Sirius audio quality - changed after MFT update | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Sirius audio quality - changed after MFT update

I just picked up my new sport yesterday, how do I find out if I have version 3.5.1?

Congrats on your new ride, Tar Heel Sport!

You can log into your SYNC Account, click on SYNC UPDATES, and look to the right of the screen (under the picture of your Explorer). It should say SYNC Version ____. Let me know if you have any questions!


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Run a vehicle health report incase dealer never confirmed update, then log on to syncmyride to check.

Sirius will adjust the bandwidth allocated to different channels depending on events and other things. If all channels are relatively muddy you might have an issue. I didn't notice any change in sirius quality between the updates (3.0.2 -> 3.5.1). I rarely listen to Sirius satellite anymore (other than howard stern), I mostly stream sirius via my phone for better quality audio (128k vs. ~20-30k).

Thanks for advising of this. I had no idea my little iPhone would stream such better quality audio then the OEM Sirius tuner. I streamed Energy 98 through my iPhone last couple of days and its like I have different audio system. The sound is so much more robust and clear.

I've only had my new Explorer a couple weeks. Love everything about it.

BUT. I must admit.. after my initial excitement about Sirius.. the number of channels, relatively free of commercials.. it seemed like a *very* nice option that I was going to completely get on board with...

The sound quality is just plain old bad the more I listen to it.

I mean its really bad and is obviously suffering from far too much data compression. Sounds like the sound has been pased through a wah-wah phasing filter or ratcheted down to about 20kbps. Its fairly homogynous too across all channels and no matter where I am and in crystal clear weather so feels to me its just a service quality 'condition' and not some issue that is going to change.

It really becomes even more striking when jumping between plain old FM stations and Sirius. (NOT FM-HD or anything.. just plain old FM stations) which sound really nice in comparison - and its not even close to a locally played music from a media device, of course... but really? REALLY?

Even NPR talk sounds pretty crappy. Im I being overly picky here? Like I said I am totally new to SAT radio. Is this what people get?

I'm really surprised at this. Disappointed and completely underwhelmed.

(edit)... nevermind.. I see plenty of ..uhm... commentary on sound quality...

I did call Sirius to let them know I would not be renewing once my trial period was up.

They never asked, but before hanging up I told them I love the 'idea' of the service but the sound quality is horrible. It felt to me, like I said some kind of magic phrase (bad sound quality) because she instantly started offering suggestions and wanted me to talk to tech support before doing anything.

Long Story Short... They are claiming that recent channel lineup changes and satellite programming changes have caused some well known and ongoing problems with sound quality - particulary she said - with some specific radio models. She said that they are aware of the problem and are working on it and hope to have it resolved within 'days or weeks'. She suggested I do a 'refresh' to Sirius but when I asked if that would really actually do anything she said 'maybe not'.

I am guessing that 'Satellite Programming Changes' means: downgrading the bandwitdh and/or increasing the compression or changing the encoding - and it has not gone well.

Impossible for me to know - since I have not used Sirius before - if I can expect better once this work is done. Other commentary I am seeing suggests this is a chronic- indeed neverending - problem.. but I suppose we will see. In any case - I'll just sit on the trial period and HOPE it gets better. If it doesnt, there is no way I would pay for music that sounds that lame. If it sounded OK - I would pay for it in a heartbeat.

What is the newest version of MFT? I just picked up my Sport yesterday and its running 'Gen2 - V3.5.1. I would assume that this is the latest version but I am unsure. When I go to "Sync Updates" to see if there are any updates it appears I can download something....

Yep thats the latest.

You may see a 'sync status checker tool' available for download - but thats a version checking tool that you shouldnt need at the moment.

Thank you so much SPR. I have only had it a day and was hesitant to plug in a download already.
So the 'sync status checker tool' is a download for the vehicle? When will I need this, if ever?

Looks like if you install an update and don't report it, or have an older version - FORD may not be aware of what version is actually installed on the vehicle. That utility finds out what version is running so that ford can determine which upgrades, if any, someone would need to get current.

With a new vehicle running the latest software - and all registered on - yeah.. you may never need it.

Looks like if you install an update and don't report it, or have an older version - FORD may not be aware of what version is actually installed on the vehicle. That utility finds out what version is running so that ford can determine which upgrades, if any, someone would need to get current.

With a new vehicle running the latest software - and all registered on - yeah.. you may never need it.

Much appreciated! Just do not want to miss out on any updates if this one is in the 'que' first.

Mine is only a couple weeks old too.

The only thing I needed to download was the 'SyncMyiTunes' utility. It runs on your PC or MAC and makes changes to music labels and settings so that iPods music libraries will work with MFT.

Seems lots of people have lots of real problems with iPods and iPhones if they are using them for music until they do this. I did too. You will see other threads about it.

Our Sirius quality was noticeably degraded after the dealer updated MFT as well. When I first took delivery on the vehicle the Sirius quality was great, there was no noticeable compression artifacts on the music channels, but you could hear it up in the talk radio stations.

My Volt has had HORRIBLE XM sound quality from the day I took it off the lot (the stereo itself is pretty good when listening through USB or CD). Now, I'd put the Explorer at about the same quality. It's frustrating.

The sound on Sirius through my Tacoma on an aftermarket Pioneer head unit is still above average.

I have a new 2013 Limited Explorer as of 2 weeks ago, and the Sirius audio quality is horrible compared to FM and to my old car that had XM. I have not had Sirius before, if this is how it is, I certainly won't be paying for it. The reception is actually good on it (I don't lose the signal ever) but the audio quality is horrible. I wish there was something that could be done.

Yeah, the Sirius audio quality is about the worst you will find of current options, with AM being the one exception (well, and cassette too, but I don't think that was an option in our Explorers). It is way over-compressed, and a shame really. It is so bad, we never bothered renewing our subscription. The only thing remotely useful to us is the Travel Link stuff, but even that is over-priced for the functionality. Sirius is currently harassing us to renew...

Funny thing is, XM has much better sound quality. Too bad we can sign up for that service.

I had to drop Sirius as the sound quality of that was so downsampled, like listening to a low-quality MP3. The highs are so brittle, it is unlistenable to me. XM, which I run through an FM modulator on my (daughter's now) 2003 Explorer sounds a lot better. I noticed the same Sirius issue on my wife's new Mercedes. They use different satellites/systems between XM and Sirius and Sirius is CRAP. So now, I run a portable XM unit into my A/V in and it's decent, same as my 2003 Explorer w/ FM modulator.

The CD player has an issue I just posted in another thread. It has an audible pulse sound, a bit like a hiccup, but softer, about every 4-6 seconds, irregular. Happens with every CD. I've tried turning off Bluetooth on my phone, disconnecting everything that the system might be searching for... to no avail.

Then there is the Ipod issue through the USB>Ipod cable. First thing I did when I test drove is checked it. It skips constantly, but I am guessing that is because it tries to catalog my iPod every time I plug it. Since I have a 60GB iPod (and it's full w/ just music), that could take a long long long time. So, I run that through the A/V In as well.

The long and short, for all the modern technology, my best and only solution is the analog RCA jacks. Maybe I'll put a turntable in the back seat. The CD thing is a PISSER though.

The Sirius reception and sound quality have always been bad in my 2011.

I called Sirius and they had no answer as all their repeater stations were functioning in the area where it blacks out for me.

I need Ford to look at it, but how do you get a dealer to work on radio reception when it works at the dealership? I need to drive them where the blackout is, but it is 30 mins from the dealer. This is why I've put up with it this long.

I Was selling xm radio when they first came out, toting "CD quality sound". It did sound really good. As the years went by I noticed the sound being compresed to the point that I will not renew any subscription (with sirius) I worked in the audio field for 16 years and while sound does not run my life (Still rocking the oem xlt system) I do want at least a 128k feed. The sound is soo bad I refused to listen to it. Its to bad in Canada we get screwed on data plans, as I would stream it from my phone.

One thing I will add, in the beginning we had to import xm from the states and have a US address. The sound was great then. Mabye it has to do with canada not having repeater towers and relying on satellite only?

Time to open the wallets, sirius and pay for some more bandwidth.