Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver

Posted by: gearcruncher

Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/29/12 09:26 PM

Hey guyz !

I have an account with Sirius radio and listen on line frequently .Only have 1 radio station up here in the bush where I live so $200 bucks a year is justified . I am running a patch cord from the headphone jack of the PC over to the receiver . Is there any way I can make it sound better than what I am receiving ? I know the signal is digital but by the time the sound gets to the receiver its a little cloudy and thats with quality cables .Should I be using toslink as the output from the PC to the reciver ?
Is there any internet players that have better sound quality than Sirius ?
I have never tried Pandora but have heard its good
Any suggestions or assistance would be appreciated
What do you guys use ?
Posted by: Murph

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 08:32 AM

A decent analog cable, patching from a stereo jack to the RCA jacks on your receiver, shouldn't degrade the sound as you describe, unless the run is unusually long. What is the distance involved?

What type of sound card is in your PC? There are some bad ones out there, especially in older tech.

Do you find you have to turn up the receiver an unusual amount for this source? The signal from the sound card may also be weak.

TOSLink would keep it digital all the way to the receiver, eliminating any doubt in the sound card or cabling for sure. However, it could be an expensive solution depending on distance. Probably no more than a new sound card though.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 09:12 AM

Gear, I think Pandora's sound quality is vastly better than Siruius/XM. I dropped them many years ago when they kept degrading their audio quality in favor of more channels with the bandwidth they were allotted.

My guess is that there is not a problem with the connection, it's simply that your better system allows you to hear more of the artifacting.

Of course, there's no reason NOT to try a TOSLINK connection just to see.
Posted by: casey01

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 10:46 AM

Originally Posted By: gearcruncher
Hey guyz !

I have an account with Sirius radio and listen on line frequently .Only have 1 radio station up here in the bush where I live so $200 bucks a year is justified . I am running a patch cord from the headphone jack of the PC over to the receiver . Is there any way I can make it sound better than what I am receiving ? I know the signal is digital but by the time the sound gets to the receiver its a little cloudy and thats with quality cables .Should I be using toslink as the output from the PC to the reciver ?
Is there any internet players that have better sound quality than Sirius ?
I have never tried Pandora but have heard its good
Any suggestions or assistance would be appreciated
What do you guys use ?



Unfortunately, Pandora is not available in Canada. If you are interested in listening to internet radio and utilize your sound system to its fullest, although I don't have the direct link, you might want to check out "Grace Digital Audio.ca". They have several radios that are quite inexpensive and a tuner unit designed strictly for an audio system that when hooked up via coax or toslink to your sound system is considerably better than FM. The only condition to this is that you have to set up a router system from your computer to get the wireless internet radio with its 20,000 or so stations that are free.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 01:38 PM

If we are getting into Alternative sources. A Squeezebox is another nice little device to explore Internet radios. They key is to explore lots of stations in the desired genre to find the particular stations that not only play what you like, but also sound good. There is a big discrepancy among the quality between stations. Some are poor but others are quiet excellent, considering ho it gets to you. Best of all, free, other than the cost of the Squeezebox, which is also handy for playing your digitized music collection.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 01:42 PM

Yeah, but if he got one of those, how will Daddy ever sleep at night?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/30/12 03:14 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Yeah, but if he got one of those, how will Daddy ever sleep at night?

::::::: MarkSJohnson: Providing the Axiomoes with humorous references to The Who's songs full of sexual innuendo since 1975:::::::
Posted by: gearcruncher

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/31/12 07:38 AM

A decent analog cable, patching from a stereo jack to the RCA jacks on your receiver, shouldn't degrade the sound as you describe, unless the run is unusually long. What is the distance involved?

Ahh !!! this may be an issue for me . The patch cable is well over 25 feet long .I wouldnt say the quality of the the sound is horrible , but not anywhere near the quality of a cd . I dont want to dump the Sirius radio subscription cuz I use it at work every day with one of their boom boxes .
So maybe I should update this old soundcard with a newer version .
Got any recomendations for an updated card ?
My plan is to build a dedicated PC strictly for listening to audio and home theatre anyway so spending a couple bucks on a decent soundard and with Toslink may be the way to go for the best results . I suppose using a Toslink would eliminate one of the reasons why my sound quality is cloudy or should I say less defined in comparison to other media sources
My rack has room for a horizontal PC . I have been researching computers that are stricly used for home theatre . Kinda pricey but I imagine you get what you pay for
Posted by: Murph

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 07/31/12 08:43 AM

Actually I don't think 25' would be a problem with a standard gauge RCA cable. A standard gauge cable should be good for over 100'.

However, I do recall once reading somewhere that the stereo jack adapter, since it creates a section without the outer sheathing over the hot wire that creates a shield, can reduce this to just 50' but a distance problem usually creates a hum or static, where as you describe poor sound quality. Plus, you are still only half that distance.

It could be as simple as the source, ( I have nothing but rental car experience with sat. radio) but I think that if you really want to prove that the signal is degrading somewhere between the equipment, you simply need to to do as you mention, bring the two closer together, and/or use a Toslink.

I take back my cost comment on the optic cables. I thought a longer run would be expensive but a 25 footer is dirt cheap now online.
Posted by: gearcruncher

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 08/09/12 10:15 PM

Hey Guyz .
I took the plunge and ordered a new sound card for my PC with toslink and HDMI in hopes to get better audio quality from streaming on line .
One more question to add .... Anyone know of a good quality Lossless recorder application for recording streamed music ?
I am using windows 7 with Firefox , Explorer and Chrome .
I am new to recording streaming music on line . I have done a little research mind you and looks like a FLAC recorder/converter may be what I am seeking to get the best results for digital signal playback . According to googled sources , MP3 is not the way to go because of compression
What do you guys use ?
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 08/10/12 12:25 AM

The best possible bitrate from Sirius is their premium bitrate of 128kbps. There's not much point to recording losslessly unless your source is also lossless. When recording a lossy source, I just record it at a higher bitrate. If you're paranoid, double the bitrate to 256kbps and it'll be just fine.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 08/10/12 07:49 AM

Agreed, the music is lossy to begin with. Most conversions convert the original source back to an uncompressed file before it re-converts it to your new format. (Note: by uncompressed file I mean that it is mathematically uncompressed but the resulting file still is missing whatever data was lost in the original compression.

Then, when you re-compress it, it will very likely change it once again as different compression algorithms, and of course different bitrates, will apply the math differently.

I'm unfamiliar with how streaming format is converted to storable formats like .mp3 or flac but it probably does the same thing. If it directly converted you would be applying some kind of compression algorithm to an already compressed file/stream, which I'm guessing, results in even more variation from the original.


How much of all this will hit your ears in the end? I guess that depends on a lot of variables. Also, I'm no expert, this is all just surmising from my limited experience and reading.
Posted by: gearcruncher

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 08/10/12 08:01 PM

Great replies !!!

I suppose what I am trying to do is make Sirius sound as best as I can possibly get it to sound .
I ordered a fairly expensive sound card for the home theatre PC . According to the reviews ,its well worth the dollars spent /
Have a peek here http://ca.asus.com/en/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_STX/
I am uncertain as to what recording application it comes with but I am hoping I can double the bit rate at the very least . Also sounds like this card can upconvert .
One of my plans was to upload all my CD media to the PC so the new sound card is justified in comparison to a factory Gateway internal audio card .
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Streaming sirius radio from PC to receiver - 08/10/12 11:59 PM

Cruncher, that will likely be less noisy than the regular computer headphone output, but there's no process that can restore audio data that has been removed in a compression process. No increase in the Sirius bit rate is possible.