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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

CD receiver with MP3/WMA/AAC playback (New Stock)

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

    Front

  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

    Display options

  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

    Remote

Item #: 113KDCX789
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

by Matt Freeman
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.

No doubt, the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789 CD receiver looks awesome. Its motorized faceplate sports a vivid, customizable, multicolor fluorescent display that looks great in any dash, and offers up system information that's easy to read.

You want playback variety? You got it. Like any CD receiver, the KDC-X789 delivers AM/FM reception and plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs. Like some receivers, it'll also play discs you've loaded with MP3 and WMA. But, it's one of a select group of receivers that'll also play the CD tracks you've ripped, converted into AAC files and burned onto disc. You'll never be at a loss for something to listen to.

So that you can scroll through your digital music files and folders safely, the KDC-X789 features Kenwood's amazing AC Drive with Voice Index on Tap feature. A built-in voice guide actually tells you the names of your files as you navigate through them — you'll be able to find your favorite songs and keep your eyes on the road at the same time! The included software lets you encode your files on your computer to make them compatible with the AC Drive system.

The Graphic Motion Analyzer adds an element of fun to your drive. It can display certain of your vehicle's performance specifications, such as the G-force your car generates during turns and acceleration, with no special wiring required. The graphics look great on the fluorescent display.

Kenwood loaded this prime-time performer with plenty of MOSFET power (22 watts RMS x 4 channels) and its advanced System Q EX sound control, which lets you tweak six different preset equalizer curves with its three-band parametric EQ. Also, System E's+ offers built-in high- and low-pass filters that let you send the right frequencies to the right speakers for optimum efficiency and sound quality.

Your system doesn't have to stop at the receiver and speakers, either. Three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs send an incredibly clean signal to the external amplifiers you connect, giving your system the extra push you crave. Satellite radio controls give you the option of enjoying either SIRIUS or XM Satellite Radio — that's over 120 channels of music, news, sports, talk, entertainment, and more, broadcast without interruption from coast to coast (compatible tuner, subscription, and antenna required).

You can also connect an HD Radio tuner and, where available, enjoy this growing technology. It makes FM sound nearly like CDs, and AM sound almost like FM, and it offers extra information you don't get with standard radio. And if you're into the iPod™ scene, you can connect it (or any portable player) to the auxiliary input and play it through the system.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • CD receiver with built-in amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • motorized, detachable face with multicolor fluorescent display
  • Advanced Codec (AC) Drive with Voice Index on Tap offers voice confirmation of digital music folders and files
  • G-Analyzer measures G-force during acceleration, braking, and cornering
  • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3, WMA, and AAC files)
  • System Q EX Sound Control with 3-band parametric equalizer
  • System E's+ crossover system
  • satellite radio controls (SIRIUS or XM subscription, tuner, and antenna required to receive the satellite radio signal) — service is available only in the lower 48 states, not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. territories
  • HD Radio-ready (will control Kenwood's HD Radio tuner)
  • CD changer controls
  • auxiliary input
  • dual-zone audio control
  • 5-volt front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs
  • Bass Management System (B.M.S.) controls the bass boost on compatible Kenwood Excelon amplifiers
  • wireless remote
  • clock
  • CD frequency response: 10-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB
  • FM sensitivity: 9.3 dBf
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

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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30-20kHz
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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5 volts
Display Color
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64 colors
Key Button Color
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Red or Green
EQ Bands
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3
Wireless Remote
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Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible
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Parts Warranty
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2 Years
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Expandability
AUX Input
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Yes
USB Input
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Memory Card Slot
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No
Bluetooth Compatible
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Satellite Radio Ready
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Both
HD Radio
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Navigation
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iPod Compatibility
Full size
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Nano
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Touch
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Mini
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iPhone
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Tuner
FM Sensitivity
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9.3 dBf
European Tuning
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Yes
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/MP3/WMA receiver with 10A fuse inserted in chassis
  • Wiring harness
  • Sleeve
  • Trim ring
  • Face
  • Hard plastic face case
  • Wireless remote control (RC-527)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 2 Removal tools
  • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
  • 4 Countersunk ISO-mount screws
  • Face fixing screw with flat washer
  • Kenwood Advanced Codec Drive CD-ROM Ver3.30 Type A
  • Instruction Manual (English)
  • Instruction Manual (French/Spanish)
  • Media Manager Installation Manual (6 languages)
  • "Register Online" card
  • Warranty Card
  • Kenwood Car Audio Passport
  • Sheet concerning Demo mode (attached to receiver)
  • Warning sheet concerning watching the G-Analyzer Display while driving

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.

Features
Changer Controls

Minimum Computer Requirements

Features

Display Modes: The Kenwood KDC-X789 features a large, bright, 64-color fluorescent display with 5 selectable display modes:

  • Graphic Display (Display Type A): You can choose between 3 "movies" or a slideshow of 6 still images. Text information is displayed briefly for tuner and CD functions before graphic reappears.
  • Graphic + Text Display (Display Type B): The same Graphic Display is shown, plus one line of text is displayed. Selectable text information is available for each source.
  • 3-line, 2-column Text Display (Display Type C): Three lines of text information are displayed, each with a text label icon and the text display. You can choose what information to display for each line (clock, frequency, playback time, CD text, ID3 tags, etc.), plus choose a text display color between white, yellow, or blue.
  • Text + Source Icon Display (Display Type D): Two lines of text information are displayed (selectable information and colors). On the right end of the display is an icon to indicate the currently selected source. The bottom line features function labels for the multi-function keys located directly below.
  • G-Analyzer Display (Display Type E): Measurements of G-forces (gravity) on the vehicle are displayed. You can select between "G-Graphic", G-Meter (Graphic), G-Meter (Text), or G-Counter display.

Picture Downloading: You can download one movie and one wallpaper image from a special Kenwood website for use in the above Graphic Displays. New images can be recorded onto a CD-R or CD-RW disc, and loaded into the receiver.

G-Analyzer: This unit is equipped with a sensor that measures the forces of gravity on the vehicle. This sensor enables the receiver to calculate G-forces during acceleration, braking, and cornering. The G-Analyzer also has a stop watch that can be automatically started when forward or reverse G-forces are detected. Setup and calibration for acceleration and braking must be performed before using the G-Analyzer.

AAC/MP3/WMA Playback: The receiver can play AAC, MP3 and WMA files recorded on CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, and Romeo formats. Each disc should have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 100 folders, and 4096 files per folder. During MP3/WMA playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag information. AAC ID3 tags cannot be displayed.

Kenwood Advanced CODEC Drive: The KDC-X789 features Advanced CODEC Drive (ACDrive) to help you organize your digital music files and burn CDs with advanced features. With the PhatNoise Media Manager (on the supplied CD-ROM software), you can browse compressed audio files by playlists, artists, albums or genres. The receiver's built-in Voice Index will "announce" artist, album, and genre names when an ACDrive disc is played. The software will also help you rip music from CDs and encode them as AAC files. To help you keep up-to-date, the Media Manager software allows you to download new CODECs and features and download them to a CD for upgrading the receiver. (See Minimum Computer Requirements below for installing the software on your computer).

Motorized Angled Faceplate: When inserting or ejecting a disc, the motorized faceplate automatically slides down and out to expose the disc slot. Furthermore, you can set the faceplate at one of three angles for best visibility of the display, in addition to the fully closed position.

24-Bit Burr-Brown D-A Converter: The KDC-X789 features an audiophile-quality 24-bit Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter for superb CD sound. The Burr-Brown D-A converter maximizes the musical resolution of CDs, CD-R/Ws, and AAC/MP3/WMA-encoded discs.

Satellite Radio Ready: You can connect a satellite radio tuner to the KDC-X789 in a number of ways. The unit is directly compatible with the Sirius SIR-KEN1 Satellite Tuner for Kenwood (item # 607SIRKEN1). The Terk XMDirect universal XM Satellite Radio tuner (209XMD1000) can be connected to and controlled by the head unit when used with the XMDirect Smart Adapter for Kenwood (209XMDKEN1). In addition, you can connect an independently controlled "plug 'n play" unit such as the Delphi SKYFi2 or Kenwood Here2Everywhere to the head unit through the optional Aux Input adapter (113CAC1AX or 113KCAS210).

Note: In addition to the optional satellite tuner, you will also need the proper antenna and a subscription to Sirius or XM Satellite Radio.

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), "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). Note: The Speaker Setting affects the bass, midrange, and treble values of the System Q EX presets. The speaker setting should be selected first.

System Q-EX Sound Control: Six EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music: Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, and Natural. In addition, you may store your own settings under the "User Memory" EQ curve. Each preset has its own bass center frequency, bass level, bass Q factor, bass extension, middle center frequency, middle level, middle Q factor, treble center frequency, and treble level settings. You may adjust the bass center frequency (40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 100, 120 or 150Hz), bass level (-8 to +8), bass Q factor (1.00, 1.25, 1.50 or 2.00), bass extension (On or Off), middle center frequency (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0kHz), middle level (-8 to +8), middle Q factor (1.0 or 2.0), treble center frequency (10.0, 12.5, 15.0 or 17.5kHz), and treble level (-8 to +8). The System Q EX can be turned off in the menu, still allowing you to adjust the bass, middle and treble levels only.

Subwoofer Preamp Output: The KDC-X789 is equipped with a pair of subwoofer preamp outputs. The subwoofer outputs can easily be turned on/off. When the subwoofer output is turned on, you can adjust the volume (-15 to +15 in increments of 2), set the low pass filter cutoff (50Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, or Through), and the phase (normal, reverse).

System E's+: In addition to System Q Sound Control, the KDC-X789 features the System E's+ crossover system for the speaker and preamp outputs. You can make the following adjustments:

  • Front High Pass Filter: 40Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz, 180 Hz, 220Hz, or Through (no filter)
  • Rear High Pass Filter: 40Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz, 180 Hz, 220Hz or Through (no filter)
  • Low Pass Filter: 50Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz or Through (no filter)

Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store System Q bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (CD, FM, AM, Satellite, and CD changer).

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.

Built-in Amp Switch: If the audio signals are output to external amplifiers, you can turn off the internal amplifier to improve audio quality.

Dual Zone System: The KDC-X789's Dual Zone System allows you to output one source to the front preamp outputs and another source to the rear preamp outputs. The main source can be the internal disc player, tuner, or a source connected via the 13-pin CD changer input. The sub source is a device connected to the rear RCA auxiliary input. You can assign the sub source to either the front or rear channels. When the Dual Zone System is activated, the volume of the front outputs is controlled by the volume knob, while the volume of the rear channels is controlled in the Audio Control menu.

CR-2 Advanced Tuner: This unit uses Kenwood's CR-2 Advanced tuner for clear radio reception. 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.

HD Radio Ready: With an optional Kenwood HD Radio tuner (item # 113HR100TR), you will be able to receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. This new technology will significantly improve audio quality and reception, as well as include information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display.

Radio Data System (RDS): The unit's tuner features RDS (Radio Data System). RDS is a service used by some radio stations to transmit data outside of normal radio broadcast signals. When an RDS station is received, you can immediately find out what kind of data is being transmitted by looking at the program service name which appears in the display after the frequency. RDS features an emergency transmission function which interrupts regular programming to broadcast an emergency announcement (such as a tornado or severe storm). There is also a switchable Traffic Information function, which will automatically tune a traffic bulletin when it is broadcast, even when you're not listening to the radio.

Clean Reception System Circuit (CRSC): This circuit controls multi-path distortion by reducing stereo separation. As stereo separation is reduced, multi-path has less effect on the radio signal, improving reception in areas with tall buildings and mountains. The CRSC circuit can be turned on or off.

Disc/Station Naming: You can enter and store names of up to 8 characters for CDs and radio stations. Characters can include upper case letters, numbers, symbols, and special accent characters. The memory can store names for up to 30 stations and 10 discs in the internal CD player. The number of disc names you can store for an external CD changer depends upon the capability of the changer.

Disabled System Indicator: A red indicator will blink on the unit after the faceplate is removed, warning potential thieves. This feature can be turned On or Off.

Security Code: You can enter a 4-digit security code which must be used when the unit is removed from the vehicle, or the constant power source is disconnected from the unit. When constant power is restored to the unit, the security code must be entered before the unit becomes operational. The security code may be disabled if desired.

Bass Management System (B.M.S.): You can remotely adjust the bass boost of a compatible Kenwood amplifier with the Bass Management System (B.M.S.). When properly connected, you can set the bass boost to Flat, +6dB, +12dB, and if the amplifier is capable, +18dB. In addition, you can set the B.M.S. frequency offset to "Normal" or "Low". The "Low" setting drops the bass boost normal center frequency by 20%. Note: The pink/black lead on the receiver's wiring harness should be connected to the amp's B.M.S. terminal.

Remote Control: The KDC-X789 comes with the RC-527 wireless remote control with a full numeric keypad. The remote includes volume control for the rear channels when the unit is operating in the Dual Zone mode. It is powered by 2 "AA" batteries (supplied). The dimensions of the remote are: L=5.369", W=1.968", D=1.198".

Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face/button illumination is "keyed". In addition, while the unit is in Standby mode, you can turn the clock display on or off." 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: When the dimmer control is set to "on", the display automatically dims when the vehicle lights are turned on. When set to "off", the display doesn't dim. Note: In order for the display dimmer feature to operate, the orange/white wire in the supplied wiring harness must be connected to the vehicle's headlight circuit.

Auxiliary Input: The KDC-X789 is equipped with a built-in auxiliary input. There is a set of stereo RCA jacks on a 12-inch pigtail on the back of the receiver for connecting an external audio source. The Auxiliary input can be activated/deactivated through the menu. When it's activated, you can select one of six names for the source: Aux, TV, Video, Game, Portable or DVD. When deactivated, Auxiliary does not appear as a source. With an optional adapter (item 113CAC1AX or 113KCAS210), you can also turn the unit's CD changer input into a second auxiliary input.

Changer Controls

Compatibility: This unit is directly compatible with Kenwood changers manufactured in 1998 or later. If the changer has an O-N switch, the switch will need to be set to the "N" position. If you have a Kenwood changer manufactured before 1998, you will need the KCA-S210A switching adapter. Changers manufactured before 1994 require the CA-DS100 converter cord (113CADS100) and the KCA-S210A switching adapter.

Changer Controls: In addition to basic disc navigation features, this unit has the following changer controls: direct disc access (using the remote), direct track access (using the remote), track intro scan, track repeat, disc repeat, disc random, and all disc random.

CD Text/MD Display: When connected to a CD Text capable CD changer or an MD changer, this unit can display disc and track titles for discs encoded with disc and track title information. The text information can be scrolled manually or automatically.

Minimum Computer Requirements

PhatNoise Media Manager Software: To use Media Manager software, the following software and hardware are required:

  • Software: Microsoft Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, or XP
  • Hardware:
    • Personal computer (main unit, display, and peripheral units) incorporating a 500MHz or better Pentium II processor (or the equivalent) on which the above OS can run normally
    • 128MB RAM or more
    • Hard disc with 200MB free space
    • CD-R/CD-RW drive
  • Others: Internet connection environment
  • Note: Administrator authority is required when installing Media Manager in Windows 2000 or XP
 
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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

Very nice head unit

Written By Darren, Radford on Monday, March 27, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a great head unit. I am very impressed with it. For the money I don't think you can get a better one. There are some really wild features- acceleration and handeling will show G-forces. Crazy. I am not having any problems seeing the display in sunlight like some, but that could depend on how the radio sits in your car.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By tlpopkes, Crosby, MN on Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
works great, installed easy went whithout a hitch, THANKS WILL BE BACK FOR MORE
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Purchase

Written By Dave, Virginia Beach, VA on Sunday, February 05, 2006
 
I am so glad that I purchased this product. I recently installed it into my 97 Ford Taurus and now I wish I had done is three years ago!! The sound is amazing, and while a monkey could not operate it, it's not too difficult with a little trial and error. Also, this was the first aftermarket HU that I have ever installed, and it could not have been easier. Crutchfield made it so easy and understandable, that the lack of directions for my dash adapter was totally made up for by the instructions in the Master Sheet.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

best for the money!

Written By luke5513, Winchester, Va on Friday, January 27, 2006
 
Simply the best radio for the money. I looked at Eclipse,Pioneer,sony. Eclipse and Pioneer aren't bad. I don't know what other people are saying about the display, but mine is fine in the sun. I had the Kenwood 425 before and you really couldn't see it. The best thing about this HU is the audio controls, you can set the HP and LP filter on the speakers and the sub, and fine tune the whole system. Kenwood needs to start giving each radio it's own manual, but thats my onlt complait. A+++ worth the money!!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By Keith, Santa Rosa, CA on Wednesday, January 11, 2006
 
I used this deck to replace an older (non Kenwood) lower end deck. I am really pleased with the sound quality of this unit. I had a Sirius Plug and Play connected to my old deck via a line input (which is a very good sounding solution for satellite radio). I installed the Kenwood Sirius (SIR-KEN1) add on with this deck and the sound is awesome! Much better than with the Plug and Play. I also have the Kenwood iPod interface (KCA-iP500) connected to the pass thru connection on the Sirius box and it all works flawlessly! It's the best that I've heard an iPod sound connected to a car stereo. I love the many different sources that I can listen to now.

One thing that I do miss from my Sirius Plug and Play is that this unit does not have the ability to save favorite songs in memory and then alert you to when they are playing on any station. I used that feature a lot with the Plug and Play and will miss it. Although the sound quality improvement will hopefully make it worth while! Not to mention the fact that my installation now looks very clean not having an external box on my dash.

As others have said, using this deck takes some getting used to as each button has many, many different uses (and there's not many buttons on the deck!). The manual didn't help much, but with a little playing around with it, I already have a great sounding system, much better that I had before.

I like the three line display, although I was expecting the graphics to be a little better quality, its still a very neat display.

All in all, this is a very good deck for the price. It was easy to install and fit my car perfectly. And better yet, it actually made an audio improvement to
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By michelle, corbin,ky on Saturday, December 24, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is really nice player good sound downloading new pictures is nice simple too put in it does dimm abit in the sun light but i got tinted windows in my truck and it not that bad woundnt stop me from buying it only thing dont try to figure ever thing out at once it has alot options it will give you headache a-1 machine.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By code, Boston, MA on Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
I just finished installing the Kenwood into my dodge stratus I removed the Alpine CDA-9825 I installed when I first bought the car. The sound is better than the alpines, and the different angles of the face-plate is a great feature. Yeah the many functions per button is different compared to the alpines, but its a simple install and really doesn't take very long to adjust to. I haven't noticed a problem with visibility issues with direct sunlight but The HU is tucked a little bit under the dash so I don't think I will have any problems. I would recomend this HU to anyone looking for sweet sound and functions in cd player.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Sounding Head Unit

Written By jhysell, San Francisco, CA on Saturday, October 29, 2005
 
Replaced a head unit in a Nissan Maxima, an I have to say this unit sounds great. As with other reviews, you do need to read the manual, since there are many options that are tricky to setup. I matched this up with some Polk Audio speakers, and it sounds so clean. I am hearing things in some songs that I had not heard before. Still playing with the PhatNoise software to burn CD's, just makes me realize that I need to get my music organized on my PC. Had my boss in my car after installing, and he even realized how much better it sounded than the factory head unit. Next up is to upgrade the bass.
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5 out of 5

Worth every penny

Written By Jurisd, Southern California on Monday, October 24, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I recently installed the KDC-X789 with iPod adapter in a Tacoma. I was cautiously optomistic about the unit, because of negative comments I read about the display and adapter reaction time. I wanted to include more detail on those items, for those who have similar concerns.
I have really been impressed with the display. While it is true that it is completly unreadable with direct sunlight shining on it, turns out that doesn't happen much, or for any length of time. Otherwise, the display is bright and clear, especially in text-only mode.
As for the iPod adapter, it handles playlists with ease. Switching songs in a playlist is as fast as advancing tracks on a CD, and switching playlists is faster than a CD changer. BUT, you really can't navigate to a specific song, artist or album as a practical matter, unless you only have 20 albums on your iPod. I have 4000+ songs by hundreds of artists, and there is no way to skip into the middle of the list (at least as far as I know). You start with "a" or "z" and advance your way through alphabetically, and each switch takes ~5 seconds. So, if you are a playlist user, you should be fine. But if your 3-year old requests specific songs, they had better be in a playlist or she will be disappointed (I've learned that lesson).

4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Good MP3 Player

Written By Jason, MI on Tuesday, September 06, 2005
 
It is a decent quality HU. I bought mine refurbished here. Controls are a bit complicated (many multi function buttons). Reading the manual is a must! Played around with the G-force meter too..As has been said many times, screen viewability is nearly impossible in direct sunlight, but it doesn't really bother me as I do not encounter such situations often. SQ is good and am pleased with sound control (I didn't need my Sony three way Cross-over at all). I did use my venerable Alpine ERE-G180 EQ, but that is simply because I had it and I like the control it offers.
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4 out of 5

All about system building

Written By I am Hip Hop, Queensbridge Long Is. on Thursday, September 01, 2005
 
After running 2 12 JL w3's with an Xtant x1001 in my 98 Trans Am. I decided to spare the extra weight and transfer it to my deville. Upon the transer I decided to upgrade as well, adding two more 12's and two JL audio 500/1 monos. One thing that required attention was my alpine HU. Which was a 96 model and was singing it's last days. I headed out looking for a HU with atleast 5v pre-amp outputs. Neither Sony, nor Pioneer, nor Alpine offered 5v for the price range of the x789.(Alpine non period). Only JVC, Panasonic, and Clarion offered 5v in the 250-325 range. After investigating I realized that the x789 is a true system building unit. I rate it a 4 only because it has sooo many features, at times you can get tangled up accessing them. It's a bit time consuming so adjusting your system on the fly is difficult at times. However the software allows you to completely turn off the internal amp, power only the front, or only the rear. Also the internal Xover is very impressive. You can set the radio to accomodate your interior be it hatchback, full size car ect. Set speaker dimensions, and bass emphazes front, rear, ect. Frequencies for bass level, mid level, highs. Complete customizing for everything. If you are just running mids and highs in your ride, this unit is all you require to feed them. Whether your running your own amps, or simply replacing the factory system with an aftermarket upgrade, this Hu really shines, and really is alot of bang for the buck.
3 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Radio

Written By Glenn, Bitburg, Germany (USAF) on Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 
This radio is just plain clean sounding. The controls take a little getting used to, but that only took me about 20 minutes of fiddling with it. The display does wash out slightly like the others have said, but it wouldn't stop me from buying it again. I really like the readouts and the availability of choosing and downloading different wallpapers and movies. I can't comment on the actual amplified portion of the radio because I am using the pre-outs only and used the radio's ability to turn off the internal amp to gain quality on the RCA outs. Buy this radio and you won't be dissapointed!!
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

wow

Written By Jon, Herndon, VA on Tuesday, August 23, 2005
 
Wow!
This thing is great but you really NEED to read the manual because this thing has more features than the space shuttle. It took me about 4 hours to fully comprehend its awesomeness. I love how it can get radio station information and even tell me what song is currently playing! It interrupt your music to tell you of traffic alerts. Also I love the automatic clock adjust and date display! The G-Analyzer is fun too. It impresses my friends.

Not to mention that it sonds really good! The EQ settings are amazing.

I also highly recommend the IPod hook up.

My windows are very slightly tinted and the display looks perfect even during the day. It is most impressive at night though.

This CD Player is amazing and I am in love with it.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By Tom, Brookfield, WI on Monday, August 22, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I'm very satisfied with the Excelon KDC-X789. It has more features and more flexibility than my old KDC-316s. Having the three pre-outs allowed me to balance my sound better than my old 316s for my front, rear and subwoofer speakers, because I'm able to adjust these setings right from the Reciever. The only problem I have is: the screen is difficult to read in sun light compared to the backlit display of my old radio. Other than that it was a great investment.
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5 out of 5

Some times

Written By Kenwood lover, Indio, California on Saturday, July 30, 2005
 
I started out with the Kenwood KDC-X889 and I hated it within the first few hours. There is NO tunable Tremble or Bass adjustments. 1 week later after advising my local stereo shop of my displeasure of owning the KDC-X889, He offered to exchange it for the KDC-x789. I found my pleasure "renewed"! it gave me the ability to tune my stereo just the way I wanted it. Every thing was easy to access from simple menu operations. If you want a unit that will have you Frustrated beyond all normal bounderies? get the 889, however if you want the same quality sound you get from "Excelon" and some thing that doesn't take a computer programer to operate? I strongly recommend the 789. My original deck that was 3 years old was the KDC-X859 which quit working because of the D-mask failure. apparently common trait among the D-Mask Kenwoods. "Maybe" that's why my new 789 doesn't flip inwards when I shut the key off?? hard lessons learned buy owners and kenwood. The hard lesson learned from this was that if you think you need all the "bells & Whistles" in a top of the line unit? think again about what you may be getting into. I found that "Less" is more in my desires for true stereo happiness. I wish I could have learned this before all the anguish when trying to tune or operate the X889. I hope I save some of you from making the same choices. Bottom line - You don't always get what you pay for. I also updated my Amplifer with the KAC-X540. This is a nice Amp and puts out some good sound. Kenwood ? I am stuck on you! Thanks!
6 out of 7 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By Gilbert, Pittsburgh, PA on Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
As others have said, it is difficult to see the display when the sunshine is hitting it. Some people who drive mostly during the day in sunny states probably will not like this at all. I am having some problems with certain mp3 discs not playing properly but I am still looking into possible compatibility issues with the CD burner and software I am using. As for the PhatNoise Media Manager, I am not able to have it detect a newer "supported" CD burner even though Nero and other burning software detect it just fine. So far so good. Overall, it is a good reciever once you figure out all the controls and get over the fact you can not read the display in the sun.
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5 out of 5

A great foundation

Written By William, Wichtia, KS on Monday, July 25, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
If your looking to start putting together an awesome system in your vehicle this is an excellent foundation to build on. You're definitely getting your moneys worth on the features, because this thing is packed with them. The user interface is very intuitive so controlling those features will not be a problem. Being able to download new images and codecs from the Internet helps "future proof" the deck. Like anything else the good does come with the bad. Previous reviews have noted the display fading in direct sunlight. That can be an issue, but it's never been a big one for me. Bottom line is the positive does outweigh the negative. Were I picking another CD Player I would definitely go with this one again.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great for building onto

Written By Jason, Harrisonburg on Thursday, July 07, 2005
 
This is an awesome cd player by Kenwood. Although the controls for tuner are a bit confusing, it has many great features and is definately worth paying for. My only complaint is if it is really bright then the display is almost completely unseen, but the angle you set it at can help most of the time. great cd player, Kenwood is a good reliable company to buy from.
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5 out of 5

Not cheap, but good

Written By Edward, Manassas, VA on Thursday, July 07, 2005
 
Purchased this to replace my dying OEM GM head unit, on a friend's suggestion (he owns the previous generation). It's probably one of the best buys I've made in audio gear, ever. Certainly not cheap, but watch for this unit in Crutchfield's "Scratch & Dent"... save yourself $50 and still get a stellar unit. They even include all the installation hardware/brackets and things. A couple friends of mine and I were able to install it (complete with proper soldering and heat-shrink) in about an hour and a half on the Saturday before Easter.

I just bought an iPod, so I've purchased the KCA-iP500 interface which connects to the unit. We'll see how that works out.
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By Excelerater, Memphis,TN on Saturday, July 02, 2005
 
This replaced my Crutchfield bought Alpine 9830
I had the 9830 in for 2 weeks before recieving the 789 excelon,so with an easy swap in it went.........
It was a heck of alot better than the 9830
easier to view the display,better,clearer and louder SQ. the controls were easier to use which is a plus
I also though the apearence was killer
I like the Excelon,alot and would buy one again


1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

One MAJOR Flaw

Written By Michael, Sarasota, FL on Friday, June 17, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I agree with most of what these 5-Star reviews say... the unit is, overall, very nice. There are two noticable flaws, one of which I condsider to be major... possibly a deal breaker for you who haven't yet bought it.
If there is any amount of sunlight shining inside your car onto the dash, the display, for all practical purposes, totally disappears. Most of the day the display is dilluted by the sunlight. You have to shade the display in order to see it. That is a HUGE flaw and I can't believe that Kenwood let this thing out the door like this.
Another thing is that while there are an insane number of ways to customize the display, most of them do not default to the numbers across the front of the face acting as the station presets (understand that the unit uses soft keys across the front.) Basically, if you hit the number "3" in the row of station preset buttons, you may not be doing what you think you are doing since the buttons do other things besides just calling the station preset.
Overall the unit is good - but the sunlight thing is a REAL bummer for me. Had I known I'd have gone with something different.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

WOW!!

Written By William, Clayton, NC on Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
WOW!! I just got my new Kenwood KDC-X789 and it is incredible. The sound...the look...wow! The pictures in the catalog do not do this little puppy justice, it is gorgeous. A+ to Kenwood once again for making a super nice CD Receiver.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Does it Again

Written By b2frank, Orem, UT on Saturday, June 11, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I read the review on this before I bought my unit.

Once you go Kenwood you'll never go back! Kenwood's Excelon may be more, but you definately get what you pay for! This unit is all that is said here and more. The face is very clean and compliments the interior of my Truck. Its easy to use remote control even controls the Bass, Mid, Treble, Fade, and Balance. Tell me what other remotes do that!? There are many display choices to choose from. This unit will even display the Date and Time on the same screen. If you like fine pixel displays, this color is the one for you. I really enjoy the nice clean sound that comes from this unit. I don't have an amp yet and still run my OEM speakers. Probably one of the best units out there for the price. All my friends jaws drop when I show them the motorized face plate too! I have a ton of MP3's and am working on my AAC collection as well. This unit plays all those. I also have Sirius and have had several Kenwood units plugged into it, but there is nothing like EXCELON!
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789

Written By JustinM, Waldorf, MD on Wednesday, May 25, 2005
 
This is a great head unit before this I had the Kenwood Exelon KDC-969 but it got a short in it and it was going to be around $150 to fix so I just bought this new model and im very satisfied with my purchas I think it was better then my old top of the line kenwood a year ago
4 out of 7 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Awsome

Written By Joe, Greensburg, PA on Monday, May 02, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Just bought the reciever and it is an excellant receiver. Eventhough it doesn't have the self-concealing faceplate like last years models it is still better. The receiver's color screen appears to have a better quality than shown on the display pictures. The AC Drive is very cool as is the G-Anylizer. I would recomend this reciever to anyone. The only complaint I have is that the some of the buttons are a little small but other than that it's great.
15 out of 17 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Unexpected Benefits and Advice

Written By RParker, Atlanta, Ga on Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
normally, I buy from the web on my own, with no sales people. This time, I was browsing Crutchfield, and it was one of those "nice to have, but do I really need it" searches. well my stereo (Kenwood Z-828 -- their first Car MP3 player) is defunct, after 4 years. First, I called Crutchfield, and spoke to a guy that has been in the business for 20 years, and he sounded like he really knew his stuff. I am pretty smart when it comes to car stereos and he immediately empathized with my situation.. He said the items would not be charged until it shipped, and I figured, eh.. I need a new car stereo anyway, so I chose this one.. I figured by the time it ships, I should be ready.. While we were talking, he asked me questions about my car, and I told him I really am not an installer, he made it extremely easy to understand that this would be a no brainer. since I had a compatible Kenwood, the new one is just a retrofit. He sent all the right cables, parts, and compartment plate, that the previous install did not do. So now it fits better. Crutchfield may not be the absolute cheapest place to buy, but I am telling you now, there is no price for competent help and good service. You just can't put a price on piece of mind. I got a good deal on a brand new stereo (even before general public release). No problems installing and all the parts I needed I had. Great attitude service and help. I am going to make Crutchfield my new place to buy electronics.

The stereo itself has some wonderful features, that I didn't even realize existed. I am extremely satsified with my purchase, and the stereo is the best I have seen thus far. Outstanding!
400 out of 578 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X789, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_113KDCX789/Kenwood-Excelon-KDC-X789.html ).