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Kenwood eXcelon Z828

CD/MP3 Receiver with CD Changer Controls

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Item # 113Z828

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Our take on the Kenwood eXcelon Z828

MP3 files to go! Your in-car music menu can include CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3-encoded discs when you choose the Kenwood eXcelon Z828. This charismatic CD/MP3 receiver serves up plenty of visual excitement with its striking 3-D FL high-res display, cutting-edge cosmetics, and impressive list of features.

MP3 files to go! Your in-car music menu can include CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3-encoded discs when you choose the Kenwood eXcelon Z828. This charismatic CD/MP3 receiver serves up plenty of visual excitement with its striking 3-D FL high-res display, cutting-edge cosmetics, and impressive list of features.

To spice up your tunes' sonic contours, season them with the 6 preset curves and 3-band parametric EQ of System Q EX Sound Control. To maximize your system's performance, the System E's+ Advanced Crossover provides high- and low-pass filters for your speaker and preamp outputs.

This receiver is Sirius satellite radio-ready — you must have a subscription to Sirius Radio, a Sirius tuner, and a Sirius-compatible antenna in order to receive the digital satellite radio signal. (Sirius satellite radio offers digital-quality sound, coast-to-coast coverage, and up to 100 channels of music, news, sports, and entertainment, all for $12.95 a month.)

Front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs send a clean, strong 4.5-volt signal to external amps. Musical variety and convenience a must? Hook in a Kenwood CD changer for 6- or 10-disc storage and access. A wireless remote is included for your convenience.

  • detachable, fold-down face
  • 3-D FL high-res dot matrix display
  • CR-2 tuner
  • plays MP3-encoded CD-R and CD-RW discs, audio CD-Rs and CD-RWs, plus CDs
  • MP3 file and time memory — switch to a different source or turn off power, and the Z828 will return to the same point when MP3 play resumes
  • System E's+ Advanced Crossover — for better performance from all your speakers, and independent crossover control/customized output from the driver's seat, whether you use the built-in amp or external amps
  • System Q EX Sound Control
  • CD changer controls
  • 4.5-volt front and rear preamp outputs
  • 4.5-volt non-fading output with level control
  • disc and station naming
  • MP3 ID-3 tag display
  • satellite radio-ready
  • wireless remote
  • 22 watts RMS/47 peak x 4 channels
  • CD frequency response 10-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio 96 dB
  • FM sensitivity 9.3 dBf
  • 2-year warranty

What's in the Box:

  • AM/FM/CD/Changer Controller with 10-amp mini-blade fuse inserted into chassis
  • Trim ring
  • Sleeve
  • Hard plastic face case
  • RC-520 wireless remote
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • Wiring harness with in-line noise suppressor
  • 2 Radio removal tools
  • 1 Face security screw with 1 lock washer
  • 1 Backstrap
  • 1 Rear support screw with 1 lock washer and 1 flat washer
  • 4 Panhead ISO-mount screws
  • 4 Countersunk ISO-mount screws
  • Instruction Manual (English)
  • Instruction Manual (Spanish/French)
  • Warranty Card
  • Car Audio Passport card.

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

AUX Input Rear
Audio/video Input ---
USB Input ---
CarPlay No
Android Auto No
Siri Control No
Android Control No
Memory Card Slot No
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready Sirius
HD Radio ---
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
iPhone ---
CEA-2006 Compliant ---
RMS Power Output 22 watts
Peak Output 47 watts
RMS Power Bandwidth ---
Preamp Outputs 6-channel
Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs ---
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 4.5 volts
Display Color Multi-color
Key Button Color Green
EQ Bands 3
Wireless Remote Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years
FM Sensitivity 9.3 dBf
European Tuning Yes
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System No

Product Research

Changer Controls
Remote Control


Display Type: This unit has a 4-tone fine dot matrix readout with fluorescent backlight high-resolution, color LCD with fluorescent backlight. To the right and left of the dot matrix readout are display sections that include light blue, medium blue and green illumination. This combination provides a bright, easy to read display with high resolution.

Security Code: You may program the unit with a 4 digit security code. Once the unit has been programmed with a security code, the code must be entered to use the unit after it has been disconnected from power.

Icon/Spectrum Analyzer Display: The Icon/Spectrum Analyzer display is shown on the right part of the display. You can select one of three different spectrum analyzer patterns or the source icon display.In CD mode, the source icon is a spinning CD. In tuner mode, the source icon is a spinning radio tower radiating radio waves.

Display Modes: You may select Display Type A ("vertical division display mode"), Display Type B, or Display Type C ("full-screen display mode"). 

  • Display Type A ("vertical division display mode"): Source information is shown on the upper part of the display while a spectrum analyzer, a spectrum analyzer and clock, the date, CD Text, or Radio text is shown in the lower part of the display. The Icon/Spectrum Analyzer display is shown on the right part of the display and can be adjusted independently.
  • Display Type B: Source information is shown on the upper part of the display and the clock is shown on the lower part of the display. The Icon/Spectrum Analyzer display and all other moving graphics are turned off.
  • Display Type C ("full-screen display mode"): The display can be filled with one of four selectable spectrum analyzer patterns, a Formula 1 graphic, a Kenwood Cup Yacht race graphic or Kenwood's demonstration display. Kenwood's demonstration display shows Formula 1 racing and the Kenwood Cup Yacht race. The Icon/Spectrum Analyzer display is shown on the right part of the display and can be adjusted independently.

Button Illumination: All of the buttons, except the Source button, have green illumination. The Source button is backlit with blue illumination.

Display Dimming: When the illumination wire of this unit is connected to the headlamp circuit of your vehicle, and you turn your lights on, the display will dim to a preset level. The display brightness is not affected by the vehicle's dimmer control.

Font Select: You can select from two different fonts for the display.

Dual Zone Control: When the AUX input is selected, the audio from AUX input source can be sent to the front or rear speaker and preamp outputs, and another source can be sent to the set of speaker or preamp outputs not being used for the AUX source. When in dual zone mode, the volume control of this unit works for the tuner, built-in CD player or changer selected as the second source, and the volume of the AUX input source can be controlled only by a volume control built-into that AUX source.

System E's+ Advanced Crossover System: The System E's+ system allows you to select a high pass filter for the front and/or rear preamp and speaker outputs. The high pass filter frequency may be set to 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180 or 220Hz. You may set the low pass filter for the non-fading preamp outputs to 50Hz, 80Hz, 120Hz or "through", and the phase of  the non-fading RCA preamp outputs may be set to normal or reverse. The crossovers have a slope of 12dB per octave.

System Q EX Sound Control: 6 EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. The preset curves are named "Flat", "Rock", "Top 40", "Pops", "Jazz" and "Easy". In addition, you may store your own settings under the "User Memory" EQ curve. Each preset has its own bass center frequency, bass level, bass quality factor, bass extension, middle center frequency, middle level, middle quality factor, treble center frequency, treble level, non-fading level settings, high-pass filter frequency for front outputs, high-pass filter frequency for rear outputs and low-pass filter frequency for the non-fading outputs. You may adjust the bass center frequency (60, 70, 80, 100 or 150Hz), bass level (-8 to +8), bass quality factor (1.00, 1.25, 1.50 or 2.00), bass extension (On or Off), middle center frequency (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0kHz), middle level (-8 to +8), middle quality factor (1.0 or 2.0), treble center frequency (10.0, 12.5, 15.0 or 17.5kHz), treble level (-8 to +8), and non-fading level (-15 to +15).

Speaker and Woofer Settings: The Speaker and Woofer setting function tailors the System Q EX Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a speaker setting of "Off", "OEM" (for OEM factory speaker systems), "6x9/6 inch" (for systems with 6" to 6"x9" size speakers) or "5/4 inch" (for systems with 4" to 5" speakers). In addition, you may select a woofer setting of "Off", "12 inch type A", "10 inch type A", "12 inch type B", "10 inch type B", "12 inch type C", "10 inch type C", "12 inch type D", "10 inch type D", or "8 inch", allowing you to adjust the high-pass filter frequency, low-pass filter frequency and non-fading level depending on the type of subwoofer you have in your vehicle.

Source Tone Memory: This feature allows you to store bass, middle, treble and non-fading level settings for each source (CD, FM, AM and Changer).

Volume Offset Control ("VOL 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.

Power Amplifier Muting Circuit: This unit has a built-in amplifier muting circuit that can be turned on or off. Muting the amplifier output results in a better signal-to-noise ratio and wider dynamic range, giving you enhanced preamp output quality.

External Amp Control: Kenwood also calls this "B.M.S." (Bass Management System). When used with a compatible, Kenwood eXcelon amplifier, you can adjust the bass boost level of the amplifier through this head unit. You may select Flat, or boost the bass of the amplifier by +6 or +12dB.

CD Compatibility: This unit will play prerecorded CDs, finalized audio and MP3 data CD-R discs, and finalized audio and MP3 data CD-RW discs.

0-Bit Mute: This circuit mutes output when no audio signal is detected for absolute quiet between CD tracks.

CD Text: When used with a CD Text encoded CD, this unit will display the CD text information.

CD Naming:The DNPS (Disc Name Preset) feature can be used to enter names, up to 12 characters long, into memory for up to 30 discs. When a CD changer with disc naming memory is connected, names may be entered for CDs in the changer. The number of names that may be entered for discs in a changer depends on the changer model. 

MP3 File Playback: This unit can play MP3 files that have been recorded with fixed bit rate (up to 320kbps) or variable bit rate compression on CD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW discs. The MP3 formats compatible with this unit are the ISO 9660 Level 1 and Level 2 formats, excluding the extended formats. The following functions are available during MP3 playback:

  • File Search: skips from one file to another, forward or backward 
  • Folder Search: skips from one folder to another, forward or backward 
  • Fast Forward and Reverse Search: allows you to do a fast forward or reverse search within a file (while fast forwarding or reversing through a file, you cannot hear the file being played; this unit will not perform audible search with MP3 files).
  • Folder Select: allows you to select the hierarchical level of the folders you want to see, move from folder to folder within the same hierarchical level and return to the first hierarchical level. When you find the folder of your choice, you may begin playback of the first file in that folder by pressing the play/pause button.
  • File Repeat
  • Folder Repeat
  • Random Play: plays all the files in the current folder in random order
  • Name Scroll: allows the folder/file name and ID3 tag (song title, artist, album) to be scrolled across the display, so the complete name can be seen
  • Last Position Memory: when the unit is turned off, or another source is selected, the unit remembers the point where playback stopped; the next time the CD player is turned on, or selected as the source, playback resumes from the point stored in memory

Digital Optimum Servo Control (DOSC): This circuitry enables the CD player to determine each disc's reflection rate and the modulation rate of its pits, enabling the player to set the ideal servo gain for each disc. DOSC also adjusts servo gain and balance when it encounters vibration, scratches, dust, or fingerprints, reducing mistracking and skipping.

Precision Digital Timing (DPAC): A high-precision master clock circuit that is isolated from signal-processing circuits to eliminate interference. This ensures that digital information is processed at exactly the same rate as it was recorded, eliminating jitter (time-based errors that make music sound harsh).

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.

Sirius Satellite Radio Compatible: When using an optional outboard 'black box', this unit will be able to receive future Sirius Satellite Radio digital broadcasts.

Direct Access Tuning: When you are using the supplied remote and you know the frequency of the station that you want to hear, you can input it directly for quick access.

Station Name Preset (SNPS): This feature allows you to assign names to radio stations. Up to 32 FM stations and 16 AM stations can be given a name. Each name can be up to 8 characters in length.

CR-2 Advanced Tuner: This unit uses Kenwood's CR-2 Advanced tuner for clear radio reception.

Clean Reception System Circuit (CRSC): This circuit controls multi-path distortion by reducing stereo separation. As stereo separation is reduced, multi-path has less effect on the radio signal, improving reception in areas with tall buildings and mountains.

Calendar Function:The date may be set into memory and displayed. 

Auxiliary Input: Female left and right RCA inputs on a 10" pigtail attached to the rear of the unit are provided for connecting an auxiliary audio source, such as a portable MD or cassette player.

Weather Band Tuner Compatible: This unit is compatible with the Kenwood KTC-WB100 weather band tuner (sold separately). The optional tuner box allows you to tune in weather band radio stations. There are about 480 weather band radio stations in the United States, and this option allows you to tap into the information needed to prepare for outdoor activities such as sporting events, camping trips and days at the park. 

Heads-up Display Compatible: Kenwood's KPA-HD100 heads-up display (sold separately) may be connected to this receiver and placed on the dashboard, or overhead. The heads-up display can give a readout of the information from this receiver's display, allowing you to monitor the radio without the inconvenience and danger of taking your eyes from the road to look down at the radio location. 

Changer Controls

Compatibility:This unit is directly compatible with Kenwood changers equipped with an O-N switch and Kenwood changers with a round 13-pin input connection, but no O-N switch. If you have an old Kenwood changer with a square plug, you will need the CA-DS100 converter cord and the KCA-S210A switching adapter. If you use a changer without an O-N switch, you will not have access to the following functions: DNPS, DNPP, Magazine Random Play and CD Text display.

  • Audible Search: forward and reverse
  • Track Search: forward and reverse
  • Disc Search: forward and reverse
  • Direct Track Search: using the remote, you can directly input the track number that you want to hear
  • Direct Disc Search: using the remote, you can directly input the number of the disc that you want to hear
  • Repeat Play: allows you to select Track Repeat or Disc Repeat. When Track Repeat is chosen, the unit will repeat the selected track. When Disc Repeat is chosen, the unit will repeat the selected disc.
  • Track Scan: plays the first 10 seconds of each track on the selected disc
  • Random Play: plays all tracks on one disc in random order. When all tracks on that disc have been played, the unit will move to the next disc and play all of its tracks in random order.
  • Magazine Random Play: plays the tracks on all the discs in the changer in random order.
  • Disc Name Preset (DNPS): when used with a compatible CD changer, this feature allows you to assign names to discs in the changer. Each name can be up to 12 characters in length. The number of names you can store depends on the CD changer that is connected to the head unit.
  • DNPP (Disc Name Preset Play): once a disc has been named, you may press the DNPP button on the remote to display the name of each disc for 5 seconds. When the name of the desired disc appears, you can press the OK button on the remote to select the disc for playback.
  • CD Text/MD Display: when connected to a CD Text capable CD changer or an MD changer, this unit can display disc and track titles for discs encoded with disc and track title information. The text information can be scrolled manually or automatically.

Remote Control

Remote: This unit comes with the Kenwood RC-520 wireless remote.


  • Volume +/-: Adjusts the volume up or down
  • SRC: Cycles through the different sources (Tuner, CD, Changer, Standby mode)
  • Tune/Track(<</>>): In tuner mode, these buttons increase or decrease the tuner frequency. In CD or changer mode, these buttons select the next or previous track.
  • FM/Disc +: In tuner mode, this button selects the FM band. In changer mode, this button selects the next disc in the changer.
  • AM/Disc -: In tuner mode, this button selects the AM band. In changer mode, this button selects the previous disc in the changer.
  • ATT: Attenuates the audio output
  • Play/Pause
  • DNPP/SBF: When a compatible CD changer is connected, this button enters and cancels the DNPP mode.
  • Direct/OK: Allows you to select the disc to play in DNPP mode and directly enter disc, track and station numbers.
  • 0-9/A-Z: Number and letter entry buttons.
  • "*": Asterisk button has no function with this unit

Dimensions: L=5.695", W=1.961", H=0.941"


Display Illumination/Clock Display: When the unit is in Standby mode, the face/button illumination is "keyed". In addition, while the unit is in Standby mode, the Clock Display can be turned on or off using the CLK button. 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.

Warranty Note: This unit comes with a 1 year warranty card, but the actual warranty is 2 years.

Our Product Research Team

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