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shoggybear

Poor sound quality from Satellite Radio

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I own a 2018 Lincoln MKX Reserve equipped with the premium "Revel Ultima" audio system (includes 19 speakers & HD radio technology).  The audio system produces exceptional sound quality with every source option (AM/FM radio, CD, and Apple Carplay and bluetooth streamed from my music downloaded from my phone or media device.  My disappointment has been from the SiriusXM satellite source. The sound quality is noticeably distorted.  Specifically, I notice a hollow sound quality from vocals.  The hallow sound is particularly noticeable when listening to someone speak.  It is especially apparent with channels that are focused on non-musical content such as news, sports and weather stations (CBC, CNN, etc.).   After conveying my concerns to my Lincoln dealership, I was informed that all Ford/Lincoln products experience similar sound from the Sirius/XM satellite feed. For this reason, I did not elect to subscribe to the SiriusXM satellite subscription once my free trial period expired.  That being said, I would really like to have the Sirius/XM option available on my vehicle and I'm hoping someone can provide feedback on how I can improve the satellite sound quality (eliminate the hallow voice sound quality). 

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There is no way to improve the sound quality because it's due to compression by SiriusXM.  They do this to squeeze as many channels as possible onto a single satellite transponder.  It's like taking a 4 MB picture file and compressing it to 50 kb.  You're going to lose information.  That's just their business model.  Most people don't care.

 

It's possible they don't compress as much if you're streaming.   You could sign up for streaming (digital) only and try streaming it from your phone via bluetooth and see if it sounds better.

 

I stream all the time from my phone to a Bose bluetooth speaker but have not tried it in the vehicle yet.

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The Revel system reveals (no pun intended) just how inferior Sirius sound quality is compared to other sources. Back in the early days of satellite radio it was fine, but people expect more now with the advent of Tidal and other high-res sound sources.

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I agree totally!  Quality was horrible.  For this reason, I discontinued Sirius except for weather and travel channel.  Good deal for a buck a month.

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Well "horrible" is a relative thing.   While I can certainly hear the difference between SiriusXM and a CD, for the type of listening we do (70s/80s pop and a little country) it's perfectly fine for us and I suspect most others.   The convenience of not having to switch from local station to local station as we travel and being able to listen to commercial free oldies is worth the subscription fee.

 

I could also understand why an audiophile would hate it.

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On 9/12/2019 at 2:54 PM, akirby said:

There is no way to improve the sound quality because it's due to compression by SiriusXM.  They do this to squeeze as many channels as possible onto a single satellite transponder.  It's like taking a 4 MB picture file and compressing it to 50 kb.  You're going to lose information.  That's just their business model.  Most people don't care.

 

It's possible they don't compress as much if you're streaming.   You could sign up for streaming (digital) only and try streaming it from your phone via bluetooth and see if it sounds better.

 

I stream all the time from my phone to a Bose bluetooth speaker but have not tried it in the vehicle yet.

Thank you for your input. Through my own research, I have concluded that the comments made by all of you are accurate and there is not likely a "fix" available for this problem.  IMHO, that is very unfortunate.  None of my previous older vehicles had the benefit of a satellite audio system and I was actually looking forward to experiencing a satellite audio system (especially while traveling).   I agree with "akirby",  that for some people (who may not be as uncompromising as I am to my expectations of sound quality) "the convenience of not having to switch from local station to local station and being able to commercial-free broadcasts is worth the subscription fee".  I have concluded that I will either need to compromise my expectations for sound quality or continue to stream my downloaded music from my iPhone via Bluetooth.  The advantages mentioned by "akirby" of a satellite-fed system are certainly worth considering if you like the conveniences that it offers.

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You should check digital streaming to see if it sounds better.  It might since they’re not dealing with satellites and it’s just one stream.

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Can somebody move this to the Sirius forum. Ty

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Don't get me wrong, Sirius is great. We were just listening to the Penn State game yesterday and couldn't have picked it up any other way. Streaming runs up our phone data bills too quickly.

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3 hours ago, MKXMark said:

Don't get me wrong, Sirius is great. We were just listening to the Penn State game yesterday and couldn't have picked it up any other way. Streaming runs up our phone data bills too quickly.

Pay extra 15 dollars on your phone bill cancel Sirius stream everything including music and move on. 

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Two benefits to satellite over streaming.

 

Reception everywhere you can see the sky even with no cell reception and the ability to switch between channels using the steering wheel controls.

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1 hour ago, akirby said:

Two benefits to satellite over streaming.

 

Reception everywhere you can see the sky even with no cell reception and the ability to switch between channels using the steering wheel controls.

Us Android auto to change stations and no satellite  reception in the forest /buildings where otherwise cell reception is...we can keep going in circles or argue about things that 99% of people will not experience 99% of times 

 

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1 hour ago, thisguy159 said:

Us Android auto to change stations and no satellite  reception in the forest /buildings where otherwise cell reception is...we can keep going in circles or argue about things that 99% of people will not experience 99% of times 

 

 

I didn’t say one was better I merely stated two things that satellite does better.  Streaming has other advantages over satellite.

 

Does AA or CP allow you to change presets with the steering wheel buttons or do you have to use voice commands?

I prefer to scan the presets with the steering wheel button which I can do much faster than voice commands.

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