E90Post
 


Bimmer Retrofit
 
BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > Sirius audio quality



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      06-30-2005, 10:39 AM   #1
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Sirius audio quality

I had my Sirius sat radio installed and activated yesterday (my car came with sat prep) and I must say that I'm somewhat disappointed in the sound quality. When comparing the sound of a Sirius music station to that of a good FM station, I find the FM sound to be richer and more balanced with fuller range. The Sirius sound has too much bass at the normal setting and feels like it is rather flat in the middle range. Overall it sounds a lot less rich than a good FM station. I won't even start comparing it with CD sound. I don't know if my description is clear... I tend to think of myself as somewhat of an audiophile but possibly without the proper vocabulary to describe what I hear precisely.

What are the impressions of people who have had Sirius sat radio in the E90 for a while? I'm trying to pinpoint the contributing factors to this. Is it just the best that I could expect from Sirius? Is there something wrong with my setup (antenna or wiring)? Or is it how the E90 audio system interprets and reproduces the Sirius signals.

Any comments will be appreciated!
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 10:48 AM   #2
ntpcrew13
Lieutenant Colonel
ntpcrew13's Avatar
Philippines
22
Rep
1,598
Posts

 
Drives: Arctic e90 330i
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: chicago,il (mokena)

iTrader: (29)

Garage List
Send a message via AIM to ntpcrew13
i have sirius sat in my 330i also, but mine was factory installed. i know exactly what you are talking about. i was a bit disappointed with the sound quiality as well, but i realized you cant really compare it to CDs. i have flipped sat radio and regular radio back and forth to check the differences in sound; and i think sat radio is still better then regulary radio, but not by much. i can still tell the difference in sound quality. i did notice though that playing my ipod thru the AUX input; i need to increase the volume alot incomparison to regular radio, sat radio, and CDs. are others having to do this also?
__________________
......support your local vendors. view my garage for a list of mods.

Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 10:52 AM   #3
yetdog
Private
0
Rep
61
Posts

 
Drives: 2006 325i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Utica, NY

iTrader: (0)

Anyone who claims Satellite Radio to be CD-quality is misinformed.

I'm not sure if you're into mp3 files, but I would consider satrad to be equal to a 128kbps MP3 file. I know many people think of satellite radio as being a huge leap in quality, and that to be the main driving force behind getting it. I would put sound quality at about the last benefit for switching to satrad. CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT are the first 3 reasons, with no commercials behind that. The sound is adequate, I've found.

Another very nice fact is that you won't get signal fade at all. As long as you have a clear view of the sky, reception is crystal-clear. You can drive from NYC to LA on the same station.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 10:55 AM   #4
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

I was not looking for CD quality, but I thought it would at least be as good as good FM. I am finding that it is not, sometimes not close. Adequate is all I can say.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 11:00 AM   #5
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Also, I don't listen to tons of mp3 but I did my share. My impression is that there is too much focus on bass in the Sirius signal (possibly to give the impression to some that it is high-quality) which is making it noticeably worse than 128 kb mp3 IMO.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 11:27 AM   #6
Jerel56
Enlisted Member
0
Rep
38
Posts

 
Drives:
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Norwalk, CT

iTrader: (0)

I have Sat. radio with IDrive in my 330i and it sounds great to me. IMO, it's definitely better than regular radio, however, it's not as good as CD quality, obviously. The only problem I've had is loss of signal in certain spots...don't know if it's lack of a clear sky or other factors but, in lower Fairfield County, CT...there are a fair number of spots where it cuts out for a few secs.

As far as the MP3 audio input, there is a lack of volume and you do have to adjust the player but, really is a minor inconvenience at worst. I just keep the volume of my player up so I don't have to play with the car volume controls too much between different modes.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 11:35 AM   #7
ntpcrew13
Lieutenant Colonel
ntpcrew13's Avatar
Philippines
22
Rep
1,598
Posts

 
Drives: Arctic e90 330i
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: chicago,il (mokena)

iTrader: (29)

Garage List
Send a message via AIM to ntpcrew13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerel56
As far as the MP3 audio input, there is a lack of volume and you do have to adjust the player but, really is a minor inconvenience at worst. I just keep the volume of my player up so I don't have to play with the car volume controls too much between different modes.
oh ok. i wasnt sure if the AUX input was loose or not.
__________________
......support your local vendors. view my garage for a list of mods.

Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 11:50 AM   #8
LEDZEP
Lieutenant General
LEDZEP's Avatar
191
Rep
12,277
Posts

 
Drives: 2009 E70 & 2011 F25
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Area 51

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntpcrew13
i have sirius sat in my 330i also, but mine was factory installed. i know exactly what you are talking about. i was a bit disappointed with the sound quiality as well, but i realized you cant really compare it to CDs. i have flipped sat radio and regular radio back and forth to check the differences in sound; and i think sat radio is still better then regulary radio, but not by much. i can still tell the difference in sound quality. i did notice though that playing my ipod thru the AUX input; i need to increase the volume alot incomparison to regular radio, sat radio, and CDs. are others having to do this also?
Have you set the bass, trebble, and mid for the satellite radio? Each audio source retains separate settings, so if for example you like your music a bit brite and have high trebble for FM and CD you will also need to set it that way for Satellite. Otherwise it would seem flat.
Might not be this at all, and pretty soon I will have mine installed and find out for myself. Just a thought.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 11:53 AM   #9
CC 330i
Captain
CC 330i's Avatar
19
Rep
722
Posts

 
Drives: 330i SG/Blk/Alum
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Orange County, CA

iTrader: (0)

The frequency response sounds a little flat in all Satellite radio systems I have heard. Audi, BMW, Nissan. It's so bad in some cases, it almost sounds like a mono signal with lame speakers.

The Audi boards are littered with folks unhappy about the sound quality of XM and Sirius. I don't think it's specific to Sirius, or Logic 7. I think it's just the inherent quality of the stream. It shouldn't have to be that way, since it is all digital and a relatively high bandwidth capability, but for some reason it is.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 01:24 PM   #10
yetdog
Private
0
Rep
61
Posts

 
Drives: 2006 325i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Utica, NY

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CC 330i
The frequency response sounds a little flat in all Satellite radio systems I have heard. Audi, BMW, Nissan. It's so bad in some cases, it almost sounds like a mono signal with lame speakers.

The Audi boards are littered with folks unhappy about the sound quality of XM and Sirius. I don't think it's specific to Sirius, or Logic 7. I think it's just the inherent quality of the stream. It shouldn't have to be that way, since it is all digital and a relatively high bandwidth capability, but for some reason it is.
It's actually relatively low bandwidth availability. Each service has about ~120 streams - the levels of compression are so high as it is to get that many channels down their 'pipe', so to speak. When new channels are added, most of the time, old ones must be dropped.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 04:22 PM   #11
gentryma1
New Member
0
Rep
23
Posts

 
Drives: 2012 535xi GT
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Alexandria, VA

iTrader: (0)

Send a message via AIM to gentryma1
Belkin Auto Kit for iPod with Dock Connector

I'm not sure if this link will work, but check out the Belkin auto kit for iPod with dock connector this guy has a small adjustable amplifier and make a NICE difference in the loudness and audio quality of the iPod when using the AUX input. It also detects the power to the cigarette lighter being cut and pauses the iPod when the car turns off (too bad I don't think it's smart enough yet to unpause the iPod when the car turns back on!). Definitely worth the $40.

Oh, and because it's taking audio out of the iPod through the dock connector and not the headphone jack the volume controls on the iPod have to effect, the Belkin thing has a small dial on the side.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 06:22 PM   #12
CC 330i
Captain
CC 330i's Avatar
19
Rep
722
Posts

 
Drives: 330i SG/Blk/Alum
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Orange County, CA

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yetdog
It's actually relatively low bandwidth availability. Each service has about ~120 streams - the levels of compression are so high as it is to get that many channels down their 'pipe', so to speak. When new channels are added, most of the time, old ones must be dropped.
Thanks for the info. I stand corrected!
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 06:33 PM   #13
Kimo
First Lieutenant
8
Rep
376
Posts

 
Drives: e90 e85 e46 e31
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Maryland

iTrader: (0)

Hmmm . . .
I'v installed XM Direct in my E46 (Sirius-ready headunit, HK Premium sound) and am quite impressed with the audio quality -- not to mention the content.
We went with the factory installed Sirius in my wife's E90 (about a month out from delivery as of today) because (a) we had to have satellite, (b) we wanted to compare Sirius to XM (which we have in my car, her outgoing car, and in the house), (c) there is not an XM Direct adapter out for the E90 (yet), and (d) because I' was stoked about the NFL broadcasts.
I'm now a little concerned that you guys are not happy with the audio quality of Sirius. I had heard that the signal coverage is not as good as XM (more dropouts), but never that the audio was substantially worse.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 07:50 PM   #14
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Kimo,

I don't think anyone here suggested that it is worse than XM. Some of the posters above said both are bad. I am beginning to think that the difference in opinion about the quality (which, as we see here, is sometimes extreme) simply reflects difference in personal taste and ability to discern audio quality. I don't mean anything disparaging, but people differ in how they perceive sound and how sensitive they are to small details in quality. I think those of us who see satellite radio as having bad quality are simply unlucky because it takes a lot more to make us happy.

I think I will make do with Sirius. The quality is just "ok", but the selection as mentioned is superb.

Last edited by silverado; 06-30-2005 at 08:01 PM.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 08:04 PM   #15
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LEDZEP
Have you set the bass, trebble, and mid for the satellite radio? Each audio source retains separate settings, so if for example you like your music a bit brite and have high trebble for FM and CD you will also need to set it that way for Satellite. Otherwise it would seem flat.
Might not be this at all, and pretty soon I will have mine installed and find out for myself. Just a thought.
Yes, I have attempted to improve the sound by changing bass/trebble and the equalizer. It didn't help too much (you can't add fidelity when it isn't there) and I'm sorry to say that all sources share the same settings. I have iDrive, do you get different settings in the non-iDrive sets?
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 08:10 PM   #16
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Let me also say that quality varies a lot from station to station and that is understandable. Sirius advertises this fact saying that they allocate bandwidth where it's most needed. Pop stations that are playing recent music are clearly given the highest bandwidth. "Oldies" type music has a lot less bandwidth. Talk radio sounds like bad AM radio or even short wave!

My original comments were about the best quality stations (like Hits1). Other stations can be more disappointing to varying degrees. Talk radio is just shameful (IMO) although it's just talk so in theory it shouldn't matter. This morning I compared the BBC news on my local FM NPR station and the Sirius BBC and the difference was huge. Again, this is talk so it's not a big deal, but I truely felt like I was listening to short wave radio on the Sirius side.
Appreciate 0
      06-30-2005, 08:45 PM   #17
silverado
Lieutenant
11
Rep
587
Posts

 
Drives: E90 330i
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston

iTrader: (0)

Hmmm... here is an exerpt from Amazon's review of a Sirius reciever which you can see in its entirety here. It pretty much says exactly what we've been discussing here.
Quote:
Beyond the reception issue, the only other major drawback is sound quality, which some may find subpar. Sirius describes its sound as "digital quality," a euphemism for "digital audio with a bitrate so low that we don't want to scare people by revealing what it is." Whatever it is, its character is very close to what you'd hear from 96 kbps MP3--clear and listenable, but lacking depth, fullness, high-frequency extension, and dynamic range (though radio's always been super compressed). Your awareness of these shortcomings will depend to some degree on the caliber of your playback system. We noted that the classical stations seem to have better sound than the rock/pop stations.
Appreciate 0
      07-01-2005, 08:39 AM   #18
Kimo
First Lieutenant
8
Rep
376
Posts

 
Drives: e90 e85 e46 e31
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Maryland

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado
Kimo,

I don't think anyone here suggested that it is worse than XM. Some of the posters above said both are bad. I am beginning to think that the difference in opinion about the quality (which, as we see here, is sometimes extreme) simply reflects difference in personal taste and ability to discern audio quality. I don't mean anything disparaging, but people differ in how they perceive sound and how sensitive they are to small details in quality. I think those of us who see satellite radio as having bad quality are simply unlucky because it takes a lot more to make us happy.

I think I will make do with Sirius. The quality is just "ok", but the selection as mentioned is superb.
I hear ya Silver (mind if i call you Silver?), and while I'm no Amar Bose, I can discern "tinny" from "quite impressive." Bottom line, if the Sirius in my wife's car is as good as the XM in mine, we'll both be quite happy -- and I suspect 95% of the people who heard it would agree. If it isn't, then we'll have to consider whether the "content advantages" outweigh the "audio disadvantages", or wait for an XM Direct box for the e90. I would be interested in hearing from someone who can compare Sirius in the E90 to XM in the E46 -- or in general.
Appreciate 0
      10-28-2005, 08:49 PM   #19
pharmb
Enlisted Member
pharmb's Avatar
0
Rep
47
Posts

 
Drives: X5 4.4i/ 330i
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vero Beach, FL

iTrader: (0)

I had XM direct in my E46 M3 & in our last Honda Accord (Factory installed).

I have the Sirius from the factory in my E90, and I must say, I miss XM.

I found better content (for my taste), much clearer sound quality, and much less signal drop with XM.

I might switch if XM direct comes out with a model for the E90 that works with I drive.
__________________
E90 TiAg/Black/Walnut, Manual, ZPP, ZSP, CW, NAV, PDC, Alarm, V1.
Appreciate 0
      10-29-2005, 02:01 AM   #20
RyBMW
Major
RyBMW's Avatar
15
Rep
1,035
Posts

 
Drives: X5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NYC

iTrader: (1)

Garage List
2012 BMW X5  [0.00]
2008 335i  [0.00]
I noticed that the sound quality on Sirius is not that great. I have a factory installed unit.
My TL had XM radio from factory and the sound quality was better than Sirius. I miss XM. I liked their channels more.
__________________
New: 12 X5 xDrive35i Premium Alpine White/Cinn Brown

Old: 08 E92 335i|Space Gray/Coral Red/Gray Poplar

Old: 06 E90 330i|Black Sapphire/Black /Burl
Appreciate 0
      03-10-2006, 07:59 PM   #21
Muttley
Enlisted Member
Muttley's Avatar
0
Rep
39
Posts

 
Drives: VW MKIV GTI
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sacramento

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyBMW
I noticed that the sound quality on Sirius is not that great. I have a factory installed unit.
My TL had XM radio from factory and the sound quality was better than Sirius. I miss XM. I liked their channels more.
I agree, Sirius sounds like streaming internet music, XM sounds more like an mp3 at good quality.
Appreciate 0
      03-10-2006, 08:13 PM   #22
sdorn
Lieutenant
sdorn's Avatar
6
Rep
491
Posts

 
Drives: 2006 Jet Black 325i
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Atlanta

iTrader: (0)

My biggest complaint about Sirius is the content. I have XM in my truck, and I hardly ever listened to anything other than XM. Now that I have Sirius in my E90 I find that I hardly ever listen to it because there is never anything on that I wish to listen to. There are fewer channels and the few they have seem to never play what I want to hear.
__________________
2008 Sparkling Graphite 535i
2009 Land Rover LR2
2003 Porsche 911 Turbo (SOLD)
2006 Jet Black 325i (SOLD)
2001 Bullitt Mustang (450rwhp - SOLD)
Appreciate 0
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:07 PM.




e90post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST