Confused by the SIRIUS XM Mirge Radio? Me Too

TSS Taylor

DRC Fan
Oct 9, 2008
3,501
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Chicago, IL
www.tss-radio.com
For the past few months we have been getting questions about the new Mirge Radio and didn't quite know what to tell people. Mostly because we didn't have one to play with or test out.

The Mirge is a niche radio. It serves the FCC mandate that required it and also it is useful for those that insist on EVERY play by play Sports game or someone who insisted on every channel from both spectrums. There are only a few channels that don't overlap when you add in the Best Of Packages. So the subscription for the Mirge is $19.99 per month to have EVERYTHING.

I got a Mirge which comes with a Car Kit included and then I also got a Mirge Home Kit. The big question is can you use the Xpress Kits with the Mirge and we thought No based on the product pages on sirius.com and xmradio.com. We were wrong. You can, and I will explain more soon.

What I found interesting though besides learning that the Mirge Essentially used the Xpress Dock despite the Mirge being a good bit wider than the Xpress was the fact that it came with what looks like a Sirius Antenna as the main car antenna. It claims it's an Interoperable Antenna but I can't distinguish by looking if that's the case or not. The wire, and antenna body is exactly like this one. Then in typical XM fashion it includes a Sure Connect and Cassette Adapter. It also come with a 5V Car Power Adapter (XM Style one) and a Vent Mount and Adhesive Mount.

So then cut to the Mirge Home Kit, which comes in a plain white box with a label on it. It's not packaged like any kit that would be sold in a big box retailer. Within the Mirge Home Kit is everything that comes within an Xpress Home Kit BUT then it also includes a SIRIUS 50 Foot Extension. It's just odd knowing how the SIRIUS Engineers can be that they are comfortable including an XM Antenna in a Kit to plug into a SIRIUS 50 Foot Extension. They usually would cringe with that kind of thing.

When I called XM Radio to activate the woman told me I should call SIRIUS to activate. Which isn't really true. You should be able to call with company to activate it. It has 2 Radio IDs but you only need 1 to activate. So if you deal with SIRIUS call them, or if you deal with XM call them. So I called SIRIUS and dealt with a nice guy from Haiti. Don't be hating on Haiti now ;)

He got the radio activated purely on the SIRIUS SID and not even giving out the XM Radio ID. I was worried because on the SIRIUS portion of the Mirge all the channels were now visible but the XM ones weren't. The XM Activating process takes longer and is slightly more of a pain in the butt. So about 5-10 minutes later the XM Channels were activated and I was good to go. We put the Mirge in the XM Compact Sound System with the Xpress sleeve and it worked great and sounds great. It's definitely a fun radio to play around with.

We've had most of the people at TSS-Radio play around with the Mirge and it's very cool to listen to the same channel on the different services. Most of us here prefer the sound quality of the stations on SIRIUS over the XM version. I would say I learned that via my OEM XM System.

The Mirge is cool. Does it serve a great purpose for the masses, not really. But it is fun to tinker with. I also think SIRIUS XM should just make people aware that it will work with pretty anything that the Xpress will. I think they don't based moreso on packaging and instruction manuals not including the Mirge in the documents, etc.
 

Vargas

Molon Labe!
Oct 16, 2008
3,426
151
63
Western, PA
I'm not really interested in XM so the chance of me buyign this radio is about 0 but nonetheless, this is a great review and I appreciate the explanation.

NOW GET ME A NEW PORTABLE. Tell you SIRIUS reps that we're DYING for new radios and new portables and new technology.
 

geosync

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2008
1,813
288
88
Portland, Or
Thanks Taylor. I think most of us enthusiasts would love to just mess around with the Mirge, switching back and forth between the services. I agree, the Sirius side does sound better (especially anything talk related) but still muddier sounding than XM. Now if they made a Mirge that was portable I would spend a few hundred bucks on it today. Pay 20 bucks, I could get rid of one of my full pay accounts and just consolidate. I could bump around town catching Howard on Sirius, then switch over to XM to catch some sports action, now that would be great.
 

TSS Taylor

DRC Fan
Oct 9, 2008
3,501
200
63
Chicago, IL
www.tss-radio.com
I really don't know if SIRIUS XM has an interest in the interoperables especially since the Mirge has hardly sold. A portable would be even more niche. I wanted to see a car tuner that was interoperable but then I think they might lose money on the Best of Services and having more people on the family plan. I just don't know.
 

Vargas

Molon Labe!
Oct 16, 2008
3,426
151
63
Western, PA
I really don't know if SIRIUS XM has an interest in the interoperables especially since the Mirge has hardly sold. A portable would be even more niche. I wanted to see a car tuner that was interoperable but then I think they might lose money on the Best of Services and having more people on the family plan. I just don't know.

I don't care about interoperable radio's, certainly not an interoperable Portable. I just want a NEW Sirius portable, preferably with blue tooth, wifi and video playback!!
 

JSJarvis

New Member
Oct 16, 2008
6
0
1
Charlotte, NC
I would love if they would put out an interoperable portable, but don't ever expect to see one. I really want to get a Mirge since I have both a Sirius and XM on my nightstand in the bedroom and am having to constantly swap from one to the other depending on what I listen to. I love baseball on XM, but also enjoy Hardcore Sports which is only on Sirius. The only thing keeping me from getting a Mirge is the way they have it packaged. I have no interest in using the unit in the car, only in the house. Bu there is no option to buy the unit packaged with the home kit only. You have to buy the unit with the car kit at $150 and then spend another $70 or so for the home kit. Just too much to sink into it right now.
 

lronglien

Member
Nov 10, 2008
190
6
18
Mirge

I have two Mirge's, one in the car and one at home. I just used the xPress dock that I already had in the car. I agree with the review that the XM radio part of the Mirge takes a little longer to activate, but it eventually worked. I also agree that the Sirius SQ is a little better than the XM, at least on the channels I listen to. The Mirge is now down to $140 or $150 I think, so not a bad buy. You can't get lifetime with the unit, which sucks. Overall, its easy to use and doesn't heat up much at all even with long hours of use.
 

hexagram

Medicinal & Recreational.
Oct 11, 2008
2,760
96
48
Seattle, WA
Thanks for the info, that was very helpful since I was thinking about getting the Mirge when it came out.

Do you know if it's possible to get the Mirge and upgrade an existing lifetime sub?

I know you can do that with the "Best of" services. I added on the Best of XM to my SIRIUS lifetime sub for $50.
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
18
West Virginia
I really don't know if SIRIUS XM has an interest in the interoperables especially since the Mirge has hardly sold. A portable would be even more niche. I wanted to see a car tuner that was interoperable but then I think they might lose money on the Best of Services and having more people on the family plan. I just don't know.

I don't particularly care whether they are interested or not. It needs to happen. The point of the the merger was to cut costs. Producing 2 separate lines of radios obviously costs more than one line of radios that are capable of getting whichever service you want, or both. Keep in mind Sirius XM are not in the business of selling radios, they are in the business of selling radio content. The money isn't made on the radios. In fact the radios area losing proposition for Sirius. You can also factor in the savings for producing 1 line of accessories for radios with similar features instead of 2. Retail confusion is at an all time high right now. Being able to walk into a store, or call up tss and order a radio that is capable of receiving what you want, even if you change your mind would have a lot of appeal to fence sitters. Interoperability is also the obvious first step to combining the spectrum. If that isn't a long term goal of this company, they have to be insane.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbert is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
19,316
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Toronto, ON
Antennas are pretty much interchangable. Not sure why they would pick the faulty Sirius antennas when the XM ones are much much better.

I have heard people say that you need to call Sirius to activate. That restriction is probably due to incompattable accounting systems more than anything else. You could have activated just the XM radio part with XM.

Personally, I think that having both on one radio is kinda useless. Do you really need 2 versions of Classic Rewind?

ETA: Good review.
 

xan_user

Banned
Dec 16, 2008
3,234
74
48
Nor-Cal
If it had a la carte access to any xm or sirius programing for .20 cents or less a channel, id seriously think about it.

Mel will let that happen on the 12th of never.
 

kryptonite

Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2008
9,413
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The Mirge is a niche radio. It serves the FCC mandate that required it and also it is useful for those that insist on EVERY play by play Sports game or someone who insisted on every channel from both spectrums. There are only a few channels that don't overlap when you add in the Best Of Packages. So the subscription for the Mirge is $19.99 per month to have EVERYTHING.

THIS.

The Mirge is useless for most people. Really, just get a Sirius or XM radio (it seems like XM radios have a technical advantage), and get the "best of Sirius" package with the XM radio, and you're good to go.

This way, you'd still be getting all the sports, music, talk, etc. that the company has to offer AND you wouldn't be paying $20 a month.
 

kryptonite

Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2008
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I wish it had that too. I also wish on Cable TV I could just pay for the 5-10 stations I watch. But then the cable companies couldn't afford to exist.

Cable TV is a bit different, though. A lot of the companies (take Disney for example) control a lot of channels, some being more popular than others. They'll say something like "We realize ESPN is a popular channel. However, you have to take these 5 other channels AND you must put them in certain tiers in order to get ESPN."

Cable companies would LOVE it if they could put ESPN in a digital or sports tier, but Disney is most likely prohibiting that.

ESPN and ESPN2 usually are in the most basic tier.
ESPN Classic, ESPNU and ESPN News may be in a sports tier or digital tier, or maybe a basic tier.
ESPN Deportes is usually in a Spanish-language package or sports tier.
Disney Channel is usually in the most basic tier.
Toon Disney (or whatever they're calling it now) is usually in a digital tier.


It's the same thing with Viacom (MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, CMT, CMT Pure Country, etc.) and every other provider. (Soul, Pure Country and MTV Jams are digital-only though, but you get the point.)

Satellite radio isn't like this, obviously. They have the music packages, but they probably could divide it further if they wanted. Make a pop package, a rock package, a rap package, a country package. Have a Howard-only package, a "guy package" for Howard and O&A. They could do a "women's package" for Martha and Oprah, they could probably sell each sports league seperately.
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
18
West Virginia
The Mirge is useless for most people. Really, just get a Sirius or XM radio (it seems like XM radios have a technical advantage), and get the "best of Sirius" package with the XM radio, and you're good to go.

I think the point is being missed here. The Mirge isn't useless. It's the next step in the evolution of sat rad. The spectrum can never be combined, if they don't stop making separate radios. This shouldn't be the only interoperable radio. All radios going forward should be interoperable. The point isn't whether or not you need everything. The Mirge gives you the ablility to have which ever service you want. Or both. If all new radios were interoperable, new customers wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the content they want to listen to is available on the radio they have. The company would no longer need to create, and support 2 separate lines of radios, that do essentially the same thing. Am I the only one that sees the value in this?
 

kryptonite

Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2008
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If all new radios were interoperable, new customers wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the content they want to listen to is available on the radio they have. /QUOTE]

Good point. They know the MiRGE has it, they just need to activate the right side of it for the programming they want.

Obviously, a single set of satellites with all the programming is a long way off. This is the logical first step in merging the content.

I still stand by my point that the "best of programming" will satisfy most people.
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
18
West Virginia
I agree that best of is sufficient for most people. I understand that combining the spectrum is a long way off, but continuing to make separate radios will prolong the inevitable. Combining the spectrum is something that would be good for all us. It also occurred to me that 3rd parties might be more interested in making accessories for sat radios if the radios for both services were the same.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbert is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
19,316
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Toronto, ON
I think the point is being missed here. The Mirge isn't useless. It's the next step in the evolution of sat rad. The spectrum can never be combined, if they don't stop making separate radios. This shouldn't be the only interoperable radio. All radios going forward should be interoperable. The point isn't whether or not you need everything. The Mirge gives you the ablility to have which ever service you want. Or both. If all new radios were interoperable, new customers wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the content they want to listen to is available on the radio they have. The company would no longer need to create, and support 2 separate lines of radios, that do essentially the same thing. Am I the only one that sees the value in this?

They could decide that an XM receiver could be modified to receive the whole spectrum someday and stop producing Sirius radios. In 10 years they could just shut down the Sirius system and give all the bandwith to XM radios sold in the last 10 years capable of receiving the whole spectrum. As long as they continue selling sepearate receivers, they can't start that clock. Selling over priced dual radios isn't going to win already hard to sell to new subscribers either.
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
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West Virginia
Selling over priced dual radios isn't going to win already hard to sell to new subscribers either.

I don't think they have to be over priced. Any additional cost from producing dual mode radios would be more than made up for in having only one line of radios. There really isn't that much difference between the 2. Probably one chipset with the software to decode both streams would do the job. What was the point of the merger if they were gonna maintain 2 separate companies, and 2 different sets of hardware?
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbert is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
19,316
6,842
168
Toronto, ON
I don't think they have to be over priced. Any additional cost from producing dual mode radios would be more than made up for in having only one line of radios. There really isn't that much difference between the 2. Probably one chipset with the software to decode both streams would do the job. What was the point of the merger if they were gonna maintain 2 separate companies, and 2 different sets of hardware?

Over the 1st 10 years, yes. But having newer radios not necessarly dual band but capable of receiving the whole spectrum at some point is the more logical and cost effective way to go. I don't think this is on their radar yet.