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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

CD receiver (New stock)

70 Reviews

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Item # 113KDCX896

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

Covering all the bases
The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 CD receiver not only plays music from your CDs, iPod®, and more, but it also comes equipped with Bluetooth® for hands-free calling and audio streaming. And the built-in HD Radio™ tuner lets you tune in the very best in radio.

Covering all the bases
The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 CD receiver not only plays music from your CDs, iPod®, and more, but it also comes equipped with Bluetooth® for hands-free calling and audio streaming. And the built-in HD Radio™ tuner lets you tune in the very best in radio.

Kenwood KDC-X896

HD Radio™ for awesome sound
When you tune in a local station broadcasting an HD Radio signal, you'll hear FM that's close to CD quality or AM that comes in clear and static free. And unlike satellite services, there are no subscription fees. If your iPod's hooked up to the KDC-X896, you can also tag songs that you hear on HD Radio, then buy them later online.

Bluetooth lets you concentrate on driving
Pair your compatible phone to the KDC-X896. and you can talk hands-free by simply touching the dedicated "phone" button when a call comes in. And the receiver can reply automatically to text messages to let your contacts know that you're busy driving. Bluetooth audio streaming cuts the cord and lets you connect the receiver wirelessly to songs stored on your compatible music player.

You've got it, you can probably play it
This Kenwood is ready for your iPod, iPhone®, and even your Android. Once you connect your iPod or iPhone to the receiver's front-panel USB input, you can use the receiver's controls to search through your albums, artists, and playlists. If you've got your music on an Android device, you can download Kenwood's free Music Control app from the Android market to enjoy a variety of search and playback features. If you store your music on another device, you can plug into the handy front-panel auxiliary input.

Streaming radio from your phone
If you enjoy Pandora® Internet radio on your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, you'll appreciate the built-in Pandora® controls — you can scroll through your stations, bookmark songs, and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down right from the receiver's face.

Sharp multi-line display
You'll see information like song titles, artists, and albums on the KDC-X896's multi-line dot-matrix display, and you can personalize the look by choosing the display and control illumination colors.

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

Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.

Product Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in MOSFET amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs including discs loaded with MP3, WMA, and AAC music files
    • built-in HD Radio tuner
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming
    • detachable face with selectable 2- or 3-line display, plus variable display and control colors
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • System Q Sound Control (8 preset EQ curves and 3-band equalizer)
    • speaker size settings
    • Supreme Setting improves the sound of files encoded at low bit rates
    • bass boost
    • low- and high-pass filters
    • subwoofer level control
    • iPod/iPhone direct control via USB input — no adapter necessary, but adding Kenwood's optional connecting cable lets you leave your iPod cable at home
    • Pandora control with iPhone, Android, and Blackberry
    • compatible with Kenwood's Music Control app for Android phones
    • compatible with SiriusXM tuner
    • inputs: front-panel auxiliary and USB input
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, and subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    What's in the Box:

    • AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into the chassis)
    • Face (attached)
    • Trim ring (attached)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Wiring harness
    • Wireless remote control (RC-405)
    • CR2025 3V lithium-battery (installed in remote)
    • Microphone with integrated bracket (attached 10' cable terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
    • Cloth face pouch
    • 2 Removal tools
    • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
    • 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
    • Face-fixing screw
    • Instruction Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Card
    • Correction note

    Featured Video:

    Great value features -v- price. Removed OEM Miata radio and new radio slid right in. Was done in about 30 minutes and listening to Pandora radio. Glad I found this unit at Crutchfield and glad I got it at a refurbished price.

    AndyB, Salisbury, MD.


    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (70 Reviews)

    Great Upgrade Refurbished product

    AndyB from Salisbury, MD. on 8/18/2013

    2000 Mazda Miata
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great value features -v- price. Removed OEM Miata radio and new radio slid right in. Was done in about 30 minutes and listening to Pandora radio. Glad I found this unit at Crutchfield and glad I got it at a refurbished price.

    Pros: Was easy to install in my 2000 Miata. Did not use the Crutchfield faceplate. It was a great fit without. Very nice features. Hands free phone mic works great! I have used several hands free phone devices. All of them stink compared to this one. Attached the mic to the "A" pillar.

    Cons: A little difficult to learn all the features. Blu Tooth connection from the smart phone to Pandora takes awhile to connect. But is strong and sounds good after the connection.

    Discontinued... but simply amazing.

    Kahbrohn from Guaynabo, PR on 8/1/2013

    Ok... I was in a bind, and I didn't have time, so I bought it at a local shop. But, all my research was done here. Now, I went to this local distributor in search of the X597. Was told over the phone they had one left. By the time I got there, the attendant told me he had made a mistake and he was looking at an empty box when he was speaking with me. So, I asked for option. The X997 obviously was recommended to me. They were going to give it to me for $200 flat but I was still not convinced that was what I wanted to pay. Then I suddenly saw this solitary box in a corner and asked what was that X896. The guy didn't even know it had been delivered. He opened it and we took a look at it. Asked him What the deal was. He said it was an exchange that KW had made for them. I said that the box looked a little to banged up to be a new unit and we checked it out. Refurbed. So, I visually inspected it and then asked him what he wanted. After a minimum of haggling, was fiven to me for the same price as the X597 I originally wanted. An hour later it was installed and wow!

    Pros: Sound is simply spectaculat. I already had a KW KAC-8408 installed in my vehicle so it naturally plugged in nicely. I then pulled my phone out and instant recognition (I have the HTC One). Then I just knew what song I had to play to test this baby out... Suoertramp's "Cannonball". MAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNN, the fidelity was just awe-friggin-some! And that was without having played with the settings! I am not regretting my purchase and I am not looking back.

    Cons: Too much of a learning curve if you are not very patient to read instructions and such. Other than that... nothing else. Only issue I had but I am sure it was covered, I have no fader function between my Infinity 6x9's. Do have balance though. Maybe I am wrong. Only had this thing for 2 hours and haven't really played around with it to it's full capacity.

    Everything they said it was

    jeff from San Diego on 6/20/2013

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

    Installed easy and worked great right out of the box. Just follow the instructions. Live tech help was well informed and quick.

    Pros: Great price, does almost everything I wanted well

    Cons: Haven't found any yet

    Haven't had it long enough

    Brendan from Congers, New York on 3/21/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I was first looking at the non-excelon version of this receiver, but when I saw the price of this I had no choice. It is an all around good receiver; great to have for anyone who needs a mid to high end receiver with many options. The color changing display is also a much bigger factor than some might think when buying a receiver. I've seen some reviews that bash it saying things about it being complex to calibrate sound or that the display turns off or it has problems with flash drives. I haven't had it long enough to discredit those reviews besides that if you want better sound and more calibration options, of course it's going to be more complex, and reading the manual is not really that hard. Mine sounds fine. I've also seen some reviews saying that it doesn't look good. If that is the case, then why would you buy it; the picture of it is right in front of you. I can't say 5 out of 5 because I know there are better stereos, but this one is great especially for the price. (I would have given it a 2.5 for ease of use)

    Pros: Front, Rear and Sub preamp outputs (all at 4V) Very good stand alone power output (22 watts) HD Radio and Bluetooth with Pandora Many audio configuration options Bluetooth car phone sounds great and is clear to the person on the receiving end as well. Color changing display

    Cons: Not as simple to use as I would have hoped. Many menus to navigate. Just saying, you should do it before leaving the driveway. Some parts are reused, none on the outside though. But I expected that from a refurbished. Some difficulty with Bluetooth pairing and Pandora sometimes as well as reconnecting automatically whenever I get in the car. Going through radio presets and normal things is more of a challenge since there are no preset buttons, just one button to bring you to a preset menu

    Nice, but mic jack in the wrong location

    WaterWhipper from Los Gatos, CA on 3/10/2013

    1999 Porsche Boxster
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great sound, and features/functionality. The buttons (src, disp, etc) are a little small for me. I like the microphone for the bluetooth hands free feature, but the jack for it should have been located in the front, not the rear, IMO.

    Pros: Great sound; love the bluetooth phone connection

    Cons: microphone jack is in the rear, requiring either "trick" routing of the cord, or between the DIN and DIN sleeve, making it susceptible to damage

    Excellent deck....!!!

    Landofeasyliving from Glen Rock Pa on 3/7/2013

    1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great, simple, elegant....

    Pros: Great sound, simple installation....

    Cons: Made what was left of my factory speakers sound worse.... Now I need to replace them...!

    Great Head Unit

    GregM from Southwest, mn on 3/2/2013

    1995 Chevrolet Suburban
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This headunit is as awesome as they come for a single din unit (in my opinion) This was a drastic improvement from my old KEnwood kdc-x6** series headunit I had previously sound is much more clear and "alive" or full sounding then before I like the level of controll over the sound settings though this isnt a "audio phile" level of controll it provides me with more then enough settings to get my stereo sounding the way I want it too.

    Pros: Great customization options, great sound quality, adequite audio controll

    Cons: The menus take a little getting used too but once you get the hang of it they are very easy to navigate just takes time to adjust and i only consider this a con because some users dont want to sit down and read a operators manual or sit in the car for an hour messing with the stereo they expect it to be plugged in and worked intuitivly.

    I feel like I ripped off Crutchfield!

    ChrisT from Milwaukee, WI on 2/28/2013

    2002 Mazda Miata
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This radio (as a refurb) is an outstanding value for all the features you get. As I mentioned in the title, I almost feel guilty for paying so little! Installation was a snap, though I think the instructions could be a little better on the double-din mount, and everything came up right the first time. I specifically bought the unit for HD Radio, and it didn't disappoint. I easily pulled in the HD stations in my market and the audio sounded great. What I hadn't given much thought to was Pandora, but it's a nice feature and works well. If you have an iPhone, this radio has fantastic integration. All around, positive marks. I've always liked Kenwood's Excelon line, and this has been no exception. Again, this radio is loaded with great features at a truly unbelievable price.

    Pros: iPhone integration, HD Radio, great variety of colors to make it easy to match your interior lights.

    Cons: There is a learning curve, especially if you haven't used a similar radio. I have, so it was easy for me to figure out. I can see how you could easily get frustrated.

    love it

    joey from texas on 2/28/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This stereo sounds awesome, looks almost perfect in my bmw e46.the kenwood app for android is a bit clunky so I dont really use it. Unit is pretty simple to use. When you install this unit pay attention to the blue and white wire.big improvement over the stock stereo.

    Pros: can use bluetooth while chargeing your device via the usb port.

    Cons: Downloads your phonebook from bluetooth everytime you hook up. If you have alot of contacts this can take a while.

    Very Disappointed

    Robert from Longview on 2/25/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The manual is impossible to understand and it must be used to tune the radio. I am very unhappy with this unit.

    Pros: None

    Cons: The tuner is hard to use. Engine noise is excessive in the am mode

    Crutchfield response on 2/26/2013 We forwarded this review to our Technical Support team for follow-up. Lifetime tech support comes with every Crutchfield purchase.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Josh from Moscow, ID on 2/20/2013

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

    This deck meets every one of my standards when it comes to car stereos. It's in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee. The biggest thing I required from any stereo was user friendliness. If you're looking for a user friendly stereo, then look no further. Every Kenwood deck I checked out was easy to use and I've never handled an aftermarket deck before. Every rig I've owned had the factory head unit in it. The next thing i required was the variable color illumination. I like the fact that I can change colors whenever I feel like it. But Kenwood didn't just stop at variable display color. No, they made it so you can change the key color, LCD display color, and the auxiliary port color. I can have three different colors showing if I so choose. One thing I was very impressed with was the bluetooth. I didn't really think I'd need bluetooth, but after having it and making use of it, my mind was quickly changed. The sound is clear on both ends. I haven't heard any complaints about how I sound on the other end of the line (my mic is mounted on the steering column.) I've had no problems with this deck whatsoever, nor do I expect any problems. My only complaint is with the install manual Crutchfield included. It's very vague, but as long as you can match colors, you'll be fine hooking up the wiring harness. And if you have any questions, call Crutchfield. They were extremely helpful when I called them with questions. I was on the phone for maybe 5 minutes and had all my questions answered.

    Pros: Everything so far. Bluetooth, display, user friendliness, I could go on.

    Cons: Install manual is vague. User manual seems incomplete. The full manual is online though

    2006 Impreza and Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Augie from Boone, NC on 2/18/2013

    2006 Subaru Impreza 2.5i
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Wonderful stereo! However, the bluetooth will kick off sometimes if you are using pandora at the same time. This requires you to accept the connection on your phone each time. Otherwise, the sound quality is wonderful, even with the stock Subaru speakers.

    Pros: Nice sound quality, features, and compatibility with other devices. If you are technology savvy, this stereo is for you. Many, many features and settings.

    Cons: Bluetooth is unreliable and some of the features would remain unknown for the length of the ownership if you didn't read the instructions. It is NOT a easy stereo to use (to its full potential). It is simple to play basic radio, CDs, and USB/iPod. But when you try to play with the settings or find a specific setting, you should be pulled off the road to find it.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Ron from Varnville, SC on 2/18/2013

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

    Have not had much time to enjoy yet. Very happy so far!

    Pros: Enclosed mounting kit and wiring harness made installation a breeze! Bluetooth works well with my Android phone.

    Cons: None so far

    Ford Focus

    Anonymous from Mont Belvieu, TX on 2/12/2013

    2004 Ford Focus
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Very nice single din unit.

    Pros: A week of use; used all aspects of the features, including Android and Iphone 5. No troubles in install, setup or use. Works great.

    Cons: None

    Great Head Unit

    smokeyfan1000 from Whitsett, NC on 1/30/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I am quite impressed with the performance of my Kenwood Excelon X896. It has many nice fetaures and is an improvement over my Kenwood MP 538-U HU. The X896's radio reception is much better than my old KW HU, the HD radio sounds rspectacular. And the ability of being able to use my cell phone's Pandora app is a nice touch also. The Bluetooth phone app is very handy feature, and works very well, and it comes with a microphone to place on the sunvisor. I love the fact this HU works with either I pod or Android cell phones too. And while I do not have SeriusXM receiver, it's nice to know I can add it later, if I so desire. I have this HU wired to a 2 channel JX360/2 JL Audio amp powering the two Kenwood 6982ie 6x9 5 ways speakers in my rear window package tray panel, and the HU is powering my 2 Kenwood 3 way 4" front door speakers. The sound quality is crystal clear, even at high volume levels. The X896's bass, mid & treble adjustments, and it's frequency range adjustments are quite impressive features themselves . The individual screen, USB and Aux port color adjustability is also a great feature.. I love the positive and negaitve screen display abilities .. The BlueTooth feature accepts both Ipod and Android cell phones, and the microphone comes included. The Pandora radio ability is a great touch too. This HU is really easy to operate but you MUST download the 83 page manual online to use all this HU's features. Buy this HU and you'll not be disappointed !!

    Pros: Has all features one could want. The very small remote is a huge plus,(takes up very little room, and fits places larger ones won't), and it allows for all adjustments on the fly.X896 radio reception is exceptional & is easy to use,remote's full audio adjustments let you tailor the music to your liking. Nice all gloss black HU face makes for a factory appearing install. Is well worth the price. A truly great head unit in my opinion

    Cons: I wish the full Instruction Manual had come with the HU, in the box. But was easy to download online.

    Great stereo, excelent bluetooth services

    Fernando from Phoenix, AZ on 1/21/2013

    2002 Audi TT
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is a great stereo. The sound is very good, the bluetooth connectivity is better than on Sone products, Pandora works beautifully from my Android phone. I love this new radio and the way it looks on the dash.

    Pros: Android phones connectivity. HD Radio sounds spectacular!

    Cons: No quick radio station buttons.

    Works great with Ipod Touch

    KennyIndiana from Fort Wayne, IN on 1/19/2013

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

    I installed this player in my car last week and paired in with an 8 year old (still goin strong) Kenwood Excelon 4 channel 50wattsx4rms and 4 Infinity 5x7's and wow I am seriously impressed with how powerful it sounds and I haven't even put my second amp and subs in yet. I had an older Kenwoon deck before with the same setup and this one sounds WAY better. Also the quality is better than my old one too. It is a little tricky to figure out, but if you've always had Kenwood decks like I have and are familiar with how to use the EQ to make it sound good you will not be disappointed. People are giving really bad reviews on this for some reason about how hard it is to tune("sounds flat", well that's because it is everything is basically set to 0 out of the box). I have not had a problem with viewing the display either it is glossy but I like the look it makes it look like it's higher quality. People looking for fancy players with bells and whistles may look elsewhere, but if you are truly looking for a good sounding system and are going to be hooking amps up, this deck is awesome. Excelon isn't about fancy, it is about awesome sound quality and this one delivers. I can't wait to hook up my 2 Infinity Kappa 12 inch subs with my Rockford 2400 watt amp it is going to sound awesome.

    Pros: Second to none sound quality clear highs and sounds great with Ipod Touch.

    Cons: I wish you could turn off the internal amplifier as I am using an external amp for the inside speakers, droid phone won't work through USB but will through BT but sounds pretty bad that way, not a biggee in you only use your ipod like me.

    Just OK

    MK from Denver, CO on 1/12/2013

    Just purchased this stereo, the blue tooth is not voice activated. Make calling kind of hard to use.

    Pros: Sound quailty is great, with Alpine speakers.

    Cons: No voice dialing, why have blue tooth

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    lou from North babylon , NY on 1/12/2013

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

    Difficult to figure out controls, especially with such small , not clear manual




    Ernesto from San Juan PR on 1/11/2013

    1993 Toyota MR2
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Nice radio, easy to use and very good sound. My friend is crazy with my radio and says that if buy a radio this is the indicate.



    Not happy with this radio

    MikeP from Hawkins, Texas on 1/7/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I am not happy with this radio as it is very hard to use and move around the options. The display is hard to see.

    Pros: Nice looking

    Cons: Very hard to drive and change anything with the radio


    MOster from Oxford, CT on 12/31/2012

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

    This item didn't meet my expectations given its price. I purchased it primarily for the bluetooth support, and this is where it fell behind the curve the most. Pairing was not intuitive and not consistent; and connection to a paired device took almost 30 seconds when a good headset will do it in 3. The phonebook download happened every time I re-connected my phone, and functionality playing music from my phone, a fairly modern Galaxy SII, was limited to only random playing. The user interface is not intuitive, with the back button having different functions in different modes, and the selection function available from a press of the selector or a turn to the right. Functions available from the remote were lacking.

    Pros: Easy to install, multi-color display

    Cons: Bluetooth support, user interface

    Kenwood KDC-X896 and BMW E46 2003

    ClausB from Atlanta, GA on 12/31/2012

    2003 BMW 3 Series
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Bought this unit to replace a factory HU in a BMW 325i (2003). One criteria was to match interior illumination of the BMW (orange) and to upgrade to BT, hands-free calling, Pandora, etc. Additionally I bought the Steering-Wheel-Control adapter. The installation was easy in terms of matching wires, etc.; the space in the BMW dashboard to fit all new wires however is very limited - had to take upper vents out to pull some wires and the steering-wheel control unit on top of HU. When connecting the wiring harness from the car to the one from the radio, you need to connect the blue (ANT) wire from the car to the blue-white (p-cont) of the Kenwood unit and not to the blue (ANT) wire. Blue to blue wires lets only the radio signal thru to the speakers. Neither installation instructions mentions this very clearly, but a call to Crutchfield tech support clarified this within 30 seconds. Result: perfect color match of illumination between BMW and HU / full steering wheel controls active / updated HU with all currently available features short of navigation. iPhone 5 streams music and Pandora wireless thru BT settings of HU (control is thru iPhone) and it works excellent thru USB with control thru HU remote, direct, and steering wheel. Sound has improved tremendously vs factory HU. Advice: download manual for HU from Kenwood as PDF - supplied manual is very limited.

    Pros: - color match illumination to E46 - BT streaming wireless - full steering wheel control with additional steering wheel control adapter - excellent sound vs factory HU

    Cons: none

    great tunes !

    Mike from Central Fl on 11/16/2012

    2002 Chevrolet Avalanche
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love my new head unit but I am still trying to figure out some of the features. Tech support was a lot of help when I needed it. This was my first experience with Crutchfield and I would recommend them to anyone !

    Pros: Iphone controls input options

    Cons: not exactly easy to learn how to use once you get beyond the basics

    Dont Bother

    Ex-Kenwood fan from Hampton Roads VA on 11/15/2012

    Disappointed doesn't begin to describe what i feel. I have owned several sets of component speakers, i currently own a kenwood amp and this is my second excelon deck. The first i bought back in about 2004 and i must say it was and still is, the best radio i have ever owned. This radio might as well be made by Jensen its so different. the screen is HORRIBLE, its very high gloss so you wont be able to read it at all if its daylight and it looks like it was made during the mid 90's. No personality and honestly not very nice to look at. My excelon from 2004 had a full dot matrix color display and had a car that would follow my actually movements in the car and a accelerator meter and all sorts of stuff. This has NONE of that, in fact it looks like it came factory in my 95 Volkswagen. you will Never, Ever fully understand how to properly tune this radio and out of the box it sounds horribly flat. Here is the biggest thing. It DOES NOT WORK WITH HARDLY ANYTHING USB. What they mean is it works with apple, it WILL NOT WORK CONSISTENTLY WITH YOUR DROID. it also will only read SMALL usb drives from just a FEW manufactures most are under 2 gigs but it will read a few at 4 gigs. NOTHING LARGER THAN 2-4 GIGS WILL PLAY. All in all i have to say im not going to be purchasing any more Kenwood devices, Android makes up a huge portion of Cell phones nowadays and failure to support them makes me take my business elsewhere. I will be selling this radio at a loss.

    Pros: It does sound really nice after you pay a audio installer to properly tune it. No, you will not be able to do that yourself. there are plenty of radios that cost as much or less that sound as good or better thought.

    Cons: Screen is outdated, horrible looking, technology from the 90's and all wrapped up in an extra glossy package to make sure if your car has windows and you experience daylight you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO READ IT. Also absolutely does not work with any sizable USB drives or ANY android devices. Takes hours to configure, tune and setup properly. I wish i could give Zero stars honestly.

    Nice rig

    Clint G from Asheville, NC on 11/12/2012

    2002 Ford F-150
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I read all the reviews before buying this and was a little worried about the "single knob" complication issue. I haven't had any problems figuring out how to operate the unit. Some of the more advanced things required a look at the full user manual, but those things are mostly set and forget; not like you have to tend to them frequently. This unit replaced a high-end unit of another brand (over $300 at the time), and this one performs very well. The other brand had problems with locking up my i-pod and always defaulting to the i-pod. The Kenwood works well and is packed with features. I didn't think I would use the BlueTooth, but it was very easy to set up and I am using it now.

    Pros: Kenwood quality, great performance

    Cons: Glare on screen makes it difficult to see in bright sunlight.

    Unit only lasted about 4 months

    Mike T from Florida on 11/6/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    After 4 months the display shuts off by itself and restarts constantly. For a detachable face radio that I never detach it's had a pretty poor lifespan.



    Kenwood excelon KDC-X896

    Matt from North Conway, NH on 10/27/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This stereo is great works really good a little hard to set everything up but once you figure it out it works great

    Pros: Great deck fast fast fast shipping

    Cons: None

    Great, Reasonably Priced Head Unit

    Rob from Ann Arbor, MI on 9/30/2012

    2005 Ford Escape
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This was a good purchase to replace a factory head unit. The price for the features that are included made this a very good value and so far the sound quality has been great. The ease of use is a little less than stellar but once you figure out how to use the menu structure with the buttons and controls, it's a little less confusing; but, I still find myself getting a bit lost in the menu structure and forgetting how to change a particular setting or performing a particular task, for instance. The installation was pretty easy with a small issue with my factory installed subwoofer. A quick call to Crutchfied tech support resolved my issue but it required me to go buy a voltage regulartor and soldering it in line with the subwoofer power line.

    Pros: Tons of features (ipod, bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, aux in,), looks great and compatible with my vehicle.

    Cons: Confusing and complicated menu structure.

    Display hard to read, no presets without remote

    Steve77 from El Paso Texas on 9/13/2012

    Very disappointed in the visibility of the display which is completely washed out by the sun, no matter what color I choose. There is no-way to jump between pre-programmed channels from the face of the unit. To choose a pre-set you must choose a preset number from the Chiclet sized remote then you must press enter; a two step process just to change stations. Furthermore, to switch between radio and any other type of input, you must scroll through each option with a second delay each step. It may take me another couple weeks just to memorize the Chiclet remote so I don't crash while trying to drive and change stations. What is so wrong with OEM sized buttons on aftermarket stereos?

    Pros: BT and HD

    Cons: Display visibility, lack of direct inputs on head unit, Chiclet size remote control (required to actually use the radio).


    James from Knoxville, TN on 9/10/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great unit. The manual that comes with it doesn't explain will need to go download several other pieces of literature and if you plan to use it with an external hard drive there is some software on Kenwood's site that makes it work much better to index the music and make it searchable by artist, album, etc. If you are willing to spend some time learning how to use's the best thing out there!

    Pros: Lots of options, settings and connection types.

    Cons: Very advanced. You must be willing to study some manuals and spend a little time getting it set up.

    Good unit. Easy install

    Greg from Seattle, WA on 8/27/2012

    2000 Porsche Boxster
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Unit was easy to install following the provided instructions. I put it in a 2000 Porsche Boxster S with the BOSE sound package. The special instuctions regarding 2 wires being swapped was especially nice. The HD radio has great sound, bluetooth phone is clear and audible, and bluetooth music streaming from my Lumia 900 is awesome.

    Pros: Clear instructions, provided harness, and tools


    A good buy

    fonz99 from Baltimore, MD on 8/17/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    OK first off you will read some reviews that are not so favorable. I believe these people did not take time to read the manual or do not comprehend well. Everything the nay Sayers said I found a fix for by just reading. I found that this is by far one of the best head units I have ever owned or that of any of my friends. It is a stream line function that is a piece of art. Just remember reading is fundamental.

    Pros: Great sound, pick your color, multi in puts

    Cons: Crutchfield will not take food stamps :-)


    Ron C from New Mexico on 8/16/2012

    2007 Dodge Ram 1500
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Cannot see the display during the day light hours and control panel is worthless. I am very surprised and disappointed that Kenwood would release a product with these faults. I have to find a channel to listen to while I am stopped somewhere and have to listen to that or just guess at what I will be listening to until I can stop again to tune the station. I suppose when I get time I will learn how to use the remote and program some stations in. Bluetooth phone works great but have not figured out the iPhone connection yet either. Would like to send it back and choose another product...will look into that.

    Pros: Bluetooth works USB front panel Remote control XM and HD

    Cons: Worthless display Useless user interface

    Customer service sold me on this one!

    Tony from Harrisonburg, VA on 8/12/2012

    I've bought many things from Crutchfield over the years, but the sales advisors in the Harrisonburg store went out of their way to make sure I was satisfied before I left with this great stereo. We tested almost every stereo to find one compatible with my generic android phone, and this one was one of the few that worked. The one I purchased came from the outlet, and we even tested it in the store to make sure it worked with my phone. After I installed it, bluetooth setup was simple, and works great in my truck. I can drive with the windows down and use the phone without any wind noise over the mic. I also installed the siriusxm tuner, and the sound quality is way better than my old plug and play receiver. The only downside is that it took a while to get used to not having preset buttons, especially with sirius. After I got this figured out, I'm completely satisfied with this stereo.

    Pros: Bluetooth phone sound quality, controls for Siriusxm, different color display options to match interior lights.

    Cons: took a while to get used to not having preset buttons on the face of the stereo. Once you get the presets programmed, set the tuner default to 'preset' and it will make changing stations much easier


    JimM from Idaho on 8/1/2012

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

    This is one of the best head units I have personally used in any price range! It synchs with my phone without any problems, has great sound, and the multicolored LED back-lighting is just cool. The protective cover over the auxiliary in and USB port is a nice touch. My only real complaint is that they tried to reduce the number of buttons by making the knob do it all. It is way too easy to mess up your settings when all you wanted to do was turn the volume up or down because you hit a bump and moved the knob up, down, or to the side.

    Pros: Looks great. Allows the use of cell phones hands free. can use a thumb drive. Can plug your MP3 player into it. Great tuner. Great sound. Good price. High quality.

    Cons: Too many functions on the knob.

    So Disapointed

    WAS a kenwood fan from VA on 7/31/2012

    terrible radio all around. refuses to work with android, connects maybe 7 out of 10 tries at best. will not read folders inside folders and if you listen to the music not hooked to the radio (as in use your phone as MP3) it will not play that folder again. You cannot leave blue tooth on or it will refuse to connect 95% of the time. before i made the connection about blue tooth being on it would take me around 10-15 minutes to get it to connect each time i got in the car. Now i have to leave bluetooth off, hope the phone connects, ( if it doesnt then be prepared for a 10 minute affair) and then turn bluetooth on, Now on to sound quality. This radio has so many controls and features that its pretty much like trying to code software from a linux computer. 95% of what this radio offers is lightyears above and beyond the above average user and out of the box it sounds terrible. be prepared to have to pay someone at a professional sound shop to tune this. this radio looks 10 times worse than any other radio ive had. its embarrassing to say this is the top of the line kenwood excelon cause it looks worse than a walmart sony special. i used to have a kenwood exelon x795 series from around 2005 with a color display and g meter in it, it was easy to read easy to use and i had it tuned in around 20 minutes. i would gladly trade this radio back and pay more to have the one from 2005 with the color display. i give one star because they will not let me give negative stars.

    Pros: sounds pretty good once you pay a NASA engineer to tune it correctly

    Cons: using it, reading it, looking at it, connecting devices to it. pretty much anything. its a horrible radio. id pay to have someone take it from me

    Kenwood KDC-X896

    BobC from Wichita on 7/30/2012

    Sadly, my unit sounds fine but my CD player failed with the 2nd CD. I skips so I will be sending it back for a new one. One thing is disappointing is using the Radio. Without push buttons for channel selection it is a real pain to change channels. Fortunately for me I will use this for CDs and USB stuff but as a radio for HD or Sattellite this is a total failure.

    Pros: Great sound.

    Cons: No pushbuttons for saved channel selection. Far too many things going on for just one knob. No quick way to seach for channels that I have found. And the only manual is from a on line source.


    AdrianM from Coachella Valley, CA on 7/23/2012

    2000 Dodge Durango
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love this Stereo. I hooked it up to a couple Alpine Amps. One amp drives the Alpine component 6.75" doors speakers up front and the Polk Audio Coaxial I put in the rear doors. They sound great. The other amp is hooked up to 2 10" Kickers. The features on this stereo are the same as any stereo that comes with a new car, the different radio, xm, usb, aux, and bluetooth make for a lot of great listening options. The only problem I've found is when I updated Pandora on my iPhone, the radio doesn't seem to recognize it. Great stereo for the price and very easy to install with the included directions and accessories.

    Pros: Easy to install and features are self explanatory.

    Cons: The so called master sheet gives no optional hook up instructions for using amps vs the factory harness. Red, Yellow, Black, vs. Purple, Green, etc.

    Kenwood X896 - Great unit in a 2004 Dodge 1500

    John R from Dallas TX on 7/19/2012

    2004 Dodge Ram 1500
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This head unit just took the technology in my 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 from basic to everything I want instantly. I still had the factory head unit which was a standard AM/FM CD player and now i can stream bluetooth from my phone, talk hands free through the stereo (very clear on both sides), HD radio, satellite ready, and a ton of other features. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was worth the step up on the display from the X796. The sound quality made a huge jump without even replacing speakers and the menus are pretty easy to navigate even without the instructions. I see what others have mentioned about daytime glare on the screen making it hard to read, but that is pretty minor and I'll probably cut a piece of anti-glare cover (for a smart phone) to fit. The display and button colors are fully adjustable too. With the preamp connections on the back I am already wired up to connect an amp and a small sub. All in all this is a great upgrade. - The best part is Crutchfield sends you EVERYTHING you need to install the unit...especially the wiring harness.

    Pros: Great technology uprade, easy pairing with bluetooth phone, quality music streaming and handsfree talking, easy to navigate menus, radio receiver is nice and clear, reads burned CDs no problem

    Cons: none so far - I can't say enough good about it right now

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Anonymous from NEW YORK on 7/18/2012

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




    Kenwood KDC-X896

    Tom S from Duluth, MN on 7/3/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Installing this stereo was a breeze. The sound is much better and the XM, Bluetooth, and iPod controls are great. Great value and great customer service from Crutchfield!



    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    RonJon from Slinger .Wi on 7/3/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great receiver with great sound for a great value!

    Pros: Ease of instalation, removable face plate and great sound even with my stock speakers.

    Cons: manual is very difficult to understand. setting music stations is confusing and not used freindly

    As Advertised

    Happy camper from Northern Illinois on 7/2/2012

    2002 GMC Yukon XL
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I really love this receiver. It does what it say it does and does it well. Installation was a breeze and now my 10 year old truck has all the audio bells and whistles I could hope for.

    Pros: Good value, quality product, easy install

    Cons: None so far

    Stop Looking, This Is The One

    John B. from Dallas Texas on 6/23/2012

    2006 Hyundai Tiburon
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I have been looking for this type of HU for a long time, It has everything I was looking for, and does what I want it to do, I have no problem changing the colors, and most of all I can plug my 160gig 2.5in external hard drive to it and have access to my whole music collection on the road, that is a great thing if you travel a lot, in order to play music from a large hard drive you need to do a few things: 1st- You need to format the hard drive to fat32 using "EaseUS® Partition Master Professional" or Equivalent. 2nd- Download and install "Kenwood Music Editor Light" you need to do this so the HU will find and play the music within its folders and sub-folders, works great for me. For the money its a great deal, I have been using it for a few months now and have no problem at all with it, although it does take time to learn all the different adjustments on this baby, I'm using it with two Kenwood KFC-G6930 6" x 9" 3-way Speakers 113KFC6930, two Kenwood KFC-1662S 6-1/2" or 6-3/4" 3-way Speakers 113KFC1662 and one (kick arse) Sound Ordnance B-8P Single 8" Bandpass box Powered 777B8P, only thing I wish I would have done while I had it all apart, was to install an amp, all in all with the right adjustment it sounds great in my 2006 Hyundia Tiburon, and very pleased with this purchase. Thanks Crutchfield.

    Pros: The fact that it will read/play my 160gig hard drive music collection via usb port, and blu-ray to cell phone (HTC Thunderbolt).

    Cons: Takes time to understand how to adjust and setup with complex menu, and hard to see display when sun is out (had to tint windows dark to see display) at least car is cooler in the summer.

    Amazing Receiver

    B H from Louisville, KY on 6/19/2012

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

    Very feature rich unit. Great performance and flexibility.

    Pros: Nice selection of audio channels. IPhone integration Mp3 ease of use on USB

    Cons: Display color changes and can't be set to just one color.

    Nice Head-unit, Android user

    Ben from Eugene, OR on 6/16/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The Head unit installed very well in my Y2K Porsche Boxster. I was able to fairly closely approximate the factory instrument illumination color (amber). The illumination adjust does not seem to work (automatic on the car) and so it seems a little bright at night and a little dim during day (with the top down, hard to read). I am able to use my Android phone (Motorola Electrify (Photon)) with the unit but the connection is still a little clunky. It will connect via bluetooth (phone and music) but doesn't display the song info for pandora via bluetooth. When I hook up via USB pandora displays everything and works well. I downloaded the Kenwood music app, and it messed up my phone at first, then it took ages to compile my music library (on phone). I still haven't figured out how to switch from Pandora to my music library while connected (I have not studied the instructions yet) but it is not a smooth operation so far. When I step out of the car for a few minutes for a store pick-up (with my phone) the connection has trouble reconnecting (better when you pause the music on the phone). The hardware functions very well and the handsfree (bluetooth) Phone system works well (and is very cool). Menus: It is too time consuming to rotate through all the input options to switch from say: radio to pandora/ bluetooth, etc. because you have to scroll through all the other options (standby, radio, Aux, B tooth, USB). This is not a good idea while driving! Sound quality very good.

    Pros: I can connect and charge my ANDROID phone! Music library, Pandora via bluetooth or USB (excellent sound quality). Crutchfield is an excellent supplier. They provided all the accessories needed. Great job!

    Cons: Ease of use needs improvement. Controls should be quick and intuitive like my Porsche! It is too complicated to mess with the menu's while driving. Android bluetooth connection inconsistent. Kenwood music app is clunky.

    Solid choice

    Eric from Washington, PA on 6/4/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Kenwood has a solid unit in the KDC-896X. Lots of bells and whistles crammed in here - Bluetooth, HD radio, front AUX and USB ports. Also supports SiriusXM via a dedicated port on the back. Control of the satellite tuner is still integrated into the receiver. A much cleaner setup than I used to have with a portable tuner on the dash and antenna, power, and an aux cable strung all over the place. Bluetooth was very simple to set up, external microphone seems to do a good job. AM/FM/HD radio tuner does a good job pulling in stations. Controls are pretty straightforward, though I found the preset controls a little clunky. Easier to just use the remote to switch between them. Haven't dug into the manual much (be sure to download the full one, it's way more in-depth that what you'll find in the box), so I'm sure this thing is capable of more than I'm aware of to this point. Only things I don't like are minor and have to do with the display. First, there's no clock on the main page; you have to cycle through the display options to see the time. The other is that regardless of what color, it is very hard to read it's bright out, even if the face isn't directly in the sun. Part of it's the display, part of it is the installation angle. I'm not sure what could be done to mitigate that without increasing the cost.

    Pros: Tons of extra features included for a decent price

    Cons: No fixed clock on main screen, difficult to read display on sunny days.

    Great deck, great price, tons of features

    CraigC from Fort Myers, FL on 6/4/2012

    2002 GMC Yukon
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love this deck! Sound quality is excellent and was pretty easy to install. It's a little awkward to navigate, especially considering that there's a lot of features to enjoy, but it's not too bad. The display looks great and you can change the colors on the buttons, the text display and the USB/Aux input area, all independently. Probably the coolest thing for me was, even though I bought the deck because it had a front USB port which I was going to use to connect my iphone, it turns out that it has bluetooth audio and my iphone streams music through that so I dont even connect it that way. The hands free calling feature is pretty neat too. For the money, I dont see how you can beat it!

    Pros: Cool display, bluetooth audio sounds great!

    Cons: A little awkward to navigate through everything

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Jake from Wisconsin, USA on 6/3/2012

    2002 Chevrolet Avalanche
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Easy to install had it in and operating in less than a day.

    Pros: Crutchfield supplying everything i needed for my vehicle..very sweet!

    Cons: can't think of any.

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Anonymous from Houston,Tx on 5/30/2012

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

    I enjoy the radio and all the features work as they are described

    Pros: You can change the colors and set them to your liking. Easy to pair with bluetoth devices

    Cons: NO TUNER NOB!!! Tuner and volume are all in one nob and it is not the best design!

    Nice Deck

    davids from Milwaukee on 5/28/2012

    1994 Chevrolet Camaro
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    After comparng units in this price range and features, i think i made the right choice. I agree with everyone else, the directions were not that great, but i'm usually one that refers to them only when really needed. There are features that would be quicker accessed if the manual was better. Now that i have 16 stations programmed, scrolling though them with the remote is kinda dumb. It more or less just searches up or down from whatever station you are currently at, not from preset to preset - i think that's kinda idiotic. The BlueTooth works great too, the phone microphone is ultra sensative, but i do think it works great. Overall, it looks awesome in the dash of my 94' Camaro Z28 and i am not dissapointed with my purchase. Next up - speakers!! 18 years on factory speakers makes them worth throwing away...

    Pros: Features, many of them. Bluetooth works great, the joystick volume knob is a nice touch. iPod integration is very nice

    Cons: switching between presets is lame, you have to take your eyes off the road. User manual is terrible

    Most Stable Android Pandora Bluetooth Control I've Used

    David Killmore from Mechanicsville, VA on 5/25/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Since getting rid of Sirius a few months ago due to yet another price hike, I decided to use Pandora as my primary entertainment in the car. I started out with the Alpine CDE133BT because it offered the ability to stream audio from my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It worked great initially but was not reliable and I had many issues getting the bluetooth to reconnect reliably to the point where I had to do a factory reset on the radio. Then, I read about the new secure simple pairing module that Alpine was including in their next wave of head units. So, I traded in my CDE133BT for an HD137BT. This unit was almost identical to my previous unit except that it had a couple of additional features, including multiple sets of pre-amp outs. At first, the bluetooth connection was working well but soon I had the same problems reconnecting when I got in my car. It frequently required unpairing and repairing the phone. Not something you want to have to do more than once. Finally, I returned that unit, looked at the remaining candidates and decided on this Kenwood unit. I have had almost no reconnection issues and the sound quality is even better than the Alpine units. The customizable, multi-line display is great for Pandora. I was able to set it up so I can see the station, artist and song on the screen at the same time. All in all a great buy. Not having buttons for the radio is weird but I find that I don't listen to the radio often. The remote is also useful. Get this unit!

    Pros: Reliable, intelligent bluetooth interface with Android phones. Excellent sound quality. Highly customizable and lots of settings.

    Cons: No radio preset buttons. No artist/track on BT audio. Hoping for a FW update to add this.

    I laughed, I cried, and it became a part of me

    maniac from Atlanta, GA on 5/23/2012

    2007 Toyota Prius
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Its great. Has a lot of fantastic features. I have sirius/xm and so its great to be able to listen to music from HD radio, Satellite, BT audio, and etc. Awesome. Its sometimes a little of a challenge to know how to use all the features. Thats what you get when you cram 100 features into a single knob. But I'm not complaining. I will say that you should get it all setup before you use this while driving. I can see someone getting into an accident trying to surf the channels. Especially if you are using Sirius / XM.

    Pros: Its awesome

    Cons: None worth mentioning.

    Great Deck!

    ptwat from Atlanta, GA on 5/21/2012

    1991 Mazda Miata
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This deck has a lot good features but the ones I like and use the most are the Bluetooth connection to my phone where I stream music and the HD radio. Almost all the stations in this area are HD. I am still learning about some of the feature and how they work but very please overall. One issue I ran into that is a default system setting where the fader control does not work with bluetooth audio streaming because the rear speakers are turned off in Bluetooth mode. I called Crutchfield support and they immediately knew what the problems was- kudos Crutchfield. Lots of adjustable features including the color of the display.

    Pros: Great overall deck at a pretty reasonable price point. Three line display that is adjustable. Sounds great through my new Polk speakers!

    Cons: Wife wants one now. Old headrest speakers now have to be replaced to accommodate system. Display a little hard to see with convertible top down on bright days.


    Haze from Whiteman Afb, MO on 5/21/2012

    2000 Dodge Durango
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Had the unit about 3 weeks now and i love it. So many options as to how you interface with your music. Works just like it says. Hoping to have the rest of the system built in about 2 months... That will be the true test.

    Pros: Options Features Solid sound

    Cons: May have been how i hooked it up but BT and aux dont play music out the back speakers. Usb does though. Wont matter when i have amps

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    Anonymous from burke, va on 5/7/2012

    2002 Nissan Maxima
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love it



    Auxilary/Bluetooth Music Issues

    BC from Colorado Springs, Co on 5/5/2012

    2001 GMC Yukon XL
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The installation wasn't too bad other than the soldering of the wiring harness. The kit that Crutchfield sent worked flawlessly and looks nice in the dash. The HD Radio works nice and the sound quality is excellent. The only issue I ran into is trying to get music playing over Bluetooth or Auxiliary. Neither of them work off my phone or my wife's. Pandora didn't work either even when using their Kenwood Android App. I've requested a replacement so hopefully its just a defunct product and not a model issue.

    Pros: Easy install Looks nice Good features

    Cons: Some good features don't work

    Outstanding product!!!

    srpark from Roswell, GA on 5/2/2012

    1998 Ford Expedition
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Ordered last Friday, received it yesterday...completed installation in less then an hour. As many have posted before, the manual is the absolute worst! It's small in size and has very little info in it. However, i was able to program my radio without it. I have a Samsung S2 (Tmobile) and was able to configure BT without any issues. Withing minutes of connecting the HU to my car, I was listening to Both Pandora and Hardball (MSNBC via Sirius Online), both via BT. The sound is amazing! There are so many options but I like that about this unit. I am very happy with my purchase and will be getting another one for my other car.

    Pros: +BT is amazing. Pandora and Sirius apps via Android Play Store work better then I hoped +Easy to install +Tons of features. Will take time to figure them all out. I don't count that as a negative... +Quick Delivery

    Cons: -As noted, the manual sucks, but I was able to figure out 95% of the options by playing around with the buttons.

    Great but not perfect

    Dio from Arecibo PR on 4/30/2012

    2007 Toyota Tacoma
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    HD, Pandora and iPOD features are excellent so as the bluetooth HF. The Android app for the radio is not easy to manage

    Pros: Great sound, 3 rows screen

    Cons: lack of buttoms makes it a little hard to navigate in it and drive at the same time


    Oliver from Cary, NC on 4/28/2012

    1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I replaced my factory radio in a 1987 mercedes benz with this radio and I don't know why I didn't do it sooner! It looks great, sounds great, and it's more than I can ask for.

    Pros: Great sound, looks cool, easy to install

    Cons: Sort of hard to see in sunlight

    Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896

    bd864 from 29388 on 4/21/2012

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

    Great radio. Included the XM Radio and Steering wheel controller and all worked as advertised.



    Amazing features for the price

    CraigD from Albuquerque, NM on 4/19/2012

    2000 Audi TT
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    See Pros and Cons. I only used the line outs since I had an external 4ch amplifier. Sounds great in this setup; front channel with full range speakers + extra tweeters, and rear channel setup as subwoofer. Plenty of setup options for tweaking setup, including the microphone gain for the phone. Pandora streaming via bluetooth is great. HD radio is so good that I disabled the tuning to analog channels. Adjustable lighting allows you to set light colors to your car's specific color scheme -- or you can set it up for a varying rainbow of colors. If it matters, the CD works. Huge convenience having the USB and Aux on front panel. iPod music streaming plus charge; same with using phone for streaming -- and it still does bluetooth phone for hands off use. Download the manual to look through all of the features. Got the unit for its hands off phone for teenager; hugely surprised with all of its features and sound quality for the price. Crutchfield includes shipping and all of the installation adapters for free; included in the price.

    Pros: price; features; multiple bluetooth devices (phone and audio stream); includes microphone for mounting near steering column for hands-free phone via bluetooth; line outs for front, rear, and subwoofer; HD radio; sound quality; customizable light color for different parts of face; front panel USB and Aux; includes all of the adapters required including amplified antenna adapter.

    Cons: did not come with manual, only included the getting started guide -- so I had to download and print the manual to complete the setup -- I forget how many pages, but close to 70.

    Great Deck!

    Randy from Chicago, IL on 4/16/2012

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

    Really an awesome deck. Unless it's a changeable option and I can't figure it out (which is possible), the preset stations indicate the call letters, not the frequency - kinda a pain in the Chicago area - a LOT of stations. Plan on taking an afternoon going through the manual (downloaded from internet) and getting familiar with it - you'll enjoy it much more, and begin to understand just how much control you have over so many options.

    Pros: tons of control over display, tone, etc., etc. you can choose to control ipod through the deck display or through the ipod itself

    Cons: a little disappointed in the tuner preset operation - manual doesn't even explain how to do it (looked through it several times) - had to call my brother, who has an older model but works the same. If I remember right - push the "preset" button, scroll to the number you want to preset, adjust to the station you want, then push/hold the control knob.

    My best radio Yet!

    FredM from Florida on 3/31/2012

    I've had this for about a week now and I love it! Some minor set backs but I can't complain too much. Would definitely recommend to others unless they didn't want some of the extra features.

    Pros: HD Radio, Bluetooth is clear, Love all the settings and tweaks I can use with this radio.

    Cons: The Radio presets turns the station into the actual name so you kind of have to memorize to find what station u picked. Also wish you could just push up or down when your already on the radio instead of having to push the preset button on the radio itself. Lighting is a little hard to see in the daylight but it's to be expected. Also can't seem to play Pandora from my Android Evo except when I link it with bluetooth. (USB does not work for Pandora)

    Nice Solid Unit

    Brianr from New Castle, PA on 3/30/2012

    2006 Dodge Durango
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This kenwood head unit is great. The bluetooth fetaures are amazing and the call quality sounds beter than using my phone directly. It was so easy to install and get going that I decided I could tackle some other things on my vehicle myself. All my friends tell me how cool it is and how much they like it. I don't know what else to say expect that I am so happy with this thing, it has breathed new life into my vehicle.

    Pros: Features, Features, Features.

    Cons: Made me want to buy new speakers and an amp.

    Excellent Product

    Jim from Clinton, MD on 3/22/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This is an excellent products. Everything you could have in one package. It sounds awesome with my Polk speakers and Alpine amp. I can crank it up without distortion. It takes a little to learn how to go through the menus and setting. It's also an excellent value for $260.

    Pros: Sounds and looks great.

    Cons: A lot of menus and settings to go though, but worth having so much choose from and to make adjustments.


    Angel F from Dover pa on 3/21/2012

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

    everything with the radio its awesome........only took a couple of min, to install the internal amp in the radio gives me just enough juice to help my factory amp with out replacement and it sounds great with factory speakers but if you spend the money and go with some aftermarket oh boy it sounds even it.......i will......i



    So Many Features!

    hippomachine from Detroit, MI on 3/16/2012

    This was the first upgrade to my 1998 Grand Prix's audio, and what a difference! The unit ups the sound quality substantially over the stock one, plus there are so many features! I haven't even begun to use it to its potential.

    Pros: Detachable faceplate Style Sound Quality Features! 3 preamp outputs

    Cons: Needs antenna adapter for older vehicles Manual has no directions as far as I know.

    Great Unit

    bronko from Lowell, IN on 3/13/2012

    I have had this unit for about a week after my other unit was stolen. I had a KDC-493 and the user interface was really bad. This unit is quite the opposite. Within minutes I was able to scroll through all the menues in the unit and connect it to my iPhone 4s. I highly reccomend it.

    Pros: Cool features, loose the wires, built in voice with Bluetooth tech. A bonus I was not even shopping for.

    Cons: I have not found any yet.


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    AUX Input Front
    Audio/video Input ---
    USB Input Front
    CarPlay No
    Android Auto No
    Siri Control No
    Android Control USB MSC + Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP + Pandora
    Memory Card Slot USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready SiriusXM
    HD Radio Built-in
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano Nano7/Nano6/Nano5/Nano4/Nano3/
    Touch Touch5/Touch4/Touch3/Touch2/To
    iPhone Phone5/Phone4S/Phone4/Phone3GS
    RMS Power (CTA-2006) N/A
    RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
    Peak Output 50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20KHz
    Preamp Outputs 6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen No
    Preamp Voltage 4 volts
    Display Color Variable
    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 No

    Product Research

    Audio Section
    Built-in Bluetooth
    HD Radio + SiriusXM Ready
    Disc Playback
    USB/Aux Inputs
    iPod/Android Control
    Display Features
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The KDC-X896 CD receiver is part of Kenwood's Excelon series line-up. It incorporates the latest technologies and delivers the highest sonic performance. From advanced audio tuning capabilities, crossover and equalizer system, high-voltage preouts (4V), and a two-year warranty - Kenwood Excelon represents exceptional audio quality with long-lasting dependability.

    24 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 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-X896 are as follows:

    • Full Bandwidth Power: 22 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20-20kHz, 1% THD)
    • Maximum Output Power: 50 watts x 4 channels

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

    Volume Offset: The level of each source may be independently adjusted to prevent radical leaps in output volume when switching from one source to another. The available settings range from -8 to 0 (-8 to +8 for Aux source).

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

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

    EQ Pro: The Excelon KDC-X896 features independent Bass, Treble, and Midrange control when the Preset EQ is in User mode. EQ Pro allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

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

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

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

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

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

    6ch/4V Preamp Outputs: The KDC-X896 features front, rear and subwoofer 4.0-volt preamp outputs. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading. The front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs are fixed to the rear chassis of the head unit.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X896 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front & rear channels when your front & rear speakers are connected by the unit's speaker-outputs or preamp-outputs. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from "Through", 100, 120, or 150 Hz. The "Through" selection is a full-range setting. This feature is very helpful when you have smaller-type speakers in the front and larger-type speakers installed in the rear of the vehicle.

    Subwoofer Controls: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 offers the following subwoofer controls, when you have the unit's subwoofer preamp output activated.

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

    Tel Mute: The KDC-X896 features a cell-phone mute wire (tan) in its harness that when hooked up to your car's phone system mute wire will automatically mute the receiver's audio signal when a call comes in.

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

    Built-in Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Technology: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth ver. 3.0 (powered by Parrot) allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly through the receiver; as well as stream music wirelessly from your smartphone to the head unit. Bluetooth Technology is a short-range wireless radio connectivity technology that was developed as a cable replacement for mobile phones and other electronic devices. Bluetooth operates in 2.4 GHz frequency range and transmits voice and data at speeds up to 1 megabit per second.

    Bluetooth Profiles: In order to use Bluetooth wireless technology, your phone must also be Bluetooth compatible and be able to interpret certain profiles. This unit is compatible with the following Bluetooth Profiles:

    • Hands-Free Communication: HFP (Hands Free Profile), HSP (Head Set Profile), OPP (Object Push Profile), PBAB (Phone Book Access Profile).
    • Audio Streaming: A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).

    Pairing: Your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone must be paired with the KDC-X896 before hands-free operation. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled cell-phones with the Kenwood head unit (only one paired phone can be used at a time).

    Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896. See Kenwood's Bluetooth Compatibility List for the latest mobile device compatibility.

    External Microphone: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 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 0.525" (diameter) x 1.485" (depth).

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

    Bluetooth Hands-Free Communication: The head unit supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The controls of the KDC-X896 can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also features an external microphone (featuring adjustable gain), so you can carry on your side of the conversation while listening to the caller through your vehicles speakers. During a conversation, you can switch between the Private Mode (talking directly on your cell phone) and the Hands Free Mode.

    • Answering a Call: When a call comes in, a ring-tone will be heard through your vehicle's speaker and the caller's name or phone number will be displayed. You can answer the call from the head unit's front-panel controls, or setup the head unit to automatically answer the incoming call immediately or after 1-99 seconds. The KDC-X896 also 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.
    • Dialing a Number: Using the KDC-X896, you can dial a phone number in one of the following ways:
      • Entering a Phone Number: Allows you to directly dial a phone number up to 32 digits from the head unit's control knob or remote control.
      • Speed (Preset) Dialing: Allows you to register up to 6 phone numbers for quick dialing. The preset numbers can be accessed from the head unit's Control Knob.
      • Phone Book: You can dial by using the downloaded phone book. You can download phone book data from your cell phone to the KDC-X896. Up to 600 numbers can be stored for each registered cell phone. Each number can be up to 32 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.
      • 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.

    SMS (Short Message Service): You can wirelessly download a SMS arrived at your cell-phone so that it can be read on the Bluetooth connected Kenwood head unit. Up to 149 already read and unread short messages can be downloaded. You can reply to a SMS by using the head unit's front-panel rotary knob or remote control to enter alphanumeric text. There is a limited amount of text that can be downloaded or entered. Your cell-phone must support SMS via Bluetooth for this feature to function.

    Note: Do not read incoming SMS or reply to SMS while driving.

    Wireless Audio Streaming: The Kenwood KDC-X896 also supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The KDC-X896 will be able to control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause, Next/Previous Track, Fast Forward/Rewind, and Random/Repeat. The head unit will also display your stored music's song information; such as Artist name and Song/Album title. The KDC-X896 also supports audio streaming of music apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM,, Rhapsody, & Slacker), but without control or metadata. You will continue to use your Bluetooth enabled smartphone to view and control streaming music apps. When an incoming call or outgoing call is in progress from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, audio streaming will be paused so you can take your call. Once the call is finished, your streaming music will resume.

    Note: The iPhone 5 only offers Bluetooth audio streaming without control or metadata display.

    Bluetooth Detailed Settings: The KDC-X896 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/caller's voice and streaming audio is heard through only the front speakers or all speakers.
    • Mic Gain: Adjusts the volume of the external microphone from -3 to +3.
    • NR Level: Reduces the noises generated by the surrounding environment without changing the mic volume. The NR Level can be set to -2 or +2.
    • EC Level: Adjusts the level of echo cancellation from -2 to +2.

    HD Radio + SiriusXM Ready

    Built-In HD Tuner: With its built-in HD Radio tuner, you can receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. HD Radio significantly improves AM/FM audio quality and reception, as well as includes information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. HD Radio Technology will deliver high-quality digital sound. AM digital will have FM-like quality in stereo (70dB SN @ 40-15kHz), while FM digital will have CD-like quality (70dB SN @ 20-20kHz) with static free and clear reception. The unit's built-in HD Radio tuner allows analog AM/FM tuning as well.

    Note: HD Radio is the system for digital AM and FM broadcasting in the U.S. More than 2,000 radio stations are broadcasting their primary signals in digital HD Radio technology, as a free service. Go to to check for HD Radio stations in your area.

    Station Text: AM/FM digital stations can offer text and data such as artist names and song titles.

    Multicasting: In addition to conventional broadcasts, with HD Radio broadcasting it is possible to choose from up to 3 multicast programs (HD1 to HD3, and analog).

    iTunes Tagging: It is possible to save the song's information (tag) from and HD Radio broadcasting station to your USB-direct connected iPod/iPhone. The songs will show up in a playlist called "Tagged" in iTunes the next time you sync your iPod/iPhone. Then you can directly buy the songs you want from the iTunes Music Store. You can "tag" up to 50 songs.

    Tuner Presets: The KDC-X896's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 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 stored, regardless of AM/FM band. This lets you recall a preset station without switching between bands.

    Auto Memory Tuning: Not only does the CD receiver's tuner allow you manually enter your desired presets you can choose to have the unit automatically put stations with good reception in the memory banks automatically; this is a handy feature when traveling.

    Seek Modes: You can choose one of three seek modes: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual.

    Note: You can also setup the KDC-X896 to search only HD Radio stations.

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

    SiriusXM Ready: The Kenwood KDC-X896 comes ready for SiriusXM programming with access to XM and Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Thanks to its proprietary SiriusXM Connect port, you can add the optional SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner and receive more than 150 channels of exclusive programming directly from SiriusXM, via the "SiriusXM All Access" package (subscription required). Visit for a complete list of subscription options and channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:

    • Channel list displays a list of all available channels
    • Category Search searches for channels in a certain category
    • Displayed Information such as Channel Name, Artist Name, & Song Title can be viewed on the head unit's LCD
    • Up to 18 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets
    • Direct Tuning via included remote
    • Song/Artist Alert with visual notification of your favorite songs or artists
    • Supports the SiriusXM Instant Replay function, so you can pause, rewind, and replay up to 30 minutes of live content
    • iTunes Tagging for connected iPod/iPhone
    • Channels containing unsuitable content for children can be blocked
    Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). If you already have a Sirius Satellite Radio subscription, this radio cannot be added as a discounted second unit. If you have an existing XM Satellite Radio subscription, you can add this unit as a discounted second unit.

    Disc Playback

    Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio, CD-Text, and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs.

    MP3/WMA/AAC Playback: The KDC-X896 can play MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 kbps) files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, and Long file name formats. Each disc can have a maximum of 8 directory levels, 50 folders, and 255 files per folder (512 maximum number of files and folders). During MP3/WMA/AAC 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-X896 will display CD text or Audio file text. You can set the text scrolling feature to three different modes (Auto, Once, or Off) to scroll longer titles across the screen.

    Music Search: The Kenwood AM/FM CD receiver features a Music Search feature which allows you to scroll through and select your MP3/WMA/AAC music folders and files, as well as scroll through your audio CD's music tracks using the head unit's rotary knob.

    Direct Music Search: The supplied IR wireless remote control (RC-405) allows you to search for music directly by entering the track number.

    Playback Modes: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 features the following Repeat, Random, and Scan playback modes.

    • Repeat Play: Track, File, or Folder
    • Random Play: Disc or Folder
    • Scan Play: Track or File (plays the first 10-seconds of each music track on a disc or music file in a folder)

    Last Position Memory: If the unit is shut off or switched to the tuner mode while a CD is playing, the next time CD is selected as the source, playback will resume from the point where it left off.

    CD Read: This function sets the method for reading a CD disc. You can choose between two modes.

    • CD1: Automatically distinguishes between audio file disc and music CD when playing a CD or CD-R/RW disc.
    • CD2: When unable to play a special formatted CD, set this function to CD2 to force playing. Some music CD discs may be unplayable even when set to this mode.

    Off Insert/Eject: A CD disc can be inserted or ejected with the power off. When a disc is inserted with the power off, the unit will automatically power up and begin playback.

    Auto Reload: If the ejected disc is not removed within 15 seconds, the disc is automatically inserted again into the loading slot to protect it from dust.

    USB/Aux Inputs

    USB Port: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 features a front panel USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-up cover. The USB port enables connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device with MP3 (8-320 kbps), WMA (32-192 kbps), and AAC (8-320 kbps) music files. The USB port is compatible with USB mass storage class devices that support the FAT16 or FAT32 file system. Your USB device should only have a maximum of 8 folder layers, 255 folders, and 255 files per folder - with a maximum of 65,025 files and folders. USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the CD receiver's USB port (max. 1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.

    Note: You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit.

    Music Editor Compatible: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 supports the PC application, Kenwood Music Editor Lite (ver.1.1.0). Kenwood Music Editor Lite is a Windows-based desktop software that helps organize, manage and transfer MP3/WMA music files to your USB (MSC) devices from your PC. When you playback audio files that have been stored on your USB (MSC) device using Kenwood Music Editor Lite through this unit, you can search a file by title, album, or artist name using the head unit's Music Search function.

    System Requirements: The Kenwood Music Editor Light (ver.1.1.0) Windows-based software can be downloaded for free from to your PC. The Kenwood Music Editor Light is compatible with the following Windows Microsoft Operating Systems.

    • Windows XP Professional, Home Edition SP2 or later (32-bit)
    • Windows Vista (32/64-bit)
    • Windows 7 (32/64-bit)
    Note: Not compatible with Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, 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 unit has 3 auxiliary input modes.

    • On1: Outputs the sound of the external unit connected to the Aux terminal when switched to the Aux source.
    • On2: Activates the attenuator function when turning on the power with the auxiliary source selected. This prevents the noise when no external unit is connected to the Aux terminal. Turn off the attenuator function when listening to output from an external unit.
    • Off: Disables the selection of the Aux source.

    Auxiliary Display: The KDC-X896 allows you to select the source type displayed when using the auxiliary input. You can choose from AUX, DVD, Portable, Game, Video, or TV.

    iPod/Android Control

    iPod Direct Connection: The KDC-X896's front-panel USB port also acts as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the optional Kenwood USB Direct Connection Cable (113KCIP102, sold separately) or the USB/iPod cable that comes with your iPod/iPhone. If you have an iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), or iPhone 5; use the Lighting-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect to the head unit. Using either cable allows audio playback, music navigation, information display, and charging of select iPod/iPhone models from the KDC-X896.

    iPod DAC Bypass: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's large music libraries to be loaded instantly to the head unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 24-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 110dB. The Kenwood head unit supports audio playback of music files and podcasts stored on your iPod or iPhone, as well as music apps streamed to your iPhone.

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

    • Head Unit: The Kenwood head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music by Playlist, Artists, Album, Genre, Composer, Song, or Podcast. You can search these categories alphabetically or using a percentage search (0.5%, 1%, 5%, 10%). The head unit supports Repeat (file) & Random (folder) playback functions of your connected iPod/iPhone.
    • iPod/App Mode: In iPod/App mode, you can navigate the stored music on your iPod/iPhone from its clickwheel or touchscreen. You can also listen to your favorite music apps (such as iHeartRadio, SiriusXM,, Rhapsody, & Slacker) from your iPhone (iOS 3.0+) through the Kenwood head unit and your vehicle's speakers. You will continue to use your iPhone's touchscreen to navigate your apps. Not all apps will be compatible with App Mode.
    Note: Access to your iPhone's downloaded applications will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone to connect to the Internet.

    Pandora Internet Radio Control: The Kenwood KDC-X896 CD receiver lets you playback and control the Pandora Internet Radio music service that is being streamed to your Apple iPhone, Android smartphone, or BlackBerry. While providing control over the Pandora music service, the KDC-X896 also displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station list; you can sort the station list by date or alphabetically (A-Z). You can also skip song tracks within a station. In addition, you can also give songs a thumbs up/down and bookmark songs/artists.

    • Pandora App for iPhone: The Kenwood KDC-X896 lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed to your connected Apple iPhone, via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 USB/iPod connector cable (sold separately) or the USB/Dock cable supplied with your iPhone. To access Pandora you must have an Apple iPhone (iOS3 or later) with the latest version of the Pandora App from the Apple's iTunes App Store. Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need a Pandora music service account.
    • Pandora via Android or BlackBerry: The Kenwood KDC-X896 also lets you playback and control Pandora Internet Radio streamed from your Android or BlackBerry smartphone, via Bluetooth (no hard-wired connection required). Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must have the latest version of the Pandora App from the Android Market or the BlackBerry App World. Your Android or BlackBerry smartphone must also be Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP/SPP certified and will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. In addition, you will need an active Pandora music service account.
    Note: Access to the Pandora service will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone or smartphone to connect to the Internet. Pandora is not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.

    iPod/ Display: The KDC-X896 will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information when you are controlling your iPod or iPhone from the Kenwood head unit. The head unit will display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label. If you choose to operate your connected iPod/iPhone via its clickwheel or touchscreen controls, the KDC-X896 will not display your iPod/iPhone's music information (the head unit will instead display "APP/iPod").

    iPod Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad.

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

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):

    iPod Model Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Pandora app iTunes Tagging Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod App mode Artist/Song Text Track Info
    dock connector 3rd N/A N N N N N N N N N N
    4th N/A N N N N N N N N N N
    mini 1st N/A N N N N N N N N N N
    2nd N/A N N N N N N N N N N
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N Y Y N N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N N Y Y N N Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    6th 1.1 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    7th 1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    4th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    5th 6.0 Y N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    2 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    3 6.0 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N
    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

    Music Control for Android Smartphone: The Kenwood Music Control app for Android organizes your Android smartphone's music, while providing quick and easy search capability from the Kenwood CD receiver. The free Kenwood Music Control App for Android can be downloaded onto your Android smartphone from the Android Market place. Your Android smartphone must be running Android OS 2.2 or later. Once the app is downloaded and has a chance to organize all the stored music on your Android smartphone, you can connect your Android smartphone to the Kenwood CD receiver via USB (your compatible Android smartphone must be recognized as a USB mass storage class device; not compatible with MTP protocol). The Kenwood Music Control app offers the following Android supported functions.

    • Song Management: Music stored in your Android smartphone can be navigated from the Kenwood CD receiver. Songs can be easily selected by searching for a Song title, Artist name, Album label, or Genre.
    • Song Information Display: Song information such as Artist name, Song title, and Album label are displayed on the connected Kenwood CD receiver.
    • Mood Playlist: Playlists can be created by classifying songs into categories by type of mood. Songs are analyzed and classified into the following categories of moods - High Energy (Active/Powerful/Core), Acoustic (Detailed/Simple/Smooth/Easy), Standard (Dynamic/Rockin/Vivid), Stylistic (Cool/Urban/Trance)
    • Intro Skip: This function allows you to choose and listen to only the hook-lines of songs stored in your Android smartphone.
    Note: When the Kenwood Music Control app is first downloaded it will require some time to populate all the music, so we suggest doing this overnight.

    Music Files Format Supported by Music Control app for Android:

    Codec Extension Bit Rate Sampling Frequency
    AAC .aac, m4a up to 160 kbps 8-48 kHz
    MP3 .mp3 8-320 kbps n/a
    PCM/WAV .wav n/a n/a

    Display Features

    Detachable Face: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 features a single front loading CD face that detaches from the chassis to deter theft. The head unit includes a cloth pouch for storing the face-plate when detached. A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.

    Note: An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can also be purchased for this unit.

    Multi-Line Text Display: The 3-line full dot LCD makes it easy to navigate through your disc's music, radio presets, iPod music library, USB content, Bluetooth audio, or phonebook contacts. The KDC-X896 offers five different display types:

    • Type A: Displays 3 lines of text.
    • Type B: Display 2 lines of text.
    • Type C: Displays only the clock/date.
    • Type D: Displays motion graphics.
    • Type E: Display & button illumination is turned off (after 5 seconds of operation).
    Note: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 offers English, French, and Spanish menu text.

    Variable Color Illumination: The Kenwood Excelon KDC-X896 features variable color display and button illumination. You can choose to use the same color for the LCD display and button illumination, or use a separate color for each one. You can choose from one of 24 preset colors, have the unit scan through all 24 preset colors continuously, or customize your own color (RGB; 0-9). The custom setting allows you to individually adjust the intensity of Red, Green, and Blue (from 0-9) to better match your vehicle's interior lights. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain red.

    Note: You can switch the in-dash head unit's display between a positive or negative effect. You can also adjust the display's contrast from 1-30.

    Illumination Effect: This function sets whether the head unit's key illumination color is changed in conjunction with the key-button operation.

    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. You can also choose to dim the display manually. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain the same brightness.

    Clock/Date Display: The in-dash CD receiver features a 12-hour clock and date (M/D/Y) display. You can even set times for two different cities (dual clock display).

    Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face and button illumination is "keyed." When the Clock Display is turned on and the unit is in Standby mode, the Clock Display is also "keyed." Pressing and holding the source button turns the unit off completely.

    Demo Mode: This unit features a Demo mode which can be turned On or Off within the menu.

    Remote Control

    Wireless Remote Control: The KDC-X896 comes with an IR remote control (RC-405) for wireless operation of the head unit. The remote will control Audio, CD, USB, Bluetooth, 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. You can also dial a phone number using the remote's numeric keypad.
    • Attenuator: The CD receiver features an Attenuator button on the supplied remote control that turns the volume down very quickly with one touch of the button.

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

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