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Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, X897, X697, X597, X497, X397 CD Receivers

Kenwood KDC-X997

For 2013, Kenwood announced six Excelon in-dash CD receivers that each have audio connectivity and control capabilities for music files stored on or accessed by iPhone, iPod and Android smartphones. Apple’s iPhone Siri control is new this year in all Bluetooth models as well as automatic iPhone Bluetooth pairing. The popular iHeart Radio, Clear Channel’s all-in-one digital radio service featuring live and custom stations, and Aha are fully supported for iPhone and Android smartphones in many of the step-up models. Satellite radio from SiriusXM (with the optional SXV200 SiriusXM Connect Vehicle Tuner, sold separately, SiriusXM subscription required) is available in six out of the seven new Kenwood Excelon models.

The flagship model in the Kenwood Excelon CD receiver lineup is the KDC-X997 ($320.00). It features built-in HD Radio and Bluetooth. Pandora Internet Radio, iHeart Radio and Aha for iPhone and Android smartphones is supported, and the KDC-X997 also offers unique audio features such as digital time alignment, a 13-band equalizer and three sets of 4.0 volt preamp outputs with on-board digital high-pass and low-pass filtering. The three-line, full-dot variable color illumination LCD display offers exceptional visibility and fast scrolling of music files, multiple telephone numbers and names. The flexible, multi-lingual display of the KDC-X997 gives the user the ability to easily operate external media devices such as iPod, iPod-Touch, iPhone, Android smartphone and USB mass storage as well as content from HD Radio, Pandora Internet radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, iHeart Radio and Aha (optional smartphone apps or accessories may be required, SiriusXM subscription required).

Front and rear, dual USB ports provide additional connectivity to external devices as well as expanded installation options for these devices. A protective CD Door/Cover keeps airborne particles from interfering with the internal mechanism and gives the KDC-X997 a sleek, finished look in the dashboard.

The KDC-X897 ($290.00) offers built-in Pandora Internet Radio, iHeart Radio, Aha and Bluetooth plus a dedicated front panel key that is reserved for wireless cell phone operation.  An external Bluetooth microphone can be placed in an optimal location within the vehicle for improved hands-free communication. Adding to the safety factor is a three-line display that can be switched to a larger font, two-line format for easier reading of phone numbers, music and source data.  Variable color illumination of the display and backlit keys allows the user to match the color of the KDC-X897 to the dashboard lighting of almost any vehicle.  With front and rear, dual USB ports and a 3.5mm auxiliary input, the KDC-X897 can conveniently connect to a wide variety of portable devices such as iPod, iPod touch, iPhone, Android-platform smartphone, thumb drive or portable mass storage. The KDC-X797 ($270.00 suggested retail price) has the performance and functionality of the KDC-X897 with the addition of HD Radio and is equipped with a 13-digit, single-line display and single, front panel USB port.

A new multi-line display model for 2013 is the KDC-X697 ($230.00). With the use of the Kenwood Music Control app for Android, the user can browse and control music files on an Android smartphone. The KDC-X697 also offers Pandora Internet Radio and iHeart Radio control via iPhone, and is SiriusXM Ready.  The three-line full-dot variable color illumination LCD display can be switched to a larger font, two-line configuration for better visibility and added safety.

The KDC-X597 ($220.00) is a value-added Bluetooth solution with an external microphone that can be installed in an optimal position for better voice intelligibility, perfect for use with the iPhone Siri cloud-based digital assistant.  Pandora Internet Radio capability is included and the unit is SiriusXM Ready.  A front panel USB port and 3.5mm auxiliary input is included for the control and playback of a wide variety of external media, including iPod, iPhone, Android (with the use of the Kenwood Music Control app for Android) and mass storage devices.

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The KDC-X497 ($210.00) delivers the full HD Radio experience.  With built-in HD Radio, the KDC-X497 gives the user all of the features and audio performance of HD Radio right out of the box with no subscription required.  Users can enjoy HD Radio-specific programming (where available), and iTunes Tagging is made easy by pressing a dedicated button near the volume control.  A 13-digit full-dot display shows scrolling text from the HD Radio broadcast as well as from Pandora Internet Radio for iPhone.  Variable color key illumination provides visual customization and/or color matching to the vehicle’s interior lighting.

Beginning the Kenwood Excelon CD receiver lineup is the KDC-X397 ($160.00), which has iPod/iPhone/Android smartphone connectivity along with full control and playback of Pandora Internet radio via iPhone.  Even at this attractive price, the KDC-X397 is SiriusXM Ready and offers variable color key illumination, a steering wheel control interface (sold separately) and three sets of 4.0 volt preamp outputs for system building flexibility.

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