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Thread: XM Radio in the house, how-to?

  1. #1
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    Default XM Radio in the house, how-to?

    OK, I'll admit I don't have clue on how to do this. I want to subscribe to XM radio for the house. We have NO stations in this area and looking for background music only.

    Could one of you guys point to a primer or recommend gear to use with my system?

    Gordon
    ML Spire,McIntosh C1000 Tube Pre Amp, 2 MC501 Amps, MCD/MDA Transport/DAC Richard Gray RGPC 600 & Pole Pig,WireWorld Eclipse 6 Squared Speaker, Eclipse 5 Squared Balanced ICs, Silver Eclipse Power Cords (5)2 JL Audio Fathom F112 subs

  2. #2

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    Pretty easy G.

    You'll need to place the antenna, smaller than a pack of smokes, so it can "see" open sky on the south side of your house. Check "pointing" location for your area since it's satellite dependent. It can be placed inside, on a window ledge, or outside. The antenna has a 20 ga. wire that needs to connect to a "tuner".

    Many variations on this but you can get what's called a "plug and play" unit, which seats into a "cradle", which is connected to your preamp with RCA's. The plug and play units also allow you to take the "tuner" from the in house cradle to your car if you want that service while driving.

    Polk, and I assume others, make a tuner that is meant for use in a typical stereo system absent the "cradle" option.

    Once hooked up with the antenna receiving the signals, you call XM / Serius to activate the service.

    That's it.

    Be advised the quality of the stations vary with the classical and jazz stations generally sounding better due to, from what I've been told, more bandwidth allocated to these stations.

    Also, tuners will vary in quality with Magnum making what is probably the highest quality unit available.

    PM if you need more info.

    GG

    PS: Tone and TAS reviewed the Magnum Dynalab unit awhile ago.
    Last edited by Gordon Gray; 01-10-2010 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Add PS

  3. #3
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    XM/Sirius also uses terrestrial repeaters, so you don't necessarily need line of sight to the satellites. I have an XM radio in my office at work, which is an interior office under a staircase, opening onto a glass-covered interior atrium. Although it's not really strong, I rarely lose signal.

    As an aside, despite the fact that XM and Sirius are now the same company and share most of the same programming, the respective services use different sets of satellites and repeaters. I recommend getting in via the XM part. The two XM birds are fixed in the sky relative to Earth (geostationary), whereas the three Sirius birds move up and down in the sky to below the equator/horizon over a same general elliptical area (geosynchronous), meaning that their angle to the listener changes throughout the day. In theory, one or more of the Sirius birds are visible at any time, however when I had a Sirius radio in my car, I found that later in the day, I seemed to often lose signal, something I didn't/don't experience with XM. The nearest mountains are 150 miles away, so that wasn't a factor. Also, XM has or had more repeaters on the ground than Sirius.

  4. #4

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    XM and Sirius are ok and although they try to cover a range of genres they don't really offer that much variety or selection when it comes to music content. Have you considered internet radio or online music applications such as Pandora? Another benefit is the price for Pandora or internet radio is much less than XM/Sirius.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys, I'm off shopping for something today. Maybe I can figure out all these cradles and what not's when I actually see it

    Gordon
    ML Spire,McIntosh C1000 Tube Pre Amp, 2 MC501 Amps, MCD/MDA Transport/DAC Richard Gray RGPC 600 & Pole Pig,WireWorld Eclipse 6 Squared Speaker, Eclipse 5 Squared Balanced ICs, Silver Eclipse Power Cords (5)2 JL Audio Fathom F112 subs

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon View Post
    OK, I'll admit I don't have clue on how to do this. I want to subscribe to XM radio for the house. We have NO stations in this area and looking for background music only.


    Gordon
    have you considered a small squeezebox and using internet radio? there are a few local stations *just* out of reach in my house so i now listen to them over internet. and if there is nothing local, you can listen to one of the 47,000,000 themed internet stations.
    Last edited by zaphod; 01-12-2010 at 07:24 AM.
    CLS system here.

    walk gently. leave a good impression.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the info guys. Since I'm a Mc head, I bought a used MR88 tuner which is capable of AM/FM/HD/XM. I have it temporarily wired into the system. The rack needs reorganization which I'm unable to do right now. We receive zero FM stations here due to the our proximity of a Navy base and most of the signals are interrupted. I may get ambitious and install an antenna in the attic in attempt to draw the FM stations out of DC since it is such a nice tuner it seems to be a waste not to use the whole thing.

    I turned on the XM yesterday and we're fairly pleased with the sound. I don't think it is CD quality as of yet but I'm going to change some wires around in an attempt to improve the quality. It seems fine for background music while surfing or doing other things around the house.

    Gordon
    ML Spire,McIntosh C1000 Tube Pre Amp, 2 MC501 Amps, MCD/MDA Transport/DAC Richard Gray RGPC 600 & Pole Pig,WireWorld Eclipse 6 Squared Speaker, Eclipse 5 Squared Balanced ICs, Silver Eclipse Power Cords (5)2 JL Audio Fathom F112 subs

  8. #8

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    Gordon,

    If your digital gear has digital inputs that utilize the internal CDP DAC, I would advise you to try that initially.

    Assumption, of course, is that the DAC in your MAC CDP system is superior to the DAC in the tuner and that the tuner has an XM digital out.

    Although the DAC in my Magnum is quite good, routing the digital through my Cary CDP was an audible bump in performance.

    GG

  9. #9
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    Hi Gordon, The DACs in the tuner are good, but not as good as my main DAC. I put in a TOSLINK yesterday afternoon after I read your post. It was one of those day/night moments! I don't get too many of those anymore but this was it!!

    The RCA's sounded thin and empty going to the pre. I was bypassing the DAC and not taking advantage of it. Once I did some reconfiguring, the presentation become much fuller and much more pleasing. The bottom filled out nicely and the stage become much more defined. The detail and richness I'm accustomed to returned.

    This leads me to wonder if there is a noticeable difference in TOSLINK ICs? I'm using a Radio Shack plastic piece I stole from my HT to experiment and wonder if a pure glass piece would be of benefit.

    G
    ML Spire,McIntosh C1000 Tube Pre Amp, 2 MC501 Amps, MCD/MDA Transport/DAC Richard Gray RGPC 600 & Pole Pig,WireWorld Eclipse 6 Squared Speaker, Eclipse 5 Squared Balanced ICs, Silver Eclipse Power Cords (5)2 JL Audio Fathom F112 subs

  10. #10

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    I'll send you my consulting bill tomorrow.

    Glad it worked out.

    GG

    PS: Never used Toslink so I can't answer that question. Best.
    Last edited by Gordon Gray; 02-21-2010 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Add PS

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