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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

CD receiver (New stock)

109 Reviews

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

Step into Kenwood's Excelon lineup
Kenwood Excelon receivers are a great choice if you want to push the sonic boundaries of your system, and enjoy reliability that's backed with a 2-year warranty. The KDC-X396 CD receiver kicks off the Excelon lineup with a nice blend of audio features and styling. And thanks to its selectable color feature, you can pick a button color that matches your vehicle's illumination so the receiver will look perfect in your dash.

Step into Kenwood's Excelon lineup
Kenwood Excelon receivers are a great choice if you want to push the sonic boundaries of your system, and enjoy reliability that's backed with a 2-year warranty. The KDC-X396 CD receiver kicks off the Excelon lineup with a nice blend of audio features and styling. And thanks to its selectable color feature, you can pick a button color that matches your vehicle's illumination so the receiver will look perfect in your dash.

Kenwood KDC-X396

Better sound from your iPod or iPhone
If you're an iPod® or iPhone® user, you won't miss a note of your favorite songs. Just plug your player into the convenient front-panel USB input, and you'll enjoy outstanding control right from the receiver. When you're connected via USB, the KDC-X396 bypasses your iPod's internal digital-to-analog converter, sending the digital data to the Kenwood's superior 24-bit D/A converter. Your music will sound more natural and lifelike.

If you're a Pandora® Internet radio fan, you can even pick from your favorite stations when your iPhone's connected. You've got more options, too. You can liven up your drive by loading in a disc full of music files, or by jacking another device into the front-panel aux input.

If you store your music on an Android device, download Kenwood's free Music Link app and you can enjoy a variety of search and playback features when your phone is plugged in via the front-panel USB.

Kenwood Excelon sound quality
If you're building a car audio system, one of the keys to the getting the most out of your system is a clean, powerful signal from your preamp outputs. All Kenwood Excelon receivers feature 4-volt preamp outputs that'll provide your amps with the strong signal they need for top performance.

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 this Kenwood, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls. Check the "Accessories" tab for compatible adapters.

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
    • detachable face with 13-digit display and variable-color button illumination
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • System Q Sound Control (8 preset EQ curves and a 3-band equalizer)
    • speaker size settings
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • bass boost
    • low-pass filter and subwoofer level control
    • 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
    • compatible with Music Link app for Android devices
    • inputs: front-panel auxiliary and USB input
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, and subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    What's in the Box:

    • AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis)
    • Face (attached)
    • Trim ring (attached)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Wiring harness
    • 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
    • Instruction Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Card

    Featured Video

    Great deck, easy to install, all the features needed when upgrading from factory radio and not needing a competition sound system.

    edgeonein, 47715


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (109 Reviews)

    Bad USB

    Anton from Chattanooga, Tennessee on 5/27/2015

    1998 Dodge Ram
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I used to think this was a pretty good deck- not too sure now. I have always gone Kenwood and have bought their decks for years, and seems like the quality has been going downhill. My deck is less than 3 years old, and the USB port has not only quit working, but it has also burned up a flash drive that also now does not work on mky computer.

    Pros: Looks, ease of use

    Cons: USB port


    Lecair from Northern California on 10/21/2013

    My experience has been that the connection points between the detachable face and the in-dash portion are faulty. Every press of any button on the left side of the face causes a momentary loss in contact between the face and the in-dash portion. Very frustrating. It has gotten progressively worse.

    Pros: Not worth the con

    Cons: Faulty connection between face and in-dash portion

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Coosada, AL on 9/21/2013

    2002 Buick Rendezvous
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Very good unit. Sounds great with my factory speakers



    Kenwood deck

    edgeonein from 47715 on 6/11/2013

    2007 Saturn ION 2
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great deck, easy to install, all the features needed when upgrading from factory radio and not needing a competition sound system.

    Pros: Great sound. Perfect balance of power.


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Guest from Cullman, AL on 5/3/2013

    Great sounding, simple, well designed, easy to use, no bull****, good looking head unit! For the PRICE you can't beat it!



    Great value and big improvement over the factory system.

    Mike from Wake Forest on 3/9/2013

    2005 Nissan Frontier
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 is an excellent value and a real upgrade to my factory CD receiver. Aux input works great with my IPod and I've loaded up a 8 Gig USB thumb drive with tons of music which provides many hours of music. Easy to use, plug in the thumb drive, put it on 'random' and forget about it.

    Pros: Good quality and a lot of features for the price (value). The experience of purchasing from Crutchfield and the confidence you gain by having the right tools and support to do the install yourself.

    Cons: Takes a little while to figure out how all the options work (menu and set-up), but if you spend a little time it becomes pretty intuitive.


    John from Clifton, Oh on 3/5/2013

    2006 Chevrolet Aveo
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Excellent head-unit, great sound quality and very easy to use. Crutchfield supplied everything need to make it a very easy install.

    Pros: Easy to use, good sound, customizable display.

    Cons: None so far.


    Rev. Beth from Nashville TN on 3/1/2013

    2006 Mazda MX5
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is the second KDC-X396 that I've had. When I find a product that performs, I stick with it!

    Pros: USB input works great with my iphone 5 music. Even without adding an aftermarket amp, the Excelon KDC-X396 has an extra boost of amps that improves the rest of the system - many radio/CDs don't have as much amp output. Easy to operate & stands the test of time!

    Cons: None

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Rob J from noblesville in on 2/27/2013

    2005 Chevrolet Colorado
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    the unit fit well in the dash with the color changes looks cool too

    Pros: cool colors sound great

    Cons: cant find how to get the clock to show

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Billy R. from Boonville, NC on 2/26/2013

    2005 Kia Spectra
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Button are to small, other than that it is a great stereo for the money.



    Like it

    vikingwayne from Santa Cruz, Ca on 2/17/2013

    2008 Honda Element LX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Works great. Sounds great--easy to use. some have complained about the buttons being too small, but I manage with my 3XL hands.Took a while to install--some of the vernacular I wasn't used to. The installation kit instructions are a bit clumsy. Love charging my devices though the USB--when I sed a cigarette lighter adapter, I got fedback thru the old radio. Not now.

    Pros: Coolness. kenwood quality

    Cons: It could be easier to turn off.

    Great Radio

    Goat from Kawkawlin, MI on 2/4/2013

    1995 Ford F Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 is a great stereo. I was looking for something with as many sound/eq settings/filters as possible. I listen to a wide range of music so versatility is a must. No need for bass blockers to be wired in before the speakers. You can change the frequency cutoff to your liking. I have had a lot of high end expensive stereos in my time and this is by far the best stereo I've had for a small amount of coin. The remote can do everything so you never really have to touch the unit itself. I think the best added feature is the usb port. I took an 8G thumb drive and put a bunch of music on it and plugged it in. Works great. No need to mess with cd's or aux cable for that matter. You can search the drive for the song you want before changing the current song as well.

    Pros: Everything is great especially for the price.

    Cons: None

    It's great!

    Crutchfield customer from Grand isle vermont on 1/28/2013

    2011 Toyota Tundra
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This head unit is nice. Very easy to use once you play with it a little bit. Lots of options it's perfect.

    Pros: Lots of options.

    Cons: None that I see

    Perfect for S10

    Volksmark from Ft. Wayne, IN on 1/16/2013

    2003 Chevrolet S10
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Definitely an upgrade from the stock radio. It sounds great with the stock speakers in my truck, but I plan to add a set of speakers this spring. It would have been a nice touch for this deck to have a rear USB port, but it's a great unit as is.

    Pros: USB / AUX connectivity Infinite choice of backlighting colors Easy to install in 2003 S10


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    rd from middle TN on 1/4/2013

    1997 Toyota Corolla
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great product with good sound quality and easy to use. Good buy.



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Wallingford,ct on 1/4/2013

    2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    excellent product, I am very happy



    Mediocre for the price

    DJ from Lancaster, CA on 1/4/2013

    2012 Honda Civic LX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This unit was recommended by the Crutchfield staff and I wished I hadn't listened to them... For the price, this unit is an underperformer in my book. It seems that Kenwood focused on a bunch of 'ooh-aww' features that really don't improve the sound quality and 'use-ability' of the unit (I don't care if it changes color when it plays). For all the programming menus (to include selecting speaker size), the sound is mediocre - especially bass response. I know, you're saying..."Buy a subwoofer". I shouldn't have order to get decent sound. I don't enjoy vibrating while going down the road. I tried 3 different speaker manufactures, and all gave me the same mediocre sound. "Hey've lost yest another customer!"

    Pros: Decent readout and easy to access menus.

    Cons: Poor reception (my crappy OEM radio picked up stations better), poor quality small buttons (apparently, Kenwood thinks we all have mouse hands). Even though I was assured this, the unit was never able to interface with my steering wheel controls (many days with Crutchfield tech support, several control units and no luck).

    Wife Loves It

    Dempsey from Summerville, SC on 1/3/2013

    2001 Toyota Sequoia
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought this as a Christmas present to replace my wife's stock stereo in her Toyota Sequoia and it was just in time. The CD changer on her stock car stereo failed 2 days before Christmas so she was hoping I had gotten her this. The installation was pretty straightforward and took less than an hour. Sound quality is really good, even though I didn't replace the stock JBL speakers in her SUV. It sounds much better than before. The radio picks up stations more cleanly (less static) and all the digital features work great. The big draw for me with this radio was the USB hookup and linking it to your phone. If you're an iPhone person you'll absolutely love this radio because it was designed with you in mind - control Pandora from the radio, iPod controls on the panel, etc. We use Android so there aren't as many features integrated for it but you can use the auxiliary adapter to plug your phone in and play your songs from the phone using your headphone jack (you'll need to buy your own cable though). There's no static and the sound quality is good. The Kenwood app for Android is pretty weak in comparison to what they offer the iPhone crowd but that was the only drawback.

    Pros: Good sound quality, easy installation using Crutchfield's instructions, great value for the cost

    Cons: Android app is really weak

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Oklahoma on 1/1/2013

    1999 Chevrolet Silverado
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love it! Great value, great sound quality & functionality. Booming power without need for amp or sub.. Really cool visual color fades on illuminated front facia.



    Excellent Sound

    David40 from St Pete Florida on 12/29/2012

    1996 Ford Econoline
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Fantastic sound, solid bass without the need for a sub. CD and USB mp3's play clear as a bell. (Beats the Sony CDXGT660UP hands down. The Sony has no bass response and mp3's play distorted.) I am very happy with this Kenwood. I received the wrong harness but Crutchfield sent out the correct one ASAP. Installation was simple, but then I have the shop manuals for my vans with the wiring diagrams. In my case the speaker wire colors all matched exactly.

    Pros: Superior sound quality.

    Cons: None I can think of.

    Love it!

    RC from Huntsville, AL on 12/22/2012

    2005 Toyota Corolla
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I am no expert or anything and I don't have any experience at all with any other car stereos, so I am not qualified to make any comparisons and say that this one will blow away some other one. However, I can say with certainty that I am completely satisfied with my Kenwood Excelon KDC X-396. I can also say that in the confusing world of car stereo shopping, there is probably no better place to do business than Crutchfield. The instruction sheet they authored for my car was the bomb! And though I didn't need it, (only because of their fine illustrated instructions), it was great to know during installation that an expert was just a phone call away. I was very apprehensive about doing this myself, but Crutchfield supplied the know-how. If you are an averade do-it-yourselfer and have a few tools you should have no problems either. Also, the simple one-piece dash unit they supplied for free was very nice - much better than all the expensive, complicated, 10-piece ones I had been looking at online. It fit like a glove and went in exactly like the discarded factory one. It didn't require a single extra screw. The unit itself has all the functions I wanted and it looks great. It is WAY more powerfull than the factory unit and the FM tuner picks up at least twice as good so there is now no need to install that new antena I was certain would be necessary. And though I may be wrong about the importance here, I also like the 4 watt amp outputs compared to everyone else's 21/2 watts.

    Pros: everything

    Cons: none yet

    Great stereo!

    Stephen from Murfreesboro, TN on 12/21/2012

    2003 Subaru Impreza WRX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great stereo. Very easy to install, especially if you get a new wiring harness for your car. Basically just wire it up at your kitchen table then plug it in to car and radio and done.

    Pros: Ease of use Lots of functions High quality

    Cons: Takes a few to figure out the controls. No rear connection for ipod.

    cool radio

    Soul8Death from Wisconsin on 12/20/2012

    1992 Dodge Dakota
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I luv how the face plate removes and that u can hook up the iphone. and change colors.



    Good head unit

    Nick from Jamison,pa 18929 on 12/14/2012

    2005 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great head unit easy to install, sounds much better then my 5 year old head unit. Lot of extra features equalizer wise and more

    Pros: Easy iPod hook up, lot of features

    Cons: No pause button

    Not what I expected

    tgflag from Michigan on 12/13/2012

    2004 Oldsmobile Alero
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    A radio should be a radio. How hard is that? Especially with today's technology. This "radio" part of the unit is terrible. My OEM radio picked up AM stations as clear as FM. This radio not only will play AM stations, the FM stations fade and have static. I am and have been a GM tech for over 32 years at a dealership. It's NOT an antenna issue. I have checked everything, and double-checked everything. Would NOT purchase this unit again, nor do I recommend it. The other playing aspects of the unit are okay. The menu's, sub-menu's, sub-sub-menu's is a bit too much. No need for this much complexity in a unit with limited buttons. I purchased this because of the "pre-set" buttons. Not too many units offer it anymore. But it has a bible for the instruction manual. And NO WHERE in the manual does it explain how to just have the clock displayed. I just started pushing buttons to figure it out. AND finally, Crutchfield sent me the wrong wiring adapter. Needed to return and I had to pay for return shipping. Will not purchase from Crutch anymore.

    Pros: USB and AUX on the front of the deck. Has radio station pre-sets.

    Cons: No AM reception and poor FM reception. Would not purchase again.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    ricky m from outer banks n.c. on 12/10/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    first review ive done but couldnt resist, called my crutchfeild advisor to find out what would be the best products for me and they nailed it , my kenwood receiver is awesome and the sound is totally crisp, my amp adn sub plus the info to connect was flawless, best customer service ive had ever , will gladly buy from this company again thanks once more



    Kenwood KDC-X396

    Barneymc from Ramona, CA on 11/25/2012

    1997 Toyota Land Cruiser
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is my 2nd KDC-X396, and I love them. I play USB sticks with MP3 files, and this unit supports 8GB, which holds a lot of music.

    Pros: front-panel USB port

    Cons: does not have an "OFF" choice, only standby until the switched power is turned off.

    Could not have worked out better!!

    Charlie from Williston, ND on 11/14/2012

    1995 Dodge Dakota
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Installed easily! Excellent instructions! Great sound quality! I could not be happier!

    Pros: Every aspect!

    Cons: None

    Perfect Unit

    grayson1 from Gray, TN on 11/12/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I wanted a simple, quality unit for my son's old '87 Porsche 944 Turbo. It has all that he needed, radio, cd, pandora and iPod use. Considering you can only use 4X6 speakers in this car without modifications it's bass and overall sound it amazing. Surprising depth of sound. You can adjust the "EQ" for each function which really helps with the iPod. For the price, EASY installation and features you can't get much better. Yeah the different colors are kinda cool. When Crutchfield said the install kit would be specific to the car...I rolled my eyes. Now I have to apologize, it was perfect. I haven't installed a stereo since the 80's...units get more technical but install gets easier!



    Great system!

    Tom - Orlando from Orlando, FL on 11/9/2012

    2000 Ford Mustang
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I love this new stereo. It's great having a CD player and connectors for my iPod, etc. It is weird not having an on/off switch and my car doesn't have a mute button, so the music is basically always on. Also, going through the settings menu can be burdensome when trying to get back to the top. My 2000 Ford Mustang Mach 460 system also requires only 6V whereas this stereo outputs 12V. I wasn't sure if the really annoying sound when the stereo came on was normal or not. In the end, I had to buy a 7805 power regulator from a different retailer and solder it in the power control line. Now there's no annoying sound and all is well.

    Pros: iPod connector

    Cons: No on/off switch, menu system, too much output voltage.

    Great Receiver, tricky install

    JimboC from Albuquerque, NM on 11/6/2012

    2003 Volkswagen Jetta
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Overall this is an excellent receiver with great sound from CDs, Radio and MP3/WMA audio stored on USB. The system uses digital dynamic boosting for audio files that actually makes the sound much better than the sampled quality. Tricky part was the installation. Our 2003 VW Jetta required a special converter harness (~$60) to connect and take advantage of the very good Monsoon sound system. After a trip to the auto parts store, this involved soldiering (unclear in instruction that this was required) about 25 color coded wires (and sealing with heat-shrink tubing) between the harness plug in (that fits exactly) and the plug-in to the radio. A couple of the wires are left out and a couple are 2-to-1 connections and this is fairly well (but occasionally ambiguously) documented, and it took three support calls and about 3 hours to resolve questions before successful. Thanks to Crutchfield's most excellent telephone support (on a Sunday no less) it worked perfectly and looks great with an excellent dash fit. When done, I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. Four-star rating is mostly because this was a LOT more work than I expected.

    Pros: Incredibly good sound from all sources, excellent integration with the VW Monsoon sound system, looks good and (mostly) well configurable.

    Cons: This is my wife's car mostly and she finds the array of configuration options daunting coming from the very simple VW system. Also the MP3/WMA play functions from USB are difficult to figure out -- hard to tell how to set a random track/folder setup from a straight play setup. Installed for 4 months now and we're still figuring out all the tricks.

    Great upgrade for my 95 Jeep YJ

    StudentDoc from Lexington, KY on 10/22/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great product. Simple install, has preouts for subs, and awesome hookup for iPhone/iPods. Can launch my MLB at Bat, iHeartRadio, or Pandora app and then plug in and will play through my iPhone. Only qualm I have is that it will not play songs that are "in the cloud" with iTunes Match. I only have a 16 GB iPhone and it will play the songs I have actually downloaded, but not those I stream. However, Pandora and others make up for it. Also love how it scrolls the title and artist (from Pandora as well).

    Pros: Great value, intuitive controls, front side USB for easy hookup

    Cons: None

    great for the price

    Crutchfield customer from SW FL on 10/18/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    great price for the money; not high end HIFI, but good; need to study manual to understand operating unit - not super intuitive



    Affordable Quality

    Mike from Ohio on 10/2/2012

    2001 Jeep Wrangler
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great price for Kenwood sound. Controls can be a bit cumbersome but overall pretty self explanitory. Not much in the way of graphics like my old Pioneer. If you don't need Bluetooth or HD radio this head is pretty close to perfect in this price range.

    Pros: Good sound and quality at a low price.

    Cons: Controls a little awkward.

    Awesome stereo. great price

    Charlesp from Merrimac, MA on 10/1/2012

    2002 Ford Explorer
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I put this stereo in my ford explorer yesterday. easy hook up and sounds and look great in the car. i highly recommend this stereo



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from hebron, in on 9/28/2012

    2005 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Outstanding head unit, takes a little to get down where all the controls are for like the audio settings but thats only because it has so many. You can tweek your settings the to the exact way you want them. very fairly priced, and well worth it. I would recommend this product to anyone that is looking for a decent priced head unit with all the bells and whistles. Good job Kenwood!!



    I like the KDC-X396 better the more I use it.

    Marty from NE Ohio on 9/24/2012

    1987 Chevrolet Camaro
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Not having bought an aftermarket car stereo for a long time, I needed to replace an old Concord cassette unit in a 1987 Camaro IROC-Z and this one would fit the mounting space. The sound quality is not as good as the stereo it replaced but I needed to get more modern features and the new hardware is a lot less expensive than the old stuff. As I use the KDC-X396 more, I discover thoughtful features such as tactile bumps on certain buttons to help you find them while driving, yet they have really packed too many functions onto too few buttons and it can be cumbersome to get to the function you want. Buttons wasted on Pandora thumbs up/down could have been better used, IMHO. I must be too old and do not understand why one needs a remote control for a car stereo. The Kenwood Music Editor Lite software can be downloaded for free and is used to index songs on your USB device but it is not very flexible. Apparently there is a "full" version of this program but they do not give it to you and apparently do not offer it for sale either. It seems to have been included with certain model stereos in the past. I was unable to find this software on the Internet but would like to try it. In spite of certain complaints I do like this stereo and am pleased with my purchase,

    Pros: Lots of features, separate front, rear, sub outputs. Adjustable display color via RGB values is kind of cool. Good flexibility on tone controls, user-defined EQ program via 3-band parametric EQ is nice. Sub control includes low & high pass filters. The documentation covers the basics but could have included more about actually *using* the stereo, such as how to quickly get back to the top of the function hierarchy (volume control) from way deep in a sub menu.

    Cons: Have to use special Kenwood software to index the songs on USB device. I wish it could handle M3U playlists. The limit of 999 songs is restrictive given modern media capacities. After making adjustments, too many button presses needed to get back to volume control - dangerous while driving. Buttons wasted on stupid Pandora thumbs up/down could have been used for this function. The display is difficult to read in sunlight. +/- 8 db on the tone controls could have been more. Does not play MP4.

    Excellent product. Works as advertised

    Ian F. from New York, NY on 9/21/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I purchased this radio for my wife's 2004 Ford Focus. With the installation kits and instructions, I went in without any issues. The display is easy to read and intuitive. Sound quality is better than the factory radio. Overall very pleased with the item.

    Pros: Auto connects to the I-phone. Excellent sound quality

    Cons: Menus could be a little easier to navigate


    Joe from Jenison mi on 9/19/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This receiver just plain awesome for the money it blows my alpine out of the water the 4volt sub outlet really kicks the bass i will recommend it to all i know

    Pros: The affortabiliy is great no different from hi- end stuff

    Cons: I have no complants

    Great deck

    GregF from Lone Tree, CO on 9/12/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great replacement for factory deck in Dodge Dakota. Got it primarily because factory deck did not have inputs for iPod, plus I liked the option to use Pandora. Very impressed with Crutchfield's tech support and instruction manual. I called three times and they answered the phone immediately and answered my questions quickly.



    Is this unit flaky?

    s2kvan from Houston, TX on 9/10/2012

    OKay, this is not going to be a full-fledged review. I like the unit and its features. The price was also very, very good-it cost less than the USA Spec iPod interface I added to my OEM head unit in another vehicle. However. Is anyone else experience "flaky" operation with this unit? What I mean by that is the steering wheel control adaptor only occasionally doesn't respond to a command (and I have to repeat the command/button push), sometimes the Kenwood can't read my iPhone (even though I use the same cord and iPhone every day), and sometimes the Kenwood beeps when I give it commands, even though I have turned that feature off. Oh, and it's constantly nagging me to download Pandora (which I don't currently use) and then when I did, it wouldn't play my iTunes music at all. I had to put the HU in "iPod" mode two times every time I'd plug it in. Also, I'm underwhelmed with the sound quality. It seems as if it's all over the map from song to song. My factory head unit was more stable. Lastly, I wish that menus would "time out" on this thing. For example, if I"m adjusting the treble or bass and then don't back out of the menu, it stays in that menu until I turn the car off. Which means I cannot use my steering wheel control to change tracks, etc. until I back out of the menu on the HU. Seems dangerous to me.

    Pros: price and appearance

    Cons: performance

    Good head unit

    SamuelB from Conway, AR on 9/9/2012

    2001 Toyota Camry
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is an awesome head unit for the price every feature you could possibly need. HPF works great, 4v preamp outputs are fantastic. Overall just a great purchase.

    Pros: All

    Cons: None

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Ron H from rush valley ut on 8/27/2012

    1985 Ford Econoline
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    was easy to install had one speaker gone to ground after finding the problem worked great



    Great for the price

    Paul A. from Clinton, MS on 8/15/2012

    2000 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought the Excelon KDC-X396 for its value, CDs, MP3 CDs, and its ability to play music from the iPhone, which is what my daughter uses most of the time to listen to music.

    Pros: This was my daughters first time to install a car stereo (with me looking over her shoulder to help her with any difficulties), and everything worked perfectly. I actually had my daughter perform the installation, and it took about an hour.

    Cons: None.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    jeramie74 from Sheffield Lake, OH on 8/12/2012

    2001 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    urge at overall value for the level of technology you receive

    Pros: plenty of connections plus pandora control

    Cons: pandora comes on regardless of just wanting to listen to music stored on my iPhone

    Nice for the price

    Mike L. from Vidor, Tx on 7/30/2012

    2004 Nissan Titan
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Very nice unit and easy to use. Didn't notice it didn't have bluetooth. My fault. Otherwise good buy.

    Pros: Easy to install


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Chris A. from Hiram,GA on 7/27/2012

    2006 Honda Accord VP
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love this stereo. Installed one in my sons truck about a year ago. Liked it so well that I bought the same model to put in my wifes car when her radio crashed. Kind of hoping the stereo in my truck will take a dive so I have a reason to install this model in it.



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Adelanto, CA on 7/27/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I like the product for the value, sound, quality, the looks on the car it self, one of the best deals I always get from Crutchfield. Homero.



    Great head unit

    WKD from Blacksburg, VA on 7/24/2012

    2002 Honda CRV EX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Buy this receiver, you'll love it. I comparison shopped for a while, trying to find the unit with the most features and most power at the lowest price. I came upon this baby, and it hit the nail on the head. Works great with my Infinity Basslink. Even without the sub, it makes my factory car speakers sound much better. It is a seriously awesome receiver. I have 2 small issues with it. 1. I wish I could use the big knob to change radio stations rather than having to use the > buttons. But maybe there is a way to do this and I just haven't figured it out yet. 2. In direct sunlight, you can't see the screen. But this is a problem with all of these I guess, and I can only remember one time in 3+ months of use where I noticed it for longer than 3 seconds.



    Easy to use

    Pat S from Chapel Hill, NC on 7/20/2012

    Took a trip to the store and the customer service was great. They explain all the features and gave me all the information for install on my 2002 Tahoe, which was very easy. Pick this model because all controls were easy to see and functions were easy to use. Like the ability of using music off my flash drive alot. Also added new Pioneer speakers at the same time (factory speakers were dead).Plan to buy the same reciever this fall for our Honda. Recommending Crutchfield to everyone.

    Pros: Easy to use and sound is great

    Cons: Haven't figure out the Kenwood Music Editor software for the flash drive yet.

    Good Find

    Nick from DE on 7/19/2012

    2000 Jeep Wrangler
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Once I got used to the controls, This thing is awesome for the money! First radio I've bought in years, really cool how you can control your Ipod with the head unit controls. I drive a jeep with the doors & top off allot. I lock my ipod in my glove box and plug it into the radio, without worring that I might loose my ipod on a turn. Sounds much better than my previous Kenwood also. Don't know what they did, but they did it right

    Pros: Every radio I've bought has been from Crutchfield, Due to the package you get for a complete install, and they didn't fall short this time either. Mounting kit, harness, and instructions were all perfect for a VERY fast install. No yanking on dashboard pieces or cracked trim for me :-)


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    NS custom sound from IL on 7/16/2012

    2002 Jeep Wrangler
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    You can not go wrong with this unit! It has everything you want in a head unit besides blue can even hook up with your factory stearing wheel controls witch is very nice!

    Pros: you can customize the look of the unit.

    Cons: non

    Great quality receiver!

    BrianW from Franklin, TN on 7/16/2012

    1999 Chevrolet Prizm
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought this receiver based on the positive reviews here at Crutchfield, and the Kenwood reputation. I am very pleased with this unit! My son and I installed it in his 1999 Chevrolet Prizm using the Scosche IM2122B Installation Kit and the wiring harness that Crutchfield included with my order. We kept the stock speakers, since his car had the upgraded sound system from the factory. It sounds fantastic - much better than the receiver it replaced! There are several equalizer options for each source (radio, CD, iPod, etc.), and the unit has plenty of power to get a great-quality sound. In this price range, I don't think there is a better receiver. The build quality is very good, with buttons that have a good feel to them. Also, the Excelon series has a 2-year warranty. Bottom-line, I would definitely buy this again!

    Pros: Solid, quality feel. Plenty of power from the built-in amp to drive 4 speakers. Controls are fairly intuitve - a little bit of a learing curve, but probably no different than any other newer receiver.

    Cons: Manual could be better.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from tampa,FL on 7/14/2012

    2007 Volkswagen Jetta
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    excellent value, great car stereo, easy to use

    Pros: easy to install, easy menu to navigate around and set up

    Cons: no complaints,

    broke so many times

    Guest from Sheffield MA on 7/6/2012

    every thing kept failing with it. it would not play out the right side of my car and i changed the speakers and wire to find out it was the stereo. next it would not play my ipod through the usb. then it would not read any cd and then it just quit and turns off when it wants. sick of it. not the coolest looking one on the market either. defiantly not buying another kenwood sorry

    Pros: sound quality was decent and easy to use when it worked

    Cons: build quality was awful not to cool either there are better ones out there

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Kyle from San Luis Obispo, CA on 6/30/2012

    2005 Honda Accord LX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great reciever, has a ton of equalization features and sounds great. The changing colors also looks pretty cool at night.

    Pros: Easy enough to use, just read through the manual so you know where all the features are. Changing button colors is a cool feature. Sounds great.

    Cons: A little hard to navigate through all the equalization options at first, but allows you to get the sound to exactly how you want it

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    DA from Mountaintop,PA on 6/24/2012

    1988 Chevrolet Corvette
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love this radio. It has the modern look and all the bells ans whistles to satisfy. This unit replaced my factory stereo unit and has cool functions and a great sound. Sound can be modified easily to the listeners taste. Depsite what some may feel is dificult to naviaget thru to vary sound, once you are used to the controls it is very easily done.

    Pros: Great unit all pro's

    Cons: none at this time


    ShayS from middlesex, nj on 6/24/2012

    2001 Mitsubishi Galant
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is my first car audio purchase and im glad I went w Crutchfield. My dad has been a fan for years and he helped me w the install. It wasrelatively simple, the install took two hours ( because we stopped to hit the store for wire crimpers) but wasnt time consuming, although it would have taken me, a novice, about twice the time if I had to do it alone. The device feels solid and sounds spectacular. Speakers that I hadn't even realized were in the car before came alive w depth and clarity. The ipod control worked better than expected but there is a learning curve. My two complaints about the install would be that the trim that comes w the head unit doesnt fit properly when squeezed between the console trim on my Galant but i've glued it in a bit until i can sand it to fit. I also really wish that the device would display the time as a default display setting because now i'll have to add an aftermarket clock to my car just to avoid checking my phone for the time.

    Pros: sound and quality

    Cons: no clock, not an ideal fit w the trim.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Will L from Birmingham Al on 6/18/2012

    2008 Dodge Caliber
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I had an alpine that kept skipping, but only on bought cd's not burned ones, so I got tired of that and started looking for a replacement. At first, I did not want a kenwood, because the last generation were to hard to figure out. After reading a few reviews of their newer stuff, I tried this one. I must say that it is very user freindly, the 4volt dedicated sub-out make the bass from my rf 12 very heavy and solid better than the apline. I am glad I got this deck.

    Pros: very user freindly

    Cons: makes me wish I got the x696

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Richie from Largo, FL on 6/13/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is a replacement for a Bose system in my '97 Eldo ETC and it compliments my car perfectly. It does everthing I want with options I may never use but still there incase. Only problem is it doesn't work off the steering wheel controls.

    Pros: With the adaptor bracketry provided, it fit like a glove and appears as though it belongs where the original system was. Once I read the directions, duh, it is relatively easy to use.

    Cons: none to speak of

    Great steroe

    Ethan I from CT on 6/4/2012

    1993 Saab 900
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I replace an after market sony stereo in my '93 Saab 900 with this stereo. The person I bought my car from had messed with the wiring to the stereo and had a CD changer and an aftermarket amp installed so My father and I had some minor confusion with the wiring but I imagine without all of that it would have been simple. it is easy to use and works great. I was told by a crutchfield advisor that you can control the music through your Ipod inseatd of the unit but i have yet to figure out how

    Pros: Looks Cool. Easy to Navigate

    Cons: None


    Keith from San Luis Obispo, CA on 5/31/2012

    1997 Chevrolet K Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great deck for the price. Pretty straight forward controls and not too hard to navigate. If you hold down the ipod button when your ipod is hooked through the usb you can control it with the ipod instead of only the deck (which in my opinion is way easier)

    Pros: Every color you can think of! Easy to install. Many settings to adjust to your liking.

    Cons: Havent found one yet.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Mark G from Kings Mountain, NC on 5/31/2012

    2001 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    very satisfied so far



    Should have spent more...

    wik from Livonia, MI on 5/29/2012

    So, I got this Radio to replace a sony radio that had been stolen from my car. I have an android phone, and a 2004 STI. I was left wishing the clock and display area changed color. I wish it had a hands free phone hook up. I wish it wasnt only compataible with iPhones. At first, I was like well, all that would cost a lot more...then I looked at the flagship Model 996. Really nice...almost too pretty to go in my no frills STI, but quite nice. and the price? only 180 more than this thing..maybe a bit pricey... So I continued my search. to the x896. Now that is a nice looking radio.. Full screen color, actual functional and desirable text on the screen. All the functions you really should have on your radio to drive safely, and only 140 more than this base model. At that price, that thing is worthy of actually being in a car, this might as well stay stock another week until you can pony up for the much nicer long term solution.

    Pros: It's cheap

    Cons: It leaves you wanting a better radio.

    Great Value

    Crutchfield customer from Vergennes, VT on 5/27/2012

    1989 Ford Bronco
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Very good quality and looks awesome! The custom color display is a nice feature. The controls are easy to use even while driving. I am very pleased with my new Kenwood and Crutchfield's customer oriented company.

    Pros: Everything

    Cons: Nothing yet


    JG from NY NY on 5/22/2012

    1991 Toyota MR2
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Definitely a great faceplate. Love the changing colors and customizable features. It really puts out nice ampage to my Rockford Fosgate components and sub. Sounds great! The settings can get a little getting used to - especially the EQ adjustments, but a little practie goes a long way. I'd recommend this plate!



    Excelon KDC-X396

    Kruger from Wmpt., Pa. on 5/20/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Had tried FM transmitter to send sound from MP3 player to car radio. These do not work very well. For just a few $ more was able to replace the radio with this very nice unit which looks very cool and sound fantastic and allows you to connect the MP3 via usb.

    Pros: Sounds great, easy installation, daughters love the changing colors.

    Cons: No clock, no off switch caused me to only give 4 stars on the build quality. Daughters prefer to control MP3 from the MP3.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Jim K from Oakland, IA on 5/16/2012

    2000 BMW Z3
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Nice radio, fit well and has some cool features.



    Kenwood KDCX 39

    Randall from Colorado on 5/16/2012

    1998 Chevrolet K Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I put this in my 1998 Chevy Silverado ext cab Great stereo. Great value. Easy to install thanks to Crutchfield It fit perfectly. I love a remote control.



    Very Pleased!

    Todd from Tennessee on 5/15/2012

    2000 Ford F-350
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This replaced the factory cassette unit in my F350. I am more than happy with this Kenwood. The sound is very good, even with 12 year old factory speakers. I love the USB connection for my MP3. Installation was easy, and it looks much better than original.

    Pros: Excellent sound, Lots of features for the price, USB connection,

    Cons: None so far

    Great stereo

    DanN from Fayetteville, NC on 5/14/2012

    2004 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Nice stereo, lots of features and settings. I'm still getting it dialed in but it sounds much better than the factory head unit and allows me to finally tune my sub and adjust it independent of the rear speakers. The remote is great. The IPOD features are the main reason I bought it along with the multiple 4V RCA outputs to allow for future expansion. I'd rather not have detachable face but it is OK. This has many more features than my wife's Pioneer, I've always used Pioneer but got more bang for the buck with this Kenwood. 4 stars is for the relatively complex settings menus and lack of detail in the manual - it should do better to describe what each setting does.

    Pros: lots of adjustability, great IPOD interface, expandability due to 3 sets of RCA outs

    Cons: getting the audio settings right takes some research and above average knowledge.

    A great replacement!

    PHIL from Connecticut on 5/13/2012

    2002 Subaru Forester
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This unit has great sound and was easy to install! Sounds great on 11 year old speakers! Definitely would recommend!

    Pros: Perfect replacement and better than factory.USB and MP3 a Plus

    Cons: Directions need several readings! Good Luck!

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Marion C. from Columbus, Ohio on 5/11/2012

    1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Outstading unit, exceeded my expections!



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Tim P. from ATL, GA on 5/10/2012

    2002 Dodge Dakota
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Put this in a Dodge Dakota, along with jl audio's c2 5.25' s in the front doors. Was easy to install. Has a lot more power than the factory unit,even makes the rear factory speakers sound much better. Unit has a nice clean look. AM & FM reception are great. CD playback is great too, plays homemade cd's that wouldnt play on my factory deck. Has flexible audio controls. Charges and plays my iphone... Take a minute to read instruction manual, controls can seam a little confusing at first but once you figure it out they are rather simple to use.

    Pros: ***Bang for the Buck. Good power. Great sound. Flexible controls. Great AM,FM reception and cd playback. Clean look with lighting options. Easy to read display in sunlight. Iphone/Ipod control and charging. USB port. Wireless remote. 6 channel 4volt preamp outputs.

    Cons: none

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Fred from Pittsboro,NC on 5/9/2012

    2000 Toyota Tundra
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great Radio,Great Sound with my OEM Speakers. Easy Installation. Great Fit. I've dealt with Cructhfield for several products over the years, and you can't beat them.

    Pros: All Good!! Product was just what I was looking for.

    Cons: None

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Philadelphia Pa on 5/7/2012

    1994 Toyota Pickup
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    So far so good. Powers everything fine, has the options I looked for, definitely affordable. I don't care for the drill-down style menu with a back button but I guess that is just personal preference. To be honest, I haven't begun to explore all the options on the unit yet so take my review as a "first impressions" review.

    Pros: Affordable, ease of attachments, color changing is cool

    Cons: Menu

    Kenwood Sounds as Good as It Looks

    Marty from Elizabethtown, KY on 5/4/2012

    2001 Nissan Maxima
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I replaced a JVC unit with this Kenwood unit. Even though this is a low priced unit, it sounds great. I have it hooked to a 4 channel JBL 100 watts/channel RMS amp running Infinity component speakers and a 300 watt RMS amp to a sub. One of the main reasons I purchcased was because of the 6 RCA outputs. The JVC only had 4 and had to split the signals to the 4 channel amp. This unit sounds so much cleaner than the previous JVC. You might find a receiver cheaper at another site, but when you consider you receive your free wiring harness and install kit and your instructions for disassembling the dash in your vehicle, you can NOT beat the price and service you receive at Crutchfield. I called them up for a quick question on install and they answered right away and knew what they were talking about.

    Pros: 6 RCA outputs, Great sound, Crutchfield service

    Cons: None yet

    Kenwood replacement

    blondbob5 from Plantation, FL on 5/3/2012

    1996 Chevrolet Tahoe
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Good sound quality and plays all of my CD's.

    Pros: Looks good and works good at a great price.

    Cons: My problem with the unit is the fact that I had hoped to spend a couple of hours installing as it was raining that day and I didn't have anything else to do. Ten minutes to connect the two wiring harnesses and ten minutes to get the old radio out and put the new one in.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    russ3or8 from klamath falls, or on 5/1/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    great looking and sounding stereo with all the features you alot cheaper than local stereo store



    best deal on the market

    aaron l from St. Charles MO on 4/29/2012

    1995 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I try not to write reviews ,I read them and base my decisions on what other write. So now i hope others will read this and do the same. The deal was one that i dont think any body would pass. The install kit (by the way is a deal also) was so simple i think my wife could do this and she not a electronic's person.All together i am pleased with kenwood and with crutchfield for there products and support.

    Pros: simple install great sound

    Cons: none

    Very happy

    UM from Hartford, CT on 4/27/2012

    2010 Honda Civic LX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I do not write reviews, however often read them before I purchased products, hence in an effort to help someone make their decision on this product I will share my experience. The sound quality is outstanding. Granted I have used Kenwood head units for the past 12 years. The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 met all my expectations on budget. I am not using this units internal amplifier, however I am using the all 6 RCA out plugs and the 4 volts rating did interest me as I am running an Alpine MFP-300 4 channel amp and a 6" amplified Bazooka Tube in a 2010 Honda Civic with 6" Polk DB-651s. The quality of sounds is simply amazing. I find it a pleasure to driving this car in the early and afternoon commute. I also like the fact that the illumination matches my dash in my car and the remote control for the unit is also helpful. I also like the fact I can use my Ipod.

    Pros: 6 RCA 4 volt plugs, multiple illumination, great sound, 2 year warranty

    Cons: none so far after 2 weeks use


    Dan from Malden, MA on 4/27/2012

    2005 Honda Accord EX
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    real easy install and really great functionality, especially with the pandora and ipod. you can't beat this price for this quality. only gripe would be the flimsiness of the frame around the unit, but if you get an adapter or something else to frame your unit, you're all good.

    Pros: price, install, pandora, ipod/iphone

    Cons: flimsy plastic frame

    Out standing

    CEW from Macon, Missouri on 4/25/2012

    1993 Chevrolet C Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Was a great fit for my "93" Silverado and with the adapter from Crutchfield to replace it was a very easy change.




    KenE from Stapleton, NE on 4/23/2012

    2000 Chevrolet Blazer
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Another excellent Kenwood head unit. I've owned many Kenwood cd players through the years, including an Excelon unit that I've had for 12 years and I am still using today! Have purchased Kenwood for my son, wife and this one is my daughter's, and I couldn't be happier with them. My daughter loves the i-pod integration and the continuously color changing lighting. Good solid unit for the money!

    Pros: Great sound, loaded with features, 2 year warranty, looks great.

    Cons: Layers of menu options can get confusing, but most options only need to be set once and then forgotten.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Tuscaloosa, AL on 4/22/2012

    1985 Chevrolet C Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is possibly the best receiver I have purchased.

    Pros: Everything

    Cons: None

    Great Head Unit at a Great Price

    Nick from Buffalo, NY on 4/21/2012

    2000 Jeep Cherokee
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This stereo is great for the price. I have it in my 2000 Jeep Cherokee and it is a great improvement. With the USB I can plug in my Ipod or use a flash drive. With everything in it, I'd recommend this radio for anyone who needs a new one. I'd also order it from Crutchfield. You might be able to find it cheaper but, here, you get the Installation kit for free. I work at a big box store so I could've gotten a radio for cheaper but the installation kit brought me here.

    Pros: Improvement from stock radio, great sound, very loud

    Cons: Hard to get used to the menus

    awesome stereo

    pat e from elizabeth,in on 4/20/2012

    1995 Dodge Dakota
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    my 95 dodge Dakota had an older model Kenwood that i did not like,it was in there when i bought it,but my friends highly recommended Crutchfield .i had never used them before.I really liked it when i went online to buy my stereo and they asked me my vehicle make and model and recommended a Kenwood i compared it to other stereos and it seemed to be the best,it plugged right into my old harness even though it came with a free harness,dash kit and shipping i like everything about it including the awesome sound and variety of faceplate colors

    Pros: speaker system select ,front usb port,faceplate color selection,front knob,ease of programming

    Cons: none

    Awesome Value!

    Jason from South Pasadena, FL on 4/19/2012

    Installed this in my 2007 F150 and have been loving it ever since. I set it up to run the front and rear door speakers and then control a sub amp. It has more than enough power to run my MB Quart component speakers with very good sound quality, even at high volume levels. The integrated crossover and EQ controls make it easy to custom tailor to your listening preference. This is a very versatile unit and a terrific value. I would recommend this head unit to anyone.

    Pros: Ease of use. Sound quality. USB interface.

    Cons: Not a big problem, but would love for it to have a rear USB port so I could hide my iPod, as I leave it plugged in all the time. Other than that, it's perfect for me.

    Great replacement for my vehicle

    DinoB from Phoenix, AZ on 4/19/2012

    1994 Isuzu Trooper
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I needed to replace the dead original receiver in my '94 Isuzu Trooper, and this unit really does that job very well.

    Pros: Has iPad/iPhone/iPod connectivity which works very well. Unit is reasonably priced and works very, very well.

    Cons: None

    Easy install

    playstationer from Newaygo,MI on 4/19/2012

    2006 Volkswagen Passat
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I have always Loved Kenwood, it's brought new life into my stock speakers ('06 VW Passat)

    Pros: Value, Pandora

    Cons: None, it's great!

    Great Head unit for the price

    Craig from Cincinnati, Ohio on 4/16/2012

    2001 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Overall a 5 star unit with great sound, aesthetics and features. I like the functionality of the unit but have a few minor issues. This replaced the tired factory CD player in my F150 and it made a huge difference. The sound quality is top notch for a unit in this range and the 3 band EQ lets you tailor the sound to your liking. And the presets are even useful unlike many units out there. The display is easy to read even in sunlight and the color-changing keys are cool. It definitely looks cool in the dash. My only issues are the song info display is slow when scrolling through my Ipod- it takes a couple secons for the title/artist info to come on. And I had to get the manual out just to find out how to turn it off! But once I read the manual and played with the controls it's better. And I love the Ipod search feature- very easy to use. Have not tried the Pandora yet. Crutchfield's package can't be beat. The harness is dead-on, the adaptor bracket is great with a VERY deep pocket that actually holds a phone or other item. And installation was a snap. Click the harness, push everything in the dash until it clicks and you're good to go!

    Pros: Bright Display that is easy to read Color changing capability Ease of Ipod/flash drive use Sound quality EQ controls Ease of install

    Cons: Display is slow on Title/Artist info No RDS Volume knob needs to be knurled all the way to the edge. (Silly but it would help when turning with fingertip) Need to read the manual before getting into the menu or you will never figure it out.

    Beyond Satisfied!

    Marc from Clovis, CA on 4/14/2012

    2005 Suzuki Forenza
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I'm extremely pleased with Kenwood and Crutchfield, the stereo is simply amazing and the service provided behind it is even more amazing. It took less than half an hour to install it in my Suzuki Forenza. Everything they include with your purchase is more than enough reason to order from these guys. So Stoked!

    Pros: Sound Quality Low Cost BASS Variable color illumination

    Cons: nada

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    greggdh from Winchester Va on 4/13/2012

    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Installed this in my son's car and It went from can I borrow your car to I really like my car again.. Easy Install sounds good works well with usb -ipod.

    Pros: easy to control

    Cons: none

    Extremely Satisfied

    Jon from Staten Island, NY on 4/13/2012

    1997 Jeep Wrangler
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I ordered this radio for my 97 Wrangler and couldn't be happier. The installtion was a breeze and, for the money, the features are a great value. I use my iPhone for all of my music and this allows me to easily plug my phone it and control my music from my phone or the head unit. The fact that it charges my phone too is just an added bonus. The sound quality has been fantastic and I anticipate that it will be even better once I change out the speakers that are currently in the vehicle. Also happened upon a $20 coupon online before ordering so for $109 I received the radio, the wiring harness, the antenna plug and the mounting kit. Can't beat it.

    Pros: Easy to use, completely iPhone compatible, easy to install

    Cons: None that I've found so far.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Zim from Carver Minnesota on 4/4/2012

    1990 Chevrolet C Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    After I read up on it in the instruction book,it is the easiest stereo I have operated in a very long time.The sound is fantastic,and I love how the face colors change during operation,its really COOL.The aux plug in is great and the USB port is even better.Its built so things can't break.It even has a normal volume control.You can't beat the price.I Love It

    Pros: Everything

    Cons: none

    Kenwood KDCX 396

    Fred from Spruce Pine, NC on 4/3/2012

    1997 Nissan Quest
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great value for the price--Has the features that I wanted. Not as many bells and whistles as some other units--but that is what I was looking for! This was my first dealing with Crutchfield and it was a great experience--they have great tech assistance and ALL of the people that I dealt with were very professional and knowledgeable. They all get a big thumbs up from me!

    Pros: Nice fit and looks great

    Cons: Directions need work--I know that this is a new product but Kenwood needs to improve their directions/manuals. The adaptor kit that I needed was made by Scosche (OEM Amplifier Integration cable kit) and the directions for that were REALLY BAD! Worse than the Kenwood directions. Scosche needs to get on the stick and straighten out their drawing and directions.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from New Hampshire on 4/2/2012

    1994 BMW 325I
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Easy to install. Sounds great on the 1994 stock speakers.



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    steve j from lanham md on 3/28/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    has to be the best radio ive ever bought

    Pros: great sound and ease of use

    Cons: no cons at all

    awesome radio

    scott s. from metairie,la. on 3/22/2012

    1997 Chevrolet Tahoe
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    installed it in chevy tahoe it was easy mastersheet was very this radio.

    Pros: ipod controls are easy to use.the sound is incredible

    Cons: none

    It's a winner

    Phil M from Las Vegas on 3/17/2012

    2005 Mazda Tribute
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    So much functionality for such a small price. I installed this in a 2005 Mazda Tribute with the 7-speaker system and it works wonderfully! I am getting so much more out of my stock speakers and the stock sub in the back than the factory unit ever did. The internal amp on this unit really thumps the bass, so I'm scared to see what happens when I get to upgrading the rest of the system. The USB controls work really well and keep me from having to fiddle with the iPod or my phone. The color adjustment is a cool feature as well.

    Pros: Price, great sound, relatively easy to use once you figure it out, USB-controls, neat colors, display is actually readable during the day

    Cons: Could use an extra aux port in the rear. The face bag is weak, so invest in something better.

    So happy

    Tom S. from Massachusetts on 3/9/2012

    2001 Nissan Altima
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This product is outstanding. The sound quality is absolutely beautiful, i installed it in my 2001 Altima along with new speakers and i had to take a step back in awe at this head unit. I found the controls a little bit overwhelming at first, but eventually i got somewhat of a hang of it. I would recommend this to everyone, 10/10 for sure. In addition the Crutchfield tech support answered a couple of my questions perfectly and my installion went without a hitch as i followed the master sheet which accompanied the stereo.

    Pros: controls a little overwhelming

    Cons: none

    Low cost & Lots of Features

    Randall from Aurora, Co on 3/4/2012

    2005 Jeep Wrangler
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Got this for my Jeep Wrangler..Havent got it yet. But I think all the features speaks for its self!! I cant wait to get it : ) I was in Car Toys and I was looking at CD players..I was playin with this Kenwood with the same EQ setup..very easy to use & nice to make the sound exactly how you want it !!!

    Pros: Plays your ipod and a Android phone,I love Pandora and now I can enjoy it in my car also. I like all the different color displays,The EQ on it is awsome can adjust the Tweeters,Mids,Bass & Subs to your liking,Very easy to use!! 4 volt pre amp outputs so your amp has all the power it needs to work at its best.

    Cons: None...

    Its a Kenwood

    bcfpilot from Colorado on 2/29/2012

    2005 Nissan Xterra
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Install went flawlessly and was very easy with everything crutchfield supplies. The vehicle it went in is a 2005 Xterra. Sounds much better then the factory radio did as well, much more power to the speakers. We can hear much more sound and bass now.

    Pros: Value!

    Cons: None


    doug from baldwin, ga on 2/22/2012

    2005 Dodge Ram 1500
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Sounds great, exactly what i've been looking for!



    Great Receiver!

    Crutchfield customer from Salt Lake City,UT on 2/13/2012

    1994 GMC Suburban
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This head unit performs flawlessly. I installed this in my 1994 Suburban with the included installation gear and it went in without a hitch. Sounds great, looks amazing, and I love that I can hook it up to my Android phone.

    Pros: Great sound, superior EQ, easy to use, and USB connectivity

    Cons: doesn't play some file types; .M4A, .flac, and some variable bit rate MP3's and doesn't tell you anywhere in the manual which file types are supported

    Great Radio

    Hankers from Geneva, IA on 2/13/2012

    1997 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    So far it has been a great radio for the the low price!



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396

    Crutchfield customer from Boston ma on 2/10/2012

    2006 Jeep Liberty
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Excellent radio at affordable price

    Pros: iPod controls


    Awesome head unit

    Chris H from Richmond, VA on 2/7/2012

    2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I installed this head unit in my 2005 Subaru Impreza with the included dash kit and harness. The installations went smoothly and the most time consuming part was soldering the provided harnesses together(not a bad thing). I've paired this unit with a Sound Ordnance B-8PT powered subwoofer and the combination sounds awesome. The head unit added much needed maximum volume and audio options like low and high pass filters. The controls are easy to use and large enough. I was able to closely match the dash lights with the receiver's display(red) which looks cool. I love the fact that I can control my music through my iPhone4 and play music from Pandora Radio. Those are the two main reasons why I chose this specific model. Thanks again Crutchfield for the great deals, service, included installation materials and value!

    Pros: Large and easy to use controls, more volume vs factory unit, button color options, iPhone and iPod compatibility, ability to fine tune your audio system to your liking, and value.

    Cons: None, I'm completely satisfied with my purchase of this head unit!

    2005 Honda Element LX

    David from Auburndale, FL on 2/4/2012

    2005 Honda Element
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I just installed this radio on my 2005 Honda Element LX. It just came out and had no reviews which made me skeptical. But it was an excellent choice. My radio sounds at least twice as better as the factory one. My Element's parts are like legos, so the install was done in 30 minutes. That time was spent mostly to wire the two harnesses together. I wish companies would sell different versions of their wire harnesses so that you do not have to act like an electrican with wire tying and crimping. I used the Posi-Twist connectors, which were awesome and quickly made this easier. The radio is one of the best aftermarket radios for the price. The buttons are large enough, unlike most other radios. The variable illumination is great for customization of the keys, except the eject button. It has a nice clear cover for the USB/AUX connection that integrates nicely. My iPhone 4S worked with a hitch. I was able to charge, use different play features, and listen to Pandora radio with any problems. The FM tuner is not user friendly as it only tunes to strong stations using the skip buttons (like seek). Make sure you read the directions on how to use the functions for a better experience. Only thing I don't like about this radio (and other aftermarket radios) is that the radio needs to be powered on for backlights and the text display could be sharper/larger. The radio display does scroll for listing the current song/artist on iPod. Overall, an awesome radio!

    Pros: Large buttons, slick appearance, many variable backlight colors, iPod/iPhone integration is almost the best around, large iPod button and dial, install is a breeze, sound is awesome, works with Panadora, longer 2 year warranty, 4 volt sound vs the standard 2 something, worked with my factory radio bracket, and comes with a remote.

    Cons: Clock/text display is rather boring and small (cannot change color), need to power on for backlighting effects (aftermarket radio problem), and the FM tuner does not have the best functionality (but who listens to that crap any more).


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    AUX Input Front
    Audio/video Input ---
    USB Input Front
    CarPlay No
    Android Auto No
    Siri Control No
    Android Control USB MSC protocol
    Memory Card Slot USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible No
    Satellite Radio Ready No
    HD Radio No
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano Nano7/Nano6/Nano5/Nano4/Nano3/
    Touch Touch5/Touch4/Touch3/Touch2/To
    iPhone Phone5/Phone4S/Phone4/Phone3GS
    RMS Power (CTA-2006) N/A
    RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
    Peak Output 52 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
    Screen Size ---
    Display Color Bluish white
    Key Button Color Variable
    EQ Bands 3
    Wireless Remote Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible Adapter required
    Parts Warranty 2 Years
    Labor Warranty 2 Years
    FM Sensitivity 11.2 dBf
    European Tuning No
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System No
    High-res Playback ---

    Product Research

    Audio Section
    Disc Playback
    iPod/Android Control
    USB/Aux Inputs
    Radio Functions
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The KDC-X396 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-X396 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 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-X396 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

    3-Way Rotary Volume Control: The CD receiver uses a 3-way rotary volume control that increases and decreases the volume of the stereo from 0 to 35. The rotary knob also controls other audio settings such as Balance, Fader, Bass, Mid, Treble and preset EQ settings. In addition, the rotary knob allows you to scroll through and select your music tracks when the Music Search function is activated.

    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).

    Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the System Q Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a Speaker Setting of 'SP-Off' (flat/off), 'SP-OEM' (for OEM factory speaker systems), 'SP-6x9/6' (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" speakers), or 'SP-5/4' (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers).

    Preset EQ: Eight EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass (100Hz), midrange (1kHz), and treble (12.5kHz). You can choose from the following preset EQ curves - Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Game, and User.

    EQ Pro: The Excelon KDC-X396 features independent Bass, Treble, and Midrange control when the Preset EQ is in User mode. EQ Pro allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

    EQ Pro
    Center Frequency Q-Factor Bass Extension Level
    Bass 60, 80, 100, or 200 Hz 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, or 2.00 On/Off -8 to +8
    Midrange 0.5k, 1.0k, 1.5k, or 2.5k Hz 0.75, 1.00, or 1.25 N/A
    Treble 10.0k, 12.5k, 15.0k, or17.5k Hz N/A N/A

    Bass Boost: In addition, the Kenwood CD receiver features a Bass Boost control that can be set to the following levels (BB1, BB2 or Off).

    Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer at lower volumes. There are 3 levels (LV1, LV2, or Off).

    Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store Preset EQ and EQ Pro bass/midrange/treble tone settings for each source (CD, AM/FM, Aux, USB, iPod, and Pandora).

    Supreme Setting: When MP3 or WMA files encoded at a low bit rate (less than 96 kbps, 44.1k, 48kHz) are played, the Supreme Setting function restores their high frequencies so the sound quality is closer to files encoded at a high bit rate. The processing is optimized for the compression format and the bit rate used. When the Supreme Setting is Off, the unit plays the original sound stored in the audio file.

    6ch/4V Preamp Outputs: The KDC-X396 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.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X396 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front & rear channels when your front & rear speakers are connected by the unit's speaker-outputs or preamp-outputs. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from "Through", 100, 120, or 150 Hz. The "Through" selection is a full-range setting. This feature is very helpful when you have smaller-type speakers in the front and larger-type speakers installed in the rear of the vehicle.

    Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 offers the following subwoofer controls, when you have the unit's subwoofer preamp output activated.

    • Low Pass Filter: The receiver features a built-in Low Pass Filter control for the preamp-output, when the output is set to Subwoofer. You can select from 85 Hz, 120 Hz, 160 Hz, or off.
    • Subwoofer Phase: You can adjust the phase of the subwoofer output between 180-degrees (Reverse) or 0-degrees (Normal).
    • Subwoofer Level: Once the Subwoofer preamp output is activated, you can independently control the subwoofer preamp output level (-15 to +15) from the CD receiver.

    Tel Mute: The KDC-X396 features a cell-phone mute wire (tan) in its harness that when hooked up to your car's phone system mute wire will automatically mute the receiver's audio signal when a call comes in.

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

    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 Playback: The KDC-X396 can play MP3 (8-320 kbps) and WMA (32-192 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 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-X396 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 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-X396 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.

    iPod/Android Control

    iPod Direct Connection: The KDC-X396's front-panel USB port 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-X396.

    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 105dB. 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 or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). The head unit 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 App: The Pandora App (free) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 using your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately), or the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. The Kenwood KDC-X396 provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list and sort them by date or alphabetically (A-Z). You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS3 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora application from 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.

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

    iPod Display: The KDC-X396 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-X396 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.

    Note: If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):

    iPod Model Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Pandora app Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod App mode Artist/Song Text Track Info
    dock connector 3rd N/A N N N N N N N N N
    4th N/A N N N N N N N N N
    mini 1st N/A N N N N N N N N N
    2nd N/A N N N N N N N N N
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N Y Y N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N 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 N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    6th 1.1 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    7th 1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    4th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    5th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    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 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    2 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    3 6.0 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

    USB/Aux Inputs

    USB Port: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 features a front panel USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-up cover. The USB port enables connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device with MP3 (8-320 kbps) and WMA (32-192 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-X396 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, Android, or Zune.

    Aux In: The unit is equipped with a front panel 3.5mm minijack auxiliary input that can be used to input audio from a portable audio source, such as a portable MP3 player. The Aux input must be turned on to function. The 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-X396 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV.

    Radio Functions

    AM/FM Tuner: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-396 features a built-in AM/FM tuner. You can choose one of four tuning methods: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), Manual Tune, or Direct Access (via remote).

    Tuner Presets: The Excelon KDC-X396's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 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.

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

    Mono Mode: The Mono mode improves the radio's FM reception, but the stereo effect will be lost.

    Display Features

    Detachable Face: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 features a single front loading CD face that detaches from the chassis to deter theft. The head unit includes a cloth pouch for storing the face-plate when detached. 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.

    Fluorescent Display: The Kenwood head unit features a single-line, 13-character, bluish-white backlit fluorescent display.

    Variable Button Illumination: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X396 features variable color button illumination. 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.

    Illumination Dimmer: The head unit's fluroescent display has two dimmers settings to adjust the brightness of the display according to the surrounding illumination. You can switch the display dimmer setting On or Off. The head unit's button illumination has an independent dimmer setting from the display which lets you set the button illumination dimmer to LVL1, LVL2, or Off. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain the same brightness.

    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-X396 comes with an IR remote control (RC-405) for wireless operation of the head unit. The remote will control Audio, CD, USB, and Tuner functions. It is powered by a single CR2025 3V lithium-cell battery (supplied).

    • Numeric Keypad: The wireless remote control features a numeric keypad (0-9) which allows direct track access of your music tracks & files (from CD or USB), as well as AM/FM presets.
    • Attenuator: The CD receiver features an Attenuator button on the supplied remote control that turns the volume down very quickly with one touch of the button.

    Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The head unit features an OEM steering wheel remote control input wire (blue/yellow) within the included wiring harness that lets you keep your vehicle's factory radio steering wheel remote controls when used with an optional steering wheel audio control adapter (sold separately). Please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to see if your vehicle is compatible.

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