Aim high
Take it to the limit with the KDC-X996, the top-of-the-line Kenwood Excelon CD receiver for 2012. This great-looking car stereo features hands-free calling, HD Radio™ reception, and PANDORA® Internet radio control, along with some sophisticated sound controls.

PANDORA® Internet radio control with your iPhone®, Android, or Blackberry
If you stream Pandora® on your smartphone, you're not limited by a single platform. The KDC-X996 gives you iPhone control through the USB port, and control over your Android or Blackberry through the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP). You can listen to and browse through your favorite stations whenever you're in range of your network.

HD Radio for superior sound and more
The receiver's built-in HD Radio tuner lets you enjoy HD Radio's superior sound quality and additional programming channels, all for free. You can also tag tunes for future purchase at the iTunes® store — all while you listen to FM that's close to CD quality, along with clear, static-free AM.

Kenwood KDC-X996

Hands-free calling
Bluetooth makes using your phone safer in the car. When a call comes in, just touch a button and then talk naturally like your caller is sitting next to you. Plus, you can stream audio from a compatible device to this receiver, so you can enjoy great music (and even control some functions) without any cables.

Enjoy your music media
You can plug in your iPod® to the rear USB port and scroll through your albums, artists, and playlists. Tools like Direct Search and Alphabet Search make it easy to find the tracks you want to hear. Of course, this Kenwood Excelon receiver renders all your favorite CDs in precise detail.

Great sound tops it off
If you're the kind of person who lives to tweak, you'll be happy with the extensive audio controls, including a 13-band equalizer, digital time alignment, and built-in frequency filters, that allow you to zero in on the precise sound you want to hear. Putting a full system together? The receiver uses three sets of preamp outputs to deliver a clean signal to your outboard amps.

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

Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.

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.

Product Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in MOSFET amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA music files
    • built-in HD Radio tuner
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming
    • fold-down detachable face with selectable 5- or 3-line line display, plus variable display and control colors
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • 13-band equalizer
    • Sound Excellence DSP with speaker size settings, plus high- and low-pass crossovers
    • digital time alignment
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • bass boost
    • subwoofer controls
    • iPod/iPhone direct control via USB input — no adapter necessary, but adding Kenwood's optional connecting cable lets you leave your iPod cable at home
    • Pandora control with iPhone, Android, and Blackberry
    • compatible with Kenwood's Music Control app for Android phones
    • compatible with SiriusXM tuner
    • inputs: rear auxiliary and USB inputs
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, and subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    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.

    Hands-on research

    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis)
    • Face (attached)
    • Trim ring (attached)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Wiring harness
    • Microphone with integrated bracketed (attached 10' cable terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
    • Wireless remote control (RC-405)
    • CR2025 3V lithium-battery (installed in remote)
    • Cloth face pouch
    • 2 Removal tools
    • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
    • 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
    • Face-fixing screw
    • Quick Start Guide (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Card
    • Correction note

    Features and Specs

    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 13
    Wireless Remote Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible Adapter required
    Parts Warranty 2 Years
    Labor Warranty 2 Years
    AUX Input Rear
    Audio/video Input
    USB Input Rear
    Memory Card Slot USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready SiriusXM
    HD Radio Built-in
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano 7/6/5/4/3/2/1
    Touch 5/4/3/2/1
    Mini No
    iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS/3G/2G
    FM Sensitivity 9.3 dBf
    European Tuning No
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System No

    Product Research

    Audio Section
    Built-in Bluetooth
    HD Radio + SiriusXM Ready
    Disc Playback
    USB/Aux Inputs
    iPod/Android Control
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The KDC-X996 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-X996 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 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-X996 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-X996 features front, rear and subwoofer 4.0-volt preamp outputs. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading. The front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs are fixed to the rear chassis of the head unit.

    Note: You can turn the KDC-X996's built-in amplifier off to improve the quality of the sound from the head unit's preamp outputs.

    Sound Excellence DSP (Digital Signal Processing): In order to optimize the sound quality, you can use the unit's Sound Excellence DSP to set the type of vehicle, speaker sizes, distances and x-over points. The DSP settings include the following:

    • Car Type: Select your car type to automatically set the Delay Time of each speaker for timing adjustment of sound output of each channel to have the highest surround effect. Choose from Compact, Full Size Car, Wagon, Mini Van , Mini Van Long, SUV, or Off
    • Listening Position: For a better sound-stage you can select your optimal listening position. You can choose from All, Front Left, Front Right or Front. You can also select to manually fine tune the sound stage by selecting the distance for each individual speaker in the vehicle compared to your listening position.
    • Digital Time Alignment (DTA): Choose from 0.00 to 20' (0.07' steps) for the Front pair of speakers, Rear pair of speakers and Subwoofer distances in reference to the distance between your listening positioning and the locations of the particular speakers.
    • Speaker Location: You can set the location of your vehicle's Front and Rear speakers.
      • Front: Door, On Dash, or Under Dash
      • Rear: Door, Rear Deck, 2nd Row, or 3rd Row
    • Speaker Size: You can select the speaker size for your Front & Rear speakers, as well as your subwoofer.
      • Front: Small, Medium, or Large
      • Tweeter: None, Small, Middle or Large
      • Rear: None, Small, Medium, or Large
      • Subwoofer: None, Small, or Large
    • X'Over: The head unit features independent Front, Rear, & tweeter high-pass crossovers, as well as a subwoofer low-pass crossover.
      • Front High Pass Filter: 40, 60, 70, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, or 220 Hz; slope of -6, -12, -18, or -24 dB per octave (or select Full-Range)
      • Rear High Pass Filter: 40, 60, 70, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, or 220 Hz; slope of -6, -12, -18, or -24 dB per octave (or select Full-Range)
      • Tweeter High Pass Filter: 1, 1.6, 2.5, 4, 5, 6.3, 8, 10, or 12.5 kHz
      • Subwoofer Low Pass Filter: 40, 60, 70, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, or 220 Hz; slope of -6, -12, -18, or -24 dB per octave (or Select Full-Range)
    • Speaker Level: You can adjust the volume level (0 to -8dB) of the Front, Rear, Tweeter, and Subwoofer channels independently.
    • Subwoofer Phase: Choose either Normal (0°) or Reverse  (180°)
    • Sound Enhancements: The head unit provides further sound enhancements for your car audio system.
      • Supreme Setting: When MP3, WMA, and AAC 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
      • Elevation Level: You can virtually raise the sound position heard from your speakers; the Elevation Level can be set to High, Low, or Off
      • Space Enhancer: You can set the Space Enhancer to Small, Large, or Off each setting value indicates the soundscape level
      • Sound Realizer: Virtually makes the sound more realistic using the DSP; can bet se to LVL1, LVL2, LVL3, or Off
      • Highway Sound: You can boost a certain range of sound that becomes hard to hear due to road noise; the Highway Sound level can be set to High, Low, or Off

    Note: You can also choose to bypass the head unit's DSP feature.

    Equalizer Control: Equalizer Control allows you to use one of the EQ presets, or set your own custom settings for the front and back speakers using the 13-band Equalizer. The EQ adjustments are as follows:

    • EQ Presets: You can select from Flat, Natural, Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Powerful, iPod (you can select from 22 EQ curve types within your iPod), or User (customized 7-band EQ).
    • 13-Band EQ: 7-Band frequency adjustment (-9 to +9 dB) for Front & Rear speakers using the following center frequencies; 62.5Hz, 100kHz, 160Hz, 250kHz, 400Hz, 630kHz, 1kHz, 1.6kHz, 2.5kHz, 4kHz, 6.3khz, 10kHz, and 16kHz.

    Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store EQ and tone settings for each source (Disc, AM/FM, USB, iPod, Bluetooth Audio, and Pandora).

    Bass Boost: The KDC-X996 features a four-step Bass Boost (Off/1/2/3) to enhance your music's lower frequencies.

    Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer lower volumes.

    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).

    Dual Zone: The Dual Zone mode allows you to output the Main source and the Auxiliary input separately for the front & rear channels. You can select whether the auxiliary input will play in the front or the rear. You can adjust the volume of the rear channels independently from the front channels (0-35). The head unit's audio settings have no effect on the second zone.

    Key Beep: The in-dash navigation-multimedia 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-X996 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth ver. 3.0 (powered by Parrot) 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. Bluetooth Technology is a short-range wireless radio connectivity technology that was developed as a cable replacement for mobile phones and other electronic devices. Bluetooth operates in 2.4 GHz frequency range and transmits voice and data at speeds up to 1 megabit per second.

    Bluetooth Profiles: 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 (Hands Free Profile), HSP (Head Set Profile), OPP (Object Push Profile), PBAB (Phone Book Access Profile).
    • Audio Streaming: A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).

    Pairing: Your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone must be paired with the KDC-X996 before hands-free operation. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled cell-phones with the Kenwood head unit (only one paired phone can be used at a time).

    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-X996. See Kenwood's Bluetooth Compatibility List for the latest mobile device compatibility.

    External Microphone: The Kenwood KDC-X996 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. 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 1.485" (depth).

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

    Bluetooth Hands-Free Communication: The head unit supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The controls of the KDC-X996 can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also includes and 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-X996 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-X996, 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-X996. 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 Log: The Call Log 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. You can register up to 35 voice tags.

    SMS (Short Message Service): You can wirelessly download a SMS arrived at your cell-phone so that it can be read on the Bluetooth connected Kenwood head unit. Up to 149 already read and unread short messages can be downloaded. You can reply to a SMS by using the head unit's front-panel rotary knob or remote control to enter alphanumeric text. There is a limited amount of text that can be downloaded or entered. Your cell-phone must support SMS via Bluetooth for this feature to function.

    Note: Do not read incoming SMS or reply to SMS while driving.

    Wireless Audio Streaming: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 also supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The KDC-X996 will be able to control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause, Next/Previous Track, 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-X996 also supports audio streaming of music apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM,, Rhapsody, & Slacker), but without control or metadata. You will continue to use your Bluetooth enabled smartphone to view and control streaming music apps.

    Note: Apple devices with iOS 6.0+ support Bluetooth audio streaming, but without control or metadata display.

    Bluetooth Detailed Settings: The KDC-X996 offers the following Bluetooth Detailed Settings, so you can configure the unit to suit your needs.

    • 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.
    • Speaker Output: You can select whether the call beep/caller's voice and streaming audio is heard through only the front speakers or all speakers.
    • Mic Gain: Adjusts the volume of the external microphone from -3 to +3.
    • NR Level: Reduces the noises generated by the surrounding environment without changing the mic volume. The NR Level can be set to -2 or +2.
    • EC Level: Adjusts the level of echo cancellation from -2 to +2.

    HD Radio

    Built-In HD Tuner: With its built-in HD Radio tuner, you can receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. HD Radio significantly improves AM/FM audio quality and reception, as well as includes information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. HD Radio Technology will deliver high-quality digital sound. AM digital will have FM-like quality in stereo (70dB SN @ 40-15kHz), while FM digital will have CD-like quality (70 dB SN @ 20-20kHz) with static free and clear reception. The unit's built-in HD Radio tuner allows analog AM/FM tuning as well.

    Note: HD Radio is the system for digital AM and FM broadcasting in the U.S. More than 2,000 radio stations are broadcasting their primary signals in digital HD Radio technology, as a free service. Go to to check for HD Radio stations in your area.

    Station Text: AM/FM digital stations can offer text and data such as artist names and song titles.

    Multicasting: In addition to conventional broadcasts, with HD Radio broadcasting it is possible to choose from up to 3 multicast programs (HD1 to HD3, and analog).

    iTunes Tagging: It is possible to save the song's information (tag) from and HD Radio broadcasting station to your USB-direct connected iPod/iPhone. The songs will show up in a playlist called "Tagged" in iTunes the next time you sync your iPod/iPhone. Then you can directly buy the songs you want from the iTunes Music Store. You can "tag" up to 50 songs.

    Tuner Presets: The KDC-X996's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 offers two preset modes.

    • Normal: You can store 6 presets for each AM/FM bank giving you a total of 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets (total of 24).
    • Mix: A total of 6 preset stations can be assigned to the head unit's 6 preset buttons, regardless of AM/FM band. This lets you recall a preset station without switching between bands.

    Auto Memory Tuning: Not only does the CD receiver's tuner allow you manually enter your desired presets you can choose to have the unit automatically put stations with good reception in the memory banks automatically; this is a handy feature when traveling.

    Seek Modes: You can choose one of three seek modes: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual.

    Note: You can also setup the KDC-X996 to search only HD Radio stations.

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

    SiriusXM Ready: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 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 for a complete list of subscription options and channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:

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

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

    Disc Playback

    Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio, CD-Text, and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs.

    MP3/WMA/AAC Playback: The KDC-X996 can play MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 kbps) files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, and Long file name formats. Each disc can have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 50 folders, and 255 files per folder (512 maximum number of files and folders). During MP3/WMA/AAC playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag (ver. 1.x/2.x) and WMA Tag information - up to 60 characters.

    Text Scroll: The KDC-X996 will display CD text or Audio file text. You can set the text scrolling feature to three different modes (Auto, Once, or Off) to scroll longer titles across the screen.

    Music Search: The Kenwood AM/FM CD receiver features a Music Search feature which allows you to scroll through and select your MP3/WMA/AAC music folders and files, as well as scroll through your audio CD's music tracks using the head unit's rotary knob.

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

    Playback Modes: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 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.

    USB/Aux Inputs

    USB Port: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 features a rear panel USB (type-A) port that is attached to the unit's rear-chassis via a 35" pigtail. The USB port enables connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device with MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 kbps) music files. The USB port is compatible with USB mass storage class devices that support the FAT16 or FAT32 file system. Your USB device should only have a maximum of 8 folder layers, 255 folders, and 255 files per folder - with a maximum of 65,025 files and folders. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB port (max. 1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.

    Note: You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit.

    Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 supports the PC application, Kenwood Music Editor Lite (ver.1.1.0). Kenwood Music Editor Lite is a Windows-based desktop software that helps organize, manage and transfer MP3/WMA music files to your USB (MSC) devices from your PC. When you playback audio files that have been stored on your USB (MSC) device using Kenwood Music Editor Lite through this unit, you can search a file by title, album, or artist name using the head unit's Music Search function.

    System Requirements: The Kenwood Music Editor Light (ver.1.1.0) Windows-based software can be downloaded for free from to your PC. The Kenwood Music Editor Light is compatible with the following Windows Microsoft Operating Systems.

    • Windows XP Professional, Home Edition SP2 or later (32-bit)
    • Windows Vista (32/64-bit)
    • Windows 7 (32/64-bit)

    Note: Not compatible with Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, Zune, or Android.

    Aux In: The unit is equipped with a rear panel 3.5mm minijack auxiliary input that can be used to input audio from a portable audio source, such as a portable MP3 player. The Aux input must be turned on to function. The unit has 3 auxiliary input modes.

    • On1: Outputs the sound of the external unit connected to the Aux terminal when switched to the Aux source.
    • On2: Activates the attenuator function when turning on the power with the auxiliary source selected. This prevents the noise when no external unit is connected to the Aux terminal. Turn off the attenuator function when listening to output from an external unit.
    • Off: Disables the selection of the Aux source.

    Auxiliary Display: The KDC-X996 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV.

    iPod/Android Control

    iPod Direct Connection: The KDC-X996's rear panel USB port also acts as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the optional Kenwood USB Direct Connection Cable (113KCIP102, sold separately) or the USB/iPod cable that comes with your iPod/iPhone. If you have an iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), or iPhone 5; use the Lighting-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect to the head unit. Using either cable allows audio playback, music navigation, information display, and charging of select iPod/iPhone models from the KDC-X996.

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

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

    • Head Unit: The Kenwood head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music by Playlist, Artists, Album, Genre, Composer, Song, or Podcast. You can search these categories alphabetically (A-Z) or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). In addition, the head unit offers Related Search, which allows you to play songs related to the currently playing song. Related Search lets the head unit create an album list of the currently playing artist, a song list of the currently playing album, a artist list of the currently playing genre, or a album list of currently playing composer. 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 iHeartRadio, SiriusXM,, Rhapsody, & Slacker) from your iPhone (iOS 3.0+) through the Kenwood head unit and your vehicle's speakers. You will continue to use your iPhone's touchscreen to navigate your apps. Not all apps will be compatible with App Mode.

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

    Pandora Internet Radio Control: The Kenwood KDC-X996 CD receiver lets you playback and control the Pandora Internet Radio music service that is being streamed to your Apple iPhone, Android smartphone, or BlackBerry. While providing control over the Pandora music service, the KDC-X996 also displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list; you can sort the station list by date or alphabetically (A-Z). You can also skip song tracks within a station. In addition, you can also give songs a thumbs up/down and bookmark songs/artists.

    • Pandora App for iPhone: The Kenwood KDC-X996 lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed to your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately) or the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS3 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora App from the Apple's iTunes App Store. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service account.
    • Pandora via Android or BlackBerry: The Kenwood KDC-X996 also lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed from your Android or BlackBerry smartphone, via Bluetooth (no hard-wired connection required). Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must have the latest version of the Pandora App from the Android Market or the BlackBerry App World. Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must also be Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP/SPP certified and will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. In addition, you will need an active Pandora music service account.

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

    iPod/ Display: The KDC-X996 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-X996 will not display your iPod/iPhone's music information (the head unit will instead display "APP/iPod").

    iPod Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 2/22/2013):

    Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type iTunes Tagging Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/App Pandora app Artist/Song Text Track Info
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    4th 6.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    5th 6.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N N Y Y N Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    6th 1.1 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    7th 1.01 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N Y Y N Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    2 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    3 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    4 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    mini 6.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

    Music Control for Android Smartphone: The Kenwood Music Control app for Android organizes your Android smartphone's music, while providing quick and easy search capability from the Kenwood CD receiver. The free Kenwood Music Control App for Android can be downloaded onto your Android smartphone from the Android Market place. Your Android smartphone must be running Android OS 2.2 or later. Once the app is downloaded and has a chance to organize all the stored music on your Android smartphone, you can connect your Android smartphone to the Kenwood CD receiver via USB (your compatible Android smartphone 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 n/a n/a

    Display Features

    Detachable Fold-Down Face: The Kenwood KDC-X996 features a fold-down, detachable face to deter theft. You must manually fold the face down before inserting or ejecting a disc. The fold-down face requires 1.75" of open space in front of the unit to open. The CD player comes supplied with a soft black fabric, draw-string face pouch to protect the detachable face when you have it off the chassis.  A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.

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

    Multi-Line Text Display: The 5-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-X996 offers six different display types:

    • 5-line display mode with 4-5 lines of text.
    • 3-line display mode with 2-3 lines of text.
    • iPod-like display mode for iPod and Pandora only.
    • 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 KDC-X996 offers English, French, and Spanish menu text.

    Variable Color Illumination: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 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 Effects: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 offers two unique key-button illumination effects.

    • Illumination Operation Sync: This function sets whether the head unit's key illumination color is changed in conjunction with the key-button operation.
    • Illumination Music Sync: This function set whether the head unit's key illumination color is changed in conjunction with the system's sound & volume level.

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

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

    Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face and button illumination is "keyed." When the Clock Display is turned on and the unit is in Standby mode, the Clock Display is also "keyed." Pressing and holding the source button turns the unit off completely.

    Demo Mode: This unit features a Demo mode which can be turned On or Off within the menu.

    Remote Control

    Wireless Remote Control: The KDC-X996 comes with an IR remote control (RC-405) for wireless operation of the head unit. The remote will control Audio, CD, USB, Bluetooth, 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. You can also dial a phone number using the remote's numeric keypad.
    • 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.

    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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

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    Awesome unit all around

    Written By Geno, MN 1998 tahoe on Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I love this unit. I can not believe i never removed the factory unit years ago. I have not replaced the factory speakers yet and I can not believe the sound improvement with just replacing the head unit. Speakers are next for sure. Crutchfield was simply the best to work with as always. Don't hesitate to by the refurbished unit. I have had mine a month and love it and it looks brand new. The blue tooth works awesome.

    Pros: Everything!!

    Cons: nothing at all.

    A big step up!

    Written By steve, sandy,ut on Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Good receiver, lots of adjustability for sound, display layout and color. But most adjustments involve opening multiple 'folders' to access them which can't safely be done will driving. This receiver really begs for quality speakers to take advantage of it's ability to tailor the sound to your liking. It has a sleek look to it and is a big step up from the factory unit and the Sony that this replaced. Installation was a snap and fit really well, and the master sheet was, as usual, really helpful to get the job done right the first time. I couldn't get the manual to download from Kenwood, but a quick call to Crutchfield and they were able to e-mail it to me. Thanks Crutchfield!

    Pros: Lots of adjustability to suit individual tastes, sleek looks, and ease of installation, and Crutchfield's phone support!

    Cons: Menus somewhat tedious to access

    Broke twice in a row

    Written By Eric S., Riverside, CA on Sunday, November 03, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    When working properly, this head unit is awesome. However, there is a major problem with the built-in signal processor. After 3 months, the head unit lost all output, turns out it was just the signal processor. You can bypass it and it works fine, but then whats the point of a high end unit? Crutchfield was great and replaced it, but then 5 months later, the SAME thing happened with the replacement head unit. You have been warned, if you use the built in signal processor, this unit WILL malfunction.

    Pros: Great features, packed with tons of awesome signal processing capability

    Cons: Display is not visible in daylight, and the signal processor WILL break.

    Great Radio

    Written By J. N, VA on Friday, October 18, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I was looking for a radio that mainly had B/T & USB. My car is a manual which makes it kind of hard to answer the phone sometimes. I found this H/U in scratch & dent section, great buy. I was optimistic at first but was completely blown away. There's so much tweeking that you can do, it's amazing. I read other reviews about not being able to see the screen. I changed the screen color to green (which understandably won't match alot of dash lights) but it seems to work ok. If you do get a refurbished radio don't forget Crutchfield sells warranties.

    Pros: B/T, rear USB, HD radio, tons of tweeking whats not to like

    Cons: uuuuhhhhh I don't know ( it wasn't free, lol) still haven't found any

    What more could you want!?!?!?

    Written By Justin S, Indianapolis, IN on Sunday, July 14, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Man this receiver has everything. The menu is easy to navigate. Plenty of preset controls and a ton of manual audio controls. This is a very intelligent receiver. Quick and easy install. I matched it with:

    Alpine KTP-445U amp Polk DB6501 6.5" component Kicker 40CS44 4"

    Pros: BT streaming, BT phone connect + phone book, USB & Aux input, HD radio, CD, 6 channel pre amp outs, variable color display, detachable face. Software X-over control, remote

    Cons: It doesn't do you dishes.

    many feature...need some time to play with it

    Written By PDubLA, LA on Monday, June 10, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great unit with many features and settings. Easy to install with the wiring harness and the dash kit. Supereasy! Also installed some dynamat on the doors and added new coaxials. Working on an amp and sub to add to the system. Will take a little time to play with all the eq settings.

    Pros: Many features and high quality unit

    Cons: Menu takes a little time to get use to

    So far so good

    Written By Chris, Dallas, TX on Saturday, May 25, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Replacing and old Excelon that after 8 years of use the connector to faceplate interface became damaged. This so far is another good source for the price.

    Pros: Bluetooth, 4V pre amp outs.

    Cons: User interface was a little difficult to figure out at first mostly it was the zone control. Not used to having to read the manual to figure out how to work something.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996

    Written By Anonymous, Savannah ga on Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great product no issues with install or product quality.


    Written By lboogie, Ypsilanti mi on Thursday, May 02, 2013

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Iron Man 2 15 kicker l7 3 12 kicker cvr's of Industry to: pushing over 7000 watt this is the best radio I've purchased up to this point only problem I have is this ability when the Sun hits screen


    Written By Anonymous, Huntersville, NC on Saturday, March 30, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Not a bad unit. Need to spend some time adjusting the settings for the equalizer. Nice to have the Aux input in the back of the radio. Have Sirius home/car adapter hooked into it.

    Pros: Easy to figure out.

    Cons: Sunlight glare is a bit of a problem.

    2005 Dodge Ram Quad Cab

    Written By Rich, Justin, Tx on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I purchased my Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996 in November 2012, installed it as outlined in the directions that accompanied the product. At first I thought I had made a good purchase, the sound quality and ease of use was remarkable. Then I noticed that once I turned the radio on, it wouldn't work until I removed and re-installed the face plate. after this went on for over a month,On the 21st of Jan 2013 I sent it back to Crutchfield for an exchange of the same model. I installed the new unit on the 25th of Jan 2013 and it worked without incident until the 22nd of March 2013, when it just decided it would not power up. I have removed the second unit and will send it back today (3/27/2013) and await for crutchfield to process it back into the system before I can receive a store credit. Then I can order a different unit and wait until it arrives. Looks like weeks without a radio. I have been a crutchfield fan up until Today. Why should I pay a restocking fee on a unit that is still under warranty?? Why do I get to wait a couple of weeks before I get a replacement radio??? Not Happy!

    Pros: Great sound, easy to use

    Cons: cannot see display during daylight hours as sun glare make it difficult to see. radio seems flimsly, this is the second unit I have had that has failed.

    Great radio

    Written By Nick, Lockport, NY on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great stereo for price, lots of features

    Pros: Sounds great, looks great, very customizable, and has 3 outputs

    Cons: Screen has little bit of glare on very sunny days

    Great unit, but not without flaws

    Written By Corey, Slidell, LA on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I bought one of these about six months ago to replace the Pioneer DEH-510UB I had in my car. I loved the pioneer, but I wanted bluetooth, and to be able to stream music from my phone to the radio via Bluetooth. This fit the bill perfectly. It's got tons of equalizer, time correction, crossover, etc. settings to fine tune the output to your liking. For me, this was excellent. However, it's a LOT of tuning, and some people might not want to get into all of that. The sound quality is superb, and I haven't run into many issues with playback from USB. I love the unit overall.

    However, there ARE quite a few flaws in the X996. First, and most importantly, there's a flaw in the firmware in my particular radio. This flaw causes the unit to output no sound on any source, forcing you to press the reset button behind the radio to restore sound. This caught me off guard the first time it happened, and it spent HOURS re-tuning everything. I have all my settings recorded for when it happens again (Has happened three times in six months). Supposedly, Kenwood released an updated firmware to fix this and the slow Bluetooth sync issue.

    Second, the user interface sucks if you're not using the remote. In fact, some functions REQUIRE the remote. Not a huge deal, but definitely wasn't thought all the way through.

    Third, there's no button on the face to switch between folders. You need the remote to do this as well.

    Last, I STILL haven't found a way to jump to a specific song in a large folder

    Pros: -Beautiful -Excellent sound quality -Tons of source features -Tons of EQ/Time/Crossover settings

    Cons: -Buggy firmware -Remote required for certain functions -Confusing user interface -Slow Bluetooth sync

    Excelon KDC-X996 - Issues

    Written By Kelvin, Kirkland, WA on Friday, March 15, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I was looking for a replacement for my Jeep Liberty Renegade factory radio and considered purchasing the Kenwood KDC-X996. Wiring was easy even with the steering wheel control adapter. Sound quality is nice with the factory powered Infinity speakers. A few annoying things: display is difficult to see with full sunlight, preset feature is not easy to use since it is a 3 step process, and of course I ran into the bug when I took a BT call and the X'over settings defaults to Flat. I tried to update the firmware numerous times using different discs, different CD/DVD writers, and using "mastered" format and it doesn't work. Kenwood won't send me an update disc.

    Pros: Nice sound quality! HD Radio is a great feature

    Cons: Preset is annoying, can't update firmware, and unable to see display with full sunlight.

    Great value!

    Written By Anonymous, Everett, WA on Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great deck for the money. A little slow on reconnecting my HTC One via Bluetooth but not bad. Tons of audio adjustments, enhancers, and settings.

    Pros: Easy install, great quality, awesome value

    Cons: Hate the screen effects when adjusting the volume. Slow Bluetooth reconnection

    When did I sign up to beta test Kenwoods garbage?

    Written By mad, ok on Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    On paper it looks like a great head unit. In practice it's certainly not the most polished unit you could get, but as long as it does what it says it can, I'll forgive a few extra menus to scroll through. Of course that's asking too much. First off I made the dumb move of not installing it as soon as the UPS truck drove off. If I had, the "possible wiring/cracked fuse (?)" excuse crutchfield gave to cover up the fail that is this unit would have been disproven and this would have gone right back to steaming pile it came from. Every 2-3 weeks the unit will suddenly not turn on. The red power light will turn on but the useless startup screen doesn't happen and none of the buttons on the display will revive it. The only fix this is to use a pen and hit the reset button under the face. You can imagine how convenient this is. So many ways to customize the unit and you get to reset it every 2 weeks. It like the movie Groundhog Day. As others have mentioned Kenwood staffs their customer support with the same level of incompetence that they demand in their product designers. I installed a Pioneer in the car which was still going when I took it out after 3 yrs. This unit is glossy, plastic coated, garbage. Do not buy this unit unless you like paying full price for someone's failed prototype.

    Pros: It's shiny.

    Cons: It's so shiny you can't really use it during the day. Paying for untested inoperable products.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996

    Written By Anonymous, Archie mo on Monday, March 11, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    This was my first kenwood item did get returned but not because it was junk. I had some issues like sometimes a button had to be pushed several times to get it to respond and track and folder would flash on the display when iPod was in shuffle mode but kenwood didn't think it was normal so I just exchanged for a different model but sound quality is great and tons of sound settings I also like the color and display options and although some people found it difficult to use I had no problems with the menu. I did think kenwood customer service could be better they didn't really do any thing wrong just wasn't as friendly and eager to fix any issues you have however that's the upside to using Crutchfield they are great and excellent service like what top notch company's normally provide. The prices are good but if your playing the best price game you can maybe find a cheaper price but that will also come with a sacrifice like if they are not authorized dealer you won't have a warranty or the piece of mind knowing that if there is an issue you don't like with the product knowing you have a company to stand behind what they sell plus Crutchfield also includes dash kit and wiring harness plus fast and free shipping so do your homework before you choose another company

    Pros: Display sound quality functionability fair price

    Cons: Had some glitches and kenwood support not as strong as some

    Best single den radio for the price

    Written By Joe, Michigan on Thursday, March 07, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Best single din radio on the market for the price. Sound options galore. Sound quality is awesome, better then pioneer in this price range. Can't ask for a better radio in this price range. Kenwood's double din that does what this does is a thousand dollars more just because its a touch screen that should tell ya the hole story. Only issue I have is its not user friendly.

    Pros: Sound quility

    Cons: Ease of use

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996

    Written By Adam, Tampa, FL on Tuesday, March 05, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Great unit - incredible upgrade over factory unit in my 2013 Tacoma.

    Pros: infinitely adjustable.

    Cons: Lots of menus - some display colors get washed out in bright sunlight.


    Written By nicnico, burnsburns Oregon on Friday, March 01, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I think this is the best product for December come up with it's better than anything out there from what I seen it's a great head unit

    Pros: I really think it's awesome then sound and everything midrange tweeters sounds so clear and so perfect

    Cons: I really have anything negative to say about everything that I have put in too my truck from Kim what is great

    First-Time Kenwood Owner is Sold

    Written By Zach P, Delaware on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    The Equalizer: That was the name of the game for me when in search of a new head unit for my coupé. I had just gotten over a bad relationship with a near-worthless Dual XDM6350, which had nothing more than a few preset EQ modes and only 3 adjustable EQ bands. The unit would not play any CDs and whenever I went over a bump, the signal would become incredibly unclear.

    The Kenwood KDC-X996 solved all of my problems. This thing has 13 adjustable EQ bands which is great for someone obsessed with sound quality on a budget. It has a cacophony of audio adjustment capabilities including surprising features like the ability to choose your speaker size and to set the seat in your vehicle (vehicle type is customizable too) where you want sound to be directed. The audio customization features are excellent.

    Radio is clear, color and display customization is intuitive and easy to adjust, and the Bluetooth feature has been very handy for me. Contrary to other reviewers, once I turn Bluetooth mode on via my phone, the head unit recognizes it immediately. The whole process takes less than 20 seconds for me, and I can still control all aspects of my phone and the head unit.

    The only issue I have run into is that the scroll feature for perusing through a device plugged in via USB is a bit slow and takes too many flicks of the main knob to speed up.

    Pros: - Great sound quality and audio customization for people with a relatively low budget - Bluetooth mode and supplied mic work fabulously once set up properly (took me 5 minutes to set up initially) - Display is visible in daylight, contrary to some other reviewers' claims, though colors are not as pronounced - Can't go wrong with all of the features for the price

    Cons: - Scroll speed when going through an external device's data leaves something to be desired

    my first Kenwood...and MY LAST!!

    Written By Bill K, Huntington, Indiana on Monday, February 25, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    This was my first ever purchase of a Kenwood product and my last. First off, before I start my thoughts about this product, I have to first off mention that Crutchfield "as usual" were totally awesome and extremely helpful. The amount of professionalism from them was outstanding, the best customer service on the planet hands down!! Now, After having the Kenwood installed I instantly noticed problems. The unit kept resetting it's xovers, when turning up the volume it would actually turn down or plateau, the display was blurry at times, the 10 spectrum analyzer bars were not accurate at all. They appeared about 0.05 seconds off which I noticed right away. I also noticed that the Kenwood was not charging my ipod or iphone even though both showed it as charging, and periodically the LEDs would stop working when playing music, and an error message popped up. All this.....after finding out the radio already had the update from the factory. Kenwood told me to try and install it anyway which was another problem because it wouldnt let me. Kenwood has awful customer service skills as I spoke with several different people over a few days and all of them gave me different answers not to mention I could not understand any of them. It sounded like they were at a call center in Indonesia or something. So, even with the 2 updated firmware updates, the radio still had tons of issues. My first Kenwood experience is my last!!!

    Pros: lots of options for fine tweaking

    Cons: too many problems, build quality feels cheap, Kenwood customer service is a joke~

    Excelon KDC-X996

    Written By Eric, Albuquerque on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Love this stereo. Paired it with a Sound Ordnance 8 inch powered sub. So many adjustments and the sound is great. IPhone 4 works perfectly with it. Instructions for setting up the digital delays are terrible and I had to go online to figure it out. The manual in general is poorly written. I leave the sound enhancements alone. They work okay but I prefer my music to be pure and flat. Same with the DSP positioning, I set it to front or all because if you select left or right the volumes get screwed up. EQ works well but the preset eqs are worthless. I have 4ways up front and 2ways in the back and the digital sources can sound tinny. This is a danger with high end units and compressed digital sources as imperfections are amplified. I plan on replacing the 4ways with two ways up front. With so many adjustments I spend a lot of time fiddling. I also changed the source selection method to 2 because I didn't want to step through each source to get to the one I wanted. Would also be nice for all manufacturers to include a pink noise test tone for each source.

    Pros: Sounds good, flexibility, plays everything you can throw at it.

    Cons: Complicated, wife couldn't figure it out without instructions so it is not intuitive. Can be a hazard on the road while selecting stations or making adjustments. A home button would be nice to back out of menus that are 4 and 5 levels deep.

    Great Stereo for not too much money

    Written By Chris, Columbus OH on Monday, January 28, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    I bought this stereo so I could play my iPod, use my iPhone in Bluetooth mode, and I wanted to try out satellite radio. Everything hooked up together nicely and it all works. The operating system is a bit slow (there is a slight delay when you press a button, not too long, but noticeable) but other than that, it works great.

    Pros: So many input devices. I hooked up SiriusXM radio, my iPod, iPhone and an aux cable. Great equalizing capabilities and I can expand into having a powered sub and amped speakers if I wish.

    Cons: The button response is a bit slow, but not too bad. Small price to pay for everything else being great.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996

    Written By RandyB, Longview, Wa on Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    Product is great. I took into account some of the other reviews and found only ability to view the screen in sunlight to be of any significance. Just down loaded the full manual and read up on the various problems. a couple pushes of the display button will bring up the time, which was one of the complaints. Adjusted display to show time in lower right of the satilite screen. Constant view of time on HD radio screen.

    Pros: Bluetooth is great. Total control of sound with crossover controls of 16 band equilizer and various other means is very good.

    Cons: Only complaint is being able to see the screen in the sunlight. I had to sacrifice some of the great colors to choose from to get somthing that I could see the best.


    Written By Mr. Big, Columbus, OH on Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    • "Coolness Factor"
    • Build Quality
    • Ease of Use
    • Sound Quality
    • Value

    In the past, I have had many high-end car radios. Alpine, Pioneer and Kenwood. They were all great. But, I have to say, this Kenwood is best the best unit that I have owned. This unit has great sound quality and a ton of functionality. I played around will all the features for 3 months. I finally decided the unit sounds best at flat equalization. As for sound settings, the only features I needed to use are the Digital Time Alignment, Subwoofer Gain and the Cross Overs. All the other features are nice but not needed for my setup which includes a subwoofer amp and a 4 channel amp to drive the 6.5 inch door speakers. The unit plays nice with the iphone 5. Pandora sounds good. The pandora sound quality is somewhere between analog fm radio and digital fm radio. I am sure Pandora compresses the audio signal.

    Pros: Great natural sound. Plays nice with iphone 5.

    Cons: The am/fm radio station storage and station retrieval is a bit different. For more details, read the user manual that Crutchfield provides.