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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

CD receiver with MP3/WMA/AAC playback

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

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Item #: 113KDCX891
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

by Robert Ferency-Viars
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.

Having trouble seeing the readout on your stereo? The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891 CD receiver offers a motorized faceplate with several tilt-position settings to give you the best viewing angle — even if your stereo's low in the dash. The 3-line display highlights your song text info, and it's loaded with animations and wallpapers that you can customize with your own images. The sleek faceplate features an attractive, uncluttered look that'll complement any interior.

Use the USB input to control your thumb drive or USB-capable portable. For iPod®, add the optional connecting cable. Use Kenwood's "Supreme" sound feature to add some sparkle and body back to those compressed music files.

The potent power section and premium digital-to-analog converter deliver music that's robust and full of detail. You can shape the sound with the 3-band parametric equalizer, which lets you adjust the centerpoints for your treble, midrange, and bass controls.

You'll appreciate the three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs if you're adding external amplifiers to your stereo system. And the receiver's high- and low-pass filters let you tune the sound to suit your speakers, whether you use the preamp or speaker outputs. The Graphic Motion Analyzer feature calculates G-forces during acceleration, braking, and cornering, and includes a stopwatch.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD player with 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 files (will not play Digital Rights-protected music files on disc)
    • motorized, fold-down detachable face with a 64-color fluorescent display
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • 24-bit digital-to-analog converter
    • System Q EX Sound Control (6 EQ curves and a 3-band parametric equalizer)
    • "Supreme" audio processing for better sound from your compressed music files
    • speaker settings that allow you to tailor the sound to the size and type of speakers in your car
    • System E's+ high- and low-pass filters
    Expandability:
    • rear USB and auxiliary inputs
    • optional connecting cable gives you iPod control (uses both the USB and aux inputs)
    • compatible with Kenwood's Bluetooth® adapter
    • compatible with Kenwood's iPod control adapter (in case you want to use your USB or auxiliary input for something else)
    • satellite radio-ready (XM or SIRIUS tuner, service subscription, and antenna required)
    • CD changer controls
    • three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs
    • compatible with most factory steering wheel audio controls (adapter required)
    Other features and specs:
    • car performance computer
    • 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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    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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    5 volts
    Display Color
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    64 Color
    Key Button Color
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    Blue
    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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    Rear and Optional Rear
    USB Input
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    Rear
    Memory Card Slot
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    No
    Bluetooth Compatible
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    Optional
    Satellite Radio Ready
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    Both
    HD Radio
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    No
    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/AAC/WAV/USB receiver with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis
    • Face
    • Sleeve
    • Trim ring
    • Wiring harness
    • RC-547 Wireless remote
    • 2 "AA" batteries
    • Soft fabric face pouch
    • 2 Removal tools
    • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
    • 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
    • Face fixing screw
    • Kenwood Music Editor Ver 1.0.0 CD-ROM
    • Instruction Manual (English)
    • Instruction Manual (Spanish)
    • Instruction Manual (French)
    • Kenwood Music Editor Installation Manual (English)
    • Kenwood Music Editor Installation Manual (Spanish/French)
    • Warranty Card
    • Kenwood Car Audio Passport card
    • "Attention" note

    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
    External Device Controls
    Software

    Features

    Overview: The Kenwood KDC-X891 AM/FM CD receiver features a motorized-slide-down-detachable face, rear auxiliary input, 3 sets of 5-volt preamp outputs, CD changer and Satellite radio controls, Bluetooth and iPod ready functions, as well as a rear panel USB connector, plus AAC/MP3/WMA/WAV playback. The CD player comes with a soft face case and an IR wireless remote control. The unit's Mos-Fet amplifier is rated at 22 watts x 4 channel RMS and 50 watts x 4 channel peak.

    Adjustable Motorized Slide-Down Face: The unit features a motorized-slide-down face that detaches from the chassis to deter theft. The face panel electronically slides down to insert or eject your disc. The electronic face panel has four adjustment angles (0-3) to choose from to help with visibility in your vehicle. There is a red indicator light that will flash on the unit after the face has been removed to warn potential thieves. You can turn this flashing LED on or off. The CD player comes supplied with a soft black fabric, draw string face case to protect the detachable face when you have it off the chassis.

    64-Color FL Display With Graphics: The unit utilizes a large 64-Color Fluorescent display that features still and motion graphics. You can choose from six display layouts as well as between two motion clips, six wallpaper images and a wallpaper scan mode. Through the unit's USB port you can also download your own movie clip, a custom wallpaper image or a different G-Graphic. By downloading a custom image from your PC onto a USB thumb-drive via Picture Engine you can then connect your USB thumb-drive to the USB port on the KDC-X891 and use the custom image for the unit's display screen. Picture Engine is an application software distributed from Kenwood's official website. Utilizing this software, you can create an original still or motion image file to display. Go to http://www.kenwood.net-disp.com/ to access the application software.

    • Display Layouts:
      • A: consists of status display and graphic display
      • B: consists of status display, graphic display and text display
      • C: consists of status display, upper, lower and middle text displays and text icons
      • D: consists of status display, upper, lower and middle text displays and source icon display
      • E: consists of status display, text display, and graphic display
      • F: consists of G-Analyzer display
    • Motion Clips:
      • 1: underwater dolphin scene
      • 2: race car with a mountain lion chasing it
    • Wallpaper Images:
      • 1: butterfly
      • 2: racecar
      • 3: beach
      • 4: birds
      • 5: dogs
      • 6: roses
    • Wallpaper Scan: scans through all the wallpaper images in 5 second intervals
    • Custom Downloads:
      • Custom Movie: you are able to download 1 movie clip
      • Custom Wallpaper: you are able to download 1 wallpaper image
      • G-Graphic: you are able to download 1 G-Graphic image

    Note: There is no way to delete the downloaded pictures. When you download a new movie or wallpaper it overrides the currently downloaded movie or wallpaper.

    Graphic Motion 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. The Graphic Motion Analyzer offers you 5 graphic displays to choose from: G-Graphic, G-Meter, G-Counter and Stop Watch, along with a HorsePower function that measures and records the max horse-power of your car. You can specify what type of vehicle you are driving to calibrate the G-Analyzer by selecting from the following choices - Mid Size, Full Size, SUV, Van, Pickup Truck, Sporty or Compact. The GMA's information can be viewed as numerical data or enhanced graphics on the head unit's display.

    Note: The HP or G value measured by this unit may not be completely accurate due to its simplified method of measurement. The G-Analyzer is only for reference and should not be used to confirm the horsepower specifications of your vehicle.

    AAC/MP3/WMA/WAV Playback: The KDC-X891 can play MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC files with ID3 tag information recorded on CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo and Long file name formats.

    24 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood KDC-X891 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior CD sound quality.

    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.

    AUX Input: The KDC-X891 is equipped with a rear panel 3.5mm minijack auxiliary input for connecting external portable audio devices such as an MP3 player or Tape walkman. The receiver allows you to turn the Auxiliary input On our Off so you don't have to scroll through that source if you are not using it.

    Auxiliary Display: The KDC-X891 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video or TV.

    Dual Zone: The Dual Zone mode allows you to output the Main source and the Auxiliary input separately for the front and rear channels. You can select whether the auxiliary input will play in the front or the rear.

    3-Sets of 5V Preamp Outputs: The KDC-X891 features front, rear and subwoofer 5V preamp outputs. The Subwoofer preamp output can be turned On or Off and adjusted independently. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading. All the preamp outputs are attached to the chassis by a 7.5" pigtail.

    Built-In Amp Setting: If you are using external amplifiers to power all of your vehicle's speakers you can turn the unit's built-in amplifier off to enhance the player's preamp output quality.

    Front and Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X891 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front and rear channels. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from through, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, or 180, 220Hz. 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.

    Low-Pass Filter: The receiver features a built-in Low Pass Filter control for the preamp-output when the Subwoofer Output is "on". You can select from 50, 60, 80, 100,120Hz or Through. The "Through" setting allows your external amplifier's crossover network to do all the filtering for your subwoofer.

    Subwoofer Level: Once you have switched the Subwoofer Output to "on" you can independently control the subwoofer preamp output level from the CD receiver. You select levels between -15 to +15.

    Subwoofer Phase: You can adjust the phase of the subwoofer output between 180-degrees (Reverse) or 0-degrees (Normal).

    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 presets. The speaker setting should be selected first.

    System Q Sound Control: Six EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass (100Hz), midrange (1kHz), and treble (10kHz). The 6 preset curves with their respective bass, mid, and treble levels are as follows:

    • Rock: Bass +6, Mid +1, Treble +2
    • Pops: Bass +3, Mid +2, Treble +6
    • Easy: Bass +6, Mid 0, Treble -2
    • Top 40: Bass +3, Mid +1, Treble +8
    • Jazz: Bass +5, Mid +2, Treble +2
    • Natural (Flat): Bass 0, Mid 0, Treble 0

    Note: The above values reflect the System Q settings when the Speaker Setting function is turned off. When the Speaker Settings are selected, the System Q level settings are different.

    Bass/Treble/Mid Control: The KDC-X891 features independent Bass, Treble and Midrange control. You can adjust each one from -8 to +8db.

    Detail Audio Control: The Detail Audio Control allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid levels.

    • Bass Level:
      • Frequency: 40/50/60/70/80/100/120/150 Hz
      • Q-Factor: 1.00/1.25/1.50/2.00
      • Bass Extend: On/Off (when this feature is set to "On", the low frequency response is extended by 20%)
    • Mid Level:
      • Frequency: 0.5/1.0/1.5/2.0 kHz
      • Q-Factor: 1.0/2.0
    • Treble Level:
      • Frequency: 1.0/12.5/15.0/17.5 kHz

    Bass Management System (B.M.S.): This unit is equipped with an interface (pink/black wire in the wiring harness) which controls certain special features of B.M.S.-equipped Kenwood eXcelon amplifiers. This unit, when properly connected, can remotely activate and adjust the amount of bass boost in the amplifier. You can choose between +6dB, +12dB, or +18dB bass boost, or flat (no boost). In addition, you can lower the bass boost center frequency by 20%, switching between "Normal" and "Low".

    Loudness: The Loudness feature compensates for low and high tones during low volume. You can turn this feature either on or off. Only the low tone is compensated for when the tuner is selected as a source.

    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.

    Rotary Volume Control: The CD receiver uses a 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 Bass, Treble and preset EQ settings.

    Multi-Control Wheel: The Kenwood receiver also features a Multi-Control Wheel, that when used with an iPod, lets you control all operations via a single control knob just as smoothly as the iPod's scroll wheel.

    Attenuator: The CD receiver features an Attenuator button that turns the volume down very quickly with one touch of one button.

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

    Station/Disc Naming: The unit allows you to attach an 8-character title to a radio station or a CD. The unit can memorize up to 30 FM/AM station names and 10 CD names.

    Text/Title Scroll: The KDC-X891 will display CD text, Audio file text and Satellite and HD radio text. You can turn the scrolling feature "on" to scroll longer titles across the screen.

    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 Force: When there is a problem with playing a CD with a special format, this setting plays the CD by force. Some CDs still may not play in the CD Force mode.

    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.

    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.

    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. RDS features an emergency transmission function that 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.

    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. The tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank. You can store 6 presets for each AM/FM bank giving you a total of 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets.

    Tel Mute: The KDC-X891 features a cell-phone mute wire (brown) in its harness that when hooked up to your car's phone system mute wire will automatically mute the receiver's audio signal when a call comes in.

    Beep Tone: The CD player features a touch sensor tone that beeps when you have selected a function of the unit. You can turn the beep tone 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.

    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.

    Date Adjustment: You can enter the current date into the head unit's memory to help you keep up with what day it is while you are on the road.

    Display Illumination Control: This function turns off the display when have not performed an operation for 5 seconds. This is effective for when you are driving at night.

    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.

    Remote Control: The KDC-X891 comes with the RC-547 IR wireless remote control with a full numeric keypad. The remote will control Audio, CD, Tuner, Satellite, HD radio and Dual Zone functions. It is powered by 2 "AA" batteries (supplied). The dimensions of the remote are: L = 5.362", W = 1.962", D = 1.115".

    Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The KDC-X891 has a "steering remote control" lead on the back panel. When used with the optional SWI-JACK interface (item number 127SWIJACK), you can retain the use of your steering wheel and/or rear seat radio controls when replacing the factory head unit in select vehicles. The SWI-JACK is compatible with over 95% of the vehicles made from 1986 to the present. Compatible vehicles include many Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volkswagen vehicles and Harley Davidson motorcycles. Please consult "What Fits My Car" to see if your vehicle is compatible.

    External Device Controls

    Satellite Radio Ready: There are several options for connecting an optional XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio receiver to this receiver:
    • XM Satellite Radio: To receive XM Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional CNP2000UC XM Mini Tuner and the CNP-KEN1 Kenwood adapter cable (package item number 700XMKEN1).
    • SIRIUS: To receive SIRIUS Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional SC-C1 SiriusConnect vehicle tuner (item number 607SCC1) and the Kenwood/SIRIUS adapter (item number 113KCASR50).
    • Dock: Select dock-and-play and portable SIRIUS radios can be controlled using the Kenwood/SIRIUS adapter (item number 113KCASR50) and the SC-VDOC1 dock (item number 607SCVDOC1).
    • Auxiliary Input: A portable satellite radio receiver, such as the Delphi SkyFi3 or SIRIUS Sportster, can be connected to the head unit via the auxiliary input (adapter may be required).

    Note: A subscription is also required to receive satellite radio programming from SIRIUS or XM.

    Bluetooth Ready: The unit is also Bluetooth compatible using the optional Kenwood KCA-BT100 Bluetooth adapter. Using this adapter you can make and answer phone calls from the Kenwood headunit. You can even download your Phonebook information from your compatible mobile phone into the headunit. You are able to register up to five compatible Bluetooth cell phones when using the KCA-BT100 adapter.

    USB Port: The Kenwood KDC-X891 features a rear panel 2.0 USB type-A port that is attached to the chassis with a 39" cord to allow for various placement options during installation. The USB port enables connection to portable USB mass-storage players, USB thumb drives and audio control of MP3 player. The USB port is compatible with all USB mass storage class devices that support the FAT16 or FAT32 file system.  A single or multi-slot card reader can also be connected the USB port, allowing your music to be put neatly into different types of memory cards.

    iPod High-Speed Connection: The USB port and AUX input are also compatible with iPod devices when used with the optional KCA-iP200 adapter (part number 113IP200, sold separately). The USB Direct Connection enables high-speed iPod data communications of 12MB/bps via the optional KCA-iP200 (2-Wire) interface. One end of the cable plugs directly into your iPod's dock connector while the other end of the cable uses two connectors that plug into the back of the headunit. The USB type-A connector portion of the cable plugs into the receiver's USB port and handles the control and charging of your iPod, so you can navigate through your music files using the headunit's controls and view song info on it display. The 3.5mm miniplug connector portion of the cable plugs into the Auxiliary 3.5mm input on the receiver and transfers the music from your iPod to your Kenwood CD player. By using the Auxiliary input the music travels to the receiver as an analog signal, so you can even play the Digital-Rights-Protected files you've stored on your iPod. The controls of the KDC-X891 are seamless when used with the optional KCA-iP200 and include metadata browsing and playback of DRM contents, as well as the ability to choose any iPod playback mode to suit your listening application.

    Changer Controls: 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. 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 magazine disc random. 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.

    Rear Auxiliary Input "Ready":  The unit already features a rear panel auxiliary input, but if you need a second auxiliary input, another one can be added to the rear of the unit. When used with an optional adapter, this unit can accept a rear input from an auxiliary source. When the CA-C1AUX adapter (item 113CAC1AX) is used, you cannot connect a CD changer to the head unit because the adapter plugs into the DIN changer control connection on the head unit. When the KCA-S220A 2-changer switch (item 113KCAS220) is used, you can connect a CD changer and an auxiliary audio source at the same time. When an auxiliary audio source is connected, you can choose from one of six names for the source: Aux Ext, TV, DVD, Video, Game, orPortable.

    Software

    Supplied Software: The KDC-X891 comes supplied with the Kenwood Music Editor Version 1.0.0 CD-ROM. Kenwood Music Editor is a desktop software that helps organize, manage and transfer music files to your USB devices from your PC. Automatic Playlist Generation is another function of this software which analyzes each song based on the tempo/spectrum distribution and categorizes them into familiar genres such as POP, Rock, Ballad, etc.

    System Requirements:

    • Operating System:
      • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
      • Microsoft Windows Home Edition SP2 or later
    • Other Programs:
      • Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0
      • QuickTime 7 or later (when using AAC file)
      • Windows Media Player 10
    • Hardware:
      • PC (with display and other peripherals) with Pentium III 800MHz or above (or equivalent) CPU an can run the above OS
      • 256MB or more RAM
      • Hard disk with at leas 100MB free space
      • CD-ROM drive (CD-R/RW drive when writing to CD-R/RW)
      • USB interface (2.0/1.1)
     
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    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

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    4 out of 5

    Much better than expected!

    Written By chuckamuck, South Carolina on Monday, October 29, 2007
     
    I was torn between this unit and an Alpine, but in the end I decided that I wanted a USB port first and iPod control was secondary. I'm so glad I made that choice. The USB port works phenomenal, and even better than the other reviews here have said for whatever reason. After reading the reviews here that said that the unit does not display folder names when browsing I was kind of bummed but figured I'd learn to live with figuring out what the folder numbers were...but those reviews were wrong. It indeed DOES display the folder names. For instance just drag your 'Pink Floyd' folder to the flash and it shows up as 'Pink Floyd' in the menu, then each album is displayed under that. Basically it's just like an iPod except a 4 gig flash drive costs $30 vs. a 4 gig iPod at $200. It takes about 3 seconds to scan the entire flash drive the first time and after that it's pretty much instant until you take it out to add songs or something.



    Seeing how well the flash drives work with this unit I have to believe that USB ports on head units has pretty much made iPod controls obsolete unless you feel the need to have an 80 gig iPod connected...but I can't imagine scrolling through that many albums.



    But I did run the iPod cable to my glove compartment so I can plug in either a flash or an iPod. That way if my passenger has an iPod, just plug it in. Nice versatility.



    In the end I'm very happy with this unit and I'm so glad I didn't go with an Alpine because I would have to buy another $200 iPod just for it (Alpine does not offer USB ports), then have to deal with iTunes. Ugh. Give me a $30 drag & drop flash drive any day. Cheaper. Faster. More versatile.



    As far as the other things about this unit..it works fine. Being a former car audio installer I guess it does not take me long to get used to new units. After about 30 minutes of sifting through the manual I've got it all down pat. It works great and is very intuitive. If you get lost, just hit the 'menu' and you'll go all the way back out. The system is very customizable and I have not seen the display washing out like others have said, but that could be my vehicle. It does not let direct sunlight hit the dash so it's not an issue for me.
    11 out of 11 people found this helpful
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    3 out of 5

    Disappointed

    Written By James, Newport, NC on Monday, October 22, 2007
     
    I purchased this unit solely for the RDS (radio data system) as a replacement for my factory stereo in a '98 Ford Explorer. I had already replaced the factory speakers with sweet Infinity speakers, including a 12" Infinity sub (speakers were purchased from Crutchfield). My factory stereo has RDS; I liked that feature; unfortunately, RDS is only available on a very few units, so that's why I bought this one.



    Pros: Great sound quality; infinitely adjustible; rear USB port works nice with a 2GB thumb drive; tuner brings in somewhat weak signals (many more signals than my factory unit); RDS and display text is nice; remote is easy to use.



    Cons: Took a while to learn how to use this unit; fairly small buttons; sensitive adjustments (it's easy to make the wrong move, but it's not too difficult to go back); as others have reported, the display washes out in sunlight making it difficult/impossible to read. I believe the FM tuner may be defective on this unit because it randomly switches pre-set stations (I assure you that the unit is connected properly because the clock stays set, and some of the pre-sets remain the same); Crutchfield is great.



    Overall, if the tuner worked properly, I would rate this a 4 or 5.
    5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Sounds Great but...

    Written By Dennis, Rochester, NY on Friday, September 07, 2007
     
    I wanted to provide a review that listed the good and bad with this HU. The good is that it sounds great. It even sounded better than my high end Eclipse HU CD8455. I consider(ed) Eclipse to be the best. The main reason I bought this was for the USB port. This works fairly well and songs sound great. I rip CDs at a min of 256kbits so sound quality is very good. The downside with the USB port is that amount of songs you can store due vs access time. For instance, if you have 50 folders on the drive (with songs in each folder) and you are playing at folder 7, track 3, and you want to go to folder 33, you have to go through the list serially. I would think most USB ports would work this way, not like a how real computer would access the drive. I am not an ipod fan but the adapter would probably work better for very large libraries. For me, I found that using 4GB thumb drives to be the best for amount of songs vs access time to get to my files. As an aside, it will work with any USB drive (hard or flash based, provided that you can run the drive from USB power only) but you will run into the access time vs speed through files. This comments really only applies to somebody who likes to jump around within the drive and not just play through a whole drive in order.

    The downside is that I have found out that the clock does not hold time very well for very long, the display does wash out fairly easy in direct sunlight (regardless of what the adverts say), and the s/w provided by Kenwood is pretty bad. Contrary to other reviews here, the s/w is useless. I found that it took A LOT of time to do what it is supposed to do and found it pointless.
    7 out of 8 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Great Stereo

    Written By mike, columbus ohio on Friday, September 07, 2007
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    i am happy with this unit it looks great, and cd playback is outstanding my only minor complaint is it takes awhile to get all your settings in but there are lots of changes you can make to how it sounds, i love it
    4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Great Stereo

    Written By Monster1, Chicago Il on Thursday, May 17, 2007
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This stereo sounds great and looks good in my 2002 Silverado. With a little patients this stereo can really be tuned to fit your ear drums. This stereo really works great with my ipod using the twenty dollar usb connection. I find that accessing the music to be easy. I like all the the little extras that this unit has to offer to customize the deck. Great product. Installation was made easy following Crutchfiels instructions.
    3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    fantastic

    Written By kevin, colorado springs on Tuesday, April 03, 2007
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    excellent receiver!its stylish and easy to use.i like the 5 volt pre-amp it makes a real difference.i have it hooked to an infinity kappa component system with jbl amps and sub-woofer....wow! youll re-discover what music sounds like!
    6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Excellent Receiver

    Written By Corey, Clinton, MS on Tuesday, March 20, 2007
     
    I purchased this receiver last week and have been thrilled with it ever since I installed it. Don't let the pictures fool you, this radio has a beautiful display. The iPod interface is really fast and sounds great. I'd recommend this radio along with Crutchfield's A+ customer service to everyone I know.
    5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X891

    Written By Mike, NY on Thursday, March 08, 2007
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I received this unit yesterday (3/7/07) and installed it. So far I really like this unit it works fine, the RDS feature in the tuner is a really nice feature although it seems not to pick-up information for areas in NJ that are far from me. The control knob takes some getting used to when you want to change the presets, and perform other tasks (especially for me since I am moving over from a Kenwood KDC-519, that had buttons for the presets).

    The usb works and the music editor kenwood provides works well with it. I don't own an IPOD (and never will) but I have a sony dap and I purchased Kenwood CA-C2AX that plugs into the aux input and it work fine although the music is cd quality in that mode. However I cannot connect a disc changer now because that plugs into the disc changer spot, but there should be no problems since you can create mp3 cd's, use a usb, or plug in a portable music player which basically eliminates the need for a disc changer.

    I have not done a lot with it so far. I was a little afraid it wasn't going to be as nice as the picture since I usually like to see an item in person before I buy it but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it.
    15 out of 20 people found this helpful
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