The KDC-X959 is Kenwood Excelon's ultimate music machine! It'll play just about any CD format you choose: CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, MP3s, and Windows Media (WMA) files. And the display can scroll ID-3 tags, CD-Text, radio station names, or disc names that you've entered.

The big, bright Organic EL display features customizable graphics — you can store and display as many as 80 user-created graphic screens, and even a 5.3-second MPEG movie (PC and CD burner required). Kenwood even has a place on their website where you can download additional prerecorded animations and graphic screens. The possibilities are endless!

Tune your system to match your vehicle's acoustic characteristics with System Q EX Sound Control. It includes 6 preset EQ curves ("Flat," "Rock," "Pops," "Easy," "Top 40," and "Jazz") to get you in the ballpark, plus a 3-band parametric equalizer for fine-tuning your sound and speaker size-matching modes for maximizing system efficiency.

When you upgrade to component amps and subwoofers, the KDC-X959's ready to help you do it right. First, switch off the internal amp to reduce heat buildup and distortion. Then switch on the System E's+ Advanced Crossover and separate your system's bass frequencies from the mids and highs so your speakers will play cleaner and louder. You'll be amazed at the difference a little time and effort can make!

The KDC-X959 can also control an optional Kenwood CD changer or Sirius Satellite Radio tuner from its front panel. And you can plug a tape, MD, or digital media player into the auxiliary input and play it through the receiver.

A wireless remote is included.


  • detachable, fold-down face
  • Organic EL high-resolution display
  • plays MP3 and Windows Media files on CD-R or CD-RW, plus audio CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs
  • displays MP-3 text info (ID-3 tags)
  • CD Text
  • disc naming and station naming
  • Sirius Satellite Radio controls (Sirius Radio subscription, tuner, and antenna required to receive the satellite radio signal) — service is available only in the lower 48 states, not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. territories
  • CR-2 tuner
  • Radio Data System
  • System Q EX Sound Control
  • System E's+ Advanced Crossover
  • auxiliary input
  • muting circuit for internal amplifier
  • zero-bit mute circuit
  • 4.5-volt gold-plated front/rear/subwoofer preamp outputs
  • Bass Management System (provides extended sonic control over compatible Excelon amplifiers)
  • CD changer controls
  • wireless remote
  • 22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels
  • CD frequency response 10-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio 96 dB
  • FM sensitivity 9.3 dBf
  • 2-year warranty

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.

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X959 Reviews

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Awesome Deck

Written By oldaccord, Pheonix, AZ on Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This is an awesome deck, I liked the fact that it was a very easy user freindly deck and all soft touch buttons, Great deck until it got stolen!!!

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • AM/FM/CD/Changer controller receiver with 10-amp fuse inserted into chassis
  • Sleeve
  • Face
  • Hard face case
  • Trim ring
  • Wiring harness
  • RC-410 Wireless remote
  • CR2025 lithium battery
  • 2 Removal tools
  • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
  • 4 Countersunk ISO-mount screws
  • 2 Face security screws
  • Instruction Manual (English)
  • Instruction Manual (French/Spanish)
  • Warranty Card
  • Car Audio Passport card (required if face needs to be replaced)
  • Online registration card
  • Caution note
  • Display-inverting function note

Features and Specs

CEA-2006 Compliant ---
RMS Power Output 22 watts
Peak Output 50 watts
RMS Power Bandwidth 30-20kHz
Preamp Outputs 6-channel
Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs ---
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 4.5 volts
Display Color Organic EL
Key Button Color Blue/Green
EQ Bands 3
Wireless Remote Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years
AUX Input Rear
Audio/video Input
USB Input ---
Memory Card Slot NA
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready Sirius
HD Radio ---
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
Mini ---
iPhone ---
FM Sensitivity 9.3 dBf
European Tuning Yes
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System Yes

Product Research

Changer Controls


Security Code: You may program the unit with a 4-digit security code. Once the unit has been programmed with a security code, the code must be entered to use the unit after it has been disconnected from power.

Organic EL High-resolution Display: Requiring no backlight, self-illuminating Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) technology delivers incredibly high-speed response with 16 levels of brightness per dot in a very thin panel display. The OEL display is perfect for moving images.

Picture Downloading: You can store and display as many as 80 user-created graphic screens (wallpaper), and even a 5.3-second MPEG movie (PC and CD burner required). Each still image must be stored as a 176x32 pixel bitmap and the movie must be an 85-frame MPEG-2 file. This unit has two 128k memory banks to store the still images and MPEG movie separately. The files must be downloaded from a CD-R/CD-RW disc that is inserted into the unit. Note: The necessary software can be downloaded for free from Kenwood's website. Kenwood even has a place on their website where you can download additional prerecorded animations and graphic screens.

Display Modes: You may select from the following display modes:

  • Display Type A: source information is shown in the upper portion of the display. The Station name, frequency, Radio Text, date, Disc name, CD Text, folder name, or file name can be shown in the middle portion of the display. The spectrum analyzer & clock, Radio Text, date, date & clock, Disc name, CD Text, file name, or folder name can be shown in the lower portion of the display.
  • Display Type B: source information is shown in the upper portion of the display. The Station name, frequency, Radio Text, date, date & clock, Disc name, CD Text, folder name, or file name can be shown in the middle portion of the display. The source type icon is shown in the lower portion of the display.
  • Display Type C: the upper portion of the display can show the following information: demonstration, one of two preset movies, one of five spectrum analyzers, a downloaded movie, one of five preset wallpaper designs, or a downloaded wallpaper design. The Station name, frequency, Radio Text, date, date & clock, Disc name, CD Text, folder name, or file name can be shown in the lower portion of the display.
  • Display Type D: the entire display can show the following information: demonstration, one of two preset movies, one of five spectrum analyzers, a downloaded movie, one of five preset wallpaper designs, or a downloaded wallpaper design

Display Dimming: This unit is equipped with a wire that Kenwood calls an illumination lead, however, it acts as a dimmer lead. When the illumination wire of this unit is connected to the headlamp circuit of your vehicle, and you turn your lights on, the display will dim to a preset level. The display brightness is not affected by the vehicle's dimmer control.

Power Amplifier Muting Circuit: This unit has a built-in amplifier muting circuit that can be turned on or off. Muting the amplifier output results in a better signal-to-noise ratio and wider dynamic range, giving you enhanced preamp output quality.

0-Bit Mute: This circuit mutes output when no audio signal is detected for absolute quiet between CD tracks.

Sirius Satellite Radio Controls: This unit can control the optional Kenwood Sirius Satellite tuner (sold separately). The optional tuner will allow you to receive Sirius Satellite Radio.

Dual Zone Control: When used with an appropriate adapter or CD changer, this unit can send its internal sound sources (tuner or CD) to the front speakers and preamp outputs while simultaneously sending an external sound source (connected via the adapter or changer) to the rear speakers and preamp outputs, with independent volume control for each zone. Notes: To use the Dual Zone feature, you must purchase one of the following items: KCA-S210A, CA-C1AX, KDC-CPS82, KDC-CX82, KDC-CPS85, KDC-CX85, KDC-CPS87 or KDC-CX87. When this feature is active, the bass, middle, treble and loudness controls do not affect the rear channels. When the Dual Zone system is on, the CD/MD changer controls are deactivated.

System Q EX Sound Control: 6 EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. The preset curves are named "Flat", "Rock", "Pops", "Easy", "Top 40", and "Jazz". In addition, you may store your own settings under the "User Memory" EQ curve. Each preset has its own bass center frequency, bass level, bass Q factor, bass extension, middle center frequency, middle level, middle Q factor, treble center frequency, and treble level settings. You may adjust the bass center frequency (60, 70, 80, 100, or 150Hz), bass level (-8 to +8), bass Q factor (1.00, 1.25, 1.50 or 2.00), bass extension (On or Off), middle center frequency (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0kHz), middle level (-8 to +8), middle Q factor (1.0 or 2.0), treble center frequency (10.0, 12.5, 15.0 or 17.5kHz), and treble level (-8 to +8).

Mobile Preset: The Mobile Preset function tailors the System Q EX Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a speaker setting of "OFF", "OEM" (for OEM factory speaker systems), "6*9/6inch" (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" size speakers), or "5/4inch" (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers). In addition, you may select a woofer setting of "Woofer Off", "12 inch A", "10 inch A", "12 inch B", "10 inch B", "12 inch C", "10 inch C", "12 inch D", "10 inch D", or "8 inch", allowing you to adjust the high-pass filter frequency, low-pass filter frequency and non-fading level depending on the type of subwoofer you have in your vehicle.

System E's+ Advanced Crossover System: The System E's+ system allows you to select a high-pass filter for the front and/or rear preamp and speaker outputs. The high-pass filter frequency may be set to 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180 or 220Hz. You may set the low-pass filter for the non-fading preamp outputs to 50Hz, 80Hz, 120Hz or "through" and select the phase for the non-fading RCA of normal or reverse. The crossovers have a slope of 12dB per octave.

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

Volume Offset Control ("VOL 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.

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

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.

Station Name Preset (SNPS): This feature allows you to assign names to radio stations. Up to 32 FM stations and 16 AM stations can be named. Each name can be up to 8 characters in length.

RDS (Radio Data System): RDS is used by some FM radio stations to transmit additional data; this unit has the following functions:

  • PTY (Program type) Function: allows you to seek tune only stations with the desired type of programming. The programming is broken down into the following categories: Speech, Music, News, Information, Sports, Talk, Rock, Classic Rock, Adult Hits, Soft Rock, Top 40, Country, Oldies, Soft, Nostalgia, Jazz, Classical, R&B, Soft R&B, Language, Religious Music, Religious Talk, Personality, Public, College, and Weather. You can register non-RDS stations as program types. When you register a non-RDS station as a certain program type, it will be found when using PTY seek tune for stations in that particular category.
  • Traffic Information Function: if a traffic information station begins to broadcast a traffic bulletin while a CD is playing, the unit will automatically play the bulletin and return to the CD when the bulletin ends. This function may be turned on/off.
  • Radio Text: this unit displays text info that might be transmitted by RDS stations. You can manually or automatically scroll the Radio Text.
  • Synchronize Clock: when this feature is turned on, the unit will automatically set the time when tuned to a RDS station that broadcasts time information

CD Naming: The DNPS (Disc Name Preset) feature can be used to enter names, up to 8 characters long, into memory for up to 30 discs. When a CD changer with disc naming memory is connected, names may be entered for CDs in the changer. The number of names that may be entered for discs in a changer depends on the changer model. 

MP3/WMA Playback: This unit can play MP3 and WMA files recorded on CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, and Romeo formats. Each disc should have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 100 folders, and 255 files per folder.

Calendar Function: The date may be set into memory and displayed.

"B.M.S." (Bass Management System): When used with a compatible Kenwood eXcelon amplifier, you can adjust the bass boost level of the amplifier through this head unit. You may select Flat, or boost the bass of the amplifier by +6, +12, or +18dB.

Auxiliary Input: Stereo RCA preamp inputs are hardwired to the back of the unit on an 11" lead, allowing you to connect a portable audio source. Just connect your portable cassette, MD or MP3 player to this unit, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system.

Auxiliary Input "Ready": When used with an optional adapter (KCA-S210A or CA-C1AX) or with the KDC-CX87 CD changer, this unit can accept input from an additional auxiliary source. When the CA-C1AX adapter (item 113CAC1AX) is used, you cannot connect a CD changer to the head unit because the CA-C1AX plugs into the DIN changer control connection on the head unit.

Weather Band Tuner Compatible: This unit is compatible with the Kenwood KTC-WB100 weather band tuner (sold separately). The optional tuner box allows you to tune in weather band radio stations. There are about 480 weather band radio stations in the United States, and this option allows you to tap into the information needed to prepare for outdoor activities such as sporting events, camping trips and days at the park. 

Heads-up Display Compatible: Kenwood's KPA-HD100 heads-up display (sold separately) may be connected to this receiver and placed on the dashboard, or overhead. The heads-up display can give a readout of the information from this receiver's display, allowing you to monitor the radio without the inconvenience and danger of taking your eyes from the road to look down at the radio location.

Changer Controls

Compatibility: This unit is directly compatible with Kenwood changers that have an O-N switch. If you have an old Kenwood changer with a square plug, you will need the CA-DS100 converter cord and the KCA-S210A switching adapter. If you have a newer Kenwood changer with a round plug but no O-N switch, you will need the KCA-S210A switching adapter. If you use a changer without an O-N switch, you will not have access to the following functions: DNPS, DNPP, Magazine Random Play and CD Text display.

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

Disc Name Preset (DNPS): When used with a compatible CD changer, this feature allows you to assign names to discs in the changer. Each name can be up to 8 characters in length. The number of names you can store depends on the CD changer that is connected to the head unit.

Disc Name Preset Play (DNPP): Once a disc has been named, you may press the DNPP button on the remote to display the name of each disc for 5 seconds. When the name of the desired disc appears, you can press the OK button on the remote to select the disc for playback.

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


Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face/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.

Warranty Note: This unit comes with a 1 year warranty card, but the actual warranty is 2 years.

Our Product Research Team

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