As the stereo systems in new cars get more complex and offer more options, it gets more and more difficult to upgrade to a brand-name stereo. Kenwood's KOS-A200 External Media Controller lets you enjoy the variety of entertainment options Kenwood offers, without replacing your factory stereo. It features an array of inputs that let you integrate a variety of sources into your factory system, so you can enjoy the entertainment options offered by Kenwood systems, yet maintain the familiar layout of your factory system.

Just connect this interface to your radio via the car's antenna input and supply it with power and ground. You get two auxiliary audio inputs for portable music players and other audio sources, plus a USB input, which lets you connect MP3 players, thumb drives, and other devices with USB outputs. You also get an input for accessories that usually only work with Kenwood in-dash stereos, including a SIRIUS or XM satellite radio, iPod® interface, CD changer, or HD Radio tuner.

If you have an RDS-compatible factory stereo that can display text info, then you'll see artist, album, and song name from your satellite radio, HD Radio tuner, or iPod on your stereo's display. You control the KOS-A200 and your Kenwood components with the included remote.

This interface also works directly with Kenwood car stereos, using a direct BUS connection rather than the FM antenna connection. You can use it to add up to four sources to your Kenwood stereo.

Product Highlights:

  • External Media Controller lets you add Kenwood gear to your factory stereo
  • connects to your stereo via the FM antenna connection
  • two auxiliary inputs
  • USB input
  • compatible with Kenwood's iPod adapter, HD Radio tuner, and CD changer
  • satellite radio-ready (subscription required)
  • song text shows up on RDS-compatible radio displays
  • wireless remote
  • directly compatible with most Kenwood car stereos
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • External media controller with attached 8' antenna-out cable (male motorola connector on end) and attached 8' antenna-in cable (female motorola connector on end)
  • RC-537 Wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 8' Power harness with 4-pin plug on one end and bare wire on other end
  • 3' USB cable with female USB connector on one end and a male USB connector on the other end
  • Remote control IR switch with attached 18' cord (right angle mini-jack on one end)
  • Metal bracket and machine screw for USB connection
  • Two 0.75" self-tapping screws
  • 1" x 3" Velcro strip
  • Instructions manual
  • Warranty Card booklet
  • Notes sheet

Product Research

Features
Menu
Inputs and Outputs

Features

Overview: The Kenwood KOS-A200 is an external Media Controller with RDS encoding that can be hooked up to your RDS enabled factory radio via the built in FM transmitter. The unit's various inputs allow you to listen to different sources on your factory radio that you were unable to before.

Radio Compatibility: The KOS-A200 can be installed to many RDS enabled factory and aftermarket decks by using the built in FM transmitter. The unit has an antenna in and out connection to hook up to your factory radio. You can also use this unit directly with your Kenwood radio or cd changer. The radio and/or changer must be manufactured in 98 or later. If your changer uses an "O-N" switch, then move the switch to the "N" position for it to work with the KOS-A200.

Note: This unit will display text information on your RDS enabled factory radio. This unit will also display text information on compatible Kenwood headunits which feature a CD-changer port.

Source Compatibility: You can listen to various sources through your car stereo by using the KOS-A200. Below is a list of available sources that can be connected.

  • Sirius: a Sirius tuner and subscription in required
  • HD Radio: a HD tuner is required
  • iPod: iPod adapter interface (KCA-iP500) and compatible iPod required
  • DAB: optional tuner is required
  • USB Device: this unit will playback MP3, AAC, and WMA from digital audio players via the USB port
  • External Disc: compatible Kenwood CD changer can be connected
  • Auxiliary Input 1: one pair of stereo RCA inputs
  • Auxiliary Input 2: one stereo min-jack input

Remote Control: This unit is equipped with a IR remote control switch that plugs into the KOS-A200 and then is run to the front of the vehicle so you can use the supplied wireless remote control. The remote operates the power, source, playback and menu functions of the KOS-A200. The remote offers the following playback functions.

  • Pause: quickly pause your music
  • Fast Forwarding and Reversing: quickly forward or reverse through songs
  • Track/File Search: search for a song on a disc or in an audio folder
  • Disc/Folder Search: search for a disc in the changer or a folder on the audio file media
  • Direct Track/File Search: search tracks and files by entering track and file numbers
  • Direct Disc Search: search for a disc by entering the disc number
  • Track/File Repeat: replay the track or file you just listened to
  • Disc/Folder Repeat: replay the song/disc in the changer or audio folder you are listening to
  • Scan Play: play the first part of each song on the disc or folder you are listening to until you find the one you want
  • Random Play: play all the songs on the disc or audio folder in random order
  • Magazine Random Play: play the songs on all the discs in the changer in random order
  • All Random Play: randomly play from all the audio files recorded on the media
  • Folder Select: quickly select the folder you want to hear

Menu

Menu System: You operate the menu system of the KOS-A200 by the remote control. You can make numerous adjustments in the menu to fit your application.

  • Transmission Frequency: You can select between the transmission frequency for the built-in FM transmitted to guarantee the strongest signal strength.  You can select between the following FM frequencies.
    • 87.9, 88.1, 88.3, 88.5, 88.7, 88.9
    • 89.1, 89.3, 89.5, 89.7, 89.9
  • Modulation Level: You can select the modulation level of the transmitter to adjust the volume output. When you play sources and the volume is low compared with that for FM, increase the modulation. If the volume is high and distorted, decrease the modulation level. You can select between the following settings.
    • MOD LV1
    • MOD LV2 (default setting)
    • MOD LV3
  • Data Transmission Speed: You can set the data transmission speed for the RDS feature. You can select from the following.
    • SCL-SPD 1, SCL-SPD 2
    • SCL-SPD 3 (default setting)
    • SCL-SPD4, SCL-SPD 5
  • Touch Sensor Tone: You can turn the operation confirmation "beep" On or Off.
  • Touch Sensor Tone Volume: You can adjust the volume of the beep confirmation. There are 5 levels to choose from.
  • Text Scroll: You can adjust the text to repeatedly scroll across the screen or only scroll when the display changes.
  • Built-in Auxiliary Input Setting: You can turn the Auxiliary Input "On" or "Off".
  • Auxiliary Input Display: You can label the Auxiliary input from one of the following.
    • Aux1/Aux2
    • DVD
    • Portable
    • Game
    • Video
    • TV
  • Firmware Version: allows you to display the firmware version with this unit
  • Search Mode: allows you to select between auto tracking or manual tracking
  • Sirius ID: allows you to display the Sirius ID electronic serial number when using a Sirius tuner
  • Auto Memory: puts stations with good reception into memory automatically when in HD or DAB mode
  • Switching Seek Mode: allows you to select either channel or preset search when using a Sirius tuner
  • Receive Mode: allows you to select either Auto, Digital, or Analog mode to receive HD radio signals

Inputs and Outputs

Outputs:

  • Antenna Out: male Motorola antenna output for connection to your factory stereo

Inputs:

  • Antenna In: female Motorola antenna input for connection your factory stereo
  • Power: 4-pin power connector input to supply power to the unit
  • 13-Pin Port: proprietary port for connection of compatible Kenwood devices such as Sirius Tuner,  HD Tuner, or iPod adapter module
  • USB: USB connection for audio digital devices
  • Aux In 1: one pair of stereo RCA inputs
  • Aux In 2: one stereo min-jack input
  • Remote In: one mini-jack input for connection to the IR remote switch

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.

Kenwood KOS-A200 External Media Controller Reviews

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finally something to improve on the 2003 Infiniti M45 Bose system

Written By marosari00, Melbourne, Florida on Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This device has allowed additional connectivity to my 2003 Infiniti M45. It has a Bose system. With this External Media Controller, I have expanded the number of audio sources. USB, RCA stereo and miniplug. I used a cassette adapter before and it was very limited compared to this device. As for installation, I placed it inside the glove compartment as space is a premium under or inside the dash. The infrared sensor was placed next to the cassette player and it blends into the dash!

As for the sound it is great!!!! The device connects through the antenna (diversity type). Got the antenna adapters and that was it. My system is RDS capable and using the interface is simple once you get down the logic used. Once the device is set to an FM frequency, upon turn on, it locks down and the sound is outstanding. I mostly use a 4Gb USB thumbdrive loaded with my favorite music.

Thanks Crutchfield for offering the product and the needed antenna cable adapters!!!

Kenwood KOS-A200 External Media Controller

Written By k5er, Elk Grove, CA on Monday, July 07, 2008

Great Product, and the sound quality is excellent.
This unit provides for the ability to connect the stereo outputs from a portable DVD player to the AUX1 (RCA jacks) and a USB flash drive (loaded with mp3's) to be played over the factory sound system.
A special note about installation. For my vehicle I needed to use two antenna adapters ("Aftermarket Radio to Factory Antenna" and "Factory Radio to Aftermarket Antenna") because the unit uses standare Motorola antenna connectors and Chrysler uses, well, Chrysler antenna connectors.

The installation was easy but did require me to remove the factory radio (in order to get to the antenna cable). Total time to install the unit was around 30 minutes in my 2003 Dodge GrandCaravan with Infinity sound system.

Great Product

Written By Rudolph, Baltimore, MD on Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this for my 2007 Chrysler Pacifica and love it! Great Sound quality. The unit will use the digital display of your factory radio in order to see what you are doing. I have hooked up a sirius universal tuner with a kenwood adapter where the CD changer would connect and it works great. I use a flash drive to play MP3s. All kenwoods are particular about which type of flash drive you use to connect. Basically anything that needs some internal software to operate will not work. Howevere the ones that use Basic flash drives are much cheaper and work fine. Oh, and here's a tip, the Unit will not play MP3s that are copy protected, so keep that in mind. Overall, great product.

Slick little magic box

Written By Andy, San Francisco, CA on Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)


Easy to install and works as described. Sound quality was on-par with
other wired modulators (near CD-quality). Nice option for those of us
wanting to keep factory stereos (that have RDS, which is required for this
unit to work) but want USB and AUX functionalilty. Menu structure takes a
little to get used to, but after some playing you'll get the knack of it. USB
works great, resumes tracks after shutting down, which I like. Kenwood
supplies copius amounts of wire for the antenna and remote, so be
prepared to find ways to conceal them.

Overall, I am satisfied with this unit for what I needed, which was a way to
listen to thumb drives and have an aux for the XM.

FYI: If you have an iPod and want to connect it, please take note of the
following. I bought the KCA-iP500 adapter (it plugs into the CD Changer
port on the KOS-A200), only to find out that adapter doesn't support the
6th gen iPods (Classic, new Nano, Touch, etc), yet it is the only iPod
adapter that is compatible with the A200. Long story short, if you have a
new iPod, then you will need to connect via AUX in.

This is the Best!

Written By Christopher, Virginia Beach, VA on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After contiplating the purchase of this controller, I finally went for it. It took only 2 days for delivery (Thanks Crutchfield!). This was the easiest thing to hook up. I have a 04 Towncar and didn't want to change the factory radio. It was installed and working in 30 minutes. I didn't have to remove the radio to access the antenna (You may have to). This is due to the fact that I have XM radio installed with a antenna splitter. I have all of my music on a plain old USB drive. Sounds and works great. This thing is awsome. Highly recommended for anyone without factory media inputs in their car.

Works Great

Written By jaespin, Washington, DC on Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have a 2003 Cadillac CTS. Because my antenna is located inside my windshield it makes a FM Transmitter sound terrible. My radio also does not have any additional inputs for XM or Sat Radio. My Ipod now plays through my radio two ways...I can play music by the headphone jack or plug it in from the bottom and move around by the remote. It also charges ipod while I listen. The sound is great and you will never know that it's playing through a radio station. I'm happy is the bottom line!

Not so great

Written By Mark, Virginia on Monday, February 11, 2008

I bought this unit to install in my son's 1996 Volvo in order to avoid the hassle normally associated with installing anything in a Volvo and provide some additional input flexibility. Only after installing the unit did I fully understand the big incompatibility obstacle associated with this unit. Your factory stereo must have RDS capability. Various web sites skirt this issue while advancing the product's virtues, but bottom line: no RDS, no way to see where you are at in the menu driven process associated with setting up and operating this thing. Probably works great for folks who have an RDS equipped OEM system.

Works Great

Written By hawthroned, DC Metro on Saturday, January 19, 2008

The unit works great in my 2004 Navigator. Installation was simple, and the interface is very easy to navigate. Very impressed.

Well worth buying

Written By DR, Pittsburgh on Monday, January 14, 2008

Easily installed, a great way to use your iPod with your factory stereo!

kos a200

Written By steve, cda, ID. on Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Installs easily, nearly anyone with any radio install experience can do this within an hour. Instructions are semi helpful but missing information you really need. Definatly not for any radios that do not have a display screen or without RDS because all the command functions require you to see what menu you are in to make selections. no selection, no workie. Missing the all important command tree for those stereos that are unable to display functions. I am in contact with kenwood to hopefully receive any type of command tree.