IMHO, it sounds like a well tuned FM station. That's it. And don't fall for the "commercial free" pitch. They have them and the number of commercials is increasing. Now that Howard has inked his deal they will have to make alot more money than just what subscriptions bring in.
On the positive side, Sirius and XM do provide a lot more listening choices.
I have XM and LOVE IT!!! I'm using the Delphi SkyFi unit. The sound is just OK. Hopefully a high-end company will step up and manufacture a receiver with a quality DAC. The music and programming is top notch.
FM quality at best. Sometimes you can here "pumping" when they over-compress the signal.
I have Sirius in my truck, direct connected, factory installed not frequency midulated(FM). It sounds much better than FM. They have a lot of excellent channels and as far as ads the only thing I hear is an occasional announcement of programming for different channels. I would get the Kenwood unit for your home it has an optical output so you could use a better processer if you have one. Let me know if you find a better deal than the $299 list as I'm thinking of getting it also.
Mstram: Is the D/A conversion the issue, or is the data signal compressed (truncated)? Also, do any of the receiver units provide any form of digital outputs?
I agree with Prpixel. I've had XM and Sirius is rental cars. Not sure it will ever be "audiophile" quality, but I'm not looking for that in a radio - especially in the car. But, I must say that there were two things I REALLY liked:
1) NO FREAKING COMMERICALS
2) When I was travelling in the desert there WAS music!
I have a feeling that satellite radio will be growing in popularity now that Howard Stern has signed on.
I use it through my dish network sattelite reciever at home as background music while working. Certainly compressed, but quiet and much better than any FM I can get in the sticks. There is occasional digital interference, but sometimes I am utterly suprised at the imaging. The symphony channel plays selections that appeal to me (ie, it is not just overly popular pieces, and they have special programming including npr's performance today, etc.). I am actually thinking of having a second reciever installed just to use the Sirius channels w/out the tv tube in my second system.
For those of you who are NPR fans, XM now has Bob Edwards in the morning. They just added a channel called XMPR where you can hear Bob as well as NPR shows like Whud'YaKnow, The Connection, and On Point to name a few. The great thing about it is that you can drive from NY to CA and never have to worry about losing the signal.
Agreed, this is not audiophile quality sound, but it's as good as the strongest FM signal. I'm not sure if it is because of compression of the digital streaming, or poor quality D to A conversion and cheap electronics. I wonder if a high end company might be working on an XM or Sirius receiver.
XM is commercial free except on those channels that are basically TV stations broadcasting sound over XM such as CNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, etc...
You really can't beat XM for its variety and excellent music programming. There is something for everybody and I can tell you, I'm very fussy about my music. I doubt there is less than 1% of all the radio stations in the USA that I would consider to be quality programming. Most of what is out there is crap from the likes of Clearchannel and other big corporate media. Their idea of great music is Brittney Spears and Christina Aguliera and their clones.
Sorry about the rant. Get XM!!! The audiophile (and the music loving) community really ought to embrace digital FM as the future; not for the sound quality (which is mid-fi at best) but for the music.
Buscis2, my unit is th Delphi SkyFi which basically plugs into a dock just like a PDA. I can take it from my car which uses the FM modulation, to my home which connects to my preamp via a mini jack to RCA connection. There is no capability for DAC connection via digital output. I am hoping in the future that somebody makes such a unit to use in a home system.
I canceled mine after a week. not much better than free fm broadcast.
Like Gabbro I listen to Sirius that is supplied through my Dish Network. I do enjoy it because where I am at I cannot get any Jazz until evening. I am quite surprised by the sound at times, but that happens when your expectations are not high; obviously not better than my CD player, but enjoyable nontheless. I haven't used my tuner much at all lately. As for Stern's addition, to each there own, if I was chosing to buy, I would go for XM just because of that, and I have voiced my opinion, but that is a whole other matter.
I have XM and like the others here LOVE IT. I'll never be without it in any future car. XM has 2 to 3 times as many subscribers as Sirius. I've always figured that eventually XM will just buy out Sirius. I have no knowledge of this, that's just my guess.
I've had mine for nearly a year and a half. I chose XM over Sirius because at the time Sirius was really struggling with less than 100,000 subscirbers. Now I'm hooked on XM. If I were choosing a new, I'd definately go with XM over Sirius all over again.
XM has 3.2 million subscribers, while Sirius has still fewer than 1,000,000. Stern is going to cost them $100 million a year over 5 years. That seems nuts to me. They need to add a million subscribers just to pay for him. That means that they are counting on ove 10% of Stern's current listeners to subscribe. Very risky.
In 15 months Howard is going to have to fill 33% more air time since he runs so many Goddamned commercials on FCC controlled air waves!
For me, I forsee the future of my long drives including both XM or Sirius and an iPod.
100 million...WOW...I hadn't heard that...I only caught the short blurb...I can see where it is risky now...but I still have a feeling that he may be able to pull it off crazy as it seems.
I have both XM and Sirius home units. My XM Delphi Skyfi sounds better than the Sirius Audiovox 2 tuner. More band width on XM, bigger soundstage, image, etc. I find that Sirius has a tighter play list, and has more NPR and play by play sports. XM has more music variety, better sound to my ears, and better sports talk and news. I like them both but XM is the clear winner for me.
The problem I have with this is that you're paying to listen to the radio. Granted, there are less/no commercials, but when you grow up listening to the radio for free you find it hard to pay for it. I guess some people have the same problem with cable tv.
XM regularly has some excellent live in-studio appearances by famous well known and some not as well known artists. They have also started broadcasting some syndicated shows that were previously only available in limited markets, for example, Mixed Bag which is a great program I used to listen to when I lived in NYC.
Another cool thing they are doing is something they call "Then...Again...Live!" where they are having several bands come into the studio to re-create their classic albums in the XM studio live with a different perspective 25 or 30 years later. They've already had Cheap Trick play "Live at Budokan". Next is Lynyrd Skynyrd doing "Pronounced Leh'-Nerd-Skin'-Nerd", followed by Alice Cooper "Greatest Hits", Allman Brothers "Eat A Peach", Jethro Tull "Aqualung", and finally, Dave Mason "Alone Together".
To find out more about XM click the link below:http://www.xmsatelliteradio.com/index.jsp
Geez, I hope I'm not starting to sound like a commercial here, but I really think XM is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and it's here to stay. I've been using it for over two years. Since I've gotten XM, I rarely listen to free radio or CDs while driving in my car. I believe in it so much that I've invested in the company's stock.
Are the radio stations on Itunes the same type of thing as XM and Sirius?
Just read a news in Stereophile.com that Krell is introducing a $4000 XM satellite tuner next year. It should be interesting.
Holy s*%t!! That's some serious dinero. Why not try something priced a little more down to earth instead of the stratosphere. If the sound could truly be "CD quality" it might be worth the money, but I'd rather test the water with a unit say in the $1000 range. If the sound really is superb and if I could feed a digital stream to my Levinson 360s it might be a different story.
Interesting question. I'd like to know as well. My favorite iTunes station is Magnatune. It would be nice to be able to listen to them in the car too.
XM is not just like iTunes. The music channels are just like a regular station only the music is better. The channels are set by category/genre. There are NO COMMERCIALS. There is a DJ who comes on every hour or so to tell you what he/she just played and, occasionally, he/she will tell you where the artist you just heard could be seen live in concert that evening. There are not a lot of interuptions. You get 99% music on the music channels. You can even send an email or phone an 800 number to each seperate channel to request a song. I'm sure the audio quality is better than streaming itunes. If you are curious click on the URL I posted on one of my earlier message.
I am using Sirius at home (just started) and the selection is terrific. However, I am not impressed having to use a stereo mini-jack to rca outputs to connect to my receiver!
The sound is very compressed and is FM quality at best.
When does anyone think Home AVR's will have satellite tuners built in? I think that would help the quality of the sound vs using those funky adaptors. Who here wants to get a feed from a headphone minijack???
I use Sirius in my car and love it. Course, its no better than FM, since my head unit does not have line-ins, but at 75 mph, I'd be hard pressed to hear the difference. If they had a decent quality home unit with line-outs, I'd probably sell my FM tuner and buy it ASAP. But not $4k, that's for sure.