Bit rates for XM and Sirius?

They both use a variable bit rate (VBR). It probably varies from about 5 to 50 kbps.

The aggregate bit rate of both services is around 6 Mbps. Some of this is overhead. Assume 5 Mbps for 180 channels = 28 kbps per channel average.

They use different CODECs, so even if the bit rate where fixed and equal, the sound would still differ. The CODECs are more efficient than MP3, and have different character than AAC.
I have a year free subscription with a new car to Sirius. the sound quality is awfull. I Emailed asking about the bitrate. Here's the response....

Dear Brian,

Thanks for your recent email. We appreciate the time you have taken to
contact SIRIUS in regards to our bitrate. Currently at this time our
system is using a 34 Kbs bitrate. We understand any inconvenience this
may cause. We are trying to accommodate listeners of all types. We
hope this information helps.

We are committed to providing you with the best in customer care. If
you have any more questions, please feel free to contact SIRIUS
Care. For your convenience, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week at:

1-888-539-SIRIUS (7474)

As well as by email at:


Michael B
SIRIUS Customer Care

Did you know that SIRIUS has great money-saving billing options? You
can get 1-14 months free depending on the option you choose. Call us
888-539-SIRIUS (7474) and we’ll help you choose the plan that’s
for you!

Original Message Follows:
First Name: Brian
Last Name: Donaldson
Email Address:
Subscriber: Yes
Account Number: xxxxxxxx
Message: What bitrate do you use. The sound quaility in my new Dodge is
awful. I do like the programming and considered getting a home
but the sound quality is so bad that I can't enjoy the music. If this
isn't due to a short term problem that is soon to be rectified, my
subscription will end after the free year.