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Our take on the Kenwood KDC-258U by Crutchfield's Dave Delamere
The sound and the display
Kenwood's KDC-258U CD receiver delivers solid performance and plenty of features at a pretty nice price. You can adjust the variable color display so this Kenwood looks right at home in your dash, while dust covers protect the aux input and USB port.
Kenwood also built impressive amplification into this receiver, so you'll notice an improvement in the sound of your factory or aftermarket speakers. Select one of the eight preset EQ settings that suits your sound, or you can use the 3-band equalizer to adjust the tone for your separate sources. The low-pass frequency filter and phase control adjusts the bass going to your subwoofer, so you can maximize performance. You can enhance the sound of compressed MP3 and WMA audio files with the Sound Reconstruction feature.
One versatile USB port
The receiver's front-panel USB port allows you to access and control the music stored on your iPhone® or Android® phone. With your iPhone, you also have control over iHeartRadio® and Pandora® Internet radio stations. And if you have MP3, WMA, or WAV music files on a thumb drive, the USB port can handle those too. Here's a cool feature from Kenwood — Drive Change allows you to connect a memory card reader or USB hub to the Kenwood's USB input and select music from up to five memory cards or USB flash drives.iPod/smartphone note: If you're going to use your iPod or smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for compatibility information.
Bought this for my daughter and she loves it! Great addition to her first car.
What's in the Box:
- CD receiver (10A fuse inserted in chassis)
- Face (attached)
- Trim ring (attached)
- Sleeve (installed)
- Wiring harness
- Wireless remote control (RC-406)
- CR2025 3V lithium-battery (installed in remote)
- 2 Removal tools
- Face-fixing screw
- Instruction Manual (En/Fr/Sp)
- Warranty Card
- Correction note
- CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
- built-in MOSFET amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
- compatible with Kenwood's Music Control app for select Android phones
- Pandora and iHeartRadio app control with iPhone
- plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA music files
- detachable face with 13-digit LCD display
- variable color illumination
- remote control
- System Q Sound Control (8 EQ curves and a 3-band equalizer)
- Sound Reconstruction improves the sound of heavily compressed music files
- bass boost
- low-pass filter and subwoofer level control
- built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control (see Details tab for model compatibility)
- Drive Change lets you select audio from multiple flash drives or memory cards in a connected USB hub or memory card reader
- inputs: front-panel auxiliary input and USB port with sliding covers
- outputs: 2-channel preamp outputs (2.5-volt, switchable to subwoofer mode)
Other features and specs:
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Kenwood KDC-258U Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB|
|Satellite Radio Ready||No|
|RMS Power Output||22 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||No|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||8.2 dBf|
|Radio Data System||No|
USB Port: The Kenwood KDC-258U features a front panel USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-up cover. The USB port enables connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device; such as select Android smartphones (Froyo/Gingerbread OS only), portable digital audio players, or USB thumbdrives. The unit supports playback of MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and WAV music files stored on a compatible USB memory device formatted with FAT12/16/32 file system. Your USB device should only have a maximum of 8 folder layers, 255 folders, and 255 files per folder - with a maximum of 65,025 files and folders. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB port (max. 1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.
Note: When a mass-storage class (MSC) compatible smartphone is connected to the head unit's USB input, the unit's Drive Change features lets you select its internal memory or external memory (such as an SD card) for stored music playback. The Drive Change feature also lets you switch between multiple memory cards (up to 5) in a USB multi-card reader or multiple USB thumbdrives (up to 5) connected to a USB hub.
Music Control for Android Smartphone: The Kenwood Music Control app for Android organizes your Android smartphone's music, while providing quick and easy search capability from the Kenwood CD receiver. The free Kenwood Music Control App for Android can be downloaded onto your Android smartphone from the Google Play App Store. Your Android smartphone must be running Android OS Froyo or Gingerbread (2.2+). Once the app is downloaded and has a chance to organize all the stored music on your Android smartphone, you can connect your Android smartphone to the Kenwood CD receiver via USB (your compatible Android smartphone must be recognized as a USB mass storage class device; not compatible with MTP protocol). The Kenwood Music Control app offers the following Android supported functions.
- Song Management: Music stored in your Android smartphone can be navigated from the Kenwood CD receiver. Songs can be easily selected by searching for a Song title, Artist name, Album label, or Genre.
- Song Information Display: Song information such as Artist name, Song title, and Album label are displayed on the connected Kenwood CD receiver.
- Mood Playlist: Playlists can be created by classifying songs into categories by type of mood. Songs are analyzed and classified into the following categories of moods - High Energy (Active/Powerful/Core), Acoustic (Detailed/Simple/Smooth/Easy), Standard (Dynamic/Rockin/Vivid), Stylistic (Cool/Urban/Trance)
- Intro Skip: This function allows you to choose and listen to only the hook-lines of songs stored in your Android smartphone.
Note: When the Kenwood Music Control app is first downloaded it will require some time to populate all the music, so we suggest doing this overnight.
Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood KDC-258U supports the PC application, Kenwood Music Editor Lite Kenwood's Music Editor Lit (v1.1.0). Kenwood Music Editor Lite is a Windows-based desktop software that helps organize, manage and transfer MP3/WMA music files to your USB thumbdrive from your PC. When you playback audio files that have been stored on your USB thumbdrive using Kenwood Music Editor Lite through this unit, you can search a file by title, album, or artist name using the head unit's Music Search function. The Kenwood Music Editor Light (v1.1.0) Windows-based software can be downloaded for free from Kenwood's website to your PC. The Kenwood Music Editor Light is compatible with the following Windows Microsoft Operating Systems.
- Windows XP Professional, Home Edition SP2 or later (32-bit)
- Windows Vista (32/64-bit)
- Windows 7 (32/64-bit)
- Windows 8
Note: Not compatible with Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, Zune, or Android
Aux In: The unit is equipped with a front panel 3.5mm minijack auxiliary input that can be used to input audio from a portable audio source, such as a portable MP3 player. The Aux input must be turned on to function. The KDC-258U allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV. The unit has three aux input modes.
iPod Direct Connection: The Kenwood KDC-258U's front-panel USB port can be used to connect your 30-pin dock connector or Lightning-connector iPod/iPhone to the head unit. The KDC-258U supports audio playback, music navigation, information display, and charging of your compatible Apple device.
- 30-Pin Dock Connector: If you have an older iPod/iPhone with a 30-pin dock connector, you can use Kenwood's dock connector-to-USB cable (113KCIP102, sold separately) or the dock connector-to-USB cable that comes with your Apple device to connect your iPod/iPhone to the KDC-258U.
- Lightning Connector: If you have a newer iPod/iPhone with the Lightning-connector, you can use the Lightning-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect your iPod/iPhone to the KDC-258U.
Note: 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 (if your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it).
iPod Audio Playback w/ DAC Bypass: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's stored music and music apps to be loaded instantly to the head unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 16-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 105dB. The Kenwood head unit supports audio playback of stored music, podcasts, audiobooks, and music apps on your iPod or iPhone. The KDC-258 provides music control and song/artist information display.
- Music Control: The Kenwood head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music by Playlist, Artists, Album, Genre, Composer, Song, or Podcast. You can search these categories alphabetically (A-Z) or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). The head unit also supports Repeat (file) & Random (folder) playback functions of your connected iPod/iPhone. Newer iPod/iPhones with iOS 6.0+ allow you to continue to access your Apple device's touchscreen. Older iPod/iPhone devices will be locked during connection.
- Song/Artist Info: The KDC-258U will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information. The head unit will display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label.
Internet Radio Apps (for iPhone): The Kenwood KDC-258U allows you to access Pandora and iHeartRadio online music services through your USB-connected iPhone. Your Apple iPhone must be connected to the KDC-258U via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 cable (sold separately), or the cable supplied with your iPhone. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi.
- Pandora App: The Pandora App (free) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood KDC-258U using your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately), or the cable supplied with your iPhone. The Kenwood KDC-258U provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list and sort them by date or alphabetically (A-Z). New stations can be created based on the current songs or artists playing. You can save up to five Pandora stations as presets. You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0+) 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.
- iHeartRadio Link: The free iHeartRadio Link app for Kenwood from lets you play music from the iHeartRadio music service through the Kenwood KDC-258U using your USB-connected Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0+). The iHeartRadio music service provides access to more than 1,500 live radio stations from coast-to-coast (including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and sports). The KDC-258U will provide control over the iHeartRadio Link app, as well as display station identification and song/artist information. From the head unit's front-panel controls, iHeartRadio stations can be searched by the following categories (Local, Genre, City, or My Stations). The Local selection provides a list of radio stations in your local listening area. The unit also provides over 22 Genres to choose from (including pop, country, hip-hop, jazz, etc.) to help you find the right radio station for you. In addition, you can search for radio stations by City. Cities can be searched alphabetically (A-Z). You can even store your favorite stations (My Stations) for easier, quicker access. An active iHeartRadio account is required.
Note: Access to the Pandora and iHeartRadio services 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.
Apple Device Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood KDC-258U is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/24/2014):
|Apple Device||Generation||Tested Version||Media Type||Control Type||Display Type||Charge|
|Audio||Video||Head Unit||iPod/iPhone||Pandora/iHeart Radio||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.
Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs.
MP3/WMA Playback: The KDC-258U can play MP3 (8-320 kbps) and WMA (32-192 kbps) music files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, and Long file name formats. Each disc can have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 50 folders, and 255 files per folder (512 maximum number of files and folders). During MP3/WMA playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag (ver. 1.x/2.x) and WMA Tag information - up to 60 characters.
Text Scroll: The KDC-258U will display MP3/WMA audio file text. You can set the text scrolling feature to three different modes (Auto, Once, or Off) to scroll longer titles across the screen.
Music Search + Direct Search: The Kenwood AM/FM CD receiver features a Music Search feature which allows you to scroll through and select your MP3/WMA music folders and files, as well as scroll through your audio CD's music tracks using the head unit's rotary knob. The supplied IR wireless remote control (RC-406) allows you to search for music directly by entering the track number.
Playback Modes: The Kenwood KDC-258U features the following Repeat, Random, and Scan playback modes.
- Repeat Play: Track, File, or Folder
- Random Play: Disc or Folder
- Scan Play: Track or File (plays the first 10-seconds of each music track on a disc or music file in a folder)
Last Position Memory: If the unit is shut off or switched to the tuner mode while a CD is playing, the next time CD is selected as the source, playback will resume from the point where it left off.
CD Read: This function sets the method for reading a CD disc. You can choose between two modes.
- CD1: Automatically distinguishes between audio file disc and music CD when playing a CD or CD-R/RW disc.
- CD2: When unable to play a special formatted CD, set this function to CD2 to force playing. Some music CD discs may be unplayable even when set to this mode.
Off Insert/Eject + Auto Reload: 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. 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.
AM/FM Tuner: The Kenwood KDC-258U features a built-in AM/FM tuner. You can choose one of four tuning methods: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual Tune. The KDC-258U's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood KDC-258U offers two preset modes.
- Normal: You can store 6 presets for each AM/FM bank giving you a total of 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets (total of 24).
- Mix: A total of 6 preset stations can be assigned to the head unit's 6 preset buttons, regardless of AM/FM band. This lets you recall a preset station without switching between bands.
Note: Not only does the CD receiver's tuner allow you manually enter your desired presets you can choose to have the unit automatically put stations with good reception in the memory banks automatically; this is a handy feature when traveling.
16 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood KDC-258U utilizes a 16-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality with a Signal to Noise ratio up to 105dB.
MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood KDC-258U is equipped with a MOSFET amplifier. Compared to conventional power supplies, the MOSFET amplification circuit is smaller and more efficient, and it delivers increased power with less distortion and absolutely zero on/off switching noise. More power means louder and cleaner music at higher volumes because you're not pushing the limits of the amplification circuit. The power output specs for the KDC-258U 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
Selectable 2.5V Preamp Output: The KDC-258U features a 2.5-volt stereo preamp output that can be adjusted from a full-range rear speaker preamp output to a low-pass subwoofer preamp output (non-fading).
Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood KDC-258U offers the following subwoofer controls, when you have the unit's subwoofer preamp output activated.
- Low Pass Filter: The receiver features a built-in Low Pass Filter control for the preamp-output, when the output is set to Subwoofer. You can select from 85 Hz, 120 Hz, 160 Hz, or off.
- Subwoofer Phase: You can adjust the phase of the subwoofer output between 180-degrees (Reverse) or 0-degrees (Normal).
- Subwoofer Level: Once the Subwoofer preamp output is activated, you can independently control the subwoofer preamp output level (-15 to +15) from the CD receiver.
Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the head unit's audio settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a Speaker Setting of 'SP-Off' (flat/off), 'SP-OEM' (for OEM factory speaker systems), 'SP-6x9/6' (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" speakers), or 'SP-5/4' (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers).
Preset EQ: Eight EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass, midrange, and treble . You can choose from the following preset EQ curves; Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Drive EQ, or User. The Drive EQ mode is an EQ preset that helps reduce road noise. The User mode allows you to manually adjust the head unit's Bass (200Hz) , Midrange (2.5kHz), and Treble (12.5kHz) level from +/- 8dB.
Note: You can store bass, middle and treble tone settings for each source (CD, AM/FM, Aux, USB, iPod, and Pandora/iHeart Radio).
Sound Enhancements: The head unit provides further sound enhancements for your car audio system.
- Bass Boost: The Kenwood CD receiver features a Bass Boost control that can be set to the following levels (BB1, BB2, BB3, or Off).
- Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer lower volumes. There are 3 levels (LV1, LV2, or Off).
- Sound Reconstruction: When MP3 or WMA files encoded at a low bit rate (less than 96 kbps, 44.1k, 48kHz) are played, the Sound Reconstruction function restores their high frequencies so the sound quality is closer to files encoded at a high bit rate. The processing is optimized for the compression format and the bit rate used. When Sound Reconstruction is Off, the unit plays the original sound stored in the audio file.
Volume Offset: The level of each source may be independently adjusted to prevent radical leaps in output volume when switching from one source to another. The available settings range from -8 to 0 (-8 to +8 for Aux source).
Key Beep: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.
Detachable Face: The Kenwood KDC-258U features a single front loading CD face that detaches from the chassis to deter theft. There is no protective face case included. An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can be purchased for this unit. A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.
Variable Color Illumination: The Kenwood KDC-258U features variable color display and button illumination. You can choose from one of 24 preset colors, have the unit scan through all 24 preset colors continuously, or customize your own color (RGB; 0-9). The custom setting allows you to individually adjust the intensity of Red, Green, and Blue (from 0-9) to better match your vehicle's interior lights. The same color setting is applied to both the display and buttons. The Kenwood logo remains* red.
Brightness & Dimmer: You can dim the LCD and button illumination to better suit the time of day. You can adjust the maximum brightness of the LCD and button illumination from 0-31. The Kenwood logo does not dim.
12Hr/24Hr Clock: The head unit can be set to display a 12hr or 24hr clock. The unit also displays the day (Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, or Sat). With your vehicle's key in the accessory or start position, the head unit continues to display the clock and button illumination during Standby mode. Pressing and holding the source button turns the unit off completely.
Demo Mode: This unit features a Demo mode which can be turned On or Off within the menu.
Wireless Remote Control: The KDC-258U comes with an IR remote control (RC-406) for wireless operation of the head unit. The remote will control Audio, CD, USB, and Tuner functions. It is powered by a single CR2025 3V lithium-cell battery (supplied).
- Numeric Keypad: The wireless remote control features a numeric keypad (0-9) which allows direct track access of your music tracks & files (from CD or USB), as well as AM/FM presets.
- Attenuator: The CD receiver features an Attenuator button on the supplied remote control that turns the volume down very quickly with one touch of the button.
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5 questions already asked
For details on fit or installation please contact an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They will be able to pull up your vehicle and give you the details on if this will fit and what you will need for an installation in your vehicle. [ Krissy Jan 20, 2015 ] Staff
Hi! I have had this radio for a year or so now and I haven't had any problems with it. I bought myself an aux cord as well to use even though with this radio I didn't have to buy one because as you know there is blue tooth, so in general i use the aux cord to play my music. But anytime I have used the usb port to connect my ipod it charges it great everytime and plays the music. with my s4 and my friend's s5 everytime we use the usb port for them it'll still charge the phones great but it'll show on the screen "NA device" and wouldn't play the music. Honestly getting an aux cord is a great idea and then the usb port could play ipods/iphones and charge whatever else but good luck! [ Mallorie Dec 12, 2014 ]
I have the s5 and it wont work through the usb port. It says unsuppirted media. I have to use the aux port [ TAYLOR D Dec 06, 2014 ]
It should allow you to charge it. I have the iPhone and I can plug it in and it charges and plays music through it as well, so assuming your android can do the same! [ Lauren Dec 05, 2014 ]
I use an iPhone 4s, which does play music and charge the phone simultaneously. All functions (e.g., album/song selection) are controlled through the phone. I am sure that the Galaxy S5 would also work in the same manner as long as you have a standard USB cable connection. Also, the charge function only works when the ignition is turned on, unlike a charger using a cigarette lighter. [ William Dec 04, 2014 ]
Sorry I never tried to play through the USB via cell phone. I just downloaded everything to a USB drive. I can tell you that the kenwood app didn't work with my galaxy note 2. Look on the Google play store at the kenwood app to see if your phone is compatible. .hope this helps [ KEVIN Dec 04, 2014 ]
I have a droid max. It does play music and charge. [ WILLIAM Dec 04, 2014 ]
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 Nov 26, 2014 ] Staff
I am sorry, but we have never used the aux plug, only the radio, cd player, & the USB plug. Might want to check with tech support. [ JASON Jun 19, 2014 ]
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 Jun 19, 2014 ] Staff
If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings and provide 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 Feb 08, 2014 ] Staff