New radio suggestion?

kc2kth

New Member
Dec 27, 2009
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I've been a Sirius customer since 2005. Since 2006 I've listened on the manufacturer's radio in my car (2006 Charger). I also have the Premium Internet service as well. Lately I move between vehicles and I'm looking for something I can have with me regardless of what I'm driving. I'm looking for input on what is worth buying now, or should I wait, or should I move to XM? I see a few posts that seem to indicate people are buying XM instead of Sirius now? I'm not that interested in moving unless there is a major reason to make that jump.

So, should I look at the Sportster, Starmate, Stratus? How about the new Mirge? Help me pick one! Looking for something that will last a few years, is relatively new so I know I'm getting current tech, and that sounds good!

thanks!
 

kryptonite

Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2008
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Honestly, I would get an XM radio, such as a portable (XMP3) or a SkyDock.

With a SkyDock, you can use your iPod Touch or iPhone as a radio in the car. You can get an app for $2.99 a month (in addition to your "XM Everything" price) to listen to most of the stuff online through the iPod...or use a streaming program with your computer to listen to more. (Howard Stern is not part of the app, but with the above setup, you can listen to those channels in your car and on your computer.)

I forget what it's called, but there's a program for about $50 (sale price) that allows recording of SiriusXM channels through your computer.

I think the "best" setup would be:
SkyDock with XM Everything and Best of Sirius
$2.99 additional for online streaming
The $50 computer program.

With an XMP3, you get every XM channel through the satellite and can record, etc.

With XM, you also get MLB play-by-play. Even if you don't like MLB, it's the same price either way, so why not get one more offering for that same price?
 

kc2kth

New Member
Dec 27, 2009
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Stratus or Starmate?

Thanks for the input, but as I don't have either an ipod or iphone, the XM dock and MLB isn't enough to get me to switch now. Looking at the Stratus 6 and the Starmate 5 now, I really like the Starmate but I'm interested in the PowerConnect feature in the Stratus 6. The Stratus doesn't look like as nice of a rig, but having good quality without an AUX input or extra hardware is very appealing. Any input on these two rigs? Does PowerConnect make enough of a difference to go with the Stratus over the Starmate? Any rumors of a Starmate 6 with PowerConnect in the near future?

thanks again!
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
18
West Virginia
Your right about the ipod. If you don't otherwise own an ipod touch, or iphone, it is a very expensive proposition. I have one btw, and power connect is for real. It is night and day difference between the power connect and the recent fm transmitters. It's not aux in quality, no fm is, it is definitely usable. Like you I prefer Sirius stuff, but SiriusXM seems to be quickly abandoning the Sirius side of things, so long term you might wanna think about an xm radio. The xmp3 is a good portable for music, but it sucks trying to navigate channels in the car. If your going with XM and you listen mostly in your car, I'd check out the XpressRC.
 

Argji

Member
Oct 14, 2008
400
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Oklahoma City, OK
Over the Holidays, I switched our two Sirius radios (original starmate & Sirius One) and purchased 2 refurbushed Ipod Touches and paired them with 2 XM Skydocks from TSS-Radio for the wife and I. We were interested in being able to also listen to our MP3 collection in the cars, so that was also a reason to go with the Skydocks. The User Interface on the Ipod Touch that controls the Skydock is incredible.

no1hedberg is right on about the Powerconnect - it is pretty darn good. Doesn't beat the illegal transmitter in the old starmate, but it works pretty well around town.

We did flip from Sirius to the XM side of things, but we're not Howard fans, so that wasn't a concern. Plus it turns out there is an XM Terrestrial Repeater here in town so we get a much better signal now with no dropouts in the underpasses and parking garages.

If you are interested in the XM service, then I'd look at the XM onyX since it has Powerconnect also. I'd probably bought those if we hadn't gone with the Skydocks.
 

erock9174

Member
Mar 17, 2009
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I am running a Starmate 5 and love it. Also installed a Stratus 6 in my mother in laws car this past week. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles as the Starmate (i.e. doesn't have the artist and song reminders) but for the price ($50-$60) its not a bad little unit.

I was surprised by the sound quality of the power connect on the Status. However since I had tore the dash apart to cleanly route the other wires I also ran the aux wire for the best sound quality.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
149
63
Louisiana
We did flip from Sirius to the XM side of things, but we're not Howard fans, so that wasn't a concern. Plus it turns out there is an XM Terrestrial Repeater here in town so we get a much better signal now with no dropouts in the underpasses and parking garages.

Congrats on your 2 new Skydocks. I totally love mine! Also what a pleasant surprise to find you have an XM repeater! SWEET!

I was surprised by the sound quality of the power connect on the Status. However since I had tore the dash apart to cleanly route the other wires I also ran the aux wire for the best sound quality.

The PowerConnect works amazingly well compared to the older technology. However one thing I always recommend when possible is to get yourself setup with an aux input. Most OEM have adapters that can be installed and in many cases even self installed with a little time and effort. The reward in SQ is well worth it.
 

kc2kth

New Member
Dec 27, 2009
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So I went with the Starmate 5 and installed it today - seems to work great even with just the FM extender antenna. Wires were no issue to route and hide in my '03 Monte Carlo, hid nicely behind the seat and between the trim and carpet. I didn't even have to loosen a screw since the wires are so thin. I'm still looking into adding an AUX port or a direct connect to the radio - I may still go that route, although I think the radio sounds fine. I just have to turn it up a bit more than my normal AM/FM setting. Now I want to route the power cable too instead of having it dangling there going to the cigar lighter. All in all though, works like a champ and sounds great. Install took about 1.5 hours from box opening to activating the radio.
 

Aaron

Moderator
Oct 10, 2008
12,862
7,629
168
South Louisiana
So I went with the Starmate 5 and installed it today - seems to work great even with just the FM extender antenna. Wires were no issue to route and hide in my '03 Monte Carlo, hid nicely behind the seat and between the trim and carpet. I didn't even have to loosen a screw since the wires are so thin. I'm still looking into adding an AUX port or a direct connect to the radio - I may still go that route, although I think the radio sounds fine. I just have to turn it up a bit more than my normal AM/FM setting. Now I want to route the power cable too instead of having it dangling there going to the cigar lighter. All in all though, works like a champ and sounds great. Install took about 1.5 hours from box opening to activating the radio.

I've been rockin' a Starmate 5 for over a year now, and I love it! A good little radio.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbet is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
19,595
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Toronto, ON
So I went with the Starmate 5 and installed it today - seems to work great even with just the FM extender antenna. Wires were no issue to route and hide in my '03 Monte Carlo, hid nicely behind the seat and between the trim and carpet. I didn't even have to loosen a screw since the wires are so thin. I'm still looking into adding an AUX port or a direct connect to the radio - I may still go that route, although I think the radio sounds fine. I just have to turn it up a bit more than my normal AM/FM setting. Now I want to route the power cable too instead of having it dangling there going to the cigar lighter. All in all though, works like a champ and sounds great. Install took about 1.5 hours from box opening to activating the radio.

Glad you like it.

If you wire your power directly, keep in mind that more than one person in the interest of neatness has fried their radios forgetting that the output of the cig plug is 12V and the adapter converts it to 5V. Whatever you decide to do make sure a converter is a part of the chain.
 

kc2kth

New Member
Dec 27, 2009
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0
1
Ah, thanks for the tip. I might not have thought of that. I'm checking out some options there now. So how bad is hooking these up to the wrong voltage? Replaceable part, or is the radio trash?
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbet is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
19,595
7,192
168
Toronto, ON
Ah, thanks for the tip. I might not have thought of that. I'm checking out some options there now. So how bad is hooking these up to the wrong voltage? Replaceable part, or is the radio trash?

Depends on which part fries. Even if its one capacitor, in today's world, its trash. But if you are an electrical engineer and its one capacitor, it should be replaceable. Of course, if you are an electrical engineer, you probably wouldn't have fried the component in the first place. :)
 

mcf57

Member
Dec 5, 2008
174
1
18
I have had a Starmate 5 and love it too. Have it hooked up in the wife's vehicle via an AUX port. Good little unit and has been working flawless for us for over a year now. I know its probably too late for you, but if you are a SIRIUS subscriber, they are still offering the Stratus 6 for $19.99 (Starmate 5 for $39.99). I got a Stratus 6 over the holidays and added it to my account. It is a nice little simple unit & has been working great as well.

The new design of the Stratus 6's cradle/dock even allowed me to use a universal power adapter with it so I can easily hook it up to my home stereo. It just sits flat and then I connected it to a receiver with an RCA patch cord. The Starmate 5's dock had a power connector that was too small for most adapter's, but the Stratus 6's is bigger and therefore can fit better with universal adapters. I just made sure I had the universal adapter on an acceptable voltage level to go with the Stratuts 6 (no more than 5V) and I have been good to go. Beats paying the $50 for the SIRIUS home dock kit. Just thought I'd pass that along in case others are interested in doing something similar.
 

kc2kth

New Member
Dec 27, 2009
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1
Depends on which part fries. Even if its one capacitor, in today's world, its trash. But if you are an electrical engineer and its one capacitor, it should be replaceable. Of course, if you are an electrical engineer, you probably wouldn't have fried the component in the first place. :)

You would be surprised. I did a lot of work on radios when I was much younger - mostly CB stuff. The "good" radios had protection against hooking them up backwards - ie grounding the hot and powering the ground. You would think with the heavier gauge red and black zip wire it would be pretty tough to screw up, but I replaced a lot of reverse polarity diodes in Cobra and Uniden rigs and told a lot of people with "export" rigs they had a pretty major repair on their hands in some cases. The problem was being under a dash hooking those leads up it wasn't that difficult to confuse the leads - one would always have a bit of the other color on it from where it split and under a dark dash, well it happened. A lot.

Thanks again for the tip. I ordered a power kit and a kit to put an aux port on my radio this afternoon. Turns out the FM extender works great around where I test drove it yesterday, but as I got closer to civilization more stations were active across the FM band. I heard a LOT more noise than I did yesterday. Already arranged for a local shop to install both kits for me. I'm kinda big to get in there and tear apart that dash. Good job for someone smaller and younger than I.