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Kenwood KDC-X996 Write-Up/Review

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Warhorseforever, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Sep 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM
    #1
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box
    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.
     
  2. Sep 14, 2012 at 4:45 PM
    #2
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box
    And we're back.

    Some of the bad thing's about this radio is that whenever you disconnect, turn off your truck, the bluetooth connection and then re-connect it sort of stumbles for the first song or two. Kind of like an old CD skipping. The face plate is removable but to insert the dick you have to take it off. It's on a hinge type thing so that make's it seem a little cheap when it's in the upright position because the faceplate has a lot of play and movement in it. I wish it was a little tighter so that it didn't move so much and it would feel sturdier and not so cheap.

    So far that's the only stumbles this radio has but I've only had it for 2 day's so I'll keep this updated as time goes on.
     
  3. Sep 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM
    #3
    B737

    B737 Throbbing Member

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    please do this in the privacy of your garage only, thats what she said...

    the 996 is an awesome unit. i had the 995 (pretty much the same) for a year and it was a fantastic head unit. its very customizable, intuitive, and sounds fantastic. i liked how it can be blacked out (go dark), and could be set up to match just about any factory dash lighting.
     
  4. Sep 14, 2012 at 7:47 PM
    #4
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box
    The black out is one of my favorite features I live in a rural area with a massive amount of deer so I love being able to ride with no light's to distract me.
     
  5. Sep 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM
    #5
    Grousehunter 12

    Grousehunter 12 Well-Known Member

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    I have had a KDC-995 for a couple of years , excellent head unit. Only complaint is screen glare, I have tried non glare film with no improvement at all. Changing color of screen or display does little. I would rate this unit a 7.5 out of 10, find a way to cut the glare and I would move that rating to 8.5+.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM
    #6
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box

    I agree the glare is a bitch. I got some film I'm going to put on it hopefully it'll work better for me.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM
    #7
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box
    A few pics. In this first one notice the stat's of the phone on the unit like the battery charge and reception bars. When the phone is plugged in there is a little lightning bolt over the battery to indicate that it is charging.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The "stumbling" I experienced with this unit at first has almost completely gone it may happen 2-3 times a week and is slightly annoying at most. A big thing for me that I forgot to mention is that this unit is going to power, imo, a high caliber audio system and so I want to be able to play my .WAV's and .FLAC's both of which this unit supports. I will be adding a 250GB Solid State Drive so that I can play hours of music in loss-less format's. CD play back is awesome
     
  8. Feb 19, 2013 at 1:15 PM
    #8
    sk8rjess

    sk8rjess bonafide

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    my old sony head unit is finally dying thanks to years of abuse and i just bought this one too. now that you've had it for a while, still digging it?
     
  9. Mar 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM
    #9
    Warhorseforever

    Warhorseforever [OP] Will The Thrill

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    Kenwood KDC-348U HU Kicker DS65 Front Doors Only 2 Polk Audio MM840 Kenwood KAC 8105D for subs SuperCrewSound.com behind rear seat sub box
    Sorry I didn't get back to you in a timely manner about this but I still love this thing and would pay the ~$250 again to get it. The little kinks with the bluetooth are more or less gone but it still does the "skips" bi-monthly it seems. This is me nit picking I honestly believe that this radio is the one to buy if you want feature full while on a budget. The radio and menu system are super easy to use now that I'm adjusted to it. I love Pandora source/Bluetooth it really helps on my 3 hour round trip daily drive and the "wow" factor of the bluetooth is great I have had so many positive comments from people about how cool they thought it was that I could control my radio via my phone, like when at a party since we party in barns in the sticks, and not have to get in/out and back/forth from where I want to be and where the truck is sitting playing music. Buy this radio and you'll love it.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2013 at 5:11 AM
    #10
    bobin

    bobin Member

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    How do you do that? I mean to play the .wav and .flac .When connect the Solid State Drive to you head unit,how do get the power source for the drive?
     
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