Have you tried a subscription to one of the satellite radio services? What do you think about it?

Satellite radio has been plugging away for several years now, and has garnered both rave reviews and criticisms. Have you tried a subscription to one of the services? If so, what do you think about it?

Have you tried a subscription to one of the satellite radio services? What do you think about it?
Yes, I have XM
20% (22 votes)
Yes, I have Sirius
11% (12 votes)
Yes, I used to have XM
4% (4 votes)
Yes, I used to have Sirius
3% (3 votes)
Haven't tried either of them
63% (70 votes)
Total votes: 111

Aden's picture

Is there any point with Internet radio here already—or at least just around the corner?

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I rented a car earlier this year that had a Sirius radio in it. When I first switched it on (the radio, that is) and started driving, I immediately thought "Wow, this thing sounds phenomenal!" And the distortion at higher volume? There was none. Having been behind the wheel, and hurrying to my destination, I was unable to look at the radio, let alone the amp/speakers (the steering wheel controls were really nice, along with the navagation system), so I had to examine this setup more closely after my first stop. I found out that I had been listening to Sirius radio powered by two Rockford/Fosgate amps delivered to six (with subwoofer) Boston Acoustics speakers (all nicely hidden from view), and that it seriously, (pun intended) sounded teriffic—I was hooked. After returning home from my trip, I had a Sirius front end installed in my already outstanding (by car standards) Lexus audio/navigation system. Now I have a Sirius Lexus with serious sound. All joking aside, I recommend satellite radio (it doesn't have to be Sirius) to all of my friends and clients. Most of them trust my ears (they're the tools of my trade), and have already made the switch. I urge Stereophile readers to do the same.

Tim Bishop's picture

Let's see, paying for low fidelity, maybe soon to have commercials, no!

Bill from Kingman, AZ's picture

I think it is too expensive! I thought about a second tuner, but not at the present price. If the second tuner was a buck extra, then I would do it. The price should be $10 a month or under. I may drop the whole thing!

Jim Merrill's picture

I still prefer getting my radio for free, and I have no interest in Howard Stern.

Al Earz's picture

Great selection of programming. However, not the best audio quality and that antenna is a little finicky. Otherwise, great programming—a little something for everyone.

Craig's picture

I am from the school that believes radio should be free to anyone with an antenna. And what is with this HD Radio that requires purchase of an expensive new receiver to be able to pick up the signal? I am perfectly happy with the quality of present FM sound just not the quality of the broadcast material.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

No XM or Sirius here in Europe. I am a subscriber for quite a few years to other services and I really think they are great. Better than terrestrial radio in all respects—material, sound quality, etc. Most people don't know what they're missing.

J Chisholm's picture

Sky digital radio channels in the UK are great—until it rains or another light plane takes off from the local airport.

JML's picture

It started out OK. Then they went to station identification. Then, limited commercials. Now it it is full-blown commercials. I wrote to XM to complain. They directed me to another station which played similar music, however; it too has commercials. Satellite radio is a failure and I will help put a nail in their coffin by not not renewing for either of my vehicles.

John Valvano's picture

I have XM. I like the fact that when I'm in my car I can listen to music, only music, no moronic DJs talking and no commercials. When XM got rid of the progressive channel to make room for such channels as Oprah, I almost canceled. but I'm sticking with it. It isn't perfect and it could be more diverse musically but it's light years ahead of FM. Actually it's more like FM used to be.

Charles's picture

A co-worker has Sirius and it sounds like it was broadcast from inside an oil drum! FM sounds wonderful by comparison.

G.S.  White's picture

I subscribed to XM when my wife and I took a six-month cross-country RV trip. Getting CNN and MSNBC in the middle of nowhere helped us to stay in touch.

Roy E.'s picture

A necessary evil for me as I travel a lot on company business and can't depend on pulling in local stations. But my main problem is the content wars. Last week I planned a whole evening around listening to the World Series as I drove through Pennsylvania and then found out that baseball is on XM. I have Sirius.

Nodaker's picture

My folks have it on satellite at the lakes with their TV package. It's better than nothing, but I'd still prefer playing my own CDs—and I don't plan on signing up any time soon.

Gerald Neily's picture

I've tried both XM and Sirius but I never had either. I've tried XM in various rental cars and Sirius on my DISH Network TV hook-up. The problem with both is that they are basically just another form of radio. They were somewhat interesting when they were still "narrowcasting," but the more widespread they become, the less interesting the programming is. What we really need is wider access to webcasting and podcasting, especially in cars.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

A godsend for my significant other, who only has a cassette player in her car and is a not-so-closet Howard Stern fan. And I've heard some good music on Sirius, though not enough to put it in the "must have" category for me.

Mike Agee's picture

Serius is part of my dish TV service but I have yet to do more than browse when too tired to do much more than operate a TV remote. Been meaning to buy very long ICs to get the sound to my system but have higher priorities with shorter, better ICs and a distaste for video-necessary interfaces.

Louis P.'s picture

One more thing to pay for that used to be free. OK, there is quality programming (not Howard Stern), and commercial free music of many genres. But then I need to buy lots of hardware for the car, home, and mobile use, and the additional subcription costs for more than one unit, so I'll just pass on the whole thing. Better to use the money on my system or to buy more records.

Jared Gerlach's picture

Although I have not personally subscribed, I have listened to satellite services at friends and in a car on a long trip. I wasn't impressed enough with either the sound quality or the variety to consider subscribing myself.

Chris V.'s picture

While Sirius claims "no commercials," I would argue that having the 'tween song commentary constitutes commercial...for Sirius! I would vastly prefer no announcers at all, on any of the music channels. The program information appears on my display if I'm interested. If I were to drop the service, it would be primarily because of the announcers, which disrupt the otherwise acceptable music programming. I say "acceptable," because the depth of their programming isn't quite what their own promotion would have you believe.

RTS's picture

Stereophile reviewed Acura

Aaron, TX.'s picture

XM-Generally positive. I've had it for a couple years now and listen to it daily for several hours, more on weekends. Only listen to local radio when I'm driving (and I don't have a CD handy), which is just long enough to remind me of the canned crap I left behind. The sound quality isn't bad, either- my only complaint being the weak analog ouput level on the two transportable units I've used. I'd say it has been worth the investment, including all the CDs it has inspired me to buy (Are you listening, you gray-suited goons?!). But I could also see where others would have reason to gripe.

acres verde's picture

I guess we have (at the dealership) what could be called Sirius lite or half-Sirius. It's what comes with the subscription to Dish TV and we pipe it into the showroom in lieu of the old Muzak from the Miocene era. And it's been an ear-opener. I can listen to any one of the music genres for about one day or less before the playlist goes into repeat. It must be 3PM cuz Sheryl Crow is on. If this is typical of all satellite radio then you can have it. Boooring!

DSG's picture

It is satisfactory for the car, but not for the home, since the sound quality is atrocious due to the compression.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Too much talk. Too little sound quality.

JoeL and Shelley's picture

We have XM in the car. My wife and I enjoy it during the many long road trips we take. We find that they play a lot of music that we love, but wouldn't be on our play list. (Both old and new music.) It is also great to listen to comedy and be able to access sports. Can't judge the fidelity, but it is fine for the car.

stephen sweigart's picture

I think XM classics is great!

Rich in Chicago's picture

Yeah yeah yeah, the signal is compressed like cheap plywood and it sounds flatter than a 13 year...(never mind). But there are no commercials and exposure to thousands of songs that I would otherwise have never heard. (then I can buy the CD or LP). Oh, and I can listen to the Howard Stern show, too!

djl's picture

Don't want to try it either...no one plays the music I like on either network. Plus there's a monthly subscription cost too—way not worth it in my book!