located in Gardena, CA has introduced the high-end SRX-3 TriplePlay satellite
radio receiver designed to provide users with up to three independent zones of
SIRIUS® programming. The SRX-3 has all the markings of a high-end component
with its beautiful front panel and attractive multi-zone blue display. The power
button also has a blue light behind it that is illuminated when the unit is off.
Users can activate one, two or three zones based on their needs. The first zone
will cost $12.95 a month and each additional zone will cost $6.99 a month. If
you happen to already have a SIRIUS subscription, then each of the zones on the
SRX-3 will only cost $6.99 a month. The unit measures 17-3/4 x 3-1/2 x 12 inches
and includes an IR remote, three stereo cables, a power cord and antenna.
high gain omnidirectional antenna supplied with the SRX-3 is designed to be outdoor
mounted. The optional 30-foot RG-58 cable was provided for the review. We found
that the SRX-3 receiver worked well even with the antenna mounted indoors near
the roofline of the vaulted ceiling of our media room. Antex does recommend outdoor
installation for optimal signal reception. However, it's a good idea to try other
locations to avoid having to place the antenna in harsh weather conditions. Here
in Los Angeles, the SIRIUS® satellites are located Northeast of our location.
The extension arm allows the antenna to be easily positioned and pointed in different
directions. The long cable connects to a 50 ohm SMA connector located on the base
of the square antenna housing.
The SRX-3 is easy to install in an existing audio or home theater system. Using
the Setup menu, users can access the SIRIUS® ID numbers for the unit. All
three tuner numbers are displayed on the screen and are needed for the activation
process. We installed the unit in our system and it was as simple as connecting
the antenna, plugging in the audio cables and providing power to the unit. In
fact, it was similar to connecting a CD player. Our system included a Parasound
AVC-2500u preamplifier and HCA-2205AT 5-channel power amplifier. Our system utilized
three M&K S-150 THX ULTRA speakers with a pair of SURROUND 250 MKII Tripole
handling the rear channels. Two MX-350THX subwoofers provided the bass.
front panel power button is brightly lit and can cause some distractions when
using the unit in a home theater environment. We would have liked to see a dimming
option for the power button and maybe even a disabling function for the backlight.
The rear panel of the SRX-3 is simple with a trio of digital toslink
optical outputs as well as two-channel line level outputs. An RS232 serial interface
allows the unit to be commanded from third party controllers such as Crestron,
Niles, Elan, Sonance etc. In addition, the IR input jack can be used to remotely
place an IR receiver for convenience. The detachable power cord is a bonus for
custom installation. Finally, a 50-ohm SMA antenna jack is provided with an SMB
adapted to connect to the long 30-foot cable provided. The detachable power cord
made it easy to install the unit into the tight quarters of our audio cabinets.
internals of the SRX-3 are divided into three separate boards, a satellite interface
board, an audio processing board and a power supply board. Separating the electronics
helps improve audio quality and reduce noise. The single RF input is demodulated
and then separated into 3 data paths, each containing independent Sirius streams.
This allows the user to control each zone independently while they operate concurrently.
The analog audio outputs benefit from a trio of Crystal (Cirrus Logic) CS4334
Delta-Sigma D/A converters. While these are not considered high-end DACs by any
means, the unit should meet the performance expectations of typical multi-room
audio applications. If higher quality audio is desired, the user has the option
of using the optical outputs and better electronics. The digital outputs are handles
by Burr Brown (TI) DIT4096 digital audio transmitters.
The blue and white display is both attractive and functional. It gives the unit
an elegant look while offering excellent contrast for easy reading. Three groups
of channels are shown simultaneously with detailed information for each including
Category, Channel Number, Channel Name, Artist Name
and Song Title. Channels can be programmed to be skipped or blocked with
the latter requiring a password. Pressing the Zone button moves the highlighted
area to the next zone indicated by the bold area. Only one of the three zones
are highlighted on the display allowing the user to change the settings with either
the remote or the front panel controls.
20-key remote included with the SRX-3 has the basic functions needed to select
a zone, choose a genre, select a channel (up/down or manual) or choose a preset
channel. Keys are spaced far apart and are clearly labeled for easy operation.
However, the remote does not offer any backlighting, making it difficult to use
in poorly lit environments. We would have also liked to see an RF-based design
since many users may want to control the audio from different rooms. Fortunately,
the unit has an IR input jack for remote IR sensors as well as an RS232 interface
on the rear panel for external controllers.
The Up and Down buttons change to the next valid channel in the
genre. The Right and Left buttons change the genre from Pop/Rock,
Country, Hip-Hop, R&B, Dance, Jazz/Standards, Classical, Variety, News, Sports
and Entertainment. The Preset button is used to select one of 10 preset
channels. Holding down the Preset button allows the user to save a preset
station into the unit. Each set of preset channels are saved independently for
The SRX-3 is an easy to operate component with all the features needed to distribute
audio to multiple rooms. In our tests, the SRX-3 sounded significantly better
than the SIRIUS® Sportster we recently reviewed even when the analog audio
outputs were used. The bottom line is there can be differences in audio quality
between mainstream and high-end products with similar technology. We preferred
to use the digital audio outputs with our Parasound preamplifier as it provided
us with the best sound quality. Music channels such Alt Nation and The
Vault offer good audio quality while talk shows such as Court TV suffered
from significant compression artifacts. The poor audio quality on talk radio channels
has nothing to do with the SRX-3 as we have heard this on XM Radio as well, but
has everything to do with the amount of compression applied to those channels.
The Antex SRX-3 multi-zone SIRIUS Radio receiver offers customers high performance
in a stylish package. The unit is obviously geared for those needing SIRIUS radio
from a single controller in multiple rooms. Supporting both analog outputs as
well as optical digital outputs offers the best flexibility in different installations.
The price will prevent many from incorporating this unit into their system. However,
custom installations need components offered in this package and Antex delivers
it with the SRX-3. If you haven't heard satellite radio, you might be surprised
just how addicting it can be.