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Our take on the JVC KW-HDR81BT by Crutchfield's Zak Billmeier
Built-in HD Radio™ for sweet digital sound
Do you listen to a lot of AM/FM radio? JVC's striking KW-HDR81BT CD receiver features a built-in HD Radio tuner that offers reception like you've never heard before. Stations broadcasting an HD Radio signal come in crystal clear, as FM sounds as clean and defined as a CD, while AM steps up to traditional FM quality. Plus HD Radio gives you your bass back, awesome if you've got a sub in your ride.
Have you experienced Bluetooth lately? Hands-free calling is the tip of the iceberg. Now, you can pair up your iPhone, Android™ smartphone, or Blackberry™, and get some sweet functionality. For example, you'll be able to receive text message notification, stream music, or access Internet radio stations, depending on your phone's features. With the help of an app, Android owners can use swipes and gestures to control some receiver functions.
JVC also lets you pair two phones at once, so there's no need to choose between your personal and business phones. When a call comes in, the receiver will blink either blue or red, so you'll know at a glance if your call is coming from home or the office. To answer a call, just tap the volume knob.
Big, bold, and beautiful, JVC's Separated Variable-Color Display lets you dial in the perfect color for your taste. You can choose from over 30,000 options, and you can even assign different colors to your controls and the display — decorate your dash in honor of your favorite team, with your school colors, or simply complement your existing lighting. If you're undecided, the receiver can cycle through all the colors continually for a really neat effect.
Great for iPod®, plus control Pandora®
Once you plug your iPod or iPhone® into the convenient front-panel USB input, you can use the KW-HDR81BT's oversized knob and buttons to navigate your music library. And with your iPhone connected, you can play your Pandora® Internet Radio stations from your dash, and even skip and rate songs like you do online.
Higher-power USB connection
JVC upped the power in their USB port, which lets you keep your smartphone charged, even when it's doing several tasks at once. And with your smartphone connected, you can listen to its internal memory as one source and access the little microSD card as another.
Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?
In most vehicles, you can use an adapter (see "Accessories") to connect your vehicle's steering wheel controls to this JVC stereo. Connect a few wires, then program the adapter for your particular car and the JVC, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls.
Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.
Note: If you're going to use your iPod with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for specific iPod model compatibility with this receiver or its optional iPod adapter.
Im 53 & was hesitant about buying a new radio & installing it myself, its been years since the last time. I am very happy with this radio, read directions carefully & its no problem. The sound is awesome with the polk audio speakers i purchased earlier from crutchfield.
Dave, Beecher il
What's in the Box:
- Double-DIN AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp ATC fuse inserted into chassis)
- Sleeve (installed with 4 screw)
- Trim ring (installed)
- Wiring harness
- KS-UBT1 USB Bluetooth adapter (installed in rear USB port)
- Microphone with integrated bracketed (attached 12' cable terminated by a right-angle male 3.5mm connector)
- Wireless remote control (RM-RK52)
- CR2025 3V Lithium battery (installed)
- 8 Pan head ISO-mount machine screws (M5 x 8mm)
- 4 Flat head ISO-mount machine screws (M5 x 6mm)
- Instructions (Eng/Fre/Spa)
- Installation/Connection Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
- US Warranty Sheet
- Canadian Warranty Card
- Product Registration Card/Questionnaire
- "Caution!" note (attached to wiring harness)
- USB Bluetooth Adapter instructions
- "The countries where you may use the Bluetooth function" note
- "USB Caution" note
- CD receiver with built-in MOSFET amplifier (20 watts RMS CEA-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
- built-in HD Radio tuner
- included Bluetooth adapter for hands-free calling, music streaming, and app control
- plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs, including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files
- adjustable illumination (you can select different colors for the display and controls)
- fits double-DIN (4"-tall) dash openings
- remote control
- built-in iPod and iPhone controls
- iEQ 3-band parametric equalizer
- 24-bit digital-to-analog converter
- subwoofer level control
- inputs: front and rear USB inputs (rear is for Bluetooth adapter), front auxiliary input
- outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (2.5-volt front, rear, sub)
JVC KW-HDR81BT Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB memory|
|Satellite Radio Ready||No|
|RMS Power Output||20 watts|
|Peak Output||50 watts|
|RMS Power Bandwidth||20-20kHz|
|Sub Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs||No|
|Preamp Voltage||2.5 volts|
|Key Button Color||Variable|
|Steering Wheel Control Compatible||Adapter required|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||11.3 dBf|
|Radio Data System||No|
Built-in HD Radio: With the built-in HD Radio tuner, you can receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. HD Radio technology significantly improves audio quality and reception, as well as includes information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. HD Radio Technology will deliver high-quality digital sound. AM digital will have FM-like quality in stereo, while FM digital will have CD-like quality sound with static free and clear reception. HD Radio is the system for digital AM and FM broadcasting in the U.S. More than 2,000 radio stations are broadcasting their primary signals in digital HD Radio technology, as a free service. Go to HDRadio.com to check for HD Radio stations in your area.
Multicasting: In addition to conventional broadcasts, with HD Radio broadcasting, it is possible to choose from up to 8 multicast programs (HD1 to HD8 and analog). There are also data programs for each program.
Text Display: AM/FM digital stations can offer text and data such as artist names and song titles. The built-in HD Radio tuner displays song title, artist and station information on the display of the JVC KW-HDR81BT.
iTunes Tagging: It is possible to save the song's information (tag) from a HD Radio broadcasting station to your USB-direct connected iPod/iPhone. The songs will show up in a playlist called "Tagged" in iTunes the next time you sync your iPod/iPhone. Then you can directly buy the songs you want from the iTunes Music Store. You can "tag" up to 50 songs. Your iPod/iPhone must have at least 50MB of free space to "tag" and transfer songs. iTunes 7.4 or later is required to purchase "tagged" songs.
Analog Broadcasts: In addition to HD AM/FM stations, the KW-HDR81BT can also receive conventional analog AM/FM broadcasts.
Digital/Analog Tuning: You can setup the KW-HDR81BT to search both analog and digital radio stations, only HD Radio stations, or analog radio stations only.
Digital/Analog Presets: You can set up to 18 FM and 6 AM digital/analog presets stations as presets (HD Radio multicast channels can also be preset). Presets can be set manually or automatically, using Strong-station Sequential Memory (SSM).
Radio Timer: You can tune into a preset station at a specific time regardless of the head unit's current source. You can activate the Radio Timer once, daily, or turn it completely off.
Mono Mode: If an analog FM stereo broadcast is hard to receive, you can manually switch the tuner to Mono operation.
IF Filter: You can also switch the analog tuner's IF filter to Wide or Auto to increase/decrease the sensitivity.
US/European Tuning: You can set the built-in AM/FM tuner between US standard and European tuning spacing.
USB Bluetooth Adapter: The JVC KW-HDR81BT comes supplied with a USB Bluetooth Adapter (KS-UBT1) which is pre-installed into the head unit's rear-panel USB input, making the KW-HDR81BT Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR certified. The KW-HDR81BT supports Bluetooth hands-free communication and wireless audio streaming. The USB Bluetooth Adapter (KS-UBT1) must remain plugged into the rear-panel USB port, or can also be installed in the head unit's front-panel USB port.
Bluetooth Technology: Bluetooth is a two-way wireless communication system allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, as well as wirelessly stream audio from your Bluetooth enabled portable music player using the JVC in-dash multimedia receiver. Bluetooth wireless technology operates on a 2.4GHZ frequency band within a range of approximately 10 meters (about 33 feet).
Bluetooth Profiles: In order to use Bluetooth wireless technology, your phone must also be Bluetooth compatible and be able to interpret certain profiles. This unit is compatible with the following Bluetooth Profiles:
- Hands-Free Communication: HFP (Hands Free Profile), OPP (Object Push Profile), PBAB (Phone Book Access Profile).
- Audio Streaming: A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).
Pairing: Your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone or digital audio player must be paired with KW-HDR81BT before hands-free & wireless operation. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled devices with the JVC head unit. You can keep two phones connected at all times (only one can be used during a call).
Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the JVC head unit. See JVC's Bluetooth compatibility chart for a complete list of compatible Bluetooth enabled devices.
External Microphone: The JVC KW-HDR81BT includes an external microphone to carry on your side of your phone conversation and voice command dialing. The external wired microphone offers improved audio quality versus an integrated microphone, so you can be heard easier over noisy traffic and road noise. You can adjust the level of the microphone without affecting the other sources. The external microphone features an attached 12' cable terminated by a right-angle 3.5mm connector which plugs into the mic input on the rear-panel of the head unit. The microphone offers an integrated mounting bracket which can be clipped to your vehicle's sun-visor or taped to your dash. The external microphone measures 0.525" (diameter) x 1.485" (depth). This unit does not offer an integrated front-panel microphone.
Bluetooth Hands-Free Communication: The head unit supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The front-panel controls of the KW-HDR81BT can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also features an external microphone (featuring adjustable gain), so you can carry on your side of the conversation while listening to the caller through your vehicles speakers (front or all). During a conversation, you can switch between the Private Mode (talking directly on your cell phone) and the Hands Free Mode.
- Answering A Call: When a call comes in, a ring-tone will be heard through your vehicle's speaker, the head unit's display will flash (Ring Color), and the caller's name or phone number will be displayed. You can answer the call from the KW-HDR81BT's front-panel controls, or setup the head unit to automatically answer the incoming call. You can adjust the head unit's ring color from the unit's 29 preset colors or 30,000 custom colors.
- Dialing A Number: Using the KW-HDR81BT, you can dial a
phone number in one of the following ways:
- Entering a Phone Number: Allows you to directly dial a phone number up to 32 digits from the head unit's front-panel rotary dial.
- Speed Dialing: You can store up to 6 contacts in the memory of this head unit for speed dialing.
- Phone Book: You can dial by using the downloaded phone book. You can download phone book data from your cell phone to the KW-HDR81BT. If you phonebook contains a lot of contact numbers, you fast search (+/-10, 100, or 1000) through the phonebook by using the unit's control dial. You can also do an A-Z search to scroll the downloaded phonebook. Up to 5,000 numbers can be stored for each registered cell phone. Each number can be up to 32 digits long.
- Call Log: The Call Log is a list of calls that have originated from and were received by this unit that you can dial. You can select Outgoing, Incoming, or Missed calls (up to 50 each).
- Voice Dialing: If your mobile phone supports voice recognition, then you can dial out by voice command. Simply speak into the included microphone.
Message Notice: The JVC KW-HDR81BT will ring and display "RCV Message" to alert you of an incoming text message from your connected Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. You will still need to view the text message from your phone, as well as create and send text messages from your phone.
Wireless Audio Streaming: The JVC KW-HDR81BT also supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The KW-HDR81BT will be able to control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause, Skip Next/Previous, and Fast Forward/Rewind. The head unit will also display your stored music's song information; such as Song and Album title. The KW-HDR81BT also supports audio streaming of music apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Rhapsody, & Slacker) , but without control or metadata. You will continue to use your Bluetooth enabled smartphone to view and control streaming music apps.
Note: When an incoming call or outgoing call is in progress from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, audio streaming will be paused so you can take your call. Once the call is finished, your streaming music will resume.
Pandora Internet Radio Control: The JVC KW-HDR81BT CD receiver lets you playback and control the Pandora Internet Radio music service that is being streamed to your Apple iPhone, Android smartphone, or BlackBerry. While providing control over the Pandora music service, the KW-HDR81BT also displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list; you can sort the station list by date or alphabetically (A-Z). You can also skip song tracks within a station. In addition, you can also give songs a thumbs up/down and bookmark songs/artists.
Note: Access to the Pandora service will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone or smartphone to connect to the Internet. Pandora is not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.
Pandora App for iPhone: The JVC KW-HDR81BT lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed to your connected Apple iPhone, via the USB/iPod connector cable (included with your iPhone). To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora App from the Apple's iTunes App Store. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service account.
Pandora via Android or BlackBerry: The JVC KW-HDR81BT also lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed from your Android or BlackBerry smartphone, via Bluetooth (no hard-wired connection required). Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must have the latest version of the Pandora App from the Android Market or the BlackBerry App World. Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must also be Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP/SPP certified and will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. In addition, you will need an active Pandora music service account.
Dual USB Ports: The JVC KW-HDR81BT features a front-panel USB 2.0 type-A port (behind a sliding cover) and a rear-panel USB 2.0 type-A port (attached to a 45" pigtail) for connection of USB mass-storage class devices; such as select Android smartphones (Froyo/Gingerbread OS only), portable digital audio players, or USB thumbdrives. The USB ports enable audio playback and control of MP3, WMA, & WAV audio files stored on portable USB mass-storage class devices. Both of the USB terminals can be connected to USB devices at the same time. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB port (5V/1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On. You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit.
Note: The rear-panel USB port comes with the KS-UBT1 Bluetooth adapter installed. This Bluetooth adapter must remain installed for Bluetooth functionality. It can be removed to allow connection of a second USB (MSC) device.
Drive Change Mode (for BlackBerry and Android): JVC's Drive Change Mode lets you connect your Android or BlackBerry smartphone (that uses an external memory card) directly to the head unit, via USB. Drive Change Mode will let you switch between your Android or BlackBerry smartphone's internal and external memory (such as microSD Card), so you can listen to music stored on either memory. You'll continue to be able control basic playback functions; such as folder/file search, play/pause, and skip next/previous; regardless of memory type.
Playable Files: The JVC KW-HDR81BT supports the following types of MP3/WMA/WAV files loaded onto a USB mass storage class device. The USB device must be formatted in FAT 12/16/32. The CD receiver can support up to a total of 20,000 files and 2,000 folders (999 filer per folder).
|File Type||File Extension||Bit Rate||Sampling Frequency||Tags|
|MP3||.mp3||8-320 kbps||16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 kHz||ID3 tag (version 1.0/1.1/2.2/2.3/2.4)|
|WMA||.wma||5-320 kbps||8-48 kHz||WMA tag|
|WAV||.wav||705 or 1411 kbps||44.1 kHz||N/A|
ID3/WMA Tags: The unit also supports ID3 and WMA tags for display of album and artist information. The unit can display up to 128 characters.
Track/Folder List: The Track/Folder List displays a list of MP3/WMA/WAV folders and tracks on a connected USB memory device, so you can easily access your music.
Quick Search: You can search for your MP3, WMA, or WAV music tracks alphabetically (A-Z) or numerically (0-9).
Playback Modes: In addition to Normal playback, you can select from Repeat and Random playback modes.
- Repeat: Track Repeat (plays the current track repeatedly), Folder Repeat (plays all tracks of the current folder repeatedly), Off (cancels repeat function)
- Random: Folder Random (plays all tracks of the current folder, then the tracks of the next folder in random), All Random (plays all tracks of the current USD device at random), Off (cancels random function)
USB Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected USB mass storage class device when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position.
Front-Panel Auxiliary Input: A front-panel stereo minijack is provided to allow the connection of a portable audio source. Simply connect your portable digital music player to the unit's front-panel auxiliary input, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system. The unit's front-panel auxiliary input can be turned On or Off.
Optional Input Adapter: An optional Line Input Adapter (120JVAIRCA, sold separately) may be used to provide an additional auxiliary audio input on this unit. This feature allows you to connect a portable audio player, such as a portable MP3 player, to this unit as an additional audio source. The adapter connects to the proprietary J-port on the rear-chassis of the head unit.
iPod/iPhone Direct: The JVC KW-HDR81BT's front-panel or rear-panel USB port can acts as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the USB/iPod cable that came with your iPod/iPhone. An additional iPod cable is available (469USBPOD, sold separately) so you can leave one at home and one in the car. 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 JVC in-dash head unit.
iPod DAC Bypass: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's stored music 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 98dB. The JVC head unit supports audio playback of music, podcasts, audiobooks, and music apps stored on your iPod or iPhone.
iPod/iPhone Control: You can choose to operate your iPod/iPhone through the JVC head unit's front-panel controls, from its clickwheel/touchscreen, or via a streamed app from your iPhone.
- Head Unit: From the head unit's front-panel controls you can search for music by Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, Podcast, Genre, Composer, and Audiobooks. Once a Playlist or Category is selected, you can search for your iPod's music alphabetically (A-Z) or numerically (0-9). The KW-HDR81BT also supports Repeat (file/all) and Random (album/all) playback functions of your iPod/iPhone.
- iPod: You can choose to navigate your iPod or iPhone's stored music from its clickwheel or touchscreen, like you are accustomed to during normal usage.
- External (App Mode): External Mode lets you enjoy audio content from your downloaded music Apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Rhapsody, & Slacker streamed to your Apple iPhone, through the JVC KW-HDR81BT. You will continue to use your iPhone's touchscreen to navigate and view your apps; the head unit will only display the clock and "EXT Mode".
Note: Access to your iPhone's downloaded application will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone to connect to the Internet.
iPod Display: The KW-HDR81BT will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information, when in Head Unit and iPod mode (not in External mode), or listening to Pandora Internet Radio. The head unit can display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label.
Auto Drive Router App: Auto Drive Router is a free JVC app from iTunes for your iPhone (iOS 4.2 or later). This app can be controlled from the JVC KW-HDR81BT, when your iPhone is connected to the head unit's USB port. Auto Drive Router lets you record your traveled routes and store recorded data on your iPhone, using Google Maps. E-mails with map data can also be sent quickly and easily from your iPhone, letting others know where you are or where you want to meet. You can start and stop when Auto Driver Router records your routes using the in-dash CD receiver's controls. You can also send an email template to your predetermined contacts directly from the receiver's controls. You can do all this while still listening to stored music or streamed music from your iPhone on the JVC KW-HDR81BT.
- Drive Data: This function allows you to record routes and store them as data in your iPhone, enabling you to easily retrieve data just by selecting a route from the Saved Route List. When data is called up on your iPhone, the route being taken will be shown as a single line on the map in different colors to indicate how fast you were traveling. It is also possible to zoom in and out of maps on your iPhone, as well as see the speed and altitude of routes in a graph format on the iPhone's touchscreen. By connecting an iPhone with this app installed to the KW-HDR81BT, you can record routes via the control knobs and buttons of the in-dash head unit.
- Here I AM: When you select the "Here I Am" function on the Auto Drive Router app, a flag showing "Here I Am?" will appear on the on-screen Google Map of your iPhone to indicate your current location. And by using a default template, an e-mail will also be created instantaneously for delivery of the map to multiple recipients. The flag can also be placed in different locations on the on-screen map of the iPhone with the "Here I Am" function being used to e-mail changes in meeting spots. When your iPhone is connected to the JVC CD receiver, your email templates can be selected and sent directly from the head unit.
Note: The JVC head unit must be set to External/App mode. All visual map data will be displayed on your connected iPhone (not the JVC head unit). You can only control a specific number of functions from the JVC head unit. Not compatible with iPad or other iPod models.
iPod Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.
iPod Compatibility Chart: The JVC KW-HDR81BT is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2013):
|iPod Model||Generation||Tested Version||Media Type||Control Type||Display Type||Pandora app||Auto Drive Router||Charge|
|Audio||Video||Head Unit||iPod||App mode||Artist/Song Text||Track Info|
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.
Wireless Remote Control: The KW-HDR81BT comes supplied with a wireless remote control (RM-RK52). The remote contains Attenuator, Sound, Source, Tracking, and Volume functions. The remote operates off of a single CR2025 3V Lithium-cell battery (included).
Smart Remote App for Android: JVC's Smart Remote App lets you view the current status and perform simple gesture control of the JVC head unit from your Android smartphone. The Smart Remote App uses Bluetooth to communicate between your Android smartphone and the JVC car receiver. The JVC head unit will auto connect to the Smart Remote App when your Smartphone is in range. The Smart Remote App is specifically designed for easy gesture control operation while driving, so driver and passenger can access information with ease from the Android Smartphone. With the Smart Remote App, passenger and driver can check current playing song details or other car stereo information.
- Information Display: The JVC Smart Report App will display Song information such as Song title, Artist name, and Album label from a connected USB mass storage class device on your Android Smartphone. It also displays AM/FM station frequency # and name. In addition, it provides source, EQ, and playback mode indicator icons.
- Gesture Control Operation: The JVC Smart Report App lets you use finger gesture commands on your Android smartphone to control the playback of the JVC head unit. This type of gesture control is designed to operate the JVC head unit from your smartphone without having to look at your smartphone. Gesture control operations include Finger tap, Finger hold, Finger click, Finger swipe (right/left/up/down), and Finger curve (right/left/up/down).
Note: The free JVC Smart Remote App can be downloaded from the Android Market onto your compatible Android smartphone. requires that your Android smartphone have Android OS 2.1, 2.2, or 2.3 installed; as well as Bluetooth SPP support.
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.
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 KW-HDR81BT can play MP3/WMA (5-320 kbps) music files that have been recorded on CD-R/CD-RW discs. The disc must be recorded in one of the following formats: ISO 9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, or Romeo. The CD receiver can support up to a total of 20,000 files and 2,000 folders (999 filer per folder). The unit also supports IDTag3 (version 1.0, 1.1, 2.2, 2.3 or 2.4) for album and artist information from MP3 or WMA files.
Track/Folder List: The Track/Folder List displays a list of MP3/WMA folders and tracks on a loaded CD, so you can easily access your music. The Track/Folder List will also display the list of track titles on a CD Text disc.
Quick Search: You can search for your MP3, WMA, or WAV music tracks alphabetically (A-Z) or numerically (0-9).
Random/Repeat Modes: The JVC KW-HDR81BT offers the following Repeat and Random playback modes for your audio CDs.
- Repeat: Track Repeat (plays the current track repeatedly), Folder Repeat (plays all tracks of the current folder repeatedly), Off (cancels repeat function)
- Random: Folder Random (plays all tracks of the current folder, then the tracks of the next folder in random), All Random (plays all tracks of the current disc at random), Off (cancels random function)
Disc Resume: If you change the source, playback also stops (without ejecting the disc). Next time you select CD for the playback source, the disc will start from where it has been stopped previously.
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.
Disc Protection: 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. The source will change to CD, and the disc will begin playback, even if you have another source selected at the time.
Mounting: For proper disc playback you must install the unit within 30-degrees of horizontal.
24 Bit D/A Converter: The JVC KW-HDR81BT utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.
MOSFET Amplifier: The KW-HDR81BT 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.
CEA2006 Compliant: The power specifications for the KW-HDR81BT are compliant with the CEA2006 Mobile Amplifier Power Testing and Measurement standards from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). These standards were developed as a way to equitably compare power specs from model to model and between manufacturers. The power output specs for the KW-HDR81BT are as follows:
- CEA2006 Specs: 20 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
- Maximum Power Output: 50 watts x 4 channels (200 total watts)
Amplifier Gain Control: When you are using the KW-HDR81BT with factory speakers (or those rated to less than 50 watts peak), the Amplifier Gain Control can limit the amount of power being sent to those speakers. When the Amp Gain Control is set to "low," the volume control ranges from 0 (minimum) to 30 (maximum). When using speakers rated higher than 50 watts peak, you can set the Amp Gain Control to "high," and the volume control will range from 0 to 50.
Volume Adjust: The input level of each source (other than FM) is adjustable relative to the FM radio volume, so there isn't a significant volume difference when changing sources. Each source is individually adjustable from -5 to +5.
Pro EQ: The KW-HDR81BT is equipped with JVC's Pro EQ. The integrated equalizer offers 7 preset sound modes (Flat, Natural, Dynamic, Vocal Boost, Bass Boost, User) suitable for the music genre of your choice. The User mode allows you to manually adjust the head unit's 3-band parametric EQ (Frequency, Level, and Q-Factor).
|Bass||60, 80, 100, 200 Hz||+/- 12 dB (-6 to +6)||1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 2.0|
|Midrange||0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.5 kHz||+/- 12 dB (-6 to +6)||0.75, 1.0, 1.25|
|Treble||10.0, 12.5, 15.0, 17.5 kHz||+/- 12 dB (-6 to +6)||Fixed|
Source Link EQ: This feature allows you to store Pro EQ bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (CD, AM/FM, Aux, USB, iPod, Bluetooth, and Pandora).
Loud (Loudness): This feature boosts low and high frequencies to produce a well-balanced sound at a low volume level. You can turn this feature on or off.
2.5V/6CH Preamp Outputs: The KW-HDR81BT is equipped with three pairs of 2.5V preamp outputs (Front, Rear, SW). If you wish to use the subwoofer output, you must turn it on in the menu.
Subwoofer Controls: The unit has a dedicated subwoofer preamp output. You can adjust the head unit's subwoofer level between 0 and 8 (separate from the main volume level). You can also adjust the low-pass filter and activate a high-pass filter:
- Low-Pass Filter: You can set the cutoff frequency of the low-pass filter at 55Hz, 85Hz, or 120Hz.
- High-Pass Filter: You can also activate a high-pass filter (fixed at low-pass filter frequency) for the unit's front & rear channels (speaker- or preamp-level), so low frequency signals are cut off from your system's front & rear speakers.
Key-Touch Tone: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.
Variable Color LCD & Key Illumination: The JVC KW-HDR81BT features 29 color presets for the LCD and button illumination. You can choose one of these color presets or select the ColorFlow mode which scrolls through all 29 color presets. Additionally, there is a User preset, allowing you to individually adjust the intensity of Red, Green, and Blue from 0 to 31; resulting in approximately 30,000 custom color options. The chosen color preset or custom color can be applied to the display panel and the backlighting for all the buttons except the eject and display buttons (they remains red). You can choose to use the same color for the LCD display and button illumination, or use a separate color for each one. You can also select a different color for daytime and nighttime in regards to the unit's LCD and button illumination.
Brightness: The unit offers an adjustable display and button illumination brightness level (0-31) for day and nighttime driving.
Display/Button Illumination Dimmer: The display/button illumination dimmer can be set to Off (normal brightness at all times), On (display/button illumination is always dimmed), or Auto (display dims when 12-volts is applied to the orange/white illumination lead).
2-DIN Chassis: The JVC KW-HDR81BT has a 2-DIN chassis (also known as Double DIN), and will fit in many vehicles with a large dash opening. The unit can be ISO-mounted using factory brackets, or Euro-mounted using the supplied mounting sleeve. As always, please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to verify fit with your vehicle.
Our Product Research Team
At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.
Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs
by Dominic DeVito
Double-DIN CD receivers keep things simple, yet still take advantage of your dash real estate. We hit the Crutchfield Labs to compare six of our most popular models.
Why did you buy this?
I wanted a double din for form factor, this will fit flush with my current setup. It also was the highest rated receiver when you take into account the amount of people actually rating it, in this size. Lastly I have used JVC audio equipment before and have come to trust their automotive pedigree. [ Jesse Mar 04, 2016 ]
This head unit had all the features I needed and fit my DDIN vehicle opening. [ B Mar 04, 2016 ]
Double Din, HD radio, good reviews [ David Feb 17, 2016 ]
4.5 star rating after over 300 reviews....It's got to be the best bang for your buck. [ Marshal Feb 12, 2016 ]
Like what it had to offer for the price. [ Keith Dec 19, 2015 ]
It looked simple to use and a volume knob [ bill Dec 15, 2015 ]
22 questions already asked
The USB cord in the back of the unit is for the Bluetooth thubdrive that comes with the unit to connect your phone with the stereo [ timothy Mar 30, 2016 ]
THere is a usb on the front and back. The one on the back is corded but dedicated to the blue tooth receiver. You could use both but you would lose blue tooth. [ LEE H Mar 29, 2016 ]
The USB port is right on the front of the unit. In the lower right hand corner there is a hinged cover that flips open to access it - just below the Aux input. [ RONALD D Mar 29, 2016 ]
The USB connection is on the front of the unit; bottom right. [ Dawn Mar 29, 2016 ]
Yes. I plugged my iPod cable to the USB port at the rear of the unit and ran the other end into the glovebox and attached my iPod. That keeps the iPod out of the way. I use the front USB port for the bluetooth plug to run my phone through the radio. [ DAVID Mar 29, 2016 ]
No. If it's like mine the USB port is in front, lower right, just below the AUX in. One of my favorite features is this thing plays WAV files. A huge upgrade from MP3. As drive sizes increase I don't see any need for the compression. The button to the right of the knob switches folders. This a very nice headset for the money. [ Steve Mar 29, 2016 ]
It is on the front lower right side under the AUX plug, push the small cover open to expose the plug. [ JIM D Mar 29, 2016 ]
Yes, only one. [ WILLIAM Mar 02, 2016 ]
Yes it only holds one cd. [ Gilbert Mar 01, 2016 ]
Yes,this CD receiver only holds one CD, CD-R, or CD-RW, including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files, at a time. I personally use a SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB 2.0 Low-Profile Flash Drive in mine. It plays my entire music collection and can categorize my collection by folder for easy selection. [ GILBERT Feb 29, 2016 ]
yes [ Scott Feb 29, 2016 ]
Yes, this unit shows the name of the artist and song title on most major radio stations. I have had this head unit for a couple years now and i have been nothing but happy with it. Amazing in every way [ SHEA Dec 12, 2015 ]
there is a setting that has to be turned on in the menu to see song and artist while using the tuner. [ Matt Dec 09, 2015 ]
1 answer I have an iPhone 5. When paired over Bluetooth, music pauses and I can't start playing via the front panel. Pressing the volume knob mutes/unmutes. Audio will play if controlled via the phone. When connected via USB, pressing the volume knob will play/pause. Can anyone help? [ Guest Dec 01, 2015 ]
If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings on the product and see if there may be a fix. Our toll-free Tech Support number is printed on your invoice, and is also available under the "My Orders" tab in the "My Account" section of our website. If you did not purchase the unit from Crutchfield, then you may want to contact the manufacturer. You can also post your question in our forums: http://community.crutchfield.com. Or try our online support center: http://crutchfield.custhelp.com/app/answers/list/kw/. [ Jeff Dec 03, 2015 ] Staff
It has no function other than to mesmerize your passengers. [ Guest Dec 01, 2015 ]
It doesn't really do anything except adding some visual interest to the display. It rotates when something is playing and flashes when the tuner is selected. [ JERRY Nov 29, 2015 ]
I've had the unit for a few years now and as far as I can tell it doesn't do anything. It may just be an indicator that it is receiving an audio signal. [ Nathan Nov 29, 2015 ]
No, it doesn't detach or flip. [ Mauricio Nov 24, 2015 ]
No the face is not detachable at all. [ Steven Nov 23, 2015 ]
Unfortunately not. [ Samuel Nov 23, 2015 ]
Face does not detach or flip. [ Gregg Nov 23, 2015 ]
When the unit is off, the display goes dark. But if you press the upper left button (with the unit off), the time shows for several seconds. [ PHILIP Nov 06, 2015 ]
The display has various options.With the display button, HD radio can show the song title and artist, or the station number, or station ID, etc or the clock. The clock is a display option from all sources. It cannot be shown with the power off though. The wiring configuration is power from the key. It may have the option to be hardwired to the battery, but I believe that would put a drain on the battery. Hope that helps. Ryan [ R Nov 06, 2015 ]
There is display buton in the upper left hand corner that will toggle to what you want. [ Tom Nov 06, 2015 ]
I have used my 128 gB in it without an issue [ Tim Sep 28, 2015 ]
Havent had any issues [ JOSEPH Jul 26, 2015 ]
The truck was Arlen shortly after so I don't recall [ GARY Jul 26, 2015 ]
I don't know about a diesel engine, but I have a Ford Explorer Sport Trac and the bluetooth is amazing!! The only person who has a problem hearing me is my Mom-in-Law and she has problems hearing when I'm standing in front of her. [ Andrea Jul 26, 2015 ]
I had in 2007 Chevy cobalt. It worked very well . I mounted the mic on the steering column.but you have plenty cable . [ MATTHEW E Jul 26, 2015 ]
I dont have a diesel engine mycar is fairly quiet but the hands free dose work really well i never have any issues with it [ SASSO D Jul 26, 2015 ]
Pretty good just keep windows shut :) [ RAYMOND Jul 26, 2015 ]
1 answer I'm very happy with my new JVC KW-HDR81 BlueTooth car receiver. The only setback that I've had is that I can't make a call from my iPhone using the hands-free option. I've connected and paired up my iPhone and I'm capable of dialing a call and making a connection through it, I can hear the person at the other end but the other person can't hear me. I just found out by reading the Owner's Manual that iPhones are compatible up to the iPhone 4, I own an iPhone 5S and I've encountered the problem described before. Is there a workaround through this? Is the manual correct or does it only means it was printed by the time that iPhone 4 was released? HELP! [ Antonio Jun 24, 2015 ]
If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings on the product and see if there may be a fix. Our toll-free Tech Support number is printed on your invoice, and is also available under the "My Orders" tab in the "My Account" section of our website. If you did not purchase the unit from Crutchfield, then you may want to contact the manufacturer. You can also post your question in our forums: http://community.crutchfield.com. Or try our online support center: http://crutchfield.custhelp.com/app/answers/list/kw/. [ Krissy Jun 24, 2015 ] Staff
Hello GD, I've been quite happy with the KW-HDR81BT. It's easy to use. The sound quality is as good as my cell phone service allows. As for the hands-free feature, I haven't answering texts with the voice feature can be a bit tricky however. It doesn't always understand what I am saying, but I think that's my phone and not the unit. I hope that helps. One thing, do not lose the USB dongle. I did after my wife unplugged it to charge her phone. The replacement cost is $50. [ WILLIAM May 24, 2015 ]
I have been using this unit for almost 2 years and I am very pleased with the clarity of the call and I have never had a complaint from anyone that I have been talking to they say the voice is clear and can understand every thing I say. This is a very good unit for the money I would recommend buying it. [ WILLIAM S May 24, 2015 ]
Hey there, I have this Head Unit in my 2010 Tundra, I think the Mic cheap but it works ok, I do have people tell me they hear an echo. I use a Samsung Note 3 phone with it and I think the issue is the Blue Tooth with the phone and not the unit. Hands free verbal commands is only as good as the device you are using it with. I cannot comment on how an Iphone would work with it but the same samsung is ok. I'd give it a 6 out of 10 but again look at the phone you plan to use not the head unit. The head unit for Sirius and Music is great ! Menu's getting around you will need the book to program. [ BRIAN May 24, 2015 ]
It is okay but the whole unit is pretty dated I wish I had picked something elseI [ RUSSELL May 24, 2015 ]
I really like it. Great unit for the price, hands free works well, just make sure you instal the mic on the top of the windshield next to your rear view mirror or sun visor. Hope This helps you. [ TERRYGOLF M May 24, 2015 ]
The ability to retain steering wheel controls with aftermarket receivers will be determined by the receiver you are using and the vehicle you have. For full information on this type of integration (including the parts you will need) please contact an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Apr 05, 2015 ] Staff
The ability to retain steering wheel controls with aftermarket receivers will be determined by the receiver you are using and the vehicle you have. For full information on this type of integration (including the parts you will need) please contact an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Feb 27, 2015 ] Staff
5 answers Some reviews mention the single-line text as a nuisance. Does the text scroll to show song information? Also, can review how well the hands-free allows them to be heard? Is there an external microphone or internal, or is that just with the Phone's microphone? I have an Iphone 5. Thanks everyone! [ David Feb 05, 2015 ]
This unit uses an external microphone. I ran the wire for mine up the driver side "A" pillar, mounting the microphone in the top of the A-pillar trim next to the visor. I would rate the sound as fair to good but I think that the micro phone placement will have a big affect on that. The song titles do scroll when using an iPod. As I side note, I purchased the HD radio version and really am not happy with that feature. Weak signals cause the unit to go in and out of HD mode which causes annoying changes in music quality and volume. I have not found a way to turn this feature off yet. I love the radio but would save the money and buy the non-HD version if I was to do it again. [ WALTER A Feb 06, 2015 ]
The single line text does scroll to show song information and the hands free is a separate microphone that you mount in the car. I put it to the left of the visor in the molding of the headliner. I don't have a problem with sound and hearing anyone and the level is controlled by the volume. I have the iPhone 4S and have had no trouble at all. Also everyone really likes the the color choices of the display. Enjoy!! [ WALTER A Feb 06, 2015 ]
The text does not scroll. You have to cycle through by way of the display button,upper left on unit. It does have an external mic that works pretty well. I have owned the radio for 18 months and am happy with the sound quality and function. Hope this helps. [ CHARLES R Feb 06, 2015 ]
Yes, the text scrolls. I never really need more than that as I'm usually concentrated on, y'know... driving. The hands free is of pretty decent quality when you use the bluetooth functionality (galaxy s3) and you can be heard reasonably well. If your car has a lot of road noise it might be a little worse but thats natural. It does have an external mic that you can mount pretty much anywhere, IIRC it has about 3 ft of wire for positioning. [ JASON Feb 06, 2015 ]
I have never had a problem with the text, and can adjust the display not to scroll the titles. I there is an external wired microphone that comes with double backing tape. I attached to steering column, and have had very little issues with others hearing me even traveling on highway in my XB. [ JAMES Feb 06, 2015 ]
I have note 3 and basically spotify works... when in pause. I would not recommend this if all you wanted was Bluetooth streaming. It will work but it's a pain. Other than that. I like this and it was a good buy [ Chris Feb 10, 2015 ]
It works but the menu system is archaic and the display brightness is terrible and wish I had bought something else [ RUSSELL Jan 28, 2015 ]
I have my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 synced with Blue tooth. Blue tooth with Android is just plain crappy. You can answer calls and play music and its fine. I know with the new software update 4.4.4 on my phone it made BT worse. It I try to do voice dialing the unit and the phone hangs and I need to shut both off to reset. I have the Sirius add on for this and it works awesome, would be nice if the phone integration worked as well. As a Car radio plenty of power and sounds nice with Stock Tundra speakers. [ BRIAN Jan 28, 2015 ]
Sorry can't help, I haven't tried and Android device. I use an iPod classic with it, and it works great. I have a Windows phone and it does work through Bluetooth, but I only use that to make calls and send/receive texts, not play music. Sorry that I'm not that much help. [ WILLIAM Jan 28, 2015 ]
This integrates into Android seamlessly. I have two android phones and I can connect both of them. The first phone you connect can control both phone and audio then the second phone is solely for phone. I do not utilize Spotify so I could not tell you specifically but I do have Pandora and it works great. [ ROGER J Jan 28, 2015 ]
Thanks Jeff that's what I needed to know and the item I'll have to get to buy the JVC. That's a big help for us Mustang Shaker system users. [ Kevin Jan 27, 2015 ]
There can be turn on "pop" when replacing a receiver with this system. However, we have an adapter that can help with this: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_120AFDI5V/Axxess-AFDI-5V.html? [ Jeff Jan 27, 2015 ] Staff
If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings on the product and see if there may be a fix. Our toll-free Tech Support number is printed on your invoice, and is also available under the "My Orders" tab in the "My Account" section of our website. If you did not purchase the unit from Crutchfield, then you may want to contact the manufacturer. You can also post your question in our forums: http://community.crutchfield.com. Or try our online support center: http://crutchfield.custhelp.com/app/answers/list/kw/. [ Krissy Jan 16, 2015 ] Staff
Yes, it works flawlessly! [ Andrea Jul 26, 2015 ]
I phone 6+ works perfect!! [ ALVARO Dec 09, 2014 ]
My iPhone 5s has iOS 8.1.1 and it bluetooths to the JVC just fine . No problems. [ KEN Dec 08, 2014 ]
Yep, my son says he has used the i6 on this radio and it works. Good value radio [ NESTOR Dec 08, 2014 ]
I use this in two of our cars and it continues to work flawlessly after the upgrade to IOS8 on both our iphones 4s and 5. [ Declan Dec 08, 2014 ]
I own a pathfinder, no big ugly gaps. [ NELSON Jul 03, 2014 ]
2 answers I have found that when working on the vehicle and disconnecting the battery (which is almost always required to avoid SRS mishaps) that this unit remembers the station presets and the Bluetooth pairings, but forgets all color settings, display settings, audio settings, time zone setting, etc. It is interesting that a unit with a paperclip reset button does not remember all of its settings while power is temporarily removed. I did not see a Save Settings function anywhere in the manual or in the menus themselves. Is there a way to maintain the settings while the battery is disconnected? [ LongJohn Jun 23, 2014 ]
Most likely not. The system has an internal battery that it relies on to maintain memory of the most difficult settings to replace...station presets and bluetooth pairings included. However, the display color and audio settings are easier and by not providing backup for these functions the small battery can extend the time that it can maintain memory of the more difficult ones. Hope this helps... [ Derek Jun 29, 2014 ]
not that I am aware of I have only had occasion to disconnect my battrie once and had to reset most of the things you are. [ WILLIAM S Jun 24, 2014 ]
Some of the reviews mention a slow response to the reading of a USB drive and I was wondering how significant that wait time is in the following circumstances; When a drive is initially plugged in. When you switch to the USB from another function. When you resume in USB mode after turning the car back on. [ Jeff Dec 05, 2014 ]
Thank you [ Cee Jun 17, 2014 ]
I have an iphone 5 and it connects and works great [ OSWALDO Jun 13, 2014 ]
I have the 5s and haven't had any problems bluetoothing with the JVC receiver. [ KEN Jun 13, 2014 ]
I have the 5S and it works great. Hope this helps [ JESSE Jun 12, 2014 ]
1 answer Hi there I have Pontiac g6 and I have trouble with my cd drive in my car stereo and I want to upgrade with this stereo the question is if I upgrade with this stereo What's going to happen with the program that shows on my factory stereo means info,oil life,door ajar,or trunk ajar,temperature,etc pleas needs expertise? [ Mel Nov 21, 2013 ]
Please contact an Advisor by phone or chat for full details. They will be able to look up your vehicle and let you know the exact details about the factory display. [ Jeff Nov 22, 2013 ] Staff