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One of the things that I was looking forward to with digital television was availability of the 40 digital music channels from the Galaxie and Max Trax combination. After weeks of sampling these channels, I have come to the conclusion that most of those channels are unlistenable.

To my surprise, I have not found any mention of Galaxie and Max Trax channels anywhere on Digital Home. There are discussions about Satellite Radio, why not mention the channels that come with digital satellite and cable? I truly wonder, does anybody actually listen to those channels?

(I have to preface the following by indicating that I am over 50, and favour what is often called "classic country" music, and a mix of standards, like those played on radio AM740 in Toronto).

In the past, I have indeed found suitable music channels on Netscape Radio, and its successor Spinner, and I like to listen to BBC Radio 2 on the internet. Why, with 40 channels, do neither the Galaxie or the Max Trax service offer channels that make me or my family want to keep listening?

I get the impression that the programmers for those channels think it is cool to toss in quirky selections that are totally out of character with the rest of the music. This seems to happen every third of 4th song. The channels closest to my tastes are the "Country Classics" and "Swingn Standards" (Star choice 920 and 937). But, I can't stand either for long. Even my family tells me to turn it off.

I have 4 kids, over 17, and they NEVER listen to any Galaxie or Max Trax channels.

Am I the only person with this problem, feeling as if there is not one digital music channel that I or anybody else in my family can like?

Is everybody else who gets the channels so happy with Galaxie and Max Trax that they don't feel compelled to comment about them?

Are the digital music channels a waste of space, with nobody tuning in?

Are there any really good channels that I have not come to appreciate?
 

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A search for "Galaxie" actually found quite a few threads with minor discussions on the channels. I listen to them all the time since they are commercial free.

http://www.galaxie.ca/en/1/cequijoue.php

I mainly listen to PopAdult and GoldRock, with occasional trips to 80s, 70s, & Rock&Roll. I am also in my mid-50s. Of course musical tastes are quite varied and what I like has no bearing on what you may like. I would have thought that you'd be able to find something...

For me it certainly beats FM or AM Radio. I (used to) listen to Jack mostly, but even though they play a bunch of songs in a row, they have those annoying between song announcements and a lot of commercials after the songs in a row...

Your family may simply also have different taste in music than you. My wife asks me to turn the music off when she's home. She doesn't like any music. (She rarely has to ask, I usually hit the remote when she comes in the door, but sometimes I forget because it's mostly background for me.)
 

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Ron, there is an avenue you haven't explored. Contact the programmers directly.
I can't speak for Galaxie, but I personally know all the MaxTrax programmers on a first name basis.
I designed and built the current playback system along with the first Title Track and Artist on screen display in Canada!
On every song is a link to the providers web site.
From there are links to the programmers.
I know they take their listeners very seriously as I hear about it when their is a technical malfunction that makes it's to them.

If the lineup is NOT to your liking, there are alternatives like satellite radio.
At 1 time, the cable/satellite line up consisted of 30 channels of DMX (Predecessor to Max Trax) and 30 channels of Galaxie.
A few years ago, their was a Joint Marketing Agreement that reduced overlap to 20 channels each, so providers could offer a 40 channel total lineup.
As a result of this consolidation, some content will get blended into the NEW 20+20 formats.

Each programmer will bring some of their own persona to the table.
Example, under the old DMX lineup, I favoured Classic Rock, 1 of the formats imported from DMX in the U.S. with an L.A. programmer.
After the migration to Max Trax on May 1st, 2001, that format failed to exist in Canada for residential use.
I tried Galaxie's GOLD ROCK, but couldn't stomach it at all.
I found some stations on Sirius that fit the bill.
Since I have both cable and satellite, there are 2 stations on SHAW that are EXCLUSIVE and 2 that everybody else gets that SHAW doesn't.
Lucky for me, I get all of them.

You comments are very subjective, while my *C lineup includes programming on WB/UPN/CW, I NEVER watch anything there.
I'm an ABC/NBC/CBS HD sorta guy! With Global for local news, and that's about it.

Music stations have become VERY specialized and it's apparent that your taste cannot be found in such a small 40 channel lineup.
I was very amazed when Sirius came to one of the U.S. satellite providers and I found no less than 2 dozen "ROCK" stations, ALL slightly different.
I finaly found a couple that did the trick depending on my moods.
I noticed 'several' Country music, new, old and others.
Just like Jazz, there is Modern, Classical & Dixie, I don't like some of them, but OK with others.

Since the package is basically free with your set, then you are free to find a format that meets your needs.
Given the technology today, it should be easy.
Have the kids help you with an iPod type device and a home media player system with all YOUR favourite selections and then enjoy them at home, in the car or walking.

The beauty of the current 40 CH, JMA is that is covers the spectrum with a fair balance.

While I'm a classic rock fellow mostly, sometimes, I feel like a little Jazz or maybe some Blues.
Since that's not generally in my collection, this type of service does the trick.

As a favour to you, give me the Max Trax format in a PM and I'll give the programmers name, email and direct phone numbers.
I'm sure they would be delighted to hear from you.
 

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Is everybody else who gets the channels so happy with Galaxie and Max Trax that they don't feel compelled to comment about them?
There are only two Galaxie channels that I consider fitting to my musical tastes. Ambient is one of them, but I have to admit that internet RadioIOambient does a better job in this genre and gets my attention.
Nature is the other, often put on as background or when I want to have a midafternoon nap with the bird sounds to soothe the soul.
Two out of 40 isn't very good odds, so, generally I would have to agree with you Ron. ARR makes a generous offer, why not take him up on it. Perhaps he could convince some of the programmers to frequent this site and we could all give our input. Then, we would see how everybodys musical tastes are different and a major challenge for the programmer to fulfill all those wants.
 

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Better yet...

jbracing24 said:
... Perhaps he could convince some of the programmers to frequent this site and we could all give our input. ...
Rather than that, there are direct contact and feedback links right on their web sites.
Take advantage of them.
In my experience, most providers do not frequent these forums, at least certainly not officially and seldom anybody that could make any real differences, my situation being an exception. (Not that I was ever official or sanctioned, not by a long shot!)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ARR, you are a breath of fresh air. You obviously take take real professional pride in what you do, and you show you care about the place you work for.

In the past, I have used the Max Trax website to comment about the service. All I get via the website are the same tedious entries that have to be filled in every time: name, email, address phone numbers... After doing that, all I get back is the automated email acknowledgement. Unlike internet radio, digital music channels do not come free, we all pay for them as part of the monthly fee. I hate to sound cheap, but if I have to pay for something, and if I was expecting something I'd like, it really buggs me when people tell me my tastes are just too speciallized to care about. Max Trax and Galaxie look like cash cows to me. Aside from ARR, I have seen zero evidence that they care about whether or not anybody listens, they just run music and flow with the revenue stream.

As for the suggestion to get my kids to help me figure out an IPOD: With respect, please do not condescend. I've had one for years, and I'm the technophile in the family, not the kids.

Upon reflection, I think my problem is that programmers are not truly connected to an older audience. With 40 channels, you'd imagine that aside from the classical channels, at least one or two might appeal to your grandparents. There are only a few genres of commercial radio, and only a few genres of music in CD stores. Commercial radio (again, I just have one example of the kind of station I am referring to, AM740) can only survive if it keeps its audience happy, so it must be doing something right. I simply can't understand why, with so many potential channel options, Galaxie and Max Trax can't copy what is obviously a successful formula.

Are my tastes for the likes of Nana Mouskouri, The Tijuana Brass, Aker Bilk, Henry Mancini, Al Cherney, Pavlo, Walter Ostanek, so wierd that Max Trax will not play them? They make for great radio (but there, the problem is having to put up with commercials for funeral homes and retirement villages to hear them). As for Galaxie and Max Trax: if nobody is listening, there can be no feedback. How many grandparents would love a decent channel designed for them? How many voice anything when such a channel does not exist?

Max Trax and Galaxie don't offer anything meaningful to the older audience. Jazz, blues, and swingin standards are usually trying to be plain too cool for plain folk. A little Tommy Hunter music wouldn't hurt either.
 

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My favorite Galaxie station is "Easy Listening" at channel # 512 on Illico. In fact I like it so much that I created a "Listen to Music" Activity with my Harmony 880 which;

- Starts the Yamaha receiver
- Starts the SA8300HD and has it tune to channel 512

and Easy Listening with my sound system is simply marvelous. Actually wouldn't trade that for a CD carousel and a bunch of CDs.

Occasionally, the "Nature" station (ch. 543) can be interesting... especially if it's playing a big thunder storm!
 

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IMO, they are nothing special.

FWIW, I listen to 905, 910,911, and 912, and rarley 903 and 904, all on Starchoice (I don't know their names), but not often (I have an iPod). Before I ran a TiVo, I had a favourites list with just those channels, and some FMs, and a macro on my remote to select that list.
 

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Ron, there is a PM for you with some contact info.

Yes, I do take pride in my work.
I do not work directly for MaxTrax, but through a sister company, was involved in the engineering design and launch and still maintain it under contract.

Hope you are able to find a satisfactory outcome.
 

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I realize what you are discussing about in this thread. I am 30 and I can't really let my parents listen to much of what's on Galaxie when they come to visit. Plus I told them CBC owns Galaxie to that they were not very happy. I do like most of the channels because I can't afford Sirius or XM Radio, so this is a plus for me. I do agree they need more channels for the older generation.
 

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So who is your provider?
Shaw & Starchoice carry the combined Galaxie + MaxTrax, only Bell is Galaxie only.

Why can't you let them listen to it too much?

If there is a hate on for CBC, tell them MaxTrax is programmed in Alberta by Corus Entertainment, the same nice folks that own Movie Central and YTV.

If they find something likable, even if they are rural, get them a sat dish to enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My favorite Galaxie station is "Easy Listening" at channel # 512 on Illico. In fact I like it so much that I created a "Listen to Music" Activity with my Harmony 880 which;- Starts the Yamaha receiver- Starts the SA8300HD and has it tune to channel 512
and Easy Listening with my sound system is simply marvelous. Actually wouldn't trade that for a CD carousel and a bunch of CDs.
After searching the music channels, I have to agree -- If I could get it, "Easy Listening" would be my favourite. Problem is, this channel is not offered on the 40-channel Galaxie/Max Trax music package. It is a Galaxie only channel for which Max Trax does not offer anything equivalent.

Music stores have whole sections that they refer to as "Easy Listening". It is a perfectly viable format for commercial radio. Therefore, why do most Canadians receiving the digital music services (Galaxie/Max Trax) not have access to this major genre of music??? Why do the digital music channels leave so many of us absolutely frustrated and bewildered?

To be fair to the customers of Digital TV services, Max Trax should either provide a channel that matches Galaxie's Easy Listening, or it should get out of the way to free up a channel to allow Galaxie to offer this format of music.
 

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Looking at the lineup that is sorted by genre here:
http://www.maxtrax.com/maxgal.asp
And somewhat familiar with the programing, at least on MaxTrax, may I recomend a visit to:
927 The Spa
937 Memories

In general, Maxtrax tries not to DUPLICATE a Galaxie channel, but as part of the aforementioned Joint Marketing Agreement, they have both selected offerings that enhance and complement each other and brings out their respective expertises.

I know that Galaxie, on some distributers, has a larger than 20+20 lineup, and you may find something there, but given that the only National providers are Starchoice with their 20+20 and ExpressVu with a Galaxie only offering, I can only recomend a comercial or satellite service that typically has 100+ channels.

Ron, reading back, how about 920 Country Classics from Galaxie? (not my area of expertise)
 

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Hey ARR, I like listening to the 40 music channels constantly as background music. I like the Pop, new songs, today's music, that type of thing, I usually end up watching 901 (my cable co in exactly in-sync with the SC line up of the music channels). Does MAX Trax have an equivialant to this channel? Channel number would be nice also
 

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I'm the techie guy on the project, not the programmer, but from the data I can mine, try these:

Hit List - 902 - Max Trax
Max Trax Party - 905 - Max Trax

As I stated earlier, the goal was NEVER to duplicate channels from each provider, that would mean we'd really only have 20 choices.

By having slightly different slants on a given genre, a wider spectrum can be offered.

I know several friends that are in the 'classic rock' genre and Galaxie Gold Rock does it for them, but I can't stand it.
Since the U.S.'s DMX's Classic Rock left the Canadian Cable/Satellite lineup with the birth of Max Trax and the 20+20 deal, I've never really found a solid replacment. I tend to surf around a bit more.

In all honesty, Stereo just doesn't cut it anymore.
I've found muti-channel surround to be the answer.
Almost like HDTV. If it's not at least 4.0 or better, it doesn't get my time.
I built 2 central file servers, each with over 1 Terabyte of RAID 5 disk and store over 3000+ Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS encoded albums from ALL genres and many not available in N.A..
I play them through a HTPC that also does satellite TV and HDTV along with 7.1 music.
 

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ARR,

Swedish radio have DTS 5.1 listening. Some time ago I downloaded the demo they put on at a Banff Conference and it is amazing. If we could only have something like that, wow!

If you want to learn more about it, go to:

http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/mall/index.asp?ProgramID=2446

Click English (if not already in English) on the left side menu and scroll down the page to "Banff Demo".
Download the file and copy to a CD-R (or RW), audio format, and play in your DVD player connected to your HT system.

Can you capture Swedish radio stations? Is there a way and with good digital reception?
 

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Actually, that's how I got started some years ago.
Then I found some newsgroups with content.
Excellent stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In general, Maxtrax tries not to DUPLICATE a Galaxie channel, but as part of the aforementioned Joint Marketing Agreement, they have both selected offerings that enhance and complement each other and brings out their respective expertises.... Ron, reading back, how about 920 Country Classics from Galaxie? (not my area of expertise)
I confess OK, after listening to it more, Country Classics, StarChoice920, is really very good.

Although the MaxTrax/Galaxie combination was supposed to avoid "duplication", the people who chose the music channels overlooked a major music format. As mentioned in earlier postings here Galaxie has "Easy Listening" on digital services that it does not have to share with Max Trax. By combining services, MaxTrax/Galaxie have ELIMINATED TOTALLY the Easy Listening format (the two-word description of format does not explain the music well -- check Galaxie website, http://www.galaxie.ca/en/1/cequijoue.php?CHANNEL_ID=37).

The MaxTrax website is pretty feeble compared to Galaxie's, and if you simply look at the MaxTrax description, you will be fooled into thinking "Memories" by MaxTrax is equivalent -- it is not. The managers who sat down to look at the music channels they'd combine must have only looked at a list of channel names without actually knowing what they played.

This brings me back to one of my earlier points: ageism -- an unconsciuos or intentional biase against people who are older. Its one thing not to duplicate a music format, its another to totally LEAVE ONE OUT. We need a channel on the MaxTrax/Galaxie digital music channel that matches Galaxie's "Easy Listening" format. That is just as important as French, Country or Classical channels. How many channels of do we really need of contemporary pop music? THOSE are duplicated.
 

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It looks like there is only a small handful of carriers that have the 45 channel Galaxie linup with the majority taking the 20+20 package. So no easy listening is correct in the 20/20 package.

What city are you in?

Were you able to contact the programming manager?
I know they have contemplated adding some new channels, but I'n not sure what format it might be.
 

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I opted for Star Choice for Turner Classic Movies, which I like a lot. Digital music is not an issue that could ever make me change back to Toronto's Rogers Cable (which carries the same Galaxie/MaxTrax combination anyway).

A technical question: I connect my digital box to my Home Theater amplifier, using the digital connection wire. The TV sound goes straight into the TV. Today there were digital noises and drop-outs in the digital music signal. There were no drop-outs in the analog signal from the decoder box. Could the digital music dropouts be due to the satellite signal, or something local at the satellite decoder box, or the wire? It all worked flawlessly in the past. What is your most likely diagnosis of digital music dropouts eg a couple of seconds of silence or "noise" every couple of minutes?
 
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