Quality of Sirius XM

I recently started streaming Sirius XM in my barroom. I’ve noticed sound quality differences between my Roon DB, Pandora, Sirius XM and a few other sources. The sound quality varies quite a bit. I just assume that Sirius XM is streaming at a compressed rate. Don’t know that to be true, though. Not sure if the satellite feed sound quality is different than what is streaming over the internet. 

Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

Thanks in advance. 


Sirius/XM uses lossy compression and it will sound that way no matter how you listen. However, it's possible to get better sound from the stream than the satellites. I use an iPad to stream at home and use its digital out into a Bryston BDA-3.

If you stream, check your app's settings for XM. On the iPad, there are three levels of quality. Obviously guys like us want the highest quality.

Considering the quality of their "stream" and the amount they charge, it is probably the worst offering imaginable in audio.

Sirius XM rolls off the high end substantially & overall sounds terrible in even a decent system. A Good FM signal can be much better. 

I had it in the car, I think they overcook a MP3 quality sound into a fake HI-REZ sound that sounded artificial.

Sirius XM is used for convenience and reduction in the number of commercials, but not for sound quality. We use it in the cars and via Sonos speakers for the living room as background music. I have never listened to it on my reference system. 

I have Sirius-XM hooked up to my main system.

It does not sound nearly as good as CD's. But it is useful for hearing things I don't own or haven't heard in years. If something really catches my attention, I buy the CD and enjoy it more.

FM is almost non-existent in my home. We live in a "bowl", surrounded by hills. I have an FM antenna that goes up into the attic and from one end of it to another. Still get very few stations I like without static.


SXM is imbedded in nearly every new vehicle audio system.  You get a free 90-day trial.  Their aim is to secure subscribers after the 90-day trial expires.  SXM provides convenience and very good content for your driving time.  It provides nation-wide coverage via low wattage, highly compressed satellite distribution.  It's fantastic for all of these reasons - in a vehicle or as background music for your home.  It was never intended to be a high-resolution sonic service.  I love it for what it is.  I would never consider using SXM as a source in my high-fidelity music system.  There are other options for that, preferably accessed via a quality streamer product.

Thanks everyone for the comments and clarity.  Much appreciated.  As I said, it is in the bar room.  Not exactly high end listening.  The Sonus Faber ceiling speakers are powered by a Sonos Amp, so again, not much high fidelity here.  But, your responses confirm what I thought.  I had a little trouble keeping my Roon Nucleus (Tidal) playing correctly on the Sonos Amp, but need to take the time to figure it out some more.