Getting the right blend of features is key when you're shopping for a new car stereo. Kenwood's KDC-202U CD receiver offers solid performance and some nice extras you probably don't have on your existing car stereo, particularly if it's a few years old.

Angled view of KDC-202U

More music choices
An AM/FM tuner and a plain-jane CD player doesn't cut it for a lot of us. If that sounds like you, check out your options with the KDC-202U. You can load the digital music files on your hard drive onto a thumb drive, plug it into the USB port, and cruise with hours of tunes. The KDC-202U also plays MP3 or WMA files on discs, if you prefer that route. The USB slot on the '202 doesn't support your iPod®, but you can plug it or any other portables into the convenient front-panel minijack input, then listen on the aux channel.

A sound choice
Most factory stereos aren't known for great sound. The KDC-202U perks up the sonic performance of your ride with the punch of a solid built-in amplifier and a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter that brings out all the impact and detail of your discs and your digital music. And you'll also find a 3-band EQ and a bass boost to tailor the tone, while Kenwood's Supreme Setting improves the sound of compressed audio files.

If you add a powered sub to the preamp outputs, you can use the receiver's sub level control to crank it up or tone it down to match your music. For hands-off control, Kenwood includes a wireless remote, too.

Product Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD player with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in MOSFET amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA music files
    • detachable face with 11-digit display and red button illumination
    • remote
    Audio features:
    • System Q Sound Control (8 preset EQ curves and a 3-band equalizer)
    • speaker size settings
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • bass boost
    • low-pass filter and subwoofer level control
    Expandability:
    • compatible with Music Link app for Android devices
    • inputs: front-panel auxiliary and USB input (no iPod compatibility)
    • outputs: 2-channel preamp outputs (2-volt rear/subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    Why replace your factory radio?

    Two good reasons - sound quality and cool features. A new car stereo offers power that's superior to most factory radios, along with more sophisticated tone controls. And most car stereos offer built-in or optional features that add safety and fun to life in your car, including inputs for your iPod or MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free cell phone calls, satellite radio or HD Radio reception, and connections for building an audio system in your car.

    Hands-on research

    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis)
    • Face (attached)
    • Trim ring (attached)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Wiring harness
    • Wireless remote control (RC-405)
    • CR2025 3V lithium-battery (installed in remote)
    • Cloth face pouch
    • 2 Removal tools
    • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
    • 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
    • Instruction Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Installation Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Card

    Product Research

    USB/Aux Connection
    Disc Playback
    Audio Section
    Radio Functions
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    USB/Aux Connection

    Front-Panel USB Port: The Kenwood KDC-202U features a front-panel USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-up cover. The USB port enables connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device with MP3 (8-320 kbps) and WMA (32-192 kbps) music files. The USB port is compatible with USB mass storage class devices that support the FAT16 or FAT32 file system. Your USB device should only have a maximum of 8 folder layers, 255 folders, and 255 files per folder - with a maximum of 65,025 files and folders. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB port (max. 1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.

    Note: You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit. This unit's USB port is not compatible with the Apple iPod or iPhone.

    Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood KDC-202U supports the PC application, Kenwood Music Editor Lite (ver.1.1.0). Kenwood Music Editor Lite is a Windows-based desktop software that helps organize, manage and transfer MP3/WMA music files to your USB (MSC) devices from your PC. When you playback audio files that have been stored on your USB (MSC) device using Kenwood Music Editor Lite through this unit, you can search a file by title, album, or artist name using the head unit's Music Search function.

    System Requirements: The Kenwood Music Editor Light (ver.1.1.0) Windows-based software can be downloaded for free from Kenwood.com to your PC. The Kenwood Music Editor Light is compatible with the following Windows Microsoft Operating Systems.

    • Windows XP Professional, Home Edition SP2 or later (32-bit)
    • Windows Vista (32/64-bit)
    • Windows 7 (32/64-bit)

    Note: Not compatible with Apple iPod/iPhone, iPad, Zune, or Android.

    Music Control for Android Smartphone: The Kenwood Music Control app for Android organizes your Android smartphone's music, while providing quick and easy search capability from the Kenwood CD receiver. The free Kenwood Music Control App for Android can be downloaded onto your Android smartphone from the Android Market place. Your Android smartphone must be running Android OS 2.2 or later. Once the app is downloaded and has a chance to organize all the stored music on your Android smartphone, you can connect your Android smartphone to the Kenwood CD receiver via USB (your compatible Android smartphone must be recognized as a USB mass storage class device; not compatible with MTP protocol). The Kenwood Music Control app offers the following Android supported functions.

    • Song Management: Music stored in your Android smartphone can be navigated from the Kenwood CD receiver. Songs can be easily selected by searching for a Song title, Artist name, Album label, or Genre.
    • Song Information Display: Song information such as Artist name, Song title, and Album label are displayed on the connected Kenwood CD receiver.
    • Mood Playlist: Playlists can be created by classifying songs into categories by type of mood. Songs are analyzed and classified into the following categories of moods - High Energy (Active/Powerful/Core), Acoustic (Detailed/Simple/Smooth/Easy), Standard (Dynamic/Rockin/Vivid), Stylistic (Cool/Urban/Trance)
    • Intro Skip: This function allows you to choose and listen to only the hook-lines of songs stored in your Android smartphone.

    Note: When the Kenwood Music Control app is first downloaded it will require some time to populate all the music, so we suggest doing this overnight.

    Aux In: The unit is equipped with a front panel 3.5mm minijack auxiliary input that can be used to input audio from a portable audio source, such as a portable MP3 player. The Aux input must be turned on to function. The unit has 3 auxiliary input modes.

    • On1: Outputs the sound of the external unit connected to the Aux terminal when switched to the Aux source.
    • On2: Activates the attenuator function when turning on the power with the auxiliary source selected. This prevents the noise when no external unit is connected to the Aux terminal. Turn off the attenuator function when listening to output from an external unit.
    • Off: Disables the selection of the Aux source.

    Auxiliary Display: The KDC-202U allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV.

    Disc Playback

    Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio, CD-Text, and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs.

    MP3/WMA Playback: The KDC-202U can play MP3 (8-320 kbps) and WMA (32-192 kbps) files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, and Long file name formats. Each disc can have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 50 folders, and 255 files per folder (512 maximum number of files and folders). During MP3/WMA playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag (ver. 1.x/2.x) and WMA Tag information - up to 60 characters.

    Text Scroll: The KDC-202U will display CD text or Audio file text. You can set the text scrolling feature to three different modes (Auto, Once, or Off) to scroll longer titles across the screen.

    Music Search: The Kenwood AM/FM CD receiver features a Music Search feature which allows you to scroll through and select your MP3/WMA music folders and files, as well as scroll through your audio CD's music tracks using the head unit's rotary knob.

    Playback Modes: The Kenwood KDC-202U features the following Repeat, Random, and Scan playback modes.

    • Repeat Play: Track, File, or Folder
    • Random Play: Disc or Folder
    • Scan Play: Track or File (plays the first 10-seconds of each music track on a disc or music file in a folder)

    Last Position Memory: If the unit is shut off or switched to the tuner mode while a CD is playing, the next time CD is selected as the source, playback will resume from the point where it left off.

    CD Read: This function sets the method for reading a CD disc. You can choose between two modes.

    • CD1: Automatically distinguishes between audio file disc and music CD when playing a CD or CD-R/RW disc.
    • CD2: When unable to play a special formatted CD, set this function to CD2 to force playing. Some music CD  discs may be unplayable even when set to this mode.

    Off Insert/Eject: A CD disc can be inserted or ejected with the power off. When a disc is inserted with the power off, the unit will automatically power up and begin playback.

    Auto Reload: If the ejected disc is not removed within 15 seconds, the disc is automatically inserted again into the loading slot to protect it from dust.

    Audio Section

    24 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood KDC-202U utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior CD sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood KDC-202U is equipped with a MOSFET amplifier. Compared to conventional power supplies, the MOSFET amplification circuit is smaller and more efficient, and it delivers increased power with less distortion and absolutely zero on/off switching noise. More power means louder and cleaner music at higher volumes because you're not pushing the limits of the amplification circuit. The power output specs for the KDC-202U are as follows:

    • Full Bandwidth Power: 22 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20-20kHz, 1% THD)
    • Maximum Output Power: 50 watts x 4 channels

    3-Way Rotary Volume Control: The CD receiver uses a 3-way rotary volume control that increases and decreases the volume of the stereo from 0 to 35. The rotary knob also controls other audio settings such as Balance, Fader, Bass, Mid, Treble and preset EQ settings. In addition, the rotary knob allows you to scroll through and select your music tracks when the Music Search function is activated.

    Volume Offset: The level of each source may be independently adjusted to prevent radical leaps in output volume when switching from one source to another. The available settings range from -8 to 0 (-8 to +8 for Aux source).

    Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the System Q Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a Speaker Setting of 'SP-Off' (flat/off), 'SP-OEM' (for OEM factory speaker systems), 'SP-6x9/6' (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" speakers), or 'SP-5/4' (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers).

    Preset EQ: Eight EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass (100Hz), midrange (1kHz), and treble (10kHz). You can choose from the following preset EQ curves - Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Game, and User.

    Bass/Treble/Mid Control: The System Q's User Mode features independent Bass (100 Hz), Treble (10 kHz), and Midrange (1 kHz) control from - 8 to +8 dB.

    Bass Boost: In addition, The Kenwood CD receiver features a Bass Boost control that can be set to the following levels (BB1, BB2 or Off).

    Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer lower volumes. There are 3 levels (LV1, LV2, or Off).

    Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store System Q bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (CD, Tuner, USB, and Aux).

    Supreme Setting: When MP3 or WMA files encoded at a low bit rate (less than 96 kbps, 44.1k, 48kHz) are played, the Supreme Setting function restores their high frequencies so the sound quality is closer to files encoded at a high bit rate. The processing is optimized for the compression format and the bit rate used. When the Supreme Setting is Off, the unit plays the original sound stored in the audio file.

    Selectable 2.5V Preamp Output: The KDC-202U features a 2.5-volt stereo preamp output that you can be adjusted from a full-range rear speaker preamp output to a low-pass subwoofer preamp output.

    Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood KDC-202U offers the following subwoofer controls, when you have the unit's subwoofer preamp output activated.

    • Low Pass Filter: The receiver features a built-in Low Pass Filter control for the preamp-output, when the output is set to Subwoofer. You can select from 85 Hz, 120 Hz, 160 Hz, or off.
    • Subwoofer Phase: You can adjust the phase of the subwoofer output between 180-degrees (Reverse) or 0-degrees (Normal).
    • Subwoofer Level: Once the Subwoofer preamp output is activated, you can independently control the subwoofer preamp output level (-15 to +15) from the CD receiver.

    Tel Mute: The KDC-202U features a cell-phone mute wire (brown) in its harness that when hooked up to your car's phone system mute wire will automatically mute the receiver's audio signal when a call comes in.

    Key Beep: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.

    Radio Functions

    AM/FM Tuner: The Kenwood KDC-202U features a built-in AM/FM tuner. You can choose one of three tuning modes: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual.

    Tuner Presets: The KDC-202U's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood KDC-202U offers two preset modes.

    • Normal: You can store 6 presets for each AM/FM bank giving you a total of 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets (total of 24).
    • Mix: A total of 6 preset stations can be assigned to the head unit's 6 preset buttons, regardless of AM/FM band. This lets you recall a preset station without switching between bands.

    Auto Memory Tuning: Not only does the CD receiver's tuner allow you manually enter your desired presets you can choose to have the unit automatically put stations with good reception in the memory banks automatically; this is a handy feature when traveling.

    Mono Mode: The Mono mode improves the radio's FM reception, but the stereo effect may be lost.

    Display Features

    Detachable Face: The Kenwood KDC-202U features a single front loading CD face that detaches from the chassis to deter theft. The head unit includes a cloth pouch for storing the face-plate when detached.

    Note: An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can also be purchased for this unit.

    Fluorescent Display: The Kenwood head unit features a single-line, 11-character, bluish-white backlit fluorescent display with red button illumination.

    Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face and button illumination is "keyed." When the Clock Display is turned on and the unit is in Standby mode, the Clock Display is also "keyed." Pressing and holding the source button turns the unit off completely.

    Display Dimmer: The display has two brightness settings to adjust the brightness of the display according to the surrounding illumination. You can change this setting within the menu from On or Off.

    Demo Mode: This unit features a Demo mode which can be turned On or Off within the menu.

    Remote Control

    Wireless Remote Control: The KDC-202U comes with the RC-405 IR wireless remote control with a full numeric keypad (0-9). The remote will control Audio, CD, and Tuner functions. It is powered by a single CR2025 3V lithium-cell battery (supplied).

    • Numeric Keypad: The wireless remote control features a numeric keypad (0-9) which allows direct track access of your music tracks & files, as well as AM/FM presets.
    • Attenuator: The CD receiver features an Attenuator button on the supplied remote control that turns the volume down very quickly with one touch of the button.

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Kenwood KDC-202U Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

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    Kenwood Excellence

    Written By JasonB, Warrensburg, IL on Saturday, June 09, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    nice price got an open box still new just opened. Has plenty of features had to replace my factory CD player and it made my infinity speakers sound like they should. Forgot how clean the sound can be when you replace factory units. I haven't replaced one of these in years, but with the instructions and the right harness had the old one out and the new one in, in less than an hour. Crutchfield rules

    Pros: Good clean sound nice features for the price

    Cons: needs a seperate EQ button to simplify adjustments

    Great bang for the buck

    Written By DJBIGWEST, PERRY GA on Wednesday, April 04, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    FOR THE PRICE OF THE UNIT ITS GREAT I INSTALLED THE UNIT IN ABOUT 20 MINS NICE UPGRADE FOR UNDER 100$

    Pros: SIMPLE TO INSTALL GOOD SOUND QUALITY LOVE THE DISPLAY COLOR MATCHES MY DASH LIGHT

    Cons: NO HD RADIO...

    Great little stereo system

    Written By CW, Bloomington, IN on Saturday, March 31, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great buy for the money. Clear display, fairly easy to use after reading the instruction manual.

    Pros: Price, AUX input, CD, remote, Red color matches the rest of my car's display

    Cons: Seems like the USB/aux cover could snap off easily, but that's not really a big deal.

    Excellent Stereo

    Written By Anonymous, El Paso Tx on Friday, March 23, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great Stereo. Worth every dollar. Buy this bad boy!

    Kenwood is pretty nice stuff

    Written By Rajjjer, Washington, DC on Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Its a pretty good head unit, looks great in my cavalier. But the Kenwood app does not work on my phone, so instead went out and now i use a flash drive. either way, it sounds pretty darn good and get pretty dang loud

    Pros: looks great , high quality stuff, awesome to use

    Cons: that app

    Nice!

    Written By Taddmoney, Ravenna, OH on Saturday, March 03, 2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Good bang for the buck

    Pros: Front Inputs

    Cons: None as of yet

    Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Kenwood KDC-202U

    Keep one of these in your car, so you can leave your other cable at home.
    Plug your favorite portable device directly to your receiver's aux input.
    Get more info about having your new receiver put in by a qualified professional in your area.
    Store and play back music from a USB drive.
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