♫ Episode #43 – Streaming Music 2.0

By Kirk on March 10, 2017

Chris Connaker joins us to discuss how music streaming service can make the next step.

People just want to hear the song they want to hear.

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  • Hi, guys; I was a little surprised that an episode that started seeming like it would be about high-quality/lossless streaming services (and whether they were worth the extra cost) ended up spending so much time talking about Sirius XM–oddly, one thing no one brought up is that the sound quality of Sirius XM radio is easily the worst of any paid service. They like to advertise that they are a ‘digital’ service, but I’ve never been able to find a definitive statement on what settings or formats they use to broadcast. To me, most (if not all) of their stations sound like they are 64kb MP3 streams–mushy at the bottom and zero brightness in the high frequencies. My last two cars have been leases and have come with 6 months of Sirius for free; at the end of the trial periods, I’ve always called to cancel the service, because I can’t really justify another $12 or $15 a month for a service I use only a few minutes a week (my commute is short and I mainly listen to stuff on my phone anyway), but they always lower the price to $5 or $6 a month and I end up keeping it.

    • We’re actually mentioning that in the next episode. It’s true that I (Kirk) had never heard it, but we got contacted by some people about the quality, and did some research to find tat it’s at best AM radio quality. Bummer.

  • Gotta agree about the poor sound quality of Sirius/XM. I’ve been subscribing (at a discount) for 10 years now, for the programming variety while driving, but a good MP3 or AAC file as low as 128 kbps (with 256 or 320 kbps being even better) absolutely blows away the sound quality of Sirius/XM. Additionally, FM broadcasts, as long as they are unencumbered by poor reception, also sound significantly better than Sirius/XM. I should add that I am entirely unconvinced that there is any audible difference between a high-res music file and the exact same music file played back at CD quality, and that a compressed MP3 or AAC file at 256 or 320 kbps generally sounds extremely close to CD quality. So I’m not ragging on Sirius/XM simply because of their low bit rates, but rather because those bit rates are so low that the listening experience is significantly compromised for discerning listeners. That being said, when I’ve mentioned Sirius/XM’s poor audio quality to other subscribers, they typically tell me it sounds great to them, and many add that it must be of high quality “because it’s digital”.