How to make satellite radio sound good. Well, less bad
Cooley On Cars
Hey folks, Cooley here, with another one of your e-mails about hi-tech cars and modern driving.
This one comes in from Carleen F. He's in Orlando, Florida.
He says, it seems like car audio systems keep getting better and better, but satellite radio still sounds like crap HD radio and Bluetooth audio streaming sound much better, he says, in my 2016 Acura TLX which is equipped with ELS audio.
Are there any technological advancements to improve sat radio's audio quality?
Hey Kerleem, I hear you.
We hear a lot of this and there's forums all over the web that are grousing about this kind of thing.
So why does satellite radio suck?
It's kinda the latest version of radio, you'd think it's really great.
Well part of it is the digital deceit.
Whenever someone moves their platform to pure digital quality, they're usually saying we're gonna make more money by serving more stuff on the same bandwidth.
And you're gonna pay the price with crummier sound, same as cellphones, same as MP3s.
Moving to digital usually is bad for analog audio fidelity.
And your ears are analog.
the other thing is we're drunk on channels, as consumers we love more channels we keep our broadcast, we add satellite now we have Spotify and Pandora, that's a big selling point and of course car makers are the biggest thing to drive satellite radio.
About three quarters of new cars come with satellite radio now and Sirius XM has been pushing it hard in used cars that already have it, they want to make sure the next buyer activates it Which they do, in used cars by the way.
Six times more than new car buyers do.
So that's a huge driver of why satellite radio has got their 30-some-odd million annual subs.
So there's our background.
Let's try and fix your system.
First of all Get off the bird.
Stream it when you can.
Don't think of Sirius Satellite Radio as satelite radio.
It's just a channel content provide, so use the app whenever you can, as long as your data plan's not a real skinny one that's gonna sting you with overage charges.
You've got a setting in the app that will let you go between minimum, moderate, and maximum quality, and similar amounts of bandwidth.
It should sound better and wetter, because the source is good.
It's the satellite that makes it sound bad.
Upgrade your EQ.
If you're up to the idea of doing mods in your car or having them done, look for a better amp with very advanced equalization.
That may let you go in there and target the areas where satellite radio sounds crummy.
Give it a little more low end and take off some of that brassy, burning high end and just fill it in in general.
And the last thing is you can consider some of what they are now calling AI audio, That's kind of a loose term but things like AWSM from Bamboo or Clari Fi from Harmon are new technologies that predict what's missing in the sound that's coming in, synthesize it, put it back in and then send it off to the amp and speakers.
You can get some JBL amps now, aftermarket, that have Harmon Clari Fi.
For the bamboo awesome technology, that's strictly going to be OEM for the time being.
Hope some of those tips helped before your ears get totally fried by listening to SAT radio.
Keep those e-mails coming.
I'm here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving.
It's cooley at the roadshow dot com.
See the essential differences between the electric F-150 Lightning...
AR is coming, but not where you expected it: Think bigger
What do payload and towing ratings mean in the real world?
Measuring your car's brakes to tell if you need a brake job
How Porsche E-fuel aims to make gas engine cars as clean as electric...
Will you recognize the gas station of the future?
Electric trucks are the hottest kind of electric car
Why your car's windshield is the next high-tech frontier
See the new emergency flasher lights for cars
New car destination fees have soared in the last 10 years