: XM sound quality from factory tuner?

03-19-06, 12:19 PM
I've searched over this topic for the past couple days but haven't found a definitive answer. I took delivery of my '05 V last week, and have activated my 3-month XM trial.

I've been a Sirius subscriber for the past three years, and have a general understanding of how the stream is broadcasted and what it should sound like. However, I have to say the sound quality from the factory XM tuner is horrid--to the point where I don't see a point in using it. I prefer Sirius' content over XM anyhow, but it's disappointing to hear FM radio stations with better clarity and sonic range compared to XM. Think of an .MP3 downsampled to 32 kilobit--it's that bad!

So I dropped my CTS-V off at the dealership yesterday to check this out (among other things). I had the service writer listen to XM in an Escalade first, and then try the same station in my car. We both thought it was the Nav/head unit, but now I'm starting to think it's just the tuner. The dealership gave me a new '06 3.6 CTS with XM, and it doesn't sound much better. This car doesn't have the Nav (I think it has the U2S), so it the tuner and antenna are common with my car.

Has anyone resolved this problem or has additional information for me? I think the only way out is to wait for Directed's release of the GM-->Sirius tuner, SIR-GM1.

03-19-06, 01:37 PM
80% of your problem is your crappy bose speakers.I see you have a cherokee,me too.The Infinity system in your jeep blows away the bose crap in your V.XM does have it's quirks,Sirius has its.You will not be happy with either untill you pull out the bose crap out of your doors and replace with Infinity Kappas.Kappas can be had for under 200 bucks and the difference is OMG.Ask around,you'll get more of the same.If you decide to do this PM me I'll help you all I can.My way of repaying all who helped me.

03-19-06, 02:02 PM
I agree with RP64 about the middling quality (or worse) of the OEM speakers.

However, the XM tuner is worse. Just compare it to CD, DVD, or even FM. (Numerous threads on this.)

Fixing speakers is easy...I've not seen a clean solution for the XM tuner.

Some folks seem to be jumping to iPod integration and bagging XM.


03-19-06, 02:31 PM
I'm exploring the speaker upgrade process... If possible, I'm going to try to replace the front doors and pillar tweeters with an Image Dynamics CSX62 component set. But comparing XM's sound quality compared to other sources, I still think the satellite tuner is to blame. I was just hoping someone could identify a revision or part number that actually sounds decent. Oh well, I'm still going to convert to Sirius when its ready.

03-19-06, 08:03 PM
I dont think its that bad. Actually, I am loving the XM in the 3 days I have had the car so far. So many rock stations to listen to ;)

03-19-06, 08:09 PM
I like Sirius better and yes the bose speakers are weak. Read up on the infiniti kappa upgrades a bunch of us did. That's a fairly simple bolt-in solution that will give you more db's and clarity. I know it woke up my system.

The SRT-8 is the first system I can't handle all the way up. Too loud and the bass will move your seat.

03-19-06, 10:23 PM
Yes, the Bose is a weak unit. But your complaint of XM is in the tuner. It IS that bad. I also have Sirius using an FM modulator in my Town Car and it sounds much better. And I don't like that car's stereo, either.

03-20-06, 07:25 AM
I agree that the sound from my XM radio is just awful!

At first I thought it was the radio/speaker combination, but audio from CD's seem to have a full range of sound.

My best guess is that XM may not "tweak" the audio like all the FM radio stations do - just send it without any pre-emphasis.

I think that there should be a separate sound setting to increase the lower frequencies when listening to XM.

This would give a much more pleasant experience when listening to all those stations without commercials.

Are you listening to us GM?

03-20-06, 09:02 AM
It depends GREATLY on the device used for decoding the signal. My XM Skyfi from 2003 was "okay" while my XM Roady from 2004 was very, very good. My Sony from 2002 was mediocre at best.

What happens if you use an external tuner (Roady XT/XPress/Skyfi2) with a hard-wired FM modulator?

03-20-06, 09:57 AM
Since the factory tuner is such garbage, replacements likely won't sound any different. The solution is to pick up an aftermarket tuner such as the Terk/XM bundle listed on the FAQ: http://www.cadillacfaq.com/faq/answers/xminstall/index.html

I'm starting to work on a stereo upgrade, so I guess I'll just wait until the Sirius tuner becomes available.