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Kenwood Excelon DNX6980

Navigation receiver (New Stock)

21 Reviews

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Item # 113DNX6980

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon DNX6980

The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 receiver offers a one-stop solution to adding navigation, Bluetooth®, and multimedia capabilities to your car. Garmin and Kenwood have teamed up on the navigation features for the DNX6980 — a partnership that pays off in accurate, easy-to-use guidance. The millions of points of interest built into the database direct you to food, gas, and other services, saving you time when you're traveling. The receiver announces street names when you approach turns, eliminating guesswork and unnecessary panic.

The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 receiver offers a one-stop solution to adding navigation, Bluetooth®, and multimedia capabilities to your car. Garmin and Kenwood have teamed up on the navigation features for the DNX6980 — a partnership that pays off in accurate, easy-to-use guidance. The millions of points of interest built into the database direct you to food, gas, and other services, saving you time when you're traveling. The receiver announces street names when you approach turns, eliminating guesswork and unnecessary panic.

Lifetime traffic info
And what's the point of following directions when you drive right into a traffic jam? Navteq Traffic keeps tab on real-time congestion along your route, so the DNX6980 can recalibrate your route to avoid upcoming problems.

Garmin navigation

Bluetooth from Parrot
Hands-free calling is provided in partnership with Parrot, a leader in Bluetooth technology. Incoming calls mute your music automatically, as caller ID info shows up on the screen. You'll answer with just a tap of your finger on the touchscreen, and then talk as if your caller were sitting next to you in the passenger seat.

iPod®, iPhone®, and Pandora
You can enjoy the audio and video content on your iPod or iPhone by adding an optional cable. Once connected, you can browse through your music with the touchscreen controls, and check out the album art on the big screen. If you're into Pandora, you can access and control your Pandora stations using the Kenwood's controls. You can view video content when you're parked, or add a screen or two in the back to keep your passengers entertained as you drive.

Highly adjustable display
The DNX6980 boasts three uniquely styled Graphical User Interfaces for easy touchscreen control, so you're not stuck with one look for your receiver's face — a handy feature if you have multiple drivers for one vehicle. You can also adjust the GUI colors and the button illumination to match the dash lighting in most vehicles.

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

Note: Bluetooth compatibility of this device may vary, depending on your phone and service provider.

Note: If you're going to use your iPod with this receiver, be sure to check Hands-on Research for specific iPod model compatibility with this receiver or its optional iPod adapter.

Product Highlights:

    General features:
    • in-dash DVD/CD player with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in internal amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • 6.1" touchscreen with variable color button illumination
    • 3 user-selectable GUI (Graphical User Interfaces)
    • built-in navigation with maps of Canada, USA, and Puerto Rico
    • built-in Navteq Traffic for real-time traffic info in many metropolitan areas (lifetime subscription included)
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling
    • fits double-DIN (4" tall) dash openings
    Audio/visual features:
    • plays DVD, DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, CD, CD-R/RW, and MP3/WMA/AAC files on disc
    • plays JPEGs on CD, DVD, or USB
    • 3-band EQ with eight preset tone curves
    • speaker type setting controls
    • high-pass filter on front and rear speaker/subwoofer outputs, low-pass filter and level control on subwoofer output
    • dual-zone operation
    • iPod/iPhone control with optional Kenwood iPod cable
    • works with with Kenwood HD Radio™ tuner and satellite radio
    • Pandora Internet radio control with iPhone and optional cable
    • inputs: USB input, front-panel A/V input, rear-view camera input
    • outputs: A/V output; 6-channel preamp outputs (5-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
    Other information:

    What's in the Box:

    • Double-DIN DVD/Navigation receiver with built-in 6.1" monitor (with 15A fuse inserted in chassis)
    • Sleeve (attached)
    • Trim ring
    • Wiring harness
    • RC-DV331 remote control
    • 2 "AAA" batteries
    • Magnetic base GPS antenna (with attached 16.5' cable terminated by a proprietary connector)
    • Microphone with integrated bracket (and attached 10' cable terminated by a right-angle 3.5mm connector)
    • 2 Radio removal tools
    • 6 Pan-head ISO-mount screws
    • 6 Flat-head ISO-mount screws
    • Self-adhesive magnetic plate
    • Instructions Manual (CD-ROM)
    • Quick Start Guide (Eng/Spa)
    • Quick Start Guide (Fre)
    • Software Update/POI Data note
    • Warranty Card

    Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (21 Reviews)

    out of date

    larry from nh usa on 4/15/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    not very happy .. i just got this unit a couple of weeks ago and the map was already out of date.. you should not be selling units with out of date maps.. I may return it unless i can get a free update or 70 towards buying the latest maps..

    Pros: works well not slow as others have said

    Cons: usb is not great why is there a 255 folder limit?, also maps are out of date

    Not bad at all

    Bob from LI NY on 3/9/2012

    I bought this unit a couple of months ago and figured I'd give it some time to get used to it. Overall I really like this unit and and would recommend it to others. Here are some of my observations. Pros 1.Display is great and although the touch screen does pause for a moment it is by no means terrible. Just enough to notice it, but really not bad. 2.Gps works better than my stand alone garmin 1450. I have not noticed any lag or others problems previously stated by others. 3.XM works great and displays alot of info. It does take about 30 seconds to start playing. 4.Startup aside from xm is normal. Based on reading other reviews I was a bit worried about slow start up but the unit really isn't that bad. The back up camera works immediately and if you listen to regular radio that comes on right away too. GPS pretty much right away, same as stand alone units. Really the only thing thats slow is the XM. 5.My kids use their IPODS/ Iphones and don't seem to have a problem but I really can't comment too much other than to say it all seems to work. Unit also charges Iphones. 6. My phone, HTC Incredible, links up fine and downloads everything fine. Blue tooth works as advertised except for the SMS feature which I'm told must be supported by the phone. My phone doesn't support this feature. 7. I downloaded a backround picture using the USB with no problem. 8. DVDs work fine and look great. Cons 1. A Bit slow but like I said really not an issue.



    DNX6980 - 7 out of 10

    gunplt from Raleigh, NC on 2/8/2012

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

    I have had this unit in my wife's accord for about 6 months now. Put it in when we bought it off of lease because I wanted her to have integrated Garmin nav plus hands free calling. Those things it does. It is a very eye catching display. It's slow responses are annoying in the high speed world of driving in which reaction time equals safety. Impossible to find map updates for it on Garmin or Kenwood's websites. Overall I would rate it a 7 out of 10 and in my opinion it is priced overpriced $100-$300 over it's value given it performance.

    Pros: Most bells & whistles (no voice command), many features, beautiful display, FM receiver sensitivity is excellent

    Cons: slow/sluggish response to touch screen or steering wheel controls

    Kenwood's Worst by Far

    Uozz from New Jersey on 2/1/2012

    I will start off with the good first. Bad: Where can i start? This unit is slow. when i say slow ... it means its really slow. i am not the most high-tech person around buying new gadgets all the time. no i am not that. but i have had many stereos in the past that were just NORMAL unlike this one. this unit takes time to do e.g skip a song, search for music on cd/mp3/ipod. all functionality are just pathetically slow. kenwood did NOT invest in upgrading their chip. it works like a 5 year old laptop that been pounded with new software that made the laptop slow. Navigation by Garmin does a decent job but thanks to kenwoods slow processor that is SLOW too. you will find it extremely difficult to follow when you have to take sudden turns which means you will be missing them a lot. Phonebook will load everytime you seek the contact option. i did few times, till i gave up. I couldn't sit through it loading the entire thing everytime. on top of that going to that option was slow.

    Pros: Good: Sound Quality. this stereo provides finest SQ with lot of tuning options of all kinds for most audiophiles.5v pre amp

    Cons: Bottom line is Please don't buy this.i have been running this for the past 6 months.something i play and leave it on. because the unit is so slow that navigating through while driving has a serious accident risk. usually you press skip and look back to the road, here you press skip and wait to see if it took the command and if its going to skip the song and this can lead to accident.

    A solid head unit

    Rob D from Arkansas on 1/2/2012

    I installed the DNX6980 in my 2011 Toyota Camry. I added the Axxess ASWC steering wheel controller, iPod cable, and Kenwood CMOS 200 back up camera. I love everything about the unit. The installation, thanks to Crutchfield's instructions and factory plugs, and the Schoche double din faceplate, was as breeze. I'm amazed that the CMOS 200 actually allows you to see traffic that is in my blind spot when using the full view. I will agree that the software is a bit sluggish, but not to the point where it is aggravating. The support from Crutchfield was superb. My only issues were locating the reverse activation wire for the back up camera, but Tech Support provided that information. The Axxess ASWC required no programming...period. You just hook it up and turn on the unit and the car...that's it! I'm very pleased with all of these products and this head unit totally suits my needs. Would highly recommend.



    Buy something else!

    Bill from Westminster, MD on 11/29/2011

    2009 Chevrolet Malibu

    This is the first product I have ever felt like I needed to type a review on. I think Kenwood missed the boat in designing the software. The reason I bought the Kenwood is for the Garmin navigation. Unfortunately it doesn't work any where close to the level the portable Garmin does. I had many problems with the touch screen not working, changing the system selections requires scrolling through the menu with a mobile touch on the screen. It doesn't work! It was nearly impossible to select the operation I wanted to on the first attempt. I replaced the kenwood with a similar pioneer and I am amazes at how much better the pioneer works overall. Please consider a different navigation receiver.

    Pros: Nothing I can think of.

    Cons: Operating system problems. Extremely slow, had frequent freeze problems and an occasional pop up saying "application error".

    Kenwood Excelon DNX6980

    Jason from Rocky Point, NY on 11/17/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Good product. a bit pricey but you get what you pay for 7 out of 10. It has a lot of fetures but a bit slow in processing commands. If your on a budget get it but if you can spend 1200-1400 go with a pioneer!

    Pros: It has all the options you can consider, bluetooth, navigation, ipod,pandora video, amp inputs dvd

    Cons: Price. Navigation is effective but external garmins GPS works a lot faster. Screen tends to freez (buffer) Does not play most popular dvd formats. It uses a specific type. WMV does not work!!! Menues are tricky. NO HARD buttons for changing or seeking cds

    good but not great, definitely nice

    Me from Military on 11/15/2011

    2000 Ford F-250 Super Duty

    - Garmin does not appear to be configurable. Only a few of the normal voices and no way I'm aware of to download. - slow. Much faster after downloading software update. Usable/pretty, but there is a delay. A bit frustrating even for a patient man like myself - no way to get garmin lifetime maps. Unit will not connect to internet, though still trying to get a male-male USB cable, see if it works. Overall, the big draw is GARMIN, but lack of above removes garmin's draw~! It's a pretty unit, and sounds nice. Will no doubt be fun for years. But something is buggy in the code and its slow. Trust me on this one.

    Pros: It does have nice options, I wanted Garmin GPS & Pandora support. Not many to choose from.

    Cons: slow

    Thumbs up so far

    Matt from Boulder, CO on 10/30/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Overall I'm happy with the dnx6980, particularly because I can use the SD card slot to have topo maps display. I drive my truck on USFS and BLM land frequently, and having these extra maps is huge. Older Kenwood units had this ability through the mini-USB port in the back and via access to the internal memory of the unit, but these older access points have been eliminated by Kenwood/Garmin which is frustrating. I didn't fully understand the Ipod cabling during the install (purchased the extra Kenwood IPod cable), and ended up re-routing the female USB cable that comes out of the unit from my glove box to my center console. To hook up an Ipod and get full integration, you have to plug 2 ends of the Kenwood cable to make it work: one into the Ipod, and then the other USB cable "splice" to the female USB on the head unit. Not a huge problem, but unexpected based on what I read and knew. From a Crutchfield perspective, they provide excellent documentation and support for the install, and it was simple to do if you are comfortable disassembling your vehicle's console and dash area.

    Pros: SD card slot supports supplemental map loading!!! I replaced a dnx5180 with this unit after I found the 5180 had no way to upload additional maps (i.e., topo). Compared to the 5180, performance has been comparable and the features are pretty much the same. The unit takes 5-10 seconds to load at startup, which is fine to me. The Ipod integration display is nice and easy to navigate.

    Cons: Menu structure takes a bit of time to get used to, and to figure out how to bounce around and do things like audio adjustments, configuration changes and "hidden" menus. Sometimes button selection has a lag. Two cables to hook up an Ipod is silly.

    Nice Unit

    CD from Oklahoma on 10/24/2011

    This unit was purchased using the Crutchfield outfit my car option. My requirements were relatively straightforward: indash GPS, satellite radio, bluetooth, and Garmin nav as my wife drives the car and is familiar with that style display. The package arrived quickly, well protected in the box and in good shape. I did the install. The install was straight foward, but time consuming as I had to route video to the backup camera, backup switch, and place the GPS and sat radio antennas under the dash on top of the instrument cluster. The adapter plug was a miracle worker! The Nav unit indash bracket instructions left a little to be desired as the end brackets had to be broken off to get the receiver depth set correctly to the faceplate and this was not addressed at all. With the side brackets on and the adapter plug all soldered up, the actual "putting it in the dash" was a 3 minute anticlimactic moment. Reattached the dash molding and it looked pretty good. Started the car and everything worked as advertised. I found the unit setup very easy and my 15 year old son setup the bluetooth for my wife's phone. The USB cable from the rear of the unit was routed to the glove box and is awaiting a more permanent install at a later date for use with the iphone/ipod adapter cable. My biggest concern about the unit was from reading previous reviews regarding sluggish and slow response. I found these comments to be true, fortunately not to the point I feared. The final decision to buy was made when I learned Kenwood had a firmware update to address these problems. The update was an easy install and did improve performance noticeably although screen "touches" are still a little slow. The nav system works as expected with good directions and tracking movement. The traffic feature worked nicely when in the Dallas Ft Worth area. The satellite radio activation was also easy. The only capability I have not tried is Pandora as we do not use it. Overall, this is a nice unit and I am happy with it's performance. I didn't give it 5 stars due to the noticeable delys for touch screen responses even after the firmware update.



    Great Unit, Just One Shortcoming

    ChrisL from Lowell, MA on 8/26/2011

    2010 Toyota Tacoma
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I was looking for a nice aftermarket navigation-DVD unit to put in my 2010 Toyota Tacoma pickup and after browsing the Crutchfield site, I decided on the Kenwood DNX6980 receiver. At the same time I purchased the Sirius satellite unit to go with it. Although I've put some simpler units in older vehicles,I bought the install card and had a pro put this one in. The installer did a great job, the unit looks and works great. I love the touch screen interfaces. Radio sensitivity is excellent, satellite reception is great and the Garmin navigation works like it should. The only drawback is the USB connection. I couldn't find it, thinking it would be somewhere on the front of the unit, but it is located on the back, why, I don't know as I've a got a smaller Kenwood unit that has the USB on the front behind a clear hinged door. I had an ipod cable installed but didn't even think I'd need another cable for the USB! The dealer didn't put in a cable for it so I currently cannot use it. Other than this design drawback, In think this unit is excellent.



    Would be a perfect headunit, if not so slow

    Delosky from Atlanta, GA on 8/24/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I had high hopes for this system and honestly, it could've been the perfect GPS head unit. Unfortunately, Kenwood left the same hardware inside of this unit that they had in the previous generations and it shows. Hint from an IT guy - if you keep upgrading your operating system, it isn't a bad idea to upgrade your underlying hardware as well. Everything about the GUI is super slow. You press pause on the iPod and 8 seconds later the song pauses. You type in an address into the GPS, and the screen shows the letters you are typing 3 seconds after each letter. Even when I'm driving around my neighborhood, if I turn on a street, sometimes it can take up to 3 seconds for it to realize I turned and then it catches up with me on the new road. On a daily basis this is functional, but if I'm relying on the GPS to give me turn by turn, you can't afford to wait for it to catch up with you if you need to turn on another street quickly. Feature wise, this unit has everything. The graphics, iPod controls, Garmin, and HD radio are nice. If it wasn't for the sluggishness of EVERYTHING on this unit, I would've rated it a 5 and kept it as long as I have my truck (and I've had two trucks in 12 years). Unfortunately, I couldn't see spending $1,000+ on a headunit that I get frustrated using just because I can't scroll smoothly through menus and I have wait 5 seconds just to toggle between the GPS and the iPod.



    Awesome Head Unit!!!

    JonA from Philadelphia, PA on 8/15/2011

    2005 Volvo XC70
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I purchased this unit back in June, and finally installed it about a week ago. What a great head unit. The amount of features that this HU has in relation to the OEM unit on the highest end model XC 70 is tremendous. I added both sirius satellite radio and the iPod/iPhone adapter. These are a must have, and both are seemlessly integrated and work flawlessly. The blutooth phone works great, and the people on the other end of the phone have had no issues with backgroud noise, feedback or the ability to hear clearly. The only issue with the phone is that you cannot access the phonebook while driving. This is a safety feature and realize that.



    I'm impressed!

    Bob from Hudson, Florida on 7/31/2011

    2003 Ford Ranger
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I've had it installed for about 10 days in a 2003 Ford Ranger Extended Cab along with a Kicker 8"BaseStation subwoofer. It was done by a local authorized Kenwood car audio/video shop which probably kept me from experiencing problems and a lot of frustration! Radio and Flash Drive MP3 music is awesome. The Garmin GPS Nav system works much better than the reviews I've read. I see that there are new firmware downloads available for slowness and choppiness but miy unit must have the latest firmware as I am not experiencing any problems in this area. I'm pretty familiar with Garmin GPS Nav as I've had it on my boat for years. Garmin is the best! The satellite antenna for GPS Nav was installed on top of the unit under the dash so it isn't visible and it works great. I had a little difficulty pairing and regestering my cell phone for Bluetooth operation. The manual didn't cover the details I needed, i.e. my phone was in "stealth" mode and source of phone and Kenwood unit key codes. It took me a couple of hours of trial and error over a couple of days to succeed. In summary this is a fairly complex unit and having experience setting up with lots of menus would be helpful.




    Quizz from North Carolina on 7/13/2011

    2004 Mazda RX8
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Well I've had this for 3 weeks now with all the bells and whistles except sat. radio and I was pretty disappointed right off the bat. My main gripe is that I can click on something and it'll take the unit up to 1 or even 2 seconds to do what I told it to. That is pretty unacceptable considering how much this thing costs. My second gripe is that I am now having issues with my old iPhone that I have plugged into the unit. It's been working great until today and all of a sudden I'm now having an "authorization error". Kenwood blames Apple and Apple blames Kenwood and so far I have not found an answer. 3rd, The menu system is not "idiot proof". The first week or two I was trying to figure out what each menu button was for, how to set up my phone, how to search for songs on my ipod, simple stuff like that. Does it come with a manual? Yes! But I'm a guy and for this price, I shouldn't NEED a manual. When I picked up my iPhone for the first time I had no problems figuring out what was what. I think Kenwood's problem is they focus almost entirely on the hardware and leave the software till the last minute, but the user interface is probably the most important part. Lastly I'm surprised that Crutchfield has this listed as one of their "signature" products. I feel misled and you guys need to re-think you're evaluation of this product. Unfortunately with a product like this you don't find out stuff like this till it's already installed.



    Pretty good, but some quirks

    Stever761 from Spicewood, TX on 6/24/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Installed in 2007 Tundra DoubleCab, with HD Tuner, iPod cable, and Boyo license plate camera about 2 months ago. There aren't currently firmware updates from Kenwood, nor map updates from Garmin available yet (maps are 2009). I've had one issue where the HD tuner didn't fire up, but turning the car off and on fixed it. I've had multiple occasions when using the GPS locks up the unit and it reboots on its own. Zooming in and out on GPS is slow. Google maps is more accurate and better at traffic information. I've not been able to get my iPhone 4 contact list accessible on the unit yet. Bluetooth works fantastic automatically syncing anytime my phone is in range, though I'm disappointed I can't seem to get Bluetooth to stream songs from my iPod or Pandora. The included USB dongle provides good reach, but they don't include an Aux cable (needed for iPod interface cable). I was happy to find that a standard 3.5mm cable did the job giving me access to a standard Aux input, usb input, and iPod in my center console. I had the DNX5180 and it was rather slow to boot. I upgraded to this one and it is noticeably faster on boot and moving through menus, but it could still be faster. Backup camera interface works great and the DVD sounds phenomenal. Sound customization ability is incredible. Overall I'm pretty satisfied, though I must admit the new Pioneer AppRadio just released is very interesting from a cost, capability, and currency standpoint.



    Good sound, choppy graphics

    Lindy from Pocono, PA on 5/12/2011

    This radio sounds extremely well, trying to display the artist, song, channel name was a bit tricky to found out how to do it, had to have dealer call tech support, when I called customer service they blamed it on the sirius tuner. Overall the unit is pretty nice, the GPS and graphics are bit choppy, Kenwood should use a better processor, there is no reason this should be so choppy, but I can live with it. Older units did not do this, so I am hoping a firmware upgrade will solve this. I like the fact is has a garmin built into the unit, with lane assist, I tow a 35' camper knowing which lane to be in going through big cities it vital to me. Overall its a pretty nice unit.



    2004 Mercury Marauder & Kenwood DNX6980

    Dave B. from Waterbury, CT on 4/25/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I just got it installed and set up today for my 2004 Mercury Marauder 4/25/2011 I had to be clever in the set up seeing our dash is not a full double din set up like the stereo needed, But once I had it installed and running I was able to set up my Bluetooth cell phone and the Sirius Satellite Radio easily as well as set up the sound inside the car the way I like it. It seems to be quick in changes and responses to commands and fairly easy to navigate from one thing to another. Already tried out the phone feature and the person I was talking to could hear me clear and easy. Plus you can easily match the color of the stereo to what your vehicle dash and gauges look like so that is a big plus as well. I would say it is a good idea to buy this from Crutchfield and I am so glad I did not have to modify any of the cars wiring with their plug in harnesses.



    Love it! Installed in 2006 F250

    DaleR from Williamsburg, VA on 4/24/2011

    2006 Ford F-250 Super Duty
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    To start, soldering Ford adapter harness to Kenwood supplied harness was a breeze! All wires were clearly marked & directions were easy to follow. Routing antenna cables was a bit tricky, but Crutchfield provided data sheets were a big help. Problem - I have crew cab; the Kenwood GPS ant cable was ~2 ft too short. Wanted to route GPS ant/Sirius sat radio ant to back of truck out the top of cab mounted bed/brake light. Worked great for Sirius ant, but was forced to go mid-cab between doors w/ GPS nav ant. There are missing steps from Crutchfield dash removal instructions for F250! Add these: If you have adjustable steering, move it down as far as it'll go. Insert key & turn to ignition detent allowing you to move shifter lever (auto trans) down to lowest point. Would've saved me 30 minutes! CONS: menus aren't completely intuitive & Kenwood manual doesn't show them all! Second, touch screen responsiveness is a bit jerky and not quite as fast as I'd expected. Finally, while in Sirius satellite radio, the main screen doesn't display song/artist info! You actually have to open the side sub-menu to see this information. PROS: Many! Love the touch screen! Graphics are fantastic! Nav is very simple to use. Screen layout/options are nice. The ability to choose button/display color is great. Phone function is easy to use. Crutchfield, you guys are AWESOME! Super customer support! Extremely fast shipping! ANOTHER VERY SATISFIED CUSTOMER!



    Great Unit, Garmin Rocks

    Dave from Cleveland, OH on 4/21/2011

    I installed this unit in my 2007 F150 and the fit was perfect. The sound on this unit is much better than my old aftermarket unit. Bluetooth work great once paired. I love the fact that I can add a USB drive to play all my mp3 music files. The best part was the Garmin, works just like my old portable one, but this is now built in. Very happy with this unit!




    CCC from Maine on 4/20/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I was hoping for the cat's meow with this new model and I got hairballs! It is extremely underpowered. Clicking on buttons have annoying delay; GPS is slow and sluggish, taking a turn in my vehicle, I have time to take the turn and continue a few feet until the GPS map takes a giant leap to catch up. Even the forward moving map is extremely slow, it spits and spatters as your going. The 6960 was a lot smoother running. On a positive note the Maps are prettier! I find the new menu should have a scroll disable because try swiping left and right while driving.....and they illegalize texting.....I think this is worse! The split screen is not as you would think in GPS. I thought you would see the whole source information that is playing instead your options are the menu, except in a smaller window or the rear view camera! COME ON KENWOOD! Check out kenwoodforums for additional issues found like rebooting, blanking out while music is still playing etc.....Proceed with caution <br><br> <b>[Editor's Note: We will be forwarding this review to Kenwood.]</b>




    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    AUX Input No
    Audio/video Input 1 Composite video
    USB Input Rear
    CarPlay No
    Android Auto No
    Siri Control No
    Android Control No
    Memory Card Slot USB Memory
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready Sirius
    HD Radio Optional
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano Nano6/Nano5/Nano4/Nano3/Nano2/
    Touch Touch4/Touch3/Touch2/Touch1
    iPhone Phone4S/Phone4/Phone3GS/Phone3
    RMS Power (CTA-2006) N/A
    RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
    Peak Output 50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs 6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen Yes
    Preamp Voltage 5 volts
    Display Color
    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 9.3 dBf
    European Tuning No
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System Yes

    Product Research

    Display Features
    Onboard Navigation
    Audio Section
    Radio Functions
    Disc Playback
    USB/iPod Connectivity
    Built-in Bluetooth
    AV Connections
    Remote Control

    Display Features

    2-DIN Chassis: The DNX6980 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.

    Note: As always, please consult the Crutchfield Car Selector to verify fit with your vehicle.

    6.1" Touchscreen Display: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features a fixed 6.1" wide, 16:9 touchscreen display with a TFT active matrix system and LED backlighting. The screen has a resolution of 800 (H) x 480 (V) x RGB with 1,152,000 total pixels. This unit has touchscreen controls with interactive video graphics, making menu navigation easy. The unit has a front-loading disc-slot to make loading your disc easier because there is no panel to slide or fold-down.

    Front Panel Controls: In addition to the touchscreen controls, the unit includes frequently used buttons and a rotary-dial along the left edge of the screen.

    Variable Illumination (256 Color Palette): You can adjust the head unit's touchscreen and button illumination from the following preset colors - Blue, Purple, Sky Blue, Aqua Blue, Yellow, Green, Amber, Red, Pink, White, or Scan (Scans through all preset colors). You can also select three custom user colors that are adjusted between Red, Green, and Blue values from 0-31 each. In addition, you can download still images for use as the unit's background from a connected USB thumbdrive.

    Flick Scrolling: You can scroll screen lists by simply flicking the screen up/down or scroll screen pages by simply flicking the screen right/left.

    Split Screen AV Control: The DNX6980's screen views can be easily toggled from one to another simply be touching the screen or appropriate button. The Split Screen AV Control mode divides the screen into two screens, with navigation on the left and a control window on the right.  With this Picture-in-Picture type function the head unit can now display the navigation and source screens simultaneously.

    Selectable Screen Viewing Modes: You can choose from the following screen modes for DVD, Video, iPod, USB, and Rear-camera playback:

    • Normal: Displays 16:9 widescreen format pictures that fill the entire screen width, and 4:3 (conventional TV) pictures display with black bars on either side.
    • Full: Expands 4:3 pictures horizontally to fill the entire width of the screen, distorting the picture slightly but retaining full image height.
    • Justify: Expands 4:3 pictures horizontally only at the edges.
    • Zoom: Expands 4:3 pictures both horizontally and vertically, filling the screen without distorting the picture but cutting off the top and bottom edges.

    Display Adjustment: You can adjust the unit's display brightness, contrast, and black level.

    Multi-Language Display: For your convenience, this unit is equipped with a multiple language display. You can select the language which is best suited to your first language - English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

    Parking Brake Detection: To prevent the displaying of video while the vehicle is in motion, the light green wire in the supplied 22-pin harness must be connected to the vehicle's parking brake detection circuit. While the vehicle is in motion (parking brake off), you can still view all of the other displays and menus.

    Dimmer: The dimmer function will dim this unit's display automatically when the vehicle light switch is turned On when you connect orange/white Illumination wire of this player's harness.

    Security Indicator: The Security Indicator feature helps to protect the Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 against theft. Turning this function "On" allows the security indicator light on the front-panel of the head unit to flash when your vehicle's ignition is off.

    Onboard Navigation

    Garmin/NAVTEQ Navigation: With built-in Garmin navigation software and NAVTEQ map data (CN North America NT 2011.20), the Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features on-screen maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico - which includes over 6 million Points of Interest. You can follow calculated on-screen routes to your destination using the head unit's built-in navigation software. As you travel, the DNX6980's navigation system guides you to your destination with audible and visual guidance.

    High-Sensitivity GPS Receiver: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 employs a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that is forgiving of less than optimal antenna placement, giving you additional placement options.

    GPS Antenna: The DNX6980 comes supplied with a GPS antenna that features a magnetic base and an attached 16.5' cable terminated by a proprietary plug which connects to GPS-ANT input on the back of the head unit. The unit also comes supplied with a self-adhesive magnetic base if you are having trouble finding a flat metal surface to mount the antenna.

    On-Screen Map: As you travel, the DNX6980 guides you to your destination with voice prompts, arrows on the map, directions at the top of the map. The upper-left corner indicates the distance to your next maneuver, If you depart from the original route, the navigation system recalculates the route and provides new directions.

    2D/3D Map: You can changes the perspective of the map from 2D North-Up (displays the map in 2 dimensions with North at the top), 2D Track-Up (displays the map in 2 dimensions with  your direction of travel at the top of the screen), 3D Track-Up (displays the map in 3 dimensions with your direction of travel at the top of screen).

    Color Modes: Select between Day (for a bright background), Night (for a black background) or Auto (to automatically switch between the two).

    Text-To-Speech Voice Prompts: The unit's text-to-speech voices "read and speak" the same words that are displayed on the unit's screens. The voices have an extensive vocabulary and they pronounce the street names as you approach turns. Voice prompts can heard from both of your front speakers, only the left front speaker, or only the right front speaker. You can independently adjust the volume (0-35) of the voice prompts without affecting the main volume.

    Note: The unit offers English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese voice prompts.

    Lane Assist with Junction View: The Lane Assist function guides you to the appropriate lane you should be in for upcoming junctions and interchanges.  Junction View displays a realistic view of upcoming road details facilitating a safer navigation experience.

    NAVTEQ Traffic: NAVTEQ Traffic provides real-time traffic data for over 90 major cities in North America, including Canada. If traffic is congested up ahead or there is a road closure, the navigation system will automatically re-navigate the route to show you how to get to your destination, quickly and easily. Alternatively, in manual mode, the system will add delay time to your trip so you can decide to avoid or continue on your current route. NAVTEQ Traffic's highly-accurate data is a result of combining the right sources with the right processing:

    • Proprietary Sensors: NAVTEQ operates the world's largest proprietary sensor network, and their highly accurate sensor network covers 35% more roadway than the nearest competitor.
    • Probe: Robust commercial and consumer GPS and cellular probes improve coverage and accuracy.
    • Data Validation: Proprietary data corroboration and verification methods check and recheck data accuracy.
    • Data Processing: NAVTEQ's Smart Traffic Processor blends and optimizes the widest array of traffic information to provide comprehensive and reliable real-time traffic information. Unique processing capabilities combine and prioritize multiple data sources to provide the most accurate speed values possible.

    Note: NAVTEQ includes a lifetime service subscription. Because NAVTEQ traffic is subsidized by unobtrusive pop-up advertising there is no subscription fees.

    Where Am I?: The "Where Am I?" feature gives you instant access to important information in case of an emergency. When you select "Where Am I?" from the menu, you get the coordinates (including elevation) of your current position, plus the nearest address and intersections. There are also menus to help you locate the nearest hospitals, police stations, gas stations, and roadside assistance. You can also save the location for future reference.

    Search Modes: The navigation system automatically searches for places near your current location. You can also choose to have the DNX6980 search for places in a different city, a recent destination, a favorite destination, projected destination, or along your current route.

    Destination Search: The unit's "Where To?" menu screen offers the following search features to help you find your destination.

    Destination Search Description
    Browse Map Allows you to search for a destination by touching and dragging the map.
    Go Home Store one home location to allow you to calculate a route home from any current location.
    Address Input your destination address by house number, street, and city.
    Cities Allows you to search by city's name.
    Intersection Allows you to search where to streets intersect.
    Points-of-Interest Allows you to search for over 6-millions points of interest in the following categories: Food and Drink, Lodging, Fuel, Transit, Shopping, Bank or ATM, Parking, Entertainment, Recreation, Attractions, Hospitals, Community, or Auto Services. The "Spell Name" feature allows you to enter a point of interest by name.
    Favorites You can save all of your favorite places in the navigation system, so you can quickly navigate to them later.
    Routes Allows you to select from previously created (custom) routes.
    Recently Found Choose from one of your 50 most recent destinations or waypoints.
    Phone # Allows you to search your destination by enter the place's phone number.
    Coordinates Allows you to search your destination by longitude and latitude values.
    Extras You can manually load custom points of interest (POI) databases, available from various companies on the Internet. Some custom POI databases contain alert information for points such as safety cameras and school zones. The navigation system can notify you when you approach one of these points (Proximity Alert). You can download the custom POIs onto a CD-R or DVD-/+R, which can then be loaded into the unit's disc-slot.

    Multiple Destination Routing (Via Points): You can add intermediate destination points (via points) to your routes as you create it. You can also add points to your route after its been created when you go to edit the route. You can program up to 500 via points for long trips.

    Route Preference: Selects the preference for your calculation between Faster Time, Shorter Distance, Less Fuel, or Off Road.

    Avoidance Setup: This feature allows you to enter specific areas and roads to avoid in your routes. You can choose to avoid U-Turns, Highways, Toll Roads, Traffic, Ferries, Carpool Lanes, or Unpaved Roads.

    Turn Pages: The following pages help guide you along the turns of your calculated route.

    • Turn-List: When you are navigating a route, the Turn List page displays turn-by-turn instructions for your entire route and the distance between turns.
    • Next Turn: When you are navigating a route, the Next Turn page shows the turn on the map and the distance and time left before you reach the turn.

    Auto Reroute: If you happen to depart from your original route, the internal navigation system recalculates the route and provides new route instructions.

    Detour: The navigation system attempts to get you back on your original route as quickly as possible, after calculating a detour. If the route you are currently taking is the only reasonable option, the DNX6980 might not calculate a detour.

    Trip Log: The Trip Log creates a bread crumb trail (trip log) of your movement. At any time the entire track log can be displayed on the map. You can also reset the track log whenever you like.

    Trip Computer: The trip computer shows current speed, current direction, distance to destination, total distance traveled, average speed (including stopped time), average speed while moving, maximum speed, total trip time, total moving time, and stopped time. You can reset just the maximum speed or reset the entire trip computer at once.

    ecoRoute: The ecoRoute feature calculates your vehicle's fuel economy, carbon footprint, the fuel price of navigating to your destination, and offers tools for improving fuel efficiency. The first time you access the ecoRoute features, you will be asked to enter fuel and mileage information (Fuel Type, City Fuel MPG, HWY Fuel MPG) about your vehicle.

    • Fuel Report: If you have entered your vehicle profiles and the current fuel price, the DNX6980 calculates the average fuel economy for your vehicle, your carbon footprint, and the cost of the fuel consumed.
    • ecoChallenge Tool: The ecoChallenge tool helps you maximize your fuel economy by scoring your driving habits. The higher your overall score for a driving challenge, the more fuel you could save. You overall score is the average of these 3 scores:
      • Speed: gain points for driving at the best speed for conserving fuel, which is 45-60mph for most vehicles.
      • Acceleration: gain points for gradual acceleration; lose points for rapid acceleration
      • Braking: gain points for gradual braking; lose points for hard braking
    • Mileage Report: Mileage reports provide the distance, the time, the average fuel economy, and the fuel cost of navigation to a destination. A mileage report is created for every route that you drive. If you stop a route on your navigation system, a mileage report is crated for the distance you traveled.
    • Less Fuel Routes: The Less Fuel route is calculated based on speed limit and acceleration data.

    Note: The data provide by the ecoRoute feature is only an estimate. The data is not actually read from your vehicle.

    Tools: The DNX6980 offers tools you can use as you travel:

    • World Clock: The world clock allows you to display the current time for four locations throughout the world. You can also display a map of the world showing which portions are in daylight and which are in darkness.
    • Calculator: The calculator allows you to perform simple arithmetic.

    Safe Mode: Safe Mode disables all navigation system functions when the vehicle's parking break is disengaged, that require significant operator attention and could become a distraction while driving. You will need to engage the parking brake to enter addresses or other advance navigation functions when you have the unit set to Safe Mode.

    Software/Map Data Updates:  When the preloaded maps are considered out of date, the DNX6980 will provide periodic notification at startup. Garmin software and map updates can be downloaded as required, via microSD memory card. To find a software or map update, please go to

    Note: The unit's microSD-card slot is located on the front-panel. The microSD-card slot is only used for software and map updates. It cannot be used for playback of media files from an microSD memory card.

    Audio Section

    Kenwood Excelon: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 2-Din multimedia DVD receiver with navigation and Bluetooth incorporates the latest technologies and delivers the highest sonic performance. From advanced audio tuning capabilities, crossover and equalizer system, high-voltage preouts (5V), and a two-year warranty - Kenwood Excelon represents exceptional audio quality with long-lasting dependability.

    24-Bit D-A Converter: For superb quality audio playback from DVDs, CDs, and USB media, the DNX6980 is equipped with a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 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 DNX6980 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

    Speaker Type Setting: This feature tailors the DNX6980 according to the type of front speakers in your vehicle. You may select Standard (for speakers with a general diameter), Narrow (for speakers with a small diameter), Middle (for speakers with a medium diameter), or Wide (for speakers with a large diameter).

    System Q Sound Control: Seven 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, Flat, and User.

    Detail Audio Control: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features independent Bass, Treble and Midrange control when the System Q Sound Control is in User mode. The Detail Audio Control allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

    3-Band EQ Detailed Audio Settings
    Center Frequency Q-Factor Bass Extension Level
    Bass 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 100, 120, or 150 Hz 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, or 2.00 On/Off -8 to +8
    Midrange 0.5k, 1.0k, 1.5k, or 2.0k Hz 1.00 or 2.00 N/A
    Treble 10.0k, 12.5k, 15.0k, or17.5k Hz N/A N/A

    6ch/5V Preamp Outputs: The DNX6980 features front, rear, and subwoofer 5-volt preamp outputs. The front and rear preamp outputs feature fade control, while the subwoofer preamp output is non-fading.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The DNX6980 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", 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, or 180, 220Hz. 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 DNX6980 provides the following subwoofer preamp output controls.

    • Low-Pass Filter: The receiver features a built-in Low Pass Filter control for the unit's subwoofer preamp output. You can select from 50, 60, 80, 100, 120Hz, or "Through". The "Through" setting allows your external amplifier's crossover network to do all the filtering for your subwoofer.
    • Subwoofer Phase: You can adjust the phase of the subwoofer output between 180-degrees (Reverse) or 0-degrees (Normal).
    • Subwoofer Level: You can independently control the subwoofer preamp output level from the CD receiver. You select levels between -50 to +10.

    Dynamic Range Control: The dynamic range can be adjusted by selecting either Normal, Wide or Dialog. Dialog makes the total sound volume become larger as compared with Wide and Normal, allowing you to listen to the movie's dialogue more clearly. This is effective only on Dolby Digital software.

    Loudness: The Loudness feature compensates for low and high tones during low volume. You can turn this feature either on or off. Only the low tone is compensated for when the tuner is selected as a source.

    Volume Offset Control: 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 -15 to 0.

    Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store System Q, and bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (Disc, Tuner, USB, AV-In).

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

    Radio Functions

    AM/FM Tuner: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features a built-in AM/FM tuner. You can choose one of three tuning modes: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual.

    Radio Data System (RDS): The unit's tuner features RDS (Radio Data System). RDS is a service used by some radio stations to transmit data outside of normal radio broadcast signals. When an RDS station is received, you can immediately find out what kind of data is being transmitted by looking at the program service name which appears in the display after the frequency. RDS features an emergency transmission function which interrupts regular programming to broadcast an emergency announcement (such as a tornado or severe storm). There is also a switchable Traffic Information function, which will automatically tune a traffic bulletin when it is broadcast, even when you're not listening to the radio.

    Auto Memory Tuning: Not only does the multimedia 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.

    Mono Mode: This feature reduces the noise (static) when a stereo broadcast is received as monaural (for FM band only).

    Satellite Radio Ready: There are several options for connecting an optional XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio tuner to this receiver:

    • Sirius: To receive SIRIUS Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional SIRIUS Universal Vehicle Tuner (607SCC1) and the optional Kenwood Sirius Satellite Radio Interface (113CASR20V); package item number 700SIRKENV; or you can connect the optional CA-SR20V Kenwood Sirius Satellite Radio Interface and the SiriusConnect vehicle docking kit (607SCVDOC1); package item number 700SIRKENP, along with your compatible SIRIUS Dock & Play receiver (all sold separately). SIRIUS Satellite Radio features more than 120 streams of original programming beamed coast-to-coast, including 65 streams of commercial-free, digital-quality music, and news, talk, sports, entertainment, and children's programming.
    • XM: A portable XM Satellite Radio receiver can be connected to the head unit via its rear-panel AV input.

    Note: A subscription is also required to receive satellite radio programming from SIRIUS or XM.

    HD Radio Ready: The DNX6980 is HD Radio ready. With an optional Kenwood HD Radio tuner (113HR300, sold separately), you will be able to receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. This new technology will significantly improve audio quality and reception, as well as include information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. The Kenwood KTC-HR300 is also capable of iTunes tagging. iTunes tagging gives the ability to tag a song (up to 50) and stores it to a connected iPod. The next time the iPod is connected to iTunes the tagged songs are displayed with the option to purchase them from the iTunes Store. Right now there are about 2,000 radio stations broadcasting using digital HD Radio technology in the U.S. To find HD Radio stations in your area, visit the HD Radio website (

    Note: Adding an HD tuner to this unit will require an antenna extension (12044EC36, sold separately) and Y-adapter (12040UV44, sold separately).

    External Tuner Note: You cannot connect both a Satellite Radio Interface and HD Radio tuner to the head unit's KAB port.

    Disc Playback

    Compatible Discs: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 supports playback of DVD-Video, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-/+R DL, CD-Audio, CD-R/RW, DTS-CD, and VCD discs.

    Note: The unit has a front-loading disc-slot to make loading your disc easier because there is no panel to slide or fold-down.

    Dolby Digital/DTS: The DNX6980 supports playback of Dolby Digital and DTS 2.0 DVD discs and will convert multi-channel Dolby Digital sources to 2-channel.

    Playable Audio/Video Files: The following compressed audio and video formats are supported when recorded onto CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, or DVD+R/RW discs.

    Audio File Audio Bit Rate Tag Information Disc Type File System Structure Limitation
    MP3 8-320 kbps ID3 Tag (Title/Artist/Album) CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, and Long File 8 directory levels
    254 folders
    255 files per folder
    64,770 per disc
    WMA 48-192 kbps WMA Tag (Title/Artist)
    AAC 16-320 kbps iTunes m4a Meta-data (Title/Artist/Album)
    Video File Video Bit Rate Resolution
    MPEG-1 Max. 1.5 Mbps 352 x 240, 352 x 288
    MPEG-2 Max. 10 Mbps 720 x 480, 720 x 576

    CD Read Setting: If there is a problem with the CD player reading a disc with a special format, you can switch to a second CD Read setting which forces the player to read the disc.

    List Select: The List Select function allows you to search audio/video/picture files and folders stored on a disc.

    Playback Screen: During DVD playback, you can control certain operations simply by touching an area of the screen. The touchscreen has 4 functions areas. You can touch the left of the screen to start the current chapter over, or the right of the screen to skip to the next chapter. Pressing the top center of the screen activates the DVD Disc Menu control buttons, while pressing the bottom center briefly displays the information screen.

    Direct Search: By entering its number with the included remote, you can directly access title, chapter, time, track, channel, or frequency.

    Zoom: The DNX6980 features a 4 level zoom (1, 2, 3, or 4x) when playing back video and still images.

    Parental Control: Parental Control allows you to restrict DVD playback according to a predetermined level. You can select a parental control rating from 0-8, which is protected by a 4-digit password.

    USB/iPod Connectivity

    USB Port: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features a rear-panel USB (type-A) port, attached via 39" pigtail. The USB port enables playback of audio, video, and still image files stored on a connected USB mass storage class device (formatted in FAT16/32). The DNX6980 will display song/artist information and allow you to control your USB device's stored music via the head unit's touchscreen controls. Your USB device's rechargeable battery will be recharged while it is connected to the USB port of the DNX6980 and the unit is turned on. The following audio, video, photo formats are supported.

    Audio File Audio Bit Rate Tag Information USB Standard USB Class File System Current Supply Structure Limitation
    MP3 8-320 kbps ID3 Tag (Title/Artist/Album) USB 1.1/USB 2.0 MSC device (Mass Storage Class) FAT16 or FAT32 Max. 1A 8 directory levels
    255 folders
    255 files per folder
    65,025 per USB device
    WMA 48-192 kbps WMA Tag (Title/Artist)
    AAC 16-320 kbps iTunes m4a Meta-data (Title/Artist/Album)
    WAV 8-/16-bit N/A
    Video File Video Bit Rate Resolution
    MPEG-1 Max. 1.5 Mbps 352 x 240, 352 x 288
    MPEG-2 Max. 10 Mbps 720 x 480, 720 x 576
    MPEG-4/H.264 Max. 8.0 Mbps 352 x 240, 352 x 288, 720 x 480, 720 x 576
    WMV Max 2.0 Mbps 640 x 480
    Picture Files File Size Baseline Resolution Progressive Resolution
    JPEG Max. 512 K bytes 8,192 x 7,680 1,600 x 1,000

    iPod/iPhone Connectivity: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980's rear-panel USB (type-A) port and rear-panel 3.5mm AV-2 input allow you to connect your Apple iPod/iPhone using the Kenwood KCA-iP202 iPod cable (113KCIP202, sold separately). The unit's USB port handles the control, metadata display, and charging of your iPod/iPhone. You can navigate through your music and video files using the head unit's touchscreen controls and view song and movie info on its display, while your iPod/iPhone charges. The 3.5mm AV input handles audio and video transfer from your iPod/iPhone to the Kenwood DNX6980. By using the AV input, the music travels to the receiver as an analog signal, so you can even play the Digital-Rights-Protected files you've stored on your iPod/iPhone. The unit's AV-2 input must be set to "iPod" in order to playback audio/video from your connected iPod/iPhone. Video can only be displayed while the vehicle is in park.

    Note: The DNX6980 does not support the standard iPod/USB dock cable that comes with your iPod/iPhone.

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

    • Menu Navigation: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 will allow you to navigate your iPod/iPhone's music & video library by category and playlist. Once you have selected a category or playlist, you can then search its audio/video contents alphabetically (A-Z).
      • Music Browsing: You can search your iPod/iPhone's music library by Playlist, Artist, Album, Songs, Podcasts, Genres, Composer, Audiobooks or Album Artwork.
      • Video Browsing: You can search your iPod/iPhone's video library by Movies, Music Videos, TV Shows, Video Podcasts, or Rented Movies.
    • Favorite List: You can create an original playlist of your favorite 10 albums by selecting from Album Artwork.
    • Link Search: You can browse for music of the same artist or genre as the one being currently played. You can select between the following Link Search modes.
      • Search Artist: displays albums of the same artist
      • Search Album: display music in the album in which the one being played is included
      • Search Genre: displays artists of the same genre
      • Search Composter: displays albums including music created by the same composer
    • Repeat & Random: The multimedia head unit supports Repeat (file) & Random (folder) playback functions of your connected iPod/iPhone.

    iPod/iPhone Display: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information when you are controlling your iPod or iPhone from the Kenwood multimedia head unit. The head unit will display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label. The unit will also display Album Art. If you choose to operate your connected iPod/iPhone via its clickwheel or touchscreen controls, the DNX6980 will not display your iPod/iPhone's music information (the head unit will instead display "iPod Control by Hand").

    Pandora App: The Pandora App (free) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 using your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP202 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately), or the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list (alphabetically or by date), and skip song tracks within a station (your iPhone's touchscreen will be locked). You can also give songs a thumbs up/down and bookmark songs/artists. 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.

    App Mode: When using an iPhone 4/4S with the Kenwood DNX series in-dash navigation head unit, you can view certain applications on the screen of the receiver. This allows access to a large amount of new content in your vehicle. All operation will be done from the iPhone 4/4S, but all video and audio will play through the Kenwood receiver. The unit supports iTunes Apps, such as - Netflix, SiriusXM, YouTube, Aha Radio, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Note: To access these select iTunes apps, you must have an Apple iPhone 4/4S (iOS4 or later) with an active Data Plan account and connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi.

    iPod/iPhone Charging: While connected and the ignition switch is set to ACC or ON, the head unit's USB connection will power and charge your iPod/iPhone.

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

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features when used with the required Kenwood KCA-iP202 iPod cable (as of November 2011):

    iPod/iPhone Model Gen. Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Pandora App Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone App Mode Song/Artist 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 Y Y N N Y Y N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y Y 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 Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    6th 1.1PC Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    3rd 5.0.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    4th 5.0.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    3GS 4.3.5 Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
    4 5.0.1 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 5.0.1 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

    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 revert to the older software version or wait until a newer software update is available.

    Built-in Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Technology (powered by Parrot):  The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 features built-in 2.4GHz Bluetooth technology (version 2.1) powered by Parrot. The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980's built-in Bluetooth technology promotes safe driving habits by allowing you to have a hands-free conversation while driving, without the need to hold a phone to your ear. Your Bluetooth enabled phone can be kept in your purse, pocket, or glovebox - while you communicate through the Kenwood navigation-multimedia receiver.

    Bluetooth Profiles: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 supports the following Bluetooth communication profiles:

    • HFP (Hands-Free Profile): Hands-free communication with your Bluetooth enabled cellular phone in the vehicle (incoming/outgoing calls supported).
    • HSP (Headset Profile): Provides support for Bluetooth headsets to be used with mobile phones.
    • OPP (Object Push Profile): Phonebook transfer from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone to the head unit.
    • PBAP (Phone Book Access Profile): Phonebook access from your Bluetooth enabled cell-phone to the head unit.
    • SYNC (Synchronization Profile): The SYNC profile enables synchronization of data information between Bluetooth enabled devices.

    Note: This unit does not support Bluetooth audio music streaming.

    Pairing: Your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone must be paired with the DNX6980 before hands-free operation. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled cell-phones with the Kenwood navigation-multimedia head unit (only one paired phone can be used at a time).

    Note: Not all Bluetooth mobile phones will be compatible. Visit for a complete list of compatible Bluetooth enabled phones.

    Bluetooth Hands-Free Communication: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The touchscreen controls of the DNX6980 can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also includes an external microphone (with mounting bracket) featuring adjustable gain, so you can carry on your side of the conversation while listening to the caller through your vehicles speakers.

    External Microphone: The Kenwood Excelon DNX6980 includes an external microphone to carry on your side of your phone conversation and voice command dialing. The external wired microphone offers improved audio quality versus an integrated microphone, so you can be heard easier over noisy traffic and road noise. The external microphone features an attached 10' cable terminated by a right-angle 3.5mm connector which plugs into the mic input on the rear-panel of the head unit. The microphone offers an integrated mounting bracket which can be clipped to your vehicle's sun-visor or taped to your dash. The external microphone measures 0.515" (diameter) x 1.485" (depth).

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

    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, and the caller's name or phone number will be displayed. You can answer the call from the DNX6980's touchscreen or setup the head unit to automatically answer the incoming call.

    Dialing a Number: Using the DNX6980, 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 25 digits from the head unit's touchscreen.
    • Speed (Preset) Dialing: Allows you to register up to 3 phone numbers for quick dialing. The preset numbers can be accessed from the head unit's touchscreen.
    • Phone Book: You can dial by using the downloaded phone book. You can download phone book data from your cell phone to the DNX6980. Up to 1000 numbers can be stored for each registered cell phone. Each number can be up to 25 digits long and each name can be up to 50 characters long. Stored phone numbers can be categorized by General, Home, Office, Mobile, or Other. You can search each category of the phone book in alphabetical order.
    • Call Log: The Call Log is a list of calls that have originated from and were received by this unit that you can dial. You can select Outgoing, Incoming, or Missed calls.
    • Redial: You can easily redial the previously called number using the DNX6980's touchscreen controls.
    • Voice Dialing: If your mobile phone supports voice recognition, then you can dial out by voice command. Simply speak into the included microphone.  You can register up to 35 voice tags.

    Call Waiting: The DNX6980 supports the Call Waiting function, so you can answer another incoming call while suspending the current call you are on. Your compatible cell-phone must also support this feature.

    SMS: You can wirelessly download the short message (SMS) arrived at your cell-phone so that is can be read on the DNX6980's touchscreen monitor. You can also create and send new SMS messages, using the DNX6980's virtual touchscreen keyboard. The unit even offers preset SMS messages which you can easily send without typing - "I'm driving right now", "Please call me", "I will call you later", "I'll be there in 15 minute", "Thank you", "Yes", or "No".

    Note: Your cell-phone must support SMS for this feature to function. The SMS downloaded to this unit is cleared when this unit is turned off.

    Private/Hands-Free Mode: During a conversation, you can switch between the Private Mode (talking directly on your cell phone) and the Hands Free Mode. 

    Bluetooth Detailed Settings: The DNX6980 offers the following Bluetooth Detailed Settings, so you can configure the unit to suit your needs.

    • Call Beep: You can choose to output a beep from your vehicle's speaker's when a call comes in, or you can turn this function off.
    • Speaker Output: You can select whether the call beep and caller's voice is heard through only the front speakers or all speakers.
    • Mic Level: Adjusts the volume of the external microphone.
    • NR Level: Reduces the noises generated by the surrounding environment without changing the mic volume.
    • EC Level: Adjusts the level of echo cancellation.

    AV Connections

    Dual AV Inputs: The unit features two rear-panel 3.5mm AV inputs for connecting external A/V sources. The optional Kenwood AV cable (113CAC3AV, sold separately) provides composite video/stereo RCA audio inputs. You can label each AV Input.

    • AV 1 Input Label: Video, DVD, VCD, VCR, Game, Aux, TV, or Navigation
    • AV 2 Input Label: iPod, Video 2, DVD, VCD, VCR, Game, Aux, TV, or Navigation

    Camera Input: The DNX6980 is equipped with a rear-panel composite video camera input. The camera input lets you connect an optional rear view camera, such as the Kenwood CMOS-200 (113CMOS200, sold separately). The video from this connection can be set to display when switched to this input, or display the rear view camera video automatically when the vehicle is shifted into Reverse gear. The purple/white wire in the wiring harness must be connected to the vehicle's reverse lamp circuit for automatic video switching.

    A/V Output (with Dual Zone): The unit features a set of stereo RCA jacks and a composite video jack to output A/V signals to an optional monitor and headphone system. The unit's Dual Zone control allows you to independently set the source for the DNX6980 and the unit's A/V output. The unit's A/V output can be set to Disc, Video, iPod, or Off. You can adjust the volume of the 2nd Zone independently from 0 to 35.

    Note: You cannot select iPod as the A/V Output source when you select Pandora as a main source in dual zone function.

    Remote Control

    Wireless Remote Control: The included IR wireless remote control (KNA-RCDV331) is designed to operate most functions of this Kenwood navigation head unit. The KNA-RCDV331 wireless remote controller operates off of two supplied "AAA" batteries. The remote operates off of IR transmission, so the KNA-RCDV331 must be pointed at the front-panel of the Kenwood navigation head unit within direct line of sight.

    Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The head unit also 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 the optional PAC SWI-RC Steering Wheel Control Interface Adapter (541SWIRC, sold separately);  or the optional Metra ASWC Steering Wheel Control Interface Adapter (120ASWC, sold separately).

    Note: Please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to see if your vehicle is compatible.

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