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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

CD receiver (New Stock)

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

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Item #: 113KDCX496
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

by Ken Nail
Kenwood

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.

A display worthy of your music
Music sources like your iPod® or Pandora® Internet radio pack a lot of info along with your music — info like song titles, artists, and albums. If your car's radio doesn't give you the full picture, why not step up to a receiver with a better display?

The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 boasts a selectable 2- or 3-line display that puts song info in front of you in large easy-to-read characters. And the display and button colors can be varied to match almost any dashboard, so your new receiver will look like it belongs in your car.

Kenwood KDC-X496

Plenty of media options
If you're a Pandora® Internet radio fan, this receiver is wired for you. Hook up your iPhone® to the USB input and you'll have control of your favorite stations, with thumbs-up, thumbs-down, and bookmarking. Of course you can also browse the libraries on your iPod® or iPhone too.

And Android fans aren't left out of the party. Download Kenwood's Music Control app and you'll enjoy a variety of search and playback features when your phone is plugged into the front-panel USB. But don't worry if you're not a smartphone user — you can still liven up your drive by loading in a disc full of music files, or by jacking another device into the front-panel aux input.

Kenwood Excelon sound quality
All Kenwood Excelon receivers are built for sound quality. This Kenwood features 4-volt preamp outputs that'll provide your amps with the strong signal they need for top performance. And this receiver's 24-bit D/A converter renders clean and natural sound from all your digital sources, from CDs to MP3s. Plus, you'll enjoy a 2-year warranty to go along with the great sound.

Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?
In most vehicles, you can use an adapter to connect your vehicle's steering wheel controls to this Kenwood stereo. Connect a few wires, then program the adapter for your particular car and this Kenwood, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls. Check the "Accessories" tab for compatible adapters.

Note: If you're going to use your iPod with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for specific iPod model compatibility with this receiver.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD receiver 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, WMA, and AAC music files
    • detachable face with selectable 3- or 2-line display and variable color illumination
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • System Q Sound Control (8 preset EQ curves and a 3-band parametric equalizer)
    • high-pass filters (speaker and preamp outputs), low-pass filter (sub preamp output)
    • speaker settings that let you tailor the sound to the size and location of speakers in your car
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • bass boost
    Expandability:
    • iPod/iPhone direct control via USB input — no adapter necessary, but adding Kenwood's optional connecting cable lets you leave your iPod cable at home
    • Pandora control with iPhone
    • compatible with Kenwood's Music Control app for Android phones
    • compatible with satellite radio tuner
    • inputs: front-panel auxiliary and USB input
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, and subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    CEA-2006 Compliant
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    No
    RMS Power Output
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    22 watts
    Peak Output
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    50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth
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    20-20KHz
    Preamp Outputs
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    6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs
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    Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs
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    No
    Preamp Voltage
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    4 volts
    Display Color
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    Variable
    Key Button Color
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    Variable
    EQ Bands
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    3
    Wireless Remote
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    Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible
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    Adapter required
    Parts Warranty
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    2 Years
    Labor Warranty
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    2 Years
    Expandability
    AUX Input
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    Front
    USB Input
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    Front
    Memory Card Slot
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    USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible
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    No
    Satellite Radio Ready
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    SiriusXM
    HD Radio
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    No
    Navigation
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    ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size
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    Classic/5Gen
    Nano
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    Nano7/Nano6/Nano5/Nano4/Nano3/
    Touch
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    Touch5/Touch4/Touch3/Touch2/To
    Mini
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    No
    iPhone
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    Phone5/Phone4S/Phone4/Phone3GS
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity
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    9.3 dBf
    European Tuning
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    No
    Seek/Scan
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    Seek
    Radio Data System
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    Yes
    Product 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
    • Face-fixing screw
    • Quick Start Guide (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Card

    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.

    Audio Section
    Radio Functions
    Disc Playback
    iPod/Android Control
    USB/Aux Inputs
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The KDC-X496 CD receiver is part of Kenwood's Excelon series line-up. It incorporates the latest technologies and delivers the highest sonic performance. From advanced audio tuning capabilities, crossover and equalizer system, high-voltage preouts (4V), and a two-year warranty - Kenwood Excelon represents exceptional audio quality with long-lasting dependability.

    24 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 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-X496 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

    7-Way Rotary Volume Control: The CD receiver uses a 7-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 (12.5kHz). You can choose from the following preset EQ curves - Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Game, and User.

    EQ Pro: The Excelon KDC-X496 features independent Bass, Treble, and Midrange control when the Preset EQ is in User mode. EQ Pro allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

    EQ Pro
    Center Frequency Q-Factor Bass Extension Level
    Bass 60, 80, 100, or 200 Hz 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, or 2.00 On/Off -8 to +8
    Midrange 0.5k, 1.0k, 1.5k, or 2.5k Hz 0.75, 1.00, or 1.25 N/A
    Treble 10.0k, 12.5k, 15.0k, or17.5k Hz N/A N/A

    Bass Boost: In addition, the Kenwood CD receiver features a Bass Boost control that can be set to the following levels (BB1, BB2, BB3, or Off).

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

    Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store Preset EQ and EQ Pro bass/middle/treble tone settings for each source (CD, AM/FM, Aux, USB, iPod, and Pandora).

    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.

    6ch/4V Preamp Outputs: The KDC-X496 features front, rear and subwoofer 4.0-volt preamp outputs. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading. The front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs are fixed to the rear chassis of the head unit.

    Note: You can turn the KDC-X496's built-in amplifier off to improve the quality of the sound from the head unit's preamp outputs.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X496 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front & rear channels when your front & rear speakers are connected by the unit's speaker-outputs or preamp-outputs. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from "Through", 100, 120, or 150 Hz. The "Through" selection is a full-range setting. This feature is very helpful when you have smaller-type speakers in the front and larger-type speakers installed in the rear of the vehicle.

    Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 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-X496 features a cell-phone mute wire (tan) 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-X496 features a built-in AM/FM tuner. You can choose one of four tuning methods: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), Manual Tune, or Direct Access (via remote).

    RDS: The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist, title, and album when listening to compatible AM/FM stations.

    Tuner Presets: The KDC-X496's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood KDC-X496 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.

    Direct Access Tuning: You can directly access an AM/FM station by entering in the frequency number using the include wireless remote control.

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

    SiriusXM Ready: The Kenwood KDC-X496 comes ready for SiriusXM programming with access to XM and Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Thanks to its proprietary SiriusXM Connect port, you can add the optional SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner and receive more than 150 channels of exclusive programming directly from SiriusXM, via the "SiriusXM All Access" package (subscription required). Visit SiriusXM.com for a complete list of subscription options and channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:

    • Channel list displays a list of all available channels
    • Category Search searches for channels in a certain category
    • Displayed Information such as Channel Name, Artist Name, & Song Title can be viewed on the head unit's LCD
    • Up to 18 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets
    • Direct Tuning via included remote
    • Song/Artist Alert with visual notification of your favorite songs or artists
    • Supports the SiriusXM Instant Replay function, so you can pause, rewind, and replay up to 30 minutes of live content
    • iTunes Tagging for connected iPod/iPhone
    • Channels containing unsuitable content for children can be blocked

    Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). If you already have a Sirius Satellite Radio subscription, this radio cannot be added as a discounted second unit. If you have an existing XM Satellite Radio subscription, you can add this unit as a discounted second unit.

    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/AAC Playback: The KDC-X496 can play MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 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/AAC 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-X496 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/AAC music folders and files, as well as scroll through your audio CD's music tracks using the head unit's rotary knob.

    Direct Music Search: The supplied IR wireless remote control (RC-405) allows you to search for music directly by entering the track number.

    Playback Modes: The Kenwood KDC-X496 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.

    iPod/Android Control

    iPod Direct Connection: The KDC-X496's front-panel USB port also acts as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the optional Kenwood USB Direct Connection Cable (113KCIP102, sold separately) or the USB/iPod cable that comes with your iPod/iPhone. If you have an iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), or iPhone 5; use the Lighting-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect to the head unit. Using either cable allows audio playback, music navigation, information display, and charging of select iPod/iPhone models from the KDC-X496.

    iPod DAC Bypass: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's large music libraries to be loaded instantly to the head unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 24-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 110dB. The Kenwood head unit supports audio playback of music files and podcasts stored on your iPod or iPhone, as well as music apps streamed to your iPhone.

    iPod Control: You can choose to control the iPod/iPhone from the head unit or from your iPod/iPhone's clickwheel or touchscreen.

    • Head Unit: The Kenwood head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music by Playlist, Artists, Album, Genre, Composer, Song, or Podcast. You can search these categories alphabetically (A-Z) or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). The head unit supports Repeat (file) & Random (folder) playback functions of your connected iPod/iPhone.
    • iPod/App Mode: In iPod/App mode, you can navigate the stored music on your iPod/iPhone from its clickwheel or touchscreen. You can also listen to your favorite music apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Last.fm, Rhapsody, & Slacker) from your iPhone (iOS 3.0+) through the Kenwood head unit and your vehicle's speakers. You will continue to use your iPhone's touchscreen to navigate your apps. Not all apps will be compatible with App Mode.

    Note: Access to your iPhone's downloaded applications will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone to connect to the Internet.

    Pandora App: The Pandora App (free) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 using your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately), or the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. The Kenwood KDC-X496 provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list and sort them by date or alphabetically (A-Z). You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS3 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora application from Apple's iTunes App Store. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service account.

    Note: Access to the Pandora service will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone to connect to the Internet. Pandora is not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.

    iPod Display: The KDC-X496 will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information when you are controlling your iPod or iPhone from the Kenwood head unit. The head unit will display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label. If you choose to operate your connected iPod/iPhone via its clickwheel or touchscreen controls, the KDC-X496 will not display your iPod/iPhone's music information (the head unit will instead display "APP/iPod").

    iPod Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad.

    Note: If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood KDC-X496 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):

    iPod Model Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Pandora app Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod App mode Artist/Song Text Track Info
    dock connector 3rd N/A N N N N N N N N N
    clickwheel
    color
    4th N/A N N N N N N N N N
    mini 1st N/A N N N N N N N N N
    2nd N/A N N N N N N N N N
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N Y Y N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N N Y Y N Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    6th 1.1 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    7th 1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    4th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    5th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    2 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    3 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

    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 will be recognized as a USB mass storage class device). 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.

    Music Files Format Supported by Music Control app for Android:

    Codec Extension Bit Rate Sampling Frequency
    AAC .aac, m4a up to 160 kbps 8-48 kHz
    MP3 .mp3 8-320 kbps n/a
    PCM/WAV .wav n/a n/a

    USB/Aux Inputs

    USB Port: The Kenwood KDC-X496 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), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 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.

    Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood KDC-X496 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.

    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-X496 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV.

    Display Features

    Detachable Face: The Kenwood KDC-X496 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. A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.

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

    Multi-Line Text Display: The 3-line full dot LCD makes it easy to navigate through your disc's music, radio presets, iPod music library, or USB content. The KDC-X496 offers five different display types:

    • Type A: Displays 3 lines of text.
    • Type B: Display 2 lines of text.
    • Type C: Displays only the clock/date.
    • Type D: Displays motion graphics.
    • Type E: Display & button illumination is turned off (after 5 seconds of operation).

    Note: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 offers English, French, and Spanish menu text.

    Variable Color Illumination: The Kenwood KDC-X496 features variable color display and button illumination. You can choose to use the same color for the LCD display and button illumination, or use a separate color for each one. You can choose from one of 24 preset colors, have the unit scan through all 24 preset colors continuously, or customize your own color (RGB; 0-9). The custom setting allows you to individually adjust the intensity of Red, Green, and Blue (from 0-9) to better match your vehicle's interior lights. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain red.

    Note: You can switch the in-dash head unit's display between a positive or negative effect. You can also adjust the display's contrast from 1-30.

    Illumination Effect: This function sets whether the head unit's key illumination color is changed in conjunction with the key-button operation.

    Dimmer: The dimmer function will dim this unit's display automatically when the vehicle light switch is turned On when you connect orange/white Illumination wire of this player. You can also choose to dim the display manually. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain the same brightness.

    Clock/Date Display: The in-dash CD receiver features a 12-hour clock and date (M/D/Y) display. You can even set times for two different cities (dual clock display).

    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.

    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-X496 comes with an IR remote control (RC-405) for wireless operation of the head unit. The remote will control Audio, CD, USB, 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 (from CD or USB), 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.

    Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The head unit features an OEM steering wheel remote control input wire (blue/yellow) within the included wiring harness that lets you keep your vehicle's factory radio steering wheel remote controls when used with an optional steering wheel audio control adapter (sold separately). Please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to see if your vehicle is compatible.

     
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    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

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    2 out of 5

    Nice features, poor interface, stopped working.

    Written By Scott J, Grafton, WI on Monday, August 26, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Very easy installation using the Crutchfield accessories, hardest part was breaking loose the factory screws holding the chassis in place. The unit performed very well, it's a little under-powered in my opinion however. Very nice feature set, not a very intuitive setup however. No instructions for working through the menus. No ability to use the "shuffle" feature of my iPod/iPhone, I would have to disconnect the device, set it to shuffle, then reconnect it. Unit stopped working yesterday, flashing the dreaded "Protect" message. Troubleshooting revealed that it's not the speakers at fault, head unit is dead after 11 months.
    Pros:
    Available features. Multiple display capabilities. Pandora & XM capable.
    Cons:
    No instructions. Unit died after 11.5 months. No shuffle feature for iPod controls.
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By Anonymous, Valdosta, Georgia on Thursday, February 21, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I've had it installed for a few weeks now, and so far I like it a lot. For a medium to low priced head unit it has some pretty neat features.
    Pros:
    A lot of different colors available to match your interior. USB and AUX ports. It has improved sound quality over my stock unit and I have terrible speakers. Easy to use buttons.
    Cons:
    Have not found any yet.
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    4 out of 5

    Excellent sound quality with subpar interface

    Written By Anonymous, CT on Sunday, December 30, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    For the money this head unit seemed really hard to beat, with it boasting the highest rms out of the competition for the price range. Sound quality is of course excellent, even making stock speakers sound clear and powerful. The display is clear but the screen seems small compared to my older Sony Xplod. Lots of color options exist making it perfect to match any vehicle. Options for adjusting and tuning the sound to your liking including a nice parametric equalizer that works great, though its a bit annoying to use due to the terrible menu setup/interface. The limited amount of buttons on the face of the head unit means that more menus were needed to use all the settings and features, which in it of itself is quite annoying and frustrating at times. Add in the fact that it seems some options/features are under different categories than what you would think and it turns into quite a mess trying to figure it all out. Overall though it is a solid unit with great sound and features, but it is held back by a lousy interface and menu system.
    Pros:
    Great sound quality Lots of display color options Sleek and modern looking design Parametric equalizer 3 Line display
    Cons:
    Lack of buttons on face of head unit Too many menus to sort through Lack of organization in the interface
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Great Sound!

    Written By Dan, Western PA on Thursday, November 08, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Upon receiving the unit it appeared it was built well, and was packed very well with all the accessories (WHICH CAME FREE!) and instruction manual. Used the instructions and removal of the factory unit was a piece of cake. Took everything out of the box and put it together, which again was relatively simple with the provided instructions.

    This is where I ran in to an issue.

    The whole install could have been done in a matter of 30 minutes if i didn't have this happen.

    on the supplied wiring harness for my Jeep the color of one of the wires didnt match the one that came with the head unit. I fiddled with this for about an hour and thought maybe ill call the tech adviser. Phoned in, waited on hold about 3 minutes (2 callers ahead of me) and a simple explanation and the adviser said to connect the blue wire to the blue and white wire from the radio harness. Boom, working and well worth the 4 minute call, i just wish i did it sooner.

    Now for the radio review: Menus could be set up more "user friendly" - lots of messing around there. menu control could be easier to follow/understand

    Menu items aside the quality is amazing. Having three lines of text is very nice when listening to CD/Pandora/Iphone The playback controls are a bit cumbersome using the "joystick" on the radio, however the supplied remote makes that a piece of cake.

    Listening to it while driving last evening i was very happy with my purchase. Very satisfied with this purchase and the help from Crutchfield!
    Pros:
    Quality is amazing Installation was piece of cake (minus the color (discrepancy) 3 Lines of text is great "Equalizer Pro" is fantastic for customizing sound Future upgrades possible due to RCA Jacks for Front Speakers, Rear Speakers, and Subwoofer Remote is great for track selecting ease
    Cons:
    Display is somewhat hard to read in sun (the orange/lime/yellow colors anyway) Menu Controls / initial setup. Radio Preset programming
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    5 out of 5

    Excellent unit

    Written By MattK, Abingdon, VA on Monday, November 05, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is a excellent unit. Being able to play music from a USB flash drive, an IPOD or CD is really great. Made my stock speakers come alive. Being able to choose different colors for the display, buttons and USB port is cool. Buttons are a little small for a big guy to use.
    Pros:
    Excellent sound. 24 different colors. Kenwood quality.
    Cons:
    Hard to read in bright daylight. Small buttons.
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By Anonymous, United States on Monday, October 29, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    good sound. harder to control music playback they would be ideal but that is easily overlooked
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By Kachi X, St. Paul, MN on Tuesday, October 23, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Changed how I listen to music. Upgraded it with some new speakers and it sounds great. Lots of features and colors to choose from.
    Pros:
    Colors, sound, looks, aux, usb, pretty much most of the features you would like to have.
    Cons:
    Not so easy to use at first. scratches easily.
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    5 out of 5

    simply enough

    Written By TexasRooter, Texas on Wednesday, October 03, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is the first radio that I have change in a vehicle in quite a few years, when I was a kid I would tackle anything, so I was apprehensive that everything would work out. It turned out easy, not one hitch. The radio is very nice, the ability to turn off the display is really nice for night driving. The only thing that I would change is make the clock visible in one of the channel display settings. The display colors are also very nice for us older folks that have night vision issues. Kenwood makes a solid product I would not hesitate to buy another one.
    Pros:
    Sirius interface in the back, axillary and usb port feature are great and convenient
    Cons:
    buttons are kind of small around the main operating knob.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By Jason, Southern Minnesota on Friday, September 14, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Excellent product! Powerful, lots of customizing can be done, and I love the 3 line display!
    Pros:
    Powerful, lots of customizing can be done, and I love the 3 line display!
    Cons:
    presets require more than one button to select a station, even with the remote. clock display is LARGE.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Ease of installation

    Written By Donald E, Ocean Shores, Washington on Monday, August 27, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I received all parts and specific information for installation of the unit. Installation went well and I now have a great C.D. player for playing all the oldies that I convert from tapes and records. Great experience, overall.
    Pros:
    Ease of installation. Value for the money. Great sound. Good wiring harness.
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    4 out of 5

    Innovative and great value

    Written By Kyle Hunter, Harrisonburg, VA on Sunday, July 29, 2012
     
    The unit I purchased was very impressive with its sound quality! Lots of features! Can be deficult to function if you upgrade from and old unit! The illumination and nice display makes it a great buy as well! A cant beat price for a higher class kenwood unit!
    Pros:
    Sound quality, various features, convinent aux plugs in front, Remote, illumination lighting! Fully customizable!
    Cons:
    Can't think of any! Sorry! Kenwood just set the standard... High!!!!
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By Brian, Columbia, MD on Sunday, June 24, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I've owned this receiver about 2 weeks now, and I'm extremely happy with it. The installation was fairly easy with Crutchfield's instructions and install kit, and setting up the receiver itself was fairly straightforward. It has a lot of display options that take some fiddling with to get it to look the way you want, but I appreciate the flexibility (setting everything up could be a little easier, I admit). The only complaint I have about the display is that some of the colors can be hard to see in bright sunlight, so that limits display color flexibility if you want easy to see colors.

    I use my receiver mainly to listen to iTunes and Pandora with a connected iPhone. The connection works great, as do the Pandora features ('like' and 'dislike' songs from the receiver) and the sound is FANTASTIC. I only have stock speakers and no subwoofer, but this receiver makes them sound MUCH better than the stock radio did. Bass in particular is very good.
    Pros:
    Good sound and display flexibility and features, great input options (particularly iPhone/iPod integration), excellent sound quality, very sharp looking design
    Cons:
    Some display colors (red, in particular) are hard to see in bright sunlight, a bit pricey compared to the Excelon X396 without adding too many features in return
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    3 out of 5

    Kenwood KDC-X496

    Written By Dave D, Pineville, MO on Sunday, May 27, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    First the good stuff, excellent sound especially thru the Kenwood 4" speakers in the Boxster, bright readable display, ease of installation. The bad, horrible, unintuitive controls, the control button reminds me of the BMW iDrive, another ergonomic disaster. No instructions on how to maneuver thru the menus, the only thing I can do is change sources without some serious head-scratching. You will needto pull off the road to make the slightest adjustment including changing radio stations.
    Pros:
    Sound, looks and display
    Cons:
    Controls, instruction manual, did I mention controls
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Excellent Value

    Written By RichardG, Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 16, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Very nice unit. Great sound. Had a couple of questions during installation and called Crutchfield twice. Best tech support I've ever experienced and this is consistent with my past purchases as well. You can speak to a "live" technician right away and they all seem to know what they're talking about like they've done it a thousand times themselves.
    Pros:
    Looks Great. Good sound.
    Cons:
    Programming and set up a little sophisticated. Usually like to do the "man thing" and just start pushing buttons until I figure those things out. Actually, had to pick up the manual several times to adjust the display and set the radio stations.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496

    Written By xman, Texas on Wednesday, May 09, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I have been a Kenwood user for many years and this product is their usual standard of quality.

    Vehicle : Chevy Silverado standard cab pickup

    I am using it to run : Polk 6.5 door speakers Polk 4x6 pillar speakers Kicker 12" woofer w/ Kicker 300 watt amp

    Thnkx Kenwood and thnkx Crutchfield !
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    4 out of 5

    81 CJ7

    Written By sick boy, cleveland, oh on Monday, May 07, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is what I was expecting. Great receiver. happy with the purchase
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Jeep Cherokee

    Written By MattB-K, Maidens, VA on Friday, April 20, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Awesome! looks cool easy to customize sound. Dramatically improved sound from the moment i installed it.
    Pros:
    looks cool, Remote is nice for driving and not having to look,
    Cons:
    no preset buttons
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Great, great Kenwood product!

    Written By Kami, Chandler, AZ on Friday, April 06, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I recently installed this stereo in my '08 RAV4. The RAVs are known for bad sound, and this has improved the sound quality a million times. I love listening in the car now. I thought I might need to buy new speakers too, but after I played around with the sound settings, I have a crystal clear sound just from changing out the head unit. It really sounds awesome.

    I selected this stereo because of the compatibility with Sirius/XM. You can now buy just a single-item tuner for connecting satellite radio. It was about $50. It includes some awesome features like setting song or artist alerts so you get pop-up messages when your favorites are playing, even if you are listening to something else, like the USB drive.

    My other favorite feature is that you can choose any color for the display, so you can match the stereo to your car's existing lighting. It makes for a much better looking set-up.

    And the biggest reason for buying this stereo - its value! You get a really awesome piece of equipment for a very low price. If you are looking for more features (HD-radio and Bluetooth) go with the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896, because its the same line but has those extra features. I just didn't want to go that much higher in price. I'm completely thrilled with the amazing features I got for the price (with the SAT-radio tuner addition).
    Pros:
    Great sound, GREAT value, variable color display
    Cons:
    Lack of preset channel buttons
    4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X496, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_113KDCX496/Kenwood-Excelon-KDC-X496.html ).