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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

CD receiver (New Stock)

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

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  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Remote

  • Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

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Item #: 113KDCX897
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

by Jon Paulette
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.

Multiple music sources, painless pairing

The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 CD receiver not only plays music from your CDs, iPod®, and more, but it also comes with built-in Bluetooth® for hands-free calling and audio streaming. You'll enjoy great sound, remarkable versatility, and the peace of mind that comes with Kenwood Excelon's two-year warranty.

Hands-free convenience 

Bluetooth gives you hands-free calling convenience, plus a wireless connection to the songs stored on your compatible music player. If you're an Android™ user who's a little tired of your old radio's complicated Bluetooth pairing issues, you'll love this receiver's SSP (Simple, Secure Pairing) technology. If you're an iPhone® aficionado, the KDC-X897 automatically pairs with your iPhone via USB and gives you full Siri control.

Pair your compatible phone to the KDC-X897 and you can talk hands-free by simply touching the dedicated "phone" button when a call comes in. And the receiver can reply automatically to text messages to let your contacts know that you're busy driving. An external Bluetooth microphone can be placed in an optimal location within the vehicle for improved hands-free communication.

Play (almost) anything

This Kenwood receiver is ready for your iPod, iPhone, or Android. Once you connect your iPod or iPhone to one of the front-panel USB inputs, you can use the receiver's controls to search through your albums, artists, and playlists. If you've got your music on an Android device, you can download Kenwood's free Music Control app from the Android market to enjoy a variety of search and playback features. If you store your music on another device, you can plug into the handy front-panel auxiliary input.

You can also enjoy music from your local AM/FM stations or your CD collection. A sleek-looking, protective CD door/cover keeps airborne particles from interfering with the internal mechanism.

If you're a satellite radio fan, the KDC-X897 is SiriusXM-ready. All you need is a tuner and a subscription to enjoy stations that never fade away.

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 CD receiver

This Kenwood will play PANDORA, iHeartRadio, and Aha Radio from your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry.

Read more

Stream radio from your phone

If you enjoy Internet radio on your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry™, you'll really enjoy playing music from Pandora®, iHeart Radio, and Aha™ Radio on this great-sounding receiver. You can scroll through your stations, bookmark songs, and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down right from the receiver's face.

Multi-line display

The KDC-X897's text display gives you all the info you want, plus you can personalize the look by choosing the display and control illumination colors that make you happy. The crystal-clear 3-line display can be switched to a 2-line format with a larger font that makes it easier to read phone numbers, song titles, and source data.

Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?

In most vehicles, you can use an adapter (not included) to connect your vehicle's steering wheel controls to this Kenwood stereo. Connect a few wires, program the adapter for your car and this Kenwood, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls. Check the "Accessories" tab for compatible adapters.

Note: Bluetooth compatibility with this receiver may vary, depending on your phone and service provider.

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 or its optional iPod adapter.

Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming
    • 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
    • automatic iPhone pairing with Siri control capability
    • detachable face with selectable 2- or 3-line display, plus variable display and control colors
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • System Q Sound Control (8 preset EQ curves and 3-band equalizer)
    • speaker size settings
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • 3-level bass boost
    • high- and low-pass filters; subwoofer level and phase control
    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, iHeart Radio and Aha control with iPhone, Android, and Blackberry
    • compatible with Kenwood's Music Control app for select Android phones
    • compatible with SiriusXM tuner
    • inputs: front-panel auxiliary; dual front and rear USB inputs
    • 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 No
    RMS Power Output 22 watts
    Peak Output 50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20KHz
    Preamp Outputs 6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen No
    Preamp Voltage 4 volts
    Display Color Variable
    Key Button Color Variable
    EQ Bands 3
    Wireless Remote Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible Adapter required
    Parts Warranty 2 Years
    Labor Warranty 2 Years
    Expandability
    AUX Input Front
    USB Input Front/Rear
    Memory Card Slot USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready SiriusXM
    HD Radio No
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano 7/6/5/4/3/2/1
    Touch 5/4/3/2/1
    Mini No
    iPhone 5S/5C/5/4S/4/3GS/3G/2G
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity 11.2 dBf
    European Tuning No
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System Yes
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis)
    • Face (attached)
    • Trim ring (attached)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Wiring harness
    • Wireless remote control (RC-406)
    • CR2025 3V lithium-battery (installed in remote)
    • Microphone with integrated bracket (attached 10' cable terminated by a right-angle male 3.5mm connector)
    • 2 Removal tools
    • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
    • 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
    • Face-fixing screw
    • Cloth pouch
    • Quick Start Guide (En/Fr/Sp)
    • 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
    Built-in Bluetooth
    Disc & USB Playback
    iPod/Android/AUX Integration
    AM/FM+Internet+SiriusXM Radio
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The KDC-X897 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-X897 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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-X897 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

    6ch/4V Preamp Outputs: The KDC-X897 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 head unit'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-X897 features a 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.

    Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 offers the following subwoofer controls, when you are using unit's subwoofer preamp output.

    • 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.

    Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the head unit's audio 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).

    EQ Pro: The KDC-X897 is equipped with Kenwood's EQ Pro. The integrated equalizer offers 8 preset sound modes (Natural, Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Powerful, and User) suitable for the music genre of your choice. The User mode allows you to manually adjust the head unit's 3-band parametric EQ (Frequency, Level, and Q-Factor).

    EQ Pro
    Frequency Level Q
    Bass 60, 80, 100, 200 Hz -8 to +8 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 2.0
    Midrange 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.5 kHz -8 to +8 0.75, 1.0, 1.25
    Treble 10.0, 12.5, 15.0, 17.5 kHz -8 to +8 Fixed
    Note: You can store EQ Pro bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (Disc, Tuner, Aux, USB, iPod, and Pandora).

    Sound Enhancements: The head unit provides further sound enhancements for your car audio system.

    • Bass Boost: 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 lower volumes. There are 3 levels (LV1, LV2, or Off).
    • 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.

    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).

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

    Built-in Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Technology: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth (ver. 2.1 + EDR) allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly through the receiver; as well as stream music wirelessly from your smartphone to the head unit. In order to use Bluetooth wireless technology, your phone must also be Bluetooth compatible and be able to interpret certain profiles. This unit is compatible with the following Bluetooth Profiles:

    • Hands-Free Communication: HFP 1.5 (Hands Free Profile), OPP 1.1 (Object Push Profile), PBAB 1.0 (Phone Book Access Profile).
    • Audio Streaming: A2DP 1.2 (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP 1.3 (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).
    Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897. Visit Kenwood's Support Site for a complete list of compatible Bluetooth enabled phones.

    SPP (Secure Simple Pairing): With Secure Simple Pairing (SSP), you can easily pair a Bluetooth enabled phone to the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 without having to enter pin codes or go through complicated settings. When a registered Bluetooth device is in close proximity to the receiver, the auto connection function automatically pairs the two units. You can register up to five Bluetooth-enabled devices with the Kenwood head unit. A maximum of two Bluetooth-enabled phones can be connected at one time, but only one can be used at a time.

    Bluetooth Hands-Free Communication: The head unit supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The controls of the KDC-X897 can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also includes an external microphone (featuring adjustable gain), so you can carry on your side of the conversation while listening to the caller through your vehicles speakers. During a conversation, you can switch between the Private Mode (talking directly on your cell phone) and the Hands Free Mode. 

    • Answering a Call: When a call comes in, a ring-tone will be heard through your vehicle's speaker and the caller's name or phone number will be displayed. You can answer the call from the head unit's front-panel controls, or setup the head unit to automatically answer the incoming call immediately or after 1-99 seconds. The KDC-X897 also supports the Call Waiting function, so you can answer another incoming call while suspending the current call you are on. Your compatible cell-phone must also support this feature.
    • Dialing a Number: Using the KDC-X897, you can dial a phone number in one of the following ways:
      • Entering a Phone Number: Allows you to directly dial a phone number up to 32 digits from the head unit's control knob or remote control.
      • Speed (Preset) Dialing: Allows you to register up to 6 phone numbers for quick dialing. The preset numbers can be accessed from the head unit's Control Knob.
      • Phone Book: You can dial by using the downloaded phone book. You can download phone book data from your cell phone to the KDC-X897. Up to 600 numbers can be stored for each registered cell phone. Each number can be up to 32 digits long and each name can be up to 50 characters long.  Stored phone numbers can be categorized by General, Home, Office, Mobile, or Other. You can search each category of the phone book in alphabetical order.
      • Call History: The Call History is a list of calls that have originated from and were received by this unit that you can dial. You can select Outgoing, Incoming, or Missed calls.
      • Voice Dialing: If your mobile phone supports voice recognition, then you can dial out by voice command. Simply speak into the included microphone. 

    External Microphone: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 includes an external microphone to carry on your side of your phone conversation and voice command dialing. The external wired microphone offers improved audio quality versus an integrated microphone, so you can be heard easier over noisy traffic and road noise. You can adjust the volume level and noise cancellation of the microphone without affecting the other sources. The external microphone features an attached 10' cable terminated by a right-angle 3.5mm connector which plugs into the mic input on the rear-panel of the head unit. The microphone offers an integrated mounting bracket which can be clipped to your vehicle's sun-visor or taped to your dash. The external microphone measures 0.525" (diameter) x 1.505" (depth).

    Note: This unit does not offer an integrated front-panel microphone.

    SMS: If your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone is compatible with SMS (Short Message Service), the Kenwood head unit will notify you when a message has been received. You must then use your phone to check the message. You cannot read, edit, or send a message through this unit.

    Wireless Audio Streaming (w/ Metadata Display): The Kenwood KDC-X897 also supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The KDC-X897 will be able to control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause, Skip Next/Previous, Fast Forward/Rewind and Random/Repeat. The head unit will also display your stored music's song information; such as Artist name and Song/Album title. The KDC-X897 also supports audio streaming of music apps downloaded on your smartphone with metadata display and limited control. Advanced music control of your music apps will still need be done via your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. When an incoming call or outgoing call is in progress from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, audio streaming will be paused so you can take your call. Once the call is finished, your streaming music will resume.

    Siri Digital Assistant Control: When paired and connected with an iPhone 4S or 5/5C/5S via Bluetooth (not USB), the Kenwood KDC-BT55U has the ability to access Siri through its front-panel controls and external microphone. Simply press-and-hold down on the head unit's Answer Button to engage Siri and use the included microphone to communicate with Siri. Siri's voice will heard through your vehicle's speakers. All Siri functions including hands-free calling, music search, setting reminders, text-messaging, audible navigation, and more can be done through the KDC-X897 and its microphone. The head unit's display will only indicate hands-free calling and Bluetooth audio information (all other functions of Siri are only audible through the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897; visual data will still need to be viewed from your iPhone device).

    Note: You can ask Siri to get directions to a destination and the turn-by-turn instructions will heard through your vehicle's speakers, while the on-screen map still displays on your iPhone 4S/5/5C/5S. The head unit's audio is attenuated while Siri provides audible directions.

    Bluetooth Detailed Settings: The KDC-X897 offers the following Bluetooth Detailed Settings, so you can configure the unit to suit your needs.

    • Bluetooth Audio: You can allow Bluetooth audio to be heard from only the front-speakers or all the speakers in your vehicle.
    • Call Beep: You can choose to output a beep from your vehicle's speaker's when a call comes in, or you can turn this function off.
    • Echo Level: You adjust the echo cancellation delay time until the least echo is being heard during a phone conversation.
    • Mic Gain: Adjusts the volume of the external microphone.

    Disc & USB 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. The unit also supports playback of MP3/WMA/AAC music files loaded onto CD-R/RW discs. The CD slot is hidden behind a manual fold-up cover which blends in the front-panel of the head unit. .

    Dual USB Ports: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 features a front panel USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-up cover and a rear-panel USB (type-A) port attached to the rear-chassis by a 38" cable. The USB ports enable connection of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device; such as select Android smartphones (Froyo/Gingerbread only), portable digital audio players, or USB thumbdrives. The USB ports support audio playback and control of MP3, WMA, & AAC audio files stored on these portable USB mass-storage class devices. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB ports (max. 1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On. You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit.

    MP3/WMA/AAC Playback: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 supports the following types of MP3, WMA, AAC, & WAV files recorded onto CD-R/RW disc or loaded onto a USB mass storage class device.

    Media Type CD-R/RW USB Storage Device
    File System ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, Long file name FAT 12/16/32
    Playable File Types  MP3: bit rate of 8-320 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
    WMA: bit rate of 32-192 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
    AAC:
    bit rate of 8-320 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
     MP3: bit rate of 8-320 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
    WMA: bit rate of 32-192 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
    AAC:
    bit rate of 8-320 kbps w/ sampling rate of 8-48 kHz
    WAV: bit rate of 16-bit w/ sampling rate of 44.1 kHz
    Maximum # of Folders/Files 500 folders/500 files (500 files per folder) 999 folders/20,480 (999 files per folder)
    Tags ID3 tags (ver.1.0/1.1/2.2/2.3/2.4), WMA tags, AAC tags

    Text Scroll: The KDC-X897 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-406) allows you to search for music directly by entering the track number.

    Playback Modes: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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.

    Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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/AAC music files to your USB (MSC) device 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. 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

    iPod/Android/AUX Integration

    iPod Direct Connection w/ DAC Bypass: The KDC-X897's front-panel USB port or rear-panel USB port can act 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 5/5C/5S; use the Lightning-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-X897.

    • DAC Bypass: This 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.
    • Music 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 or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). The head unit also 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 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. 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.
    • Information Display: The KDC-X897 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-X897 will not display your iPod/iPhone's music information (the head unit will instead display "APP/iPod").
    • Battery 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. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/19/2013):

    Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Specific Apps Display Type Bluetooth Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/App Pandora app iHeart Link Aha Radio Artist/Song Text Track Info Phone Audio Siri
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y Y N N Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y N Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y
    4 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y
    4S 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5C 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5S 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N Y N Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N Y N Y
    4th 6.1.2 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N Y N Y
    5th 7.0 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N Y N Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N N N N Y Y N N N Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    6th 1.2 PC Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    7th 1.02 PC Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N Y N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N N N Y Y N N N Y
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N N N Y Y N N N Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y N N
    2 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y N N
    3 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y N N
    4 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N
    mini 7.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y
    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 Google Play App Store. Your Android smartphone must be running Android OS Froyo or Gingerbread. Once the app is downloaded and has a chance to organize all the stored music on your Android smartphone, you can connect your Android smartphone to the Kenwood CD receiver via USB (your compatible Android smartphone must be recognized as a USB mass storage class device; not compatible with MTP protocol). The Kenwood Music Control app offers the following Android supported functions.

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

    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 8-/16-bit n/a

    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 KDC-X897 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV. 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.

    AM/FM+Internet+SiriusXM Radio

    RDS AM/FM Tuner: The Kenwood KDC-X897 features a built-in RDS AM/FM tuner. The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist & track information when listening to compatible AM/FM stations. 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). The KDC-X897's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood KDC-X897 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.
    Note: 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.

    Internet Radio Apps: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 allows you to access Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Aha Radio online music services through your USB-connected iPhone or Bluetooth-connected Android/Blackberry smartphone. Your Apple iPhone must be connected to the KDC-X897 via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 cable (sold separately, or the cable supplied with your iPhone. Your Android or Blackberry smartphone must support A2DP/ AVRCP/SPP Bluetooth profiles and be paired with the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897. Your iPhone, Android smartphone, or Blackberry device will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi.

    • Pandora App (for iPhone/Android/Blackberry): The free Pandora App (either from iTunes Apps, Google Play, or BlackBerry App World) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 using your USB-connected Apple iPhone (iOS5+) or Bluetooth paired Android/Blackberry smartphone. The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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). New stations can be created based on the current songs or artists playing. You can also save 3 Pandora stations as presets. You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. An active Pandora account is required.
    • iHeartRadio Link (for iPhone/Android): The free iHeartRadio Link app for Kenwood (either from iTunes Apps or Google Play) lets you play music from the iHeartRadio music service through the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 using your USB-connected Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0+), or Bluetooth paired Android smartphone (2.2+). The iHeartRadio music service provides access to more than 1,500 live radio stations from coast-to-coast (including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and sports). The KDC-X897 will provide control over the iHeartRadio Link app, as well as display station identification and song/artist information. From the head unit's front-panel controls, iHeartRadio stations can be searched by the following categories (Local, Genre, City, or My Stations). The Local selection provides a list of radio stations in your local listening area. The unit also provides over 22 Genres to choose from (including pop, country, hip-hop, jazz, etc.) to help you find the right radio station for you. In addition, you can search for radio stations by City. Cities can be searched alphabetically (A-Z). You can even store your favorite stations (My Stations) for easier, quicker access. An active iHeartRadio account is required.
    • Aha Radio App (for iPhone/Android): The Kenwood CD receiver offers compatibility with the free Aha Radio app for your USB-connected iPhone (iOS 4.3+) or Bluetooth-paired Android smartphone (2.2+); available from iTunes Apps or Google Play. Aha Radio provides you with up to the minute content made available from the convenience of Kenwood's front-panel controls and LCD screen. Listen to the latest Facebook updates or Tweets from your friends. Listen to thousands of stations that include internet radio, podcasts, and audiobooks. Receive traffic information, restaurants and coffee locations personalized to you instantly, safely, and easily. An active Aha Radio account is required.
    Note: Access to these Internet Radio services will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone or Android/Blackberry smartphone to connect to the Internet. Not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.

    SiriusXM Ready: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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
    • Tune Start allows you to choose whether to start a song from the beginning or from its live point when tuning to a preset music channel.
    • 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). However, you can easily add this SiriusXM tuner to an existing Sirius or XM account for a Multi-Radio Discount Plan.

    Display Features

    Detachable Face w/ Hidden CD Slot: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897  features a hidden CD slot behind a manual fold-down cover which blends in the front-panel of the head unit. The KDC-X897 also features a detachable face to deter theft (cloth pouch for storing the face-plate included). An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can also be purchased for this unit. A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.

    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, USB content, Bluetooth audio, or phonebook contacts. The KDC-X897 offers 5 different display types:

    • 3-line display mode with 3 lines of text.
    • 2-line display mode with 2 lines of text.
    • Spectrum analyzer display mode with 1 line of text and spectrum analyzer.
    • Clock display mode with clock & date.
    • Display off mode which turns off the display and button illumination.

    Note: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 offers English, French, and Spanish menu text.

    Variable Color Illumination: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 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.

    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-X897 comes with an IR remote control (RC-406) 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.

     

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Video: Kenwood Excelon 2013 In-dash CD Receivers

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    Video: Kenwood Excelon 2013 In-dash CD Receivers

    Watch this video for a quick overview of the 2013 line of Kenwood Excelon CD receivers at Crutchfield. A Kenwood Excelon receiver gives you outstanding sound, whether your music is stored on your...

     
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    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897 Reviews

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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Written By Anonymous, Cabot ,AR on Sunday, August 03, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Excellent product for single din openings.
    Pros:
    Has everything but navigation
    Cons:
    Doesn't have navigation
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    3 out of 5

    Ken wood Excellon 897- meh.

    Written By Neil, Marietta, GA on Friday, May 16, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Lots of features, but no buttons to get to pre-set stations sucks.
    Pros:
    Many features, good iPhone connectivity.
    Cons:
    No buttons for pre-set stations. Having to dial through menus is god awful!
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    5 out of 5

    Excellent

    Written By MatthewS, Billings, MT on Thursday, May 15, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I bought the refurbished unit and I'm impressed. Honestly, if I didn't know it was a refurb I wouldn't be able to tell. The stereo is immaculate and came with everything that I would assume would have come with a new one for much less money. Instructions were easy to follow and because Crutchfield is so awesome and includes the wiring harnesses, factory stereo removal tools and an antenna adapter for my car, I had the factory stereo out and this one back in the in in probably under 30 minutes. It's too bad this model has been discontinued -- because I got a winner here!
    Pros:
    Good looking head unit. Ton's of inputs/outputs. Nearly infinitely adjustable display colors to match almost ANY interior lighting. High and low-pass filters build into the deck.
    Cons:
    I do have to agree with some other reviews I've read about this that the menus aren't particularly user friendly or easy to navigate. Bluetooth input isn't configured by default to push audio to ALL the speakers -- only the fronts -- and the option to enable ALL speakers is hidden a bit and not mentioned in the users guide included with the deck that I could find.
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    5 out of 5

    Nice stereo

    Written By Stores, Sebastian, TX on Friday, April 04, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I bought this stereo as a refurbished item and I have to say that the quality is awesome. Excellent sound, nice features. I was debating about what kind of radio should I get to upgrade the factory one and I'm pretty sure I made a good buy. Plus the Crutchfield customer service is excellent
    Pros:
    Nice features, I love the three line display, good price
    Cons:
    No cons yet
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Written By Tim, Hockley,Tx on Thursday, March 27, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Nice Head Unit. Good sound
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood

    Written By Mahalo, Honolulu,hi on Saturday, February 22, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Very good
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    3 out of 5

    A decent unit with some room for improvement

    Written By meyestone, Alexandria, VA on Thursday, February 13, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    It sounds good, and I don't find the menus quite as confusing as some others. As many have noted, the display is very hard to see in the daytime - perhaps Kenwood should focus less on making the colors change, and more on making it visible. I note that the Pandora and "I Heart Radio" apss will only work with an iPhone or iPad if it's physically connected via USB - Android phones will work with Bluetooth. It's a bit annoying that the only way to switch between Tuner, Rear USB (which I have attached to an old iPod) and Bluetooth is to cycle through the options that are not connected (Pandora, I Heart Radio, Front USB, etc.)
    Pros:
    Sounds is good, nice clean look, lots of input options (USB front and rear, CD, Bluetooth).
    Cons:
    Display too dim for daytime, menus could be tidied up. Oh, and the manual is not well written.
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    5 out of 5

    Excellent head unit!

    Written By AaronP, Plano, TX on Thursday, February 06, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    A very nice head unit, that is a huge upgrade in sound quality and features from stock.
    Pros:
    Looks great. Colors match factory dashboard lighting. Feature rich. Sounds great even with factory speakers.
    Cons:
    Would have preferred physical buttons for radio presets, but my wife wanted an uncluttered faceplate.
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood KDC-X897

    Written By Henry M., Novato, CA on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    It does everything it is supposed to do and does it well.
    Pros:
    It sounds just fine my old tin ears without an amplifier
    Cons:
    I have no complaints.
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    5 out of 5

    Great, once I beat Bose

    Written By Keith M, Hilliard, OH on Tuesday, September 03, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This stereo has every feature you could want and the price. Easy to set up, sleek minimalist style, great build quality and great sound. Installed in a 2008 350z roadster to the existing Bose amps/speakers. The problem there is a built in feature called audiopilot (speed compensated volume feature). It is built in to the amp, not the head unit. And when you connect an aftermarket HU, the default is on. Volume was randomly increasing/decreasing-drove me crazy. Turns out the microphone for road noise on this vehicle is in the steering column. Disconnect it and all is well. Now I love it, love it, love it.
    Pros:
    Single button control (Pretty Much) Multiple front/rear source inputs Great sound 4 volt preamp outs Very customizable 2 Year Excelon warranty
    Cons:
    None right now
    4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Great Unit!

    Written By scubagoo, Freeport, IL on Thursday, August 29, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Just what I wanted to upgrade my 2006 MX-5 Miata. Crutchfield's instructions and support are second to none! Installation was very easy since I had great instructions! The first unit did have a slight defect, but Crutchfield support took care of the exchange with no hassle.
    Pros:
    Great features, sound, and price.
    Cons:
    Accessing all the features a little confusing for an old guy like me! Kenwood should include a better "User Manual".
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Written By JayS, GR, MI on Thursday, July 18, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I have to agree with the other reviewer that said that the display isn't bright enough. I drive a convertible so maybe it's because it's often in direct sunlight but despite adjusting the brightness, contrast and color selection the display can often be difficult to read. Overall though a great radio.. Takes a bit of getting used to only a few buttons at first but you get used to it quickly. Love the bluetooth- works great. Sound quality is excellent. Hooked up easily to my (already installed) amplifier
    Pros:
    ease of use after initial few minutes of setup, overall good value for $
    Cons:
    display not bright enough. It may be easier to have more buttons for station presents instead of having to scroll up or down the entire list
    3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Awesum replacement for the original head unit

    Written By BMW Al, Fairport ny on Monday, July 08, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Awesome replacement for OEM unit! The instructions, support and cable kit all worked flawlessly. The car originally came with an integrated cell phone and now with this unit it has an improved integrated cell phone with the Blue tooth link to I phone. Plug and play!
    Pros:
    Ease of use and operation
    Cons:
    Got to be carefull when hitting the buttons the front panel release can be hit when driving.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Awesome deck

    Written By Jose M, Manati, PR. on Tuesday, June 25, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is one of the best car audio receiver out there. It plays awesome and it improved how my original speakers sounds. Only con (and is not a bad factor at all) is that it can be difficult to reach some of the features. And the instructions really doesn't explain or say a lot about what the features do.
    Pros:
    Amazing sound and look.
    Cons:
    Features can be overwhelming to reach.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    A Good, Simple Radio

    Written By danny451, Northern Virginia on Monday, June 03, 2013
     
    I was quite surprised when I purchased this radio. I wasn't looking for anything fancy or flashy and this radio seemed like it wouldn't be flashy. You can configure the display in many ways and pick and choose what song information you want to see. It requires a bit of getting used to in order to use while driving, because the unit does lack buttons. I found it easy after a read of the manual. The bluetooth works very well. In all this is a great radio for the value, if you are looking for bluetooth music streaming.
    Pros:
    Simple looking Good sound quality Many adjustable settings
    Cons:
    A bit hard to get used to The screen reflects some light
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Great Sound with Odd Controls

    Written By Mike B, Ohio on Friday, May 31, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I bought this because I like the minimal look of the newer kenwood decks. My only gripe is that it can be a little difficult to use and access the settings menus. Also, the color changing buttons and screens can be a bit difficult to read when it is scrolling with certain colors. Overall, I'm pleased with the unit and the sound quality is great.
    Pros:
    +Great Sound +Lots of features +Has a cool minimal look +Easy Install
    Cons:
    -Display can be difficult to read -Settings aren't easily accessed
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    4 out of 5

    '03 Highlander - Sounds great

    Written By Jamex, San Diego, CA on Monday, May 06, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Installed in an '03 Highlander. Wow what a difference. The install itself was easy. Many ways to tailor the sound which I like. I also installed a Polk component set to replace the terrible stock speakers as well as a 12" sub and the Kenwood makes my car sound like a concert hall.

    I'm not sure what the previous reviewer is talking about with the display not dimming - mine does when I turn on the lights. The brightness is decent and readable, and you can change the color/contrast of the display. I live in San Diego where it's always sunny and I have no issue reading the display.

    Bluetooth streaming is great, and using it to take calls is convenient with the supplied microphone. The USB in the rear is key for me as I hate seeing dangling wires coming from the front of the unit (when I use my old ipod).

    Navigating the unit takes patience. There are menus galore. At this price I would have liked a less "shiny plastic" look but it still looks sharp in the Highlander.

    This is my first Kenwood receiver and I think they really stepped their products up lately.
    Pros:
    Many menu's of customizable audio options. Rear USB port. Bluetooth streaming. Phone call support. Clean sound.
    Cons:
    A "little" too plastic-y. Phone calls via stereo can be tricky (talking to someone, turn off car, then phone hangs up). Might be a deep setting I need to adjust.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Written By MPS, New Tazewell, TN on Saturday, May 04, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Fine sound output without replacing the factory speakers in my 1982 Rx7. A big improvement over the original equipment!
    Pros:
    Great sound, bluetooth, mp3, & iPod work well.
    Cons:
    A bit of a bear to install-- power antenna does not retract when unit shuts off.
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    2 out of 5

    Display not very bright with lots of daytime glare

    Written By Marc, La Crosse, WI on Thursday, May 02, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    First things first. I could hardly read this display during the daytime unless the sky was completely overcast (think: a rainy day). Working with a Crutchfield tech, we determined that the display apparently does not brighten during the day, because it doesn't dim down when the headlights go on, and the night time illumination is just about right. So maybe a bug in this unit or maybe that's the way it's made. The sound and sound tailoring is good. But for sure, the glossy, curved cover over the display lends itself to reflecting any and all daytime light; and if you can't read the display very well in the daytime, no amount of good sounds or "Coolness Factor" is going to matter.

    Also, my unit tends to skip when playing CDs. I've got a pickup truck with some pretty knobby tires, but we're talking about skips while driving down a normal city street in reasonably good repair, so the skipping seems abnormal to me. Maybe another bug?

    Installation was a breeze (slow but no errors) using the Crutchfield-supplied instructions and installation kit. The instructions and kit alone make buying from Crutchfield the only way for me to go.

    The tech support from Crutchfield on my problems has also been excellent, and Ed (the tech I connected with) is in the process of helping me select a replacement that will work well for me.

    This is the first time I've needed to use tech support, and it's been as good that everyone else has said it is. Thanks Ed, and thanks Crutchfield.
    Pros:
    Good sound tailoring, makes factory speakers sound better Lots of setup options
    Cons:
    Glare on display cover makes it very hard to read in the daytime Setup options sure seem complicated, but initial defaults are reasonable
    1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897

    Written By Jason, Chesterfield, MI on Tuesday, March 26, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I'm using this unit for my boat. The sound quality is great, have it paired with a JL amp and Sub, 6x9s and 6.5's. The display is very cool looking and you can program it to constantly change colors, etc. While it took some time to navigate the functions, its easier to use then the newer Sony i just sold. It is compatible with Kenwood wired marine remotes (RC60MR & RC35MR) although Crutchfield does not say that. Very happy with this selection.
    Pros:
    Cool display, 4V preamp, compatible with select Kenwood marine remotes
    Cons:
    None
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Very High Quality and Feature Packed

    Written By DrH, Muscatine Iowa on Wednesday, March 13, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Last year I put a Kenwood X896 receiver in my PT Cruiser. It took several months to find the hundreds of programming settings. It wasn't long before I stopped driving my minivan because of all the conveniences of the receiver in the PT -- BT hands free calling, instant connect with IPhone, Ipod, Iphone Pandora via cable or BT, my entire music collection available on 32GB USB drive, ability to plug in my portable XM receiver to the AUX input (the list goes on). The Kenwood Iphone app and the computer app for creating music catalogs on USB drives works great. I decided to order one for my minivan but found the X896 was discontinued and "upgraded" to the X897. The X897 does NOT have HD Radio but the tuner picks up far more stations in my area than the X896 unit. The X897 has a 2nd rear USB cable (fixed to unit and routable to the glovebox or under dash) as well as the front USB port. The X897 seems a little more solid than the X896 and the buttons are larger and easier to see. The display on the X897 seems brighter and I really like being able to set the display formats, lines, and colors separately for every music source. The Equalizer Pro feature allows you to customize crossover points and sound settings for each of the music sources separately. A great sounding unit once you tweak it. Forget the manual -- it is still useless. Press and hold the volume knob in for each source and you will go into "settings" to program each source. Easy install. Really Awesome!
    Pros:
    Integrates all your music sources and allows custom sound and display programming for each source. Easy install due to Crutchfield's guarantee that you get all needed accessories and clear installation instructions. Looks and sounds awesome.
    Cons:
    Display can be hard to read in bright sunlight. Manual is worthless. Steep and complex learning curve (but worth it!)
    8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X897, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_113KDCX897/Kenwood-Excelon-KDC-X897.html ).