REV9 Autosport

Kenwood Excelon KDC-x891 CD Receiver

[2/11/2008] Reviewed by: Mike Walsted -

Applicable to: '99-'05

Kenwood Excelon KDC-891 CD/USB/Aux Head Unit. Plays MP3/WAV/WMA/AAC files. Optional Bluetooth, HD and Satellite Radio. Includes an auto performance meter function and RDS functions.

Great sounding radio. A bit confusing to operate at first. Many ways to customize the sound to the user's wishes. Display washes out in direct sunlight, which happens a lot in a convertible. The rear USB and AUX outputs are a big plus - the cables can be run hidden to the center console or glove box, and drives attached and left.

First, let me qualify my statements as far as sound quality - I have taken courses on the physics of sound, and then spent 25 years working in buildings in and around jet engines. That said, Probably the best car stereo I have owned, both in features, and sound quality. Great clarity and separation, once the wires were all correctly separated, soldered, and heat-shrunk. No complaints about the sound at all, once I set it up. (It has to be set for each source, though, so setting up the sound is not a five-second task.) The ability to put hours of .WAV files on a flash drive stuck in the center console is great for commutes longer than a single CD. The system can navigate song-by-song or by folder. One disadvantage of the flash drive is the quick pause between songs - this is noticeable in cases where one song normally leads directly to the next without pause on CDs or LPs. Another is the delay between choosing USB as the source and the system reading the file structure before it plays anything. In my case, it is only a few seconds with a half dozen CD WAVs, although I have read of others with Gigs of MP3s complaining of significant delays. The display can be set up in a myriad of ways, with options for each source in many cases. Song information from radio stations is displayed for stations with RDS broadcasts. Or, a built-in automotive performance meter can be displayed. The users manual and the online product descriptions mention an inability to play DRM protected files. The accompanying music management software requires a installation and ties into Windows Media. I used Linux to load the .WAV onto the flash drive, so I don't know if problems would have been encountered by using the accompanying software. The front of the unit sticks out from the dash considerably on my NB - it would probably be flush with the trim on an NA. From what I can tell at this point, the RDS/TA function doesn't seem to work in this area - the radio stations support RDS/TMC (with a monthly) subscription, instead. The system does have an anti-theft code, but doesn't seem to say so on the removeable faceplate. It also has a flashing red light when the faceplate is removed, but this can be disabled. Overall, I am very happy with the unit, and believe it is a good match for the car. Hope this helps.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Kenwood KDC-MP225 CD MP3 WMA Player

[9/23/2004] Reviewed by: Hal McGee -

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Kenwood CD MP3 WMA Receiver 12 FM 6 AM Presets Q-Sound Equalizer (3Band) Can Control External CD Changer or Sirius Radio Has Remote Control

This is a replacement for the original head unit. I definitely wanted the ability to put MP3's on a CD and have multiple albums to choose from without having to buy a CD changer. This definitely fills the bill. I can clearly hear the music and easily change between CD's and songs. The player recognizes ID3 files and is configuarable for Title/Artist, Time, Time Elapsed. The faceplate is removable. Does have silver trim ring which looks a little out of place with the faceplate gone. Had to fabricate wiring harness. Wires were clearly labeled. Used Crimps to connect wires.

Direct replacement and fits my '96 NA model no problem. Came with necessary mounting hardware. Using instructions from this site install was fairly straight forward. Drives my Clearwater HEadrest and Infinity Kappa 63.1i speakers. Clean sound at 70+ mph during my commute. No skips on MP3s.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Kenwood KDC-516S CD Head Unit

[12/20/2001] Reviewed by: Randy Cuaycong -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Kenwood CD head unit with "Mask" feature.

Replacement for broken stock radio. The unit sounds great with the stock speakers that came with my 97 M-edition. Has lots of features including adjustable equalizer with preset "Jazz", "Rock", "Pop", etc settings. Also can be adjusted to the size speakers in use. Mask security feature is great and still allows you to remove the front for additional security.

The buttons glow green which matches the green dash lights.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Kenwood KDC-MP8017

[8/22/2001] Reviewed by Frank Asuncion - 

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

MP3/CD Headunit. Reads MP3/WAV formatted music which allows for more songs to be stored onto a CD. Two pre-amp outs/text reading/8x-oversampling/external CD changer out/and all the normal stuff

I have not had any problems with this unit. It is actually impressive when compared to my old factory tape deck. When i burned some CDs in the MP3 format, it reads the song and artist title. That to me is amazing. The audio control is a nice feature but with my stereo set-up, it doesn't play a role.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Kenwood KDC-S5009 CD Player

Reviewed by: Kent Wenger -

Single CD player with 40x4 watts of power, 8x oversampling, anti theft feature, removable faceplate, CD naming, changer controls.

I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the expensive factory unit. Also I wanted to boost the systems power a little. Without adding a separate amplifier somewhere in the car. The results are great considering I retained the factory speakers in the doors and headrests. I can actually hear the music at 65mph with the top down now.

I removed the center console and dash centerplate to get at the old radio. But when I got it apart I realized that I didn't have to go through all the trouble. Seems that the 96 radio can be removed with a special U tool. By pulling off the little covers at the sides of the radio. And inserting the tool, and releasing the retaining clips holding it in. This would have saved me and hour or so off the time of installation. And I wouldn't have had to take out the "dreaded" eye ball vents. Which weren't at all intimidating as there legend has become. Also the wiring was simple, all the colors from the Kenwood harness. Matched perfectly to the ones from the wiring kit. And despite the insistence of the radio salesman. I didn't need an installation kit.

Back to Product Reviews 14 February, 2008

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