Cable service?---- I took a look at how it hooks up to a home system; I just made a quality of sound, judgement. I have been a subscriber of Sat. radio since the Cable Co. used to have DMX Radio.---The thing about Cable or Sat,for music they have a coax out, to feed a quality 2ch dac. I wonder how Sirus or XM compare to Sat/Cable quality?
I am not familiar w/ Sat/Cable radio, so I dunno. I do know that XM has about 70 music channels, most of which are programmed in house, tho.


I too upgraded the cable to a gold-plated variety, which did make an improvement. I agree, aside from the stray sunflares every now and then, the sound is great!

However, my measure of a stereo system's worth has always hinged not on what you hear but what you don't hear; I'm talking about background "blackness" the total absence of sound during musical pauses. Unfortunately my little XM receiver has a constant hum (or whir maybe) which, late at night, when I have the sound turned down to its lowest setting, is very perceptible during these pauses, we're talking ten to fifteen feet away!.

So, yes it's very cool, but at least for me, not when you're trying to listen to music "quietly".

Party On!

The Viking
Sounds like you have a connection issue with the stereo mini-jack to rca stereo pair. I don't have that problem. Why do you?
I subscribed for a while and liked it a lot. The frequency of commercials seems to be escalating so I discontinued.
That little gizmo the size of a small palm pilot is all their is to the receiver?
Yes. There is a wall-wart power supply and a small, but effective remote. Neat, eh? The only channel I listen to that has commercials (just a few) is "Beyond Jazz". The other jazz and classical channels have NO commercials. I don't listen to any of the pop channels so maybe commercials would be an issue.
At the Home Entertainment Show in San Francisco, I was told the antenna could be placed on top of my TV (approx 12 feet away from a window). Before I purchase, I need to know the antenna requirements to receive the XM signal. If you are using the Delphi SkyFi unit (connected to home stereo), please tell me where you have the antenna located and what placement works? Can I just place the docking kit antenna on top of the TV? Do you have any reception problems? thanks..
Regarding XM Radio antenna placement, I receive the answer below from XM Radio:

"In most home applications in the US, the XM radio antenna will require placement in a window with a clear view of the Southern sky. The antenna features a weather-resitant design and can be mounted otdoors if that is the only way to obtain a clear Southern exposure.

Delphi is releasing a 50' antenna extension with improved design in an effort to mitigate any field issues that may arise from using the now out of stock design.

Approximate date of availability is the week of July 14th. And of course, we apologize for any inconvenience, but felt it important to release the new product without retired inventory remaining in the field. The new design should also address concerns about use in the boom box as well".
I returned my unit after a disappointing amount of hiss with my system. I've heard other units sound much better but wanted the Delphi for portability. Delphi will now give you a high impedence cable if you have the same problem.
I'm so lazy that I take it out of the shelf next to the receiver unit and place it on the arm of the couch. This is about 15' from the bay windows which face south.