: XM Radio Quality: Lexus vs. Cadillac



raposka
08-11-06, 11:54 AM
I have a 2006 CTS with the 18" wheel package and Bose sound system. I had always noticed that XM radio reception was not "digital quality". In fact, it had a constant "air noise" that is very perceptable while listening to talk stations and seems to dull the quality of music stations. I would say that it is similar to the "white noise" many people find in office buildings.

I took it to Crestview Cadillac in Rochester, Michigan. The service advisor listend and clearly heard what I was experiencing. The CD and FM bands were much more clearer than the XM. He scheudled me to bring the car in the following week. After being in the shop all day, the service manager, Joe Girouard, called and told me there was nothing he could do. He could not diagnose the root cause.

When I returned he simply dismissed my complaint. Since he did not know how to fix the problem, he told me that there is nothing wrong with the sound quality. He walked away from me, saying "I do not have time for this". One of the service techs mentioned that he had heard similar complaints, so the manager could not argue that there is an issue. He agreed to research it further, and promised to get back in touch the following week. But he did not keep his word to research this matter, nor did he call me back.

Since then, I have escalated the issue through customer service, requesting to speak directly with the zone manger. But the zone manager wants nothing to do with this. He would not even call me directly, rather he had the customer service rep tell me that he agrees with the service manager and there is nothing wrong with my XM. He said that it is "due to the decoding of the digital signal".

I stopped by a Lexus dealer and sat in a new ES, it's XM radio did not have the same air noise. I also spoke with XM radio, and they informed me that the problem is with the equipment. If if it functioning properly, it should be "digital quality" as advertised by GM. Yet, the customer service hotline rep, Ryan Keene, told me that XM is not digital quality and what I am experiencing is "normal". He refused to pass on my invitiation to the zone manager to meet a real Cadillac customer, who just dropped $40K on one of their vehicles, and listen to XM radio on the drive to a Lexus dealer, where we could sit in an ES and listen to the same station. I was told that it is an unreasonable request, and aparantly it is an unreasonable expectation that XM radio perform as advertised on my $40k car.

I later found out from one of my students that the real problem is that the XM receiver is not hard wired into the system, rather it plays on a weak FM band. The fact that my wheels have the tire pressure monitors, sending a signal to the information center, may also interfer with this weak FM band. Basically, he told me that GM found a quick and cheap alternative to hardwiring the XM, and therefore the quality will never be "digtal" as advertised.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem? Can anyone confirm this? Does anyone at Cadillac care to talk to a customer and truthfully explain why my XM radio does not sound as good as the Lexus - even with the Bose speakers? My wife and I are planning on purchasing a new vehicle this fall, and we were looking at Cadillac, Lexus, and BMW. I am begining to think that I will go back to my vow to never buy an American car again, especially after being treated like this.

PAULSTSMAN1
08-12-06, 10:23 AM
I have a 2006 CTS with the 18" wheel package and Bose sound system. I had always noticed that XM radio reception was not "digital quality". In fact, it had a constant "air noise" that is very perceptible while listening to talk stations and seems to dull the quality of music stations. I would say that it is similar to the "white noise" many people find in office buildings.

I took it to Crestview Cadillac in Rochester, Michigan. The service adviser listened and clearly heard what I was experiencing. The CD and FM bands were much more clearer than the XM. He scheduled me to bring the car in the following week. After being in the shop all day, the service manager, Joe Girouard, called and told me there was nothing he could do. He could not diagnose the root cause.

When I returned he simply dismissed my complaint. Since he did not know how to fix the problem, he told me that there is nothing wrong with the sound quality. He walked away from me, saying "I do not have time for this". One of the service techs mentioned that he had heard similar complaints, so the manager could not argue that there is an issue. He agreed to research it further, and promised to get back in touch the following week. But he did not keep his word to research this matter, nor did he call me back.

Since then, I have escalated the issue through customer service, requesting to speak directly with the zone manger. But the zone manager wants nothing to do with this. He would not even call me directly, rather he had the customer service rep tell me that he agrees with the service manager and there is nothing wrong with my XM. He said that it is "due to the decoding of the digital signal".

I stopped by a Lexus dealer and sat in a new ES, it's XM radio did not have the same air noise. I also spoke with XM radio, and they informed me that the problem is with the equipment. If if it functioning properly, it should be "digital quality" as advertised by GM. Yet, the customer service hotline rep, Ryan Keene, told me that XM is not digital quality and what I am experiencing is "normal". He refused to pass on my invitation to the zone manager to meet a real Cadillac customer, who just dropped $40K on one of their vehicles, and listen to XM radio on the drive to a Lexus dealer, where we could sit in an ES and listen to the same station. I was told that it is an unreasonable request, and apparently it is an unreasonable expectation that XM radio perform as advertised on my $40k car.

I later found out from one of my students that the real problem is that the XM receiver is not hard wired into the system, rather it plays on a weak FM band. The fact that my wheels have the tire pressure monitors, sending a signal to the information center, may also interfere with this weak FM band. Basically, he told me that GM found a quick and cheap alternative to hardwiring the XM, and therefore the quality will never be "digital" as advertised.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem? Can anyone confirm this? Does anyone at Cadillac care to talk to a customer and truthfully explain why my XM radio does not sound as good as the Lexus - even with the Bose speakers? My wife and I are planning on purchasing a new vehicle this fall, and we were looking at Cadillac, Lexus, and BMW. I am beginning to think that I will go back to my vow to never buy an American car again, especially after being treated like this.

I am very sorry to hear of your problem. As a Cadillac customer of several years I have had similar problems of the electrical nature. I would have changed brands myself if I had not "run into" a qualified electrical engineer who because of his brilliance and familiarity with technology was able to diagnose and repair all of my electrical issues, making a least 3 cars I have owned completely trouble free.

Buy that student who diagnosed your problem lunch and find out where you can take the car for radio service. Soon all cars will have digital radios, it's a feature being offered in Southern California right now. My Bose Radio, functions OK, but my car doesn't have the pressure sensors for the tires, maybe that feature can be disconnected? Tire pressure sensors are great for the Ladies or derelict men that don't remember to service their cars, but for most of us, we check manually every time we fill the gas or wash the car, certainly before we take trips, so I think the auto system is unnecessary.

The issues you brought up, as I have posted in this forum for almost 2 years now, is one of the reasons, Cadillac may never be "Standard of the World" again, it's simply second rate. Lexus is the Standard of Perfection, today!

dp102288
08-12-06, 01:59 PM
FM broadcast?! Damn, that is beyond cheap. I have one of those things to hook my mp3 player to play through my speakers, and it is not the best quality. For any price of the car, if I expect that the radio, and all its features, are hard wired directly to the speakers. Anything less is subpar, and you should keep nagging the dealer until they do something about it.

codewize
08-17-06, 10:03 PM
Has that been confirmed. That's sounds like a really cheap move for Cadillac. I just can't see them doing that. Wow I would really be amazed if that were fact. I mean that's like, oh and if you buy this $50k car we'll throw in this $9 device from Wal-Mart. Everything in a car should be built in. If it's not it's not only susceptible to damage but will soon become unreliable.

raposka
08-21-06, 11:54 AM
I myself would like to get confirmation an this. Unfortunately, Cadillac Customer Service does not seem to be interested in helping me. I received a phone call yesterday from Ryan Keene, the customer service rep I originally talked to, and he is sticking by the story that it is XM's problem. Of course, he can offer no explaination as to why a similarly priced Lexus does not have a static problem. The end result is that neither the dealer, nor the customer service rep, nor the area zone manager are interested in finding a solution to this problem. Instead, they all prefer to point the finger at XM and make up excuses. I even asked for a recommendation for which dealer had the best reputation and expertise in this area. I have already been to two crappy dealerships, and I do not want to keep driving around trying my luck. Of course, they could not help me in this either. It would be a violation of their franchise agreements to tell me which dealership has the best service quality.


The funny thing is that the Lexus dealer was far more helpful to me than my own Cadillac support. Their service manager took the time to talk with me and confirms that it is not at all a problem with the XM and that it has the potential for near CD quality, but that it is indeed the setup that Cadillac has put in our vehicles. Funny, the Service Manager at Crestview told me that "he did not have time for this". The Lexuse service manager took time to listen to my radio, try to adjust it to minimize the static, and assured me that Lexus would be happy to have me join their family next time around. From what I understand, customers can even talk to a real Lexus employee! I mean, someone who gets a paycheck form Toyota. So far, I have been unable to get anyone from GM to call me and give me a real explaination of why my brand new Bose stereo's XM sounds like crap! My wife and I are buying a new cross over this fall, and after the treatment I received, it certainly will not be at Crestview Cadillac and most likely will not even be a Cadillac.

LLT
11-15-06, 03:00 AM
My apologies for "bumping" this older topic.

Has anything came of this? I too agree that the XM in the new Escalade is nothing short of awful. I'd argue that the "state-of-the-art Bose system" is awful as well and I'm far from an "audiophile." I'm very disappointed with the sound quality and I've tweaked until I'm blue in the face. FM and CD sound better - XM is just horrible.

I have XM in my wife's 2007 Camry Hybrid. It's a JBL system and it sounds wonderful. Nearly crystal clear. The system overall sounds significantly better than the ESV. It also has bluetooth! Shame when my wife throws her ~$30k car in the embarrassed face of my $70k vehicle. :(

dp102288
11-15-06, 07:20 AM
^^ Damn. Honestly, things like that just make Cadillac lose market share. Yeah the Escalade is nice, but when the sounds system of a stock Camry sounds better, what does that say about a $70,000 SUV? Its a POS.

I think the only thing that would make it wounds better is an aftermarket head unit, but since you have Bose, and all the other stuff integerated with it, you would lose so many other functions. Cadillac's cheapness, for you especially, is just giving the consumer more shit to worry about, and who needs to worry about a $70,000 car? :BS:

LLT
11-17-06, 09:14 PM
I ordered and installed the iPod integration kit and must say the sound quality is much, much better. It seems it's just XM and/or GM's awful implementation of XM that produces a terrible sound. I think I'll likely just disconnect the XM - after going from CD, FM or iPod back to XM, it's just unbearable. Nearly sounds like AM.

Blackout
11-19-06, 08:11 PM
Sirius > XM

dp102288
11-20-06, 08:53 AM
^^ Playboy > Howard Stern! :D

Just messing with you!

LLT
11-20-06, 08:00 PM
The quality of Sirius is better, in my opinion. The channel selection is better on XM. It's a wash as I see it.

CTSmole
12-12-06, 11:09 AM
I'd have to agree on the XM quality being terrible. I've yet to decide if I'm going to subscribe to it, as I hate the quality but like some of the programming.

In addition, I'm pretty disappointed in the Bose stereo (complete crap IMO). I've had better factory stereos in much lesser cars and they weren't integrated so that I couldn't upgrade them as the CTS stereo is.

FWIW, my wife's H3 (another GM auto) has a 6 disc changer that sounds much better than the Cadillac's and the XM is very acceptable sounding too (not as good as CD or perfect FM but OK to listen to).

raposka
01-08-07, 04:03 PM
In the end, I let the XM subscription run out. I usually prefer the silence when I drive anyhow.

donjumpsuit
02-08-07, 05:31 PM
The XM quality is just as bad in a brand new ACURA TL with XM. Both my roomate and I, have Factory XM units installed in our cars (his the 06 TL, mine is an 05 SRX). We also both have the new SIRIUS Stillettos, and before that we both had the S-90's. We have concluded that XM is a gigantic TURD and that SIRIUS has better, satellites, and compression algorithms in their units than XM does. Slowly over the next few years XM will die, their content SUCKS, thier sound quality sucks, and their corporate motto is to not to pay anymore talent until they are in the black for their investment, which is never going to happen due to SIRIUS taking over the market. So far SIRIUS has hired stern, EMINEM, Jamie FOXX, took NASCAR, Sinatra, and possibly MLB away from XM.

Do yourself and everyone a favor. SIRIUS offers a brain that swaps out with the XM brain in your car super easy. It costs 99 bucks. Go buy it and be please from now to the end of time.

Sirius took longer to perfect their technology before putting thier product on the market, whereas XM's big move was to move first, and secure market without concentrating on initial technology. Looks like XM looses in this competition as several manufacturers have switched over to SIRIUS, leaving GM, Toyota, and Honda left with an inferior product.

RoadRatX
02-24-07, 03:05 PM
The XM quality is just as bad in a brand new ACURA TL with XM. Both my roomate and I, have Factory XM units installed in our cars (his the 06 TL, mine is an 05 SRX). We also both have the new SIRIUS Stillettos, and before that we both had the S-90's. We have concluded that XM is a gigantic TURD and that SIRIUS has better, satellites, and compression algorithms in their units than XM does. Slowly over the next few years XM will die, their content SUCKS, thier sound quality sucks, and their corporate motto is to not to pay anymore talent until they are in the black for their investment, which is never going to happen due to SIRIUS taking over the market. So far SIRIUS has hired stern, EMINEM, Jamie FOXX, took NASCAR, Sinatra, and possibly MLB away from XM.

Do yourself and everyone a favor. SIRIUS offers a brain that swaps out with the XM brain in your car super easy. It costs 99 bucks. Go buy it and be please from now to the end of time.

Sirius took longer to perfect their technology before putting thier product on the market, whereas XM's big move was to move first, and secure market without concentrating on initial technology. Looks like XM looses in this competition as several manufacturers have switched over to SIRIUS, leaving GM, Toyota, and Honda left with an inferior product.

Looks like this could be a moot point in the coming year. XM is looking to buy out the near bankrupt Sirius....

bighebrewbear
04-06-07, 05:00 AM
The problem is not XM, it is the Cadillac stereo. XM inputs as the orginal post stated through an aux input brust transmitter, like the cheap iPod snap on's from walmart. This is why the sound is so rough. This added with 4 other transmitters from your tire pressure system is signal hell on wheels.

This is why Bluetooth is not offered by Cadillac, it would not work. This is why Cadillac is still the cars of the Gold Chain set and not Mercedes drivers. They spend millions to save pennies. They just dont get it.

Now as for the lexus Levinson systems, they cost lexus almost $7000 per unit. And if you get the option or not, it is already built in the price of the car. Which when you consider one of his home units starts in the low $30k range, this is a steal. The Bose system in the Cadillac cost them around $450Remember what you mama told you, you get what you pay for! A Bose system will never be a Mark Levinson System. Just like a DTS will never be an LS 460 or S600.

And while we are all bitching about the Cadillac sound systems, let me add to the pile. How much would it really have cost to move the MP3 jack from the stereo to inside the console with a power outlet? I mean really? Have you ever tried to use your iPod in a Cadillac? Wires are all over the place. Why do you insist on always being 5 steps behind everyone but Lincoln. :bighead:

tweak48
05-02-08, 11:34 PM
XM inputs as the orginal post stated through an aux input brust transmitter, like the cheap iPod snap on's from walmart. This is why the sound is so rough. This added with 4 other transmitters from your tire pressure system is signal hell on wheels.


Complete bullshite. The signal never returns to RF after being demodulated by the sat box.

The culprit here is the total doggie-poo XM box supplied by GM in my 2004 CTS-V. After swapping in a Sirius GM-1 box, fidelity is somewhere between a very strong FM signal and CD. Far fewer dropouts, even when using the factory XM antenna.

Granted, the factory Bose system is not state of the art, but it is adequate; good enough that it would not drive me to install an aftermarket system. Definately not Mark Levinson though.

It's an easy install, one that can be accomplished on a Saturday morning. And the SIR GM-1 is way way under $100 after rebate.

My sat system has gone from being so bad that I was not going to renew the subscription, to providing really enjoyable, high fidelity music and entertainment.

http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t181/tweak48/DSC_0146.jpg

harvag99
07-28-08, 12:15 PM
I had the same complaint about the xm radio. They have a direct connection into the radio, not an FM type transmitter. It's just not very good, as the previous poster stated. I was considering installing the Sirius GM-1, but then the dealer gave me this bulletin. I wasn't sure if that would help since GM says the problem is with the software on the stereo unit to regulate volume between the different bands. Apparently, the previous person says the sirius box does make an improvement.