By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Kenwood Corporation is known for their outstanding products. They remain a leader in car audio today, going on 63 years of industry dominance. Today we discuss two of the top Kenwood stereos.
Kenwood KDC-MP638U and KDC-MP738U are superb car stereos. Both are in-dash CD/MP3 players, which means you can load hundreds of MP3 files on a blank CD and have music playback for hours without switching discs. Both head units are loaded with expandability options, as they are both compatible with Satellite Radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free talking, and iPod connectivity. Satellite Radio has commercial-free, premium content. HD radio gives you a clearer signal almost anywhere. Bluetooth hands-free devices are now required by law in many states. Besides, it makes your drive safer and more convenient.
Both car stereos have iPod to USB connection capability. The USB input enables you to use the iPod cable that came with your iPod to connect it to the stereo, just as you would connect your iPod to a computer USB input. In fact, you can connect practically any unit or portable storage device to the USB input. You can control playback with your stereo controls, and your MP3 player or iPod charges while the music plays.
You will love the total equalization control you get from the System Q Sound Control. The stereos come equipped with a 3-band parametric equalizer and 6 preset tone curves. Adjust the bass, treble and other sound details based on the music or song you are listening to. When it comes to connecting an amplifier, the 3 sets of preamp outputs will allow you to connect each channel.
The KDC-MP738U is an upgrade over the KDC-MP638U, because it has a few additional features. For just a little more money, you get a model that has everything the 638U has, plus steering wheel control compatibility for your convenience and a Security Code for theft prevention. The steering wheel control accessory is required and sold separately, but it is a very important safety feature because it keeps the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel when adjusting the stereo controls. The security code is a built-in anti-theft device that requires a security code to be inputted when your head unit is re-installed. If someone were to steal the stereo, the thief would not be able to turn it on without the security code. Besides that, the hope is that these codes will deter theft since thieves may be aware of units that require security codes.
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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.
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