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JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

CD receiver with SD playback and MP3 / WMA compatibility

7 Reviews

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Item # 257KDAR960

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Our take on the JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

Turn your car into a mobile audio command center with JVC's powerful, multitasking KD-AR960 CD receiver. Not only will it spin your favorite MP3 and WMA tunes from disc, it can even play back your music from pocket-sized Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. You'll be able to take hours and hours of entertainment along on all your travels.

Turn your car into a mobile audio command center with JVC's powerful, multitasking KD-AR960 CD receiver. Not only will it spin your favorite MP3 and WMA tunes from disc, it can even play back your music from pocket-sized Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. You'll be able to take hours and hours of entertainment along on all your travels.

And that's not the only benefit of the SD input. Use it to load your own images into the receiver for custom slide shows and backgrounds. The variable-color 3D LCD display on the motorized, slide-out faceplate will show them off in style.

On the audio side, the KD-AR960 features a high-powered MOSFET internal amp (20 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels) for crisp, clean reproduction for your speakers. The 24-bit Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter ensures warm, detailed sound. Use the 3-band parametric iEQ to contour the music to match your car's acoustics.

If radio's your thing, you'll love the station-grabbing power of the HS-IIIi AM/FM tuner. Add the optional SIRIUS satellite radio tuner for even more entertainment selection (SIRIUS tuner, antenna, and subscription required for satellite radio service).

Two sets of 5-volt preamp outputs offer convenient connections and plenty of clean signal for your external amps. A third set, dedicated to subwoofer output (with level and frequency control), gives you front-seat command over your low-frequencies.

Product Highlights:

  • CD receiver with built-in amplifier (20 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files), and Secure Digital (SD)
  • 3-band parametric iEQ with 12 preset tone curves
  • motorized, slide out, detachable face with variable-color 3D LCD display
  • three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs
  • subwoofer outputs include dedicated level and frequency controls
  • HS-IIIi tuner
  • 18 FM/6 AM presets
  • rear auxiliary input
  • PICT custom image software
  • direct track access (tracks 1-12)
  • SIRIUS satellite radio controls (SIRIUS Radio subscription, tuner, and antenna required to receive the satellite radio signal) — service is available only in the lower 48 states, not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. territories
  • loudness
  • CD/MP3 changer controls
  • wireless remote
  • clock
  • CEA-2006 compliant amplifier
  • CD frequency response: 5-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio: 98 dB
  • FM sensitivity: 11.3 dBf
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

This is the first unit i had to read directions on it is amazing so many features to figure out. the EQ makes my car sound at its top. The controls are so easy to figure.

jayson, New Canton, IL

What's in the Box:

  • AM/FM/CD/SD Card/Changer controller receiver with 15-amp fuse inserted into chassis
  • Sleeve
  • Face
  • Hard plastic face case
  • Trim ring
  • Wiring harness
  • 1 Face security screw
  • RM-RK300 Wireless remote control
  • 1 CR2025 Lithium battery
  • 2 Radio removal tools
  • 1 Rear support stud
  • 1 Flat washer
  • 1 Hex nut
  • 1 Rubber bushing
  • Image Converter Wide CD-ROM (Ver 1.2)
  • Instructions (English/Spanish/French)
  • Installation/Connection Manual (English/Spanish/French)
  • "Before Electrical Connections" instruction sheet (English/Spanish/French)
  • Image Converter Guide for Installation (English/Spanish/French)
  • US warranty sheet
  • Canadian warranty card
  • Product Registration Card/Questionnaire
  • Face security screw note

JVC Arsenal KD-AR960 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(7 Reviews)

It takes time to master

gregw314 from Danbury, CT on 10/13/2005

My primary reason for choosing this unit was that it featured a variable color display this was important to me since I drive a Pontiac that has Pontiacs "orange-glo" (ie. reddish) dash lighting. Function buttons are red and can not be changed. When powered up the unit looks right at home in the Pontiac dash. The unit plays the standard fare CD, WMA, and mp3 discs, however you can also load an SD media card with your tunes. A plus in this price range along with the variable color display. As another reviewer indicated it is kinda strange that one has to remove the faceplate to insert/eject the media. Since there are no numbered keys you have to use the menu driven system to store radio presets once thats done changing between presets is a breeze. Reception is great better in fact than a Pioneer I had in another car. CD performance is flawless no matter what media is on it. Another plus is that unlike another brand random is random if you skip a song it doesnt go to the next sequential track. The unit says itll play a 512MB SD media card I am using a 1GB with no problems. I just loaded that with my favorite tunes and havent looked back. I cant comment on the internal amp other than one can turn it off. Its connected to a pair of external amps a JL 4300 driving Kenwoood components up front and 6x9s in the rear and a HiFonics Brutus 1205D pushing a pair of Soundstream Exact 10s. As mentioned before the unit is extensively menu driven, master the menu and everythings a breeze. The faceplate has 3 variable angles plus flat to help eliminate "washout" you can also set the display between positive and negative for this. This is a super unit. period. Sounds great, too



bang for your buck

padlr from fredericksburg va on 8/9/2005

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

Good unit with tons of features for the price. I was disappointed that i couldn't get as many tracks onto the 256 sd card i bought with the unit. My 256 card holds about 3 to 4 hours of MP3 music. Research sd cards before buying and be prepared to spend more money on the card and a reader/writer. The controls on this unit are complicated and not well set up in my opinion but are far from impossible to manage. Overall i am pleased with the unit. I only wish the larger capacity sd cards were more affordable and more dependable.



JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

richard from yonkers new york on 8/4/2005

2001 Toyota 4Runner

a beautiful unit flawless installation and great sound.<BR>the SD card is just great, to be able to always have my favorite tracks loaded, and of course no roads are too bumpy for the sd card.the only improvement to this unit would be auto on volume son liked this unit so much, he bought one for his car too!



Ths unit is awesome

jayson from New Canton, IL on 5/6/2005

This is the first unit i had to read directions on it is amazing so many features to figure out. the EQ makes my car sound at its top. The controls are so easy to figure.<BR>



JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

Alan from CA on 4/13/2005

The SD is a good idea; however, it is an absolutely stupid design to require the removal of the face plate to change SD cards. Almost as bad as the Nokia Ngage making people take out the battery to change games. But the SD loads so much faster, I don't even use CD anymore.<BR><BR>The control has gotten very complex as well; I've used previous JVC CD/mp3 head units, and the controls were quite easy. This one isn't. On previous HUs, you can change folders or control the CD changer by pressing the number buttons, now the buttons are gone, and is replaced with a menu. Even simple ontrols like repeat or random has to be selected within a menu instead of a combination of buttons. You know how people complain about BMW's iDrive? It is sort of like that.<BR><BR>I like the ability to change the color of the display to match my dash board. The PICT thing is just a gimmick, not very detailed and is monochrome.<BR><BR>Feature wise, it is good. Exceution wise, still room for improvement.



JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

guttruck from Edinburg, TX on 3/29/2005

2000 Hyundai Tiburon

The best receiver I've bought so far. Easy to use and great features. I was apprehensive about JVC but they surprised me with their reliable and fun to use car deck.



JVC Arsenal KD-AR960

Chris from Richmond, Va on 3/29/2005

1995 BMW 325IS
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was shopping for a CD/MP3 player that would sound great and look great in my 95 BMW 325is. I wanted to maintain the completely black look of the old radio and I wanted the display color to match the instrument color at night which is orange. This radio looks and sounds better than expected and the SD card slot feature is a perfect way to listen to 1 GB of music (250+ songs) non stop and of my choice. I also believe MP3's sound better than regular CDs on this radio and the display of the song and artist with MP3's is great!<BR><BR>I have to add that I've been buying from Crutchfield for 20 years and as usual the service is perfect. Every time I've purchase equipment for my cars I receive wiring diagrams and the various adaptors to complete my job without cutting up my factory wiring harness. This radio had a $20 price drop just 2 weeks after I received it and I contacted Crutchfield customer service and they immediately applied a $20 credit to my charge card. <BR><BR>Perfect product perfect service ever time.<BR><BR>Thanks,<BR><BR>Chris<BR>Richmond, Va.<BR>




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 SD Card
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready Sirius
HD Radio ---
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
iPhone ---
CEA-2006 Compliant Yes
RMS Power Output 20 watts
Peak Output 50 watts
RMS Power Bandwidth 40-20kHz
Preamp Outputs 6-channel
Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 5 volts
Display Color Variable 3D
Key Button Color Red
EQ Bands 3
Wireless Remote Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years
FM Sensitivity 11.3 dBf
European Tuning Yes
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System No

Product Research

Remote Control
Changer Controls


3D Multicolor LCD:This unit features a full-motion 3D graphics display with variable color backlighting. Using the palette of 12 preset colors and adjustable red, green and blue levels, you can customize the display background with one of 1,728 possible color variations. The following colors are stored in memory: Aqua, Sky, Sea, Leaves, Grass, Apple, Rose, Amber, Honey, Violet, Grape, and Pale. You can select a different color for each source, or a single color for all sources. In addition, you can select one "user color" for daytime use and another for nighttime use (when headlights are on).

Motorized Faceplate: The KD-AR960 features a fully motorized faceplate with multiple-angle display capabilities. The faceplate automatically slides out when inserting or ejecting a CD. In addition, you can set the angle of the faceplate to one of four positions for best visibility.

SD Slot: This unit allows you to play SD cards loaded with MP3 and WMA files. You can also display still images and animations that were stored on an SD card using the supplied Image Converter (Wide) software. Each SD card can have a maximum of 255 MP3/WMA files and 63 folders.

Personalized Image Capture Technology (PICT): Using the supplied Image Converter (Wide) software, you can produce custom images to display on the receiver's screen. Not only can you display still images, but you can modify images so that they in effect become a mini animated movie. Customizing the images is simple and straightforward. First, you need to capture images by downloading them from the Internet or recording them with digital equipment, like a camcorder or camera. Next, using the Image Converter (Wide) software, you can edit the images and convert them to PICT-compatible graphic data. Image Converter (Wide) generates a new file suitable for the head unit's display without changing the source image. After the editing has been completed, the images can then be burned onto a CD-R disc, or stored onto an SD card. Finally, the images can be transferred to the head unit from the CD-R disc or SD card.

Still Images: Pictures can be created and downloaded into the receiver and used for the graphic screen. A total of 30 still images can be shown one at a time as a static image or in a slide show fashion.

Animations: Animations can be created and downloaded into the receiver and used for the graphic screen, opening screen, or ending screen. The graphic screen animation can contain a maximum of 90 frames. The opening and ending screen animations can each contain a maximum of 30 frames.

Image Link: When an MP3/WMA folder includes an image file edited by Image Converter (Wide), you can show the image on the display while the tracks in the folder are played back.

Demonstration Mode: The unit goes into Display Demonstration if no operation is performed for about 20 seconds. During Display Demonstration, an animation and the playback source information are displayed alternately.

MP3/WMA Playback: The KD-AR960 can play MP3/WMA files that have been recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs. The disc must be recorded in one of the following formats: ISO 9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet or Romeo. You can directly access folders numbered 01-12 (they must be assigned two-digit numbers when recorded). Each disc can have a maximum of 8 folder hierarchies, 200 folders, and no more than a total of 512 files and/or folders on each disc.

SIRIUS Satellite Radio Controls: This unit can control an optional SIRIUS Satellite tuner (item #607SIRJVC1). In addition to the SIRIUS tuner, you will need an antenna and subscription in order to receive SIRIUS Satellite Radio programming.

Intelligent EQ (3-Band iEQ): This model has "Hard Rock", "R&B", "Pop", "Jazz", "Dance", "Country", "Reggae", "Classic", "User 1", "User 2", "User 3", and "Flat" preset EQ curves. "User 1", "User 2", and "User 3" presets can be adjusted to your preference and stored in memory. For each preset, you can independently adjust the following:

  • Low Level: -06 to +06
  • Low Center Frequency: 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz
  • Low Q: 0.5, 0.75, 1, or 1.25
  • Mid Level: -06 to +06
  • Mid Q: 1 or 1.85
  • High Level: -06 to +06
  • High Center Frequency: 8kHz, 10kHz, 12kHz, 15kHz

Amplifier Gain Control: When you are using the KD-AR960 with factory speakers (or those rated to less than 50 watts peak), the Amplifier Gain Control can limit the amount of power being sent to those speakers. When the Amp Gain Control is set to "low", the volume control ranges from 0 (minimum) to 30 (maximum). When using speakers rated higher than 50 watts peak, you can set the Amp Gain Control to "high", and the volume control will range from 0 to 50.

Tuner: This model is equipped with JVC's proprietary HS-IIIi tuner. You can set up to 18 FM and 6 AM stations as presets. Presets can be set manually, or automatically using Strong-station Sequential Memory (SSM). If an FM stereo broadcast is hard to receive, you can manually switch the tuner to "Mono" operation.

Source Naming: The KD-AR960 allows you to assign names of up to 10 characters for AM and FM stations (30 station maximum), and a name up to 8 characters for a connected external component. You can also assign names of up to 32 characters for CDs (including a connected CD changer, but not MP3/WMA or CD Text discs--30 disc maximum).

Subwoofer Output: This unit has 2-volt gold-plated subwoofer preamp outputs (the front and rear preamp outputs are 5-volt outputs) on a 9" pigtail. The subwoofer output has independent level control, adjustable from 00 to 08, and a selectable low-pass crossover. You can select a cutoff frequency from Low (55 Hz), Mid (85 Hz) or High (115 Hz).

Rear Panel Auxiliary Input: A rear panel auxiliary input (left and right RCA audio jacks) is provided to allow the connection of a portable audio source. Just connect your portable cassette, MD or MP3 player to this unit, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system. The input level of the auxiliary input can be adjusted from -5 to 5.

Clock Display:When you press the Display button during power off, the unit will turn on, display the clock for 5 seconds, then shut off. This can be done with the ignition on or off.

Dimmer: This unit is equipped with a wire that JVC calls an illumination lead, however, it acts as a dimmer lead. The dimmer can be set to Off (normal brightness at all times), Auto (display window automatically dims when your car head lights are turned on), or On (display is always dimmed). Also, this unit has a timer that allows you to turn the dimmer on for a period of time each day. The timer allows you to select a start time and an end time for the dimmer.

Note: The amount of dimming is fixed, it cannot be adjusted, and the illumination wire must be connected for Auto operation.

Remote Control

RM-RK300 Remote Control: The unit is equipped with the RM-RK300 compact wireless remote control. This 13-button remote (including number buttons 1 through 6) can control the following functions:

  • Volume Up/Down
  • Power On/Off/Attenuate
  • Control panel angle adjust
  • Source select
  • Track/file skip (CD + changer)
  • Folder skip (MP3/WMA only)
  • Track/file search forward/reverse (CD + changer)
  • Radio station search (auto or manual)
  • Preset station select or store (Number 1-6)
  • Radio band select
  • Disc skip (CD changer)

Changer Controls

Compatibility: This unit is equipped with JVC's "J-Link" CD changer control system. It is fully compatible with JVC's CD/MP3 changer (257CHX1500). Other JVC CH-X series CD changers (except CH-X99 and CH-X100) can be controlled directly by this head unit, however, they are not compatible with MP3 discs. You cannot use the KD-MK series CD changers with this unit, even with an adapter.

Compatibility with Optional AUX Input Adapter: The optional JVC Line Input Adapter (item # 105KSU57) may be used to provide an additional auxiliary input on this unit. This feature allows you to connect a portable audio player, such as a portable MD player, to this unit as an additional audio source. Item 105KSU57 connects to the CD changer input on this unit. When the aux input adapter is connected to this unit, a CD changer cannot be connected.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.