Speaking of Car stereo, here's my take on Sirus XM

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by the skipper, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

    /Rant Mode On

    Is it just me that thinks that SirusXM is a bit of a rip? Yes, it’s handy and virtually designed for automobiles (Heck, many new cars come with it installed with a free trial) but a lot of cheaper alternatives seem to have arrived recently. A lot of cars now come with Apple Air Play and Pandora as well, and Pandora is free, if you choose.

    I went to investigate keeping it on my new car since the free trial is running out. The best they offer is $99/year ($118 with taxes and such) and that’s just for ONE device.

    Consider: Data rates are coming down. Pandora is free (well, you can upgrade for $5 or $10/month plan. There are benefits) but it’s good for any number of devices. We have it on four smart TV’s, three Blu-Ray players, both our Iphones, and my new internet radio in the bedroom

    Tunein is another one. Access to thousands of OTA FM stations. Free. I THINK they have a premium service but haven’t explored it. Likewise, unlimited devices, including smart phones. Iheart Radio and Slacker come to mind also.

    Yes, SirusXM is convenient and seamlessly integrated into cars but with new cars now coming with USB and 3.5 mm aux ports, I can’t justify paying $118/year for one device. Now, if that amount included an unlimited number of devices, I might reconsider but, as I see it, where they once owned the auto market, competition is setting in and as soon as the general public becomes aware of them, I think they’ll either change their ways or disappear,

    The sports and news channels might be nice but, to me, I can't justify it. Now, if they allowed unlimited devices...

    /Rant Mode Off
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  2. Aspen

    Aspen Active Member

    London, Ontario
    Unlimited devices would be nice. I think it is expensive for what it is and almost quit them last year, but they offered to cut the fee in half. The sound quality can be poor too at times. I finds "s" sounds in singing and speech have a sharp hiss to them. Not sure if due to over compression or what.
    My new to me car has Sirius but expired. I can't see myself paying for two subscriptions. Unfortunately data costs about 3 to 4 times in Canada vs the US so streaming over the cellphone is prohibitive. I have a local FM station that is pretty good, so I can get by. XM comes in handy for longer trips, but I don't do that very often.
  3. cgutz

    cgutz AK Member

    SE South Dakota
    I have unlimited data plan on phone, and locally save playlist songs on my phone's Spotify account (so they will play without being online). No need for satellite radio in the car and I too let my free trial lapse.

    My phone connects to my 2012 Honda via Bluetooth and when I get in within a minute or two, Spotify starts playing automatically from the last used playlist. I can select next or previous song from the Honda touch display, however, the pause button and playlist selection on the display does not work. (Owners manual indicates not every app feature may be available via Bluetooth.)
  4. OldPolishGuy

    OldPolishGuy AK Subscriber Subscriber

    SoCal, Los Angeles region.
    SiriusXM to me is not worth the regular rates they charge. Sound quality is just "OK" at best. Programing is always changing; I don't like the "pop-up" channels that last maybe a week or two or artist specific channels; I enjoy the Grateful Dead or Springsteen every now and then but not all the time on one dedicated channel. Best "trick" that I've found is to call the customer service number before your trial period expires and ask for any special price packages for new users. They usually offer five or six months of basic service for $24.95-$26.95 for that five or six month period. If they say there aren't any specials available then cancel the service. Within one to two weeks you'll get e-mails to come back to their service for a special price. I've been doing this since 2008 when I got my Chevy Trailblazer and haven
    't paid more that $50.00 for one year of regular service; change of vehicle fees not included. OPG.
  5. tom3

    tom3 Super Member

    So. Ohio
    I got ripped pretty good with that outfit, and not a happy camper. Had a 2014 Terrain and kept the S/XM service active. Traded it in on a 2017 (to beat the four cylinder only deal on 2018s) Terrain pretty much exactly the same vehicle as the 2014. Transferred the service and added a year's service. Then I find out the new vehicle is XM only, lost several channels, couple favorites, and all the travel info we had previously on the infotainment center. Have to go with the premium All Access service to recover what we had. Never hear too much good about that company, now I see why.
  6. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    northern cal.
    I had it on two new vehicles I bought in 2012. I had it for two years, the first being free. Then came a rate hike so I dumped the service in both vehicles. A few weeks later I get a phone call from them offering me the service again for less money. I got a bit upset at that and told them to stop calling me. The quality isn't worth the money and I would get a warbling sound in town sometimes. The signal boumcing around off of buildings maybe? The satellite music stations on my Direct TV sounds better. Probably due to better bit rate maybe? If it was $10 to $20 a month maybe I would use it.


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  7. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

    RTP, NC
    OPG nailed it. My wife began using XM after purchasing a Prius in 2013. We quickly learned to never allow Sirius access to any credit card or online checking account to renew subscription. Ignore them until subscription expires or they agree to a reasonable renewal fee. We actually send them a check in the mail so they cannot access any accounts.

    And yep, the quality is so-so and the satellite feed drops in certain areas. However, we lack unlimited data plans for cell phones and my wife like the numerous NPR channels available.

  8. w1jim

    w1jim I can fix it but good... Subscriber

    Boston western 'burbs
    I just picked up a used Audi A6 and was pleased to find that the Sirius subscription was still active.
    Once it runs out I’ll opt for a 2 month free trial and then the first year special of $60/yr.
    After that I’ll wait and see.
    frankly I don’t drive enough (work from home) and have 2 cars to split it between.
    I have enjoyed the content but sometimes it’s uninspired.
  9. soundmig

    soundmig Super Member

    Western Colorado
    Personally, I don't like the sound of Sirius XM. My previous Audi came with it (and a free trial) and my new Ford Escape also came with it (and a free trial) .. I was so unimpressed with the overly compressed sound that in both cases I did not extend past the free trial. I guess it is convenient and for us here in the mountains it provides "radio" when conventional radio doesn't work out too well. I just use the bluetooth and play tunes from my cell phone - sounds much better. But ... that's just me :)
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  10. toddalin

    toddalin Super Member

    I got it on my Caddie, like it, and keep it up.

    But, it seems like there are more and more drop-outs all the time. When I got the car new in 2014, there were two spots where I would loose signal for a second or two. I knew exactly where and why they were. Now..., there there seem to be a shiite-load of these spots, and usually for no apparent reason (i.e., nothing I can see that would obscure a satallite). Can't for the life of me figure why they don't buffer these things to avoid this. :dunno:

    Regarding quality, In the Beginning there was Sirius and XM and they were different. When they merged, they still send out different signals, with one being better than the other. It is up to the consumer to research the car manufactures to determine which system is being used, and select the car manufacturer accordingly, if they are into radio quality.
  11. ghazzer

    ghazzer Senior Member Subscriber

    Sykesville, MD
    I think that they need the high rates so they can afford the work force to manage the two or three emails a week that they send out to remind you of their "excellent" services, AND "your next 7 days of listening . . ."
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  12. MER71

    MER71 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    The 6 month deal for $25 is worth it. If the standard rate was $50 a year, we would keep it. My wife's car is the only one with it and she likes it. The compression is horrible sounding, but the content is good. I do enjoy the comedy channels for some reason!!
  13. quaddriver

    quaddriver 120 What's per channel Subscriber

    back in the day, before the merger, I got a starmate4 with a lifetime subscription - $500 for lifetime, movable twice. I still have the original into its second boombox. using auctions and such I got mounts to put it in all vehicles, boat and rv - so on that count, Im ahead, but the bitstream is the WORST quality, worse than MP3 so ita matter of convenience. I dont listen to it for the enjoyment, it sounds like crap fed into my office receiver, but on a boat, tops down, 30mph on a sunny day - its the bomb when your lake is far from any stations that play more than bubblegum. A human can only listen to so much adele before they must kill themselves...
  14. Farmhand

    Farmhand Super Member

    My brother swears by XM, but I've never been one to buy the cow when I can get the milk for free. There are too many other ways to listen to music.
    Decibel_116, beat_truck and superdog like this.
  15. VinylDan1

    VinylDan1 Active Member

    That doesn't make sense, from the beginning GM has only used XM.
  16. chili555

    chili555 Member

    South Carolina, by the lake
    I agree entirely.

    It is sure nice when I am traveling and the signal doesn't fade out forcing me to look for another suitable station. However, for me, the price is too high.


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  17. squirrelnest

    squirrelnest Addicted Member

    Alexandria, VA
    I run SirusXM in two vehicles, don't care for the price but gotta pay to play.
  18. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Midwest USA
    The marketing geniuses who run SiriusXM apparently don’t care that they have pissed off many customers due to their unethical billing practices. (At the end of the free subscription that came with my new car, SiriusXM charged my credit card $101.18 for 6 months service - without my authorization, and without even notifying me. (Their terms & conditions state that at the end of the free trial they will automatically charge your credit card at their “then current rate” – meaning full retail price.) The charge just appeared on my credit card statement; I received no notification of the amount they intended to charge. I told SiriusXM that IMO this represents fraud. I told them that I no longer trusted them to have my credit card on file. I instructed them to delete my credit card from their records, which they did.)

    I don’t have a smartphone, and there is very limited over-the-air (AM or FM) classical music where I live, so I reluctantly agree to do business with SiriusXM. I have on my calendar to call them before my subscription expires to negotiate another term – or not – because I’m not willing to pay their full retail price to listen to one or two stations. (I enjoy the SiriusXM classical station, and occasionally the opera station. I have no use for the other channels. Every time I negotiate with SiriusXM, I tell them that I refuse to pay for the sports channels, talk radio, country music, etc, but they always give me the complete package, claiming they can offer a better deal than for their music-only offer.)

    Because of SiriusXM’s history of billing my credit card without notice, I insist on paying the “old fashion” way – i.e., they send me an invoice in the mail, and if I want to continue the service I’ll send them a check.

    As with any subscription service that involves deeply discounted introductory rates, the 3 magic words in negotiating a rate at the end of the trial are “cancel my service”. (BTW, I’m getting ready to have this same conversation with my local newspaper. After having been a customer for almost 40 years, they tried to charge me $895 per year, whereas they offer a 6 month promo rate to new subscribers that equates to $252/yr. After that “cancel my service” call to my newspaper, my next call will be to AT&T regarding POTS (plain-old-telephone-service) – again after having been a customer for almost 40 years, I realized I can get better service (including LD for no additional charge) via VoIP for less than ¼ the price.)

  19. CT Jim

    CT Jim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Branford, CT. 06405
    I have a pretty decent radio in my 2011 Element. It has two FM sets, one AM, aux, and CD plus that $%^%$%$# two sets of Sirius places. The issue is when you clik thru the Fm1, FM2, AM, Aux, CD you have to clik thru BOTH GD Sirius places before you get back to one of the regular places.
    Called Honda asking if there was a software update to get rid of the Sirius stuff, they said i had to buy a new radio. Like I'm going to run out and do that!
    I tried the trial, it just didn't do much for me, and their incessant marketing drives you nuts. IPOD works fine, as does the iphone stuff.

    edit- as robert just said, they will auto charge your CC without notice, and they will say when you cancel, ok, then they will charge you ANYWAY. This info is posted all over about how they charge you. Doing it Robert's way, bill me and I'll send a check, is the only way to do it, if you have to have sirius.
  20. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

    I like SXM. I have it on my wife's car and my car. I also pay for the phone app and stream that to my stereo. Tom Petty's "Buried Treasure" show is a gem. Lucky (get it?) he did many seasons. I even have the traffic app on the cars. And, yeah, I'm probably paying too much. But it works and is convenient.

    Satellite bandwidth is expensive, which is why some channels are more compressed than others. The 'net-based app is higher-res, so it sounds pretty good on the old Marantz.

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