Kenwood KDC-X996 write up/review. My previous head unit quit working after 4 years of pumping tunes everyday at a moderate to high volume this isn't because I'm a kid and like my music loud, though I am and I do, but mainly because I have to have it louder then the average person due to my significant hearing loss. I'm using a Blackberry Curve 9930, I think, when describing bluetooth features and my speakers are Kicker DS65 2-way in stock speaker location and dual Polk Audio MM840 behind my rear seat.
I bought this HU because it has the basics of active processing, a 13 band EQ, HD radio, Bluetooth, and satellite radio ready, and the biggest reason was how clean it looks. The aux and usb come out the back and are routed into the glove box so that there aren't any wires sticking out the front which, not only look bad, but could make a would be thief think that there is an ipod, or other digital music player of value, in the vehicle and making it a better option for a smash and grab I'm very paranoid about things like that.
My initial thoughts of it are that it is a very good HU, for sure the best I've owned. The bluetooth connects in a minute or so from the time it powers up, it's very easy to pair a phone to the radio and you can have multiple phones saved into the memory so that you don't have to pair a new phone if your spouse were to drive the vehicle and use their phone. I've gotten no complaints about sound quality from the other side other than it sounding like I'm standing away from the mic which is mounted on the dash right below my fuel gauge however there are mic gains that you can turn up to make the mic more sensitive and make it easier to pick up you voice and other sound's in the cab. Bluetooth audio playback is good once the HU has had a few minutes to sort itself out. I believe what it is doing is going into the phone and pre-loading the info of all the songs so that it'll show instantly when the song changes. A very cool feature of this unit is that it displays your phone info such as remaining battery life, reception bars, if you have a notification of some kind it'll display that and the music also cuts off just like it would if you were using headphones so you'll never miss a call, obviously, you can answer a call from the HU itself and read text's but why anyone would want to do that is beyond me.
HD radio is very good and worth the money. Radio station's that I listen to that used to have a ton of static now is almost unnoticed. The sound quality is just over all better. When radio station's compress their content into a FM signals the 20-100hz are the easiest to compress and decompress so if you have subs while listening to the radio bass signals come out stronger than the 100-20k Hz bands. With HD radio it's far less compressed and therefore a cleaner signal for better sound all around. Again, if you're in the market for a radio and have the extra money to spend get HD Radio.
EQing this radio isn't for someone who just wants an upgrade from stock to get it sounding the best you really need to spend some time playing hertz sweeps to flatten the response and then some more with music to get it where you like it. So far I've had about 4 hours time turning knobs and every time I play with it, it get's a little better. It has a 13 band EQ starting at 60hz and goes up to like 15k. This unit also does Digital Timing Alignment, referred to as DTA henceforth, for being a single unit rather than a separate active powered crossover it is very good. You really can dial in your stage and get it set for wherever you want it. For those that don't know all timing alignment does is allow the sound from both speakers to hit you at the same time. It'll delay the signal of a loud speaker that's farther away so that it'll match the signal of one that's closer. This HU does a very good job of doing that.
I'm not sure how it works but there is a feature that allows you to input the size of your sub's, and mid/tweet's, so that it can adjust the setting to optimize the sounds it put's out. It has made my sub's 10x's better, I believe that it is just a low pass filter that's being cut off higher than it was before; either way I like it and it's staying.
USB, Aux, and CD playback are just like any other HU. This unit is very quick to load thing's such as a flash drive, Ipod, or CD. It may take 5 seconds from the time of inserting a disk before you're jammin this may slow down as the radio gets some usage but I hope not. The CD data is great with is unit all CD's I've played have all had the song info show on the display even MP3 CD's that I've burned with my computer using iTunes have shown the track info.
Time to clock out when I get home I'll finish this and post pic's.