Browsing Archive January, 2009

Sonic at CES


Members of the’s press and media team had the opportunity to attend the 2009 CES tradeshow in Las Vegas.  CES is the Consumer Electronics Show and is produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).  Each year at CES, new technology and products are introduced to those in attendance. As we went from booth to booth to check out all the new stuff, we were quite impressed with all the new products that will be coming out this year.  In this article, we will touch on some of the highlights in the in-vehicle section of CES.

Some of the main highlights that we saw came from the JVC, KICKER, and DLS booths.  Each had new products to boast and be proud of. For JVC, the AVX77 continues the El Kameleon line of single DIN AV head units.  It features a fully customizable wide touchscreen display that takes up the entire space of the unit. It deserved the CES Best of Innovations award that it was given. Excited for the New Year, KICKER introduced the Solo Classic subwoofer line, two new component speaker systems, headphones, and more!  The Solo Classic subs go back to an older design, but take a step forward with the technology that powers these bad boys. The QS and RS component systems are a step up from the KS series and sound superb. The QS series will also be replacing the SS series from KICKER.  The KICKER headphones made a huge wave at CES and impressed anyone and everyone that listened to them.  Over at the DLS booth, we were able to see and hear the impeccable DLS component speakers and amplifiers.  First-class engineering was apparent when we heard these Swedish speakers come alive.

Overall, 2009 will be a great year for the mobile electronics industry.  From what saw at the show, great things are coming to a car near you.  MaxxSonics has redesigned and improved their Hifonics amplifiers.  JL Audio releases even more quality auto speakers and subwoofers.  The Pioneer and Premier lines from Pioneer are raising the bar and setting the standard for receiver expandability.  Dual’s huge line up of head-units and receivers amazed those that entered the Dual booth.  Kenwood released many new products for both the car and the boat.  MTX continued to show off their subs and amps, as well as showcasing the enormous square Jackhammer subwoofer.  Look forward to all the new products that will be released this year.  You will not be disappointed.


Kenwood KDC-MP638U

Every once in a while a receiver comes along that get overlooked.  Often times, these receivers are the easiest to use.  The KDC-MP638U from Kenwood just so happens to be one of those units. When someone says “Kenwood Receiver”, most people will think of the KVT-512, DNX8120, or the DNX-512 and not the KDC-MP638U.  While the unit does not come with a large LCD display, the head unit offers enough features and expandability options to exceed the needs of most people.  In fact, the majority of people probably do not use every single feature on their aftermarket stereo.  So what it really comes down to is that this overlooked head unit from Kenwood is a solid stereo with plenty of features.

The first thing you notice about this unit after it is hooked up is the Kenwood interface.  The unit uses a 4-Tone fluorescent dot-matrix display and two dials for most of the controls.  The selection dial is a simple way to control your unit with ease; however it does take a little bit to get used to.  As it is with most Kenwood units, controlling the interface becomes a breeze as soon as the user picks up how to use it.  The display is smooth and the menus are easy to read.  The equalizer settings are straightforward and easy to select.  Kenwood offers six presets for their equalizer, each of them sounding great.  The sound customization on this unit really is easy to use, yet quite powerful.

In today’s car audio market, people are looking for more and more ways to listen to music.  They are looking for auxiliary ports or USB ports to connect their portable music device.  The Kenwood KDC-MP638U offers both for the most connection options that one could ask for.  The rear USB connection cable is perfect for connecting an iPod to the stereo.  When connected, Kenwood offers direct connection to control the iPod right from the head unit itself. Keep the iPod connected and out of site in a glove box or other compartment. Unique to many of Kenwood’s units is the rear auxiliary input.  From some this can be harder to connect an audio device to, but this can also be a convenient feature.  Without an auxiliary port in the front of the unit means that the front panel looks smooth and less cluttered.  The KDC-MP638U also offers the ability to add Satellite and HD Radio to the unit, adding even more audio choices.

Overall, the Kenwood KDC-MP638U is an extraordinary unit that offers powerful features.  One of the most striking features of the head-unit is the 4-tone fluorescent display.  It is easy to navigate and displays all of the appropriate information.  Kenwood’s technology is constantly improving.  This unit is a great example of care that Kenwood places on each unit to provide the best and simplest interface.  It supplies plenty of listening options and uncomplicated installation.