Showing 1 review for Kenwood KDC-BT952HD
|Customer Review Summary for Kenwood KDC-BT952HD|
|February 7, 2013||Typical Kenwood... AMAZING on paper, but only Good in execution||
newby from Charleston, SC
- - - THE GOOD - - -
This unit replaced a Kenwood KDC-MP238 originally installed in my 20' Stingray bow rider. To 'weatherize' that unit, the only steps the OEM took was to place it behind a flip down marine face plate cover (not even a good one, definitely not water tight) and cover the top of the head unit with a plastic film. After 4 years of bouncing around and being exposed to salt air AND inadvertent water splashing on the face (with and without face plate in place) I can report no mechanical or electrical failures and surprisingly no corrosion. The old unit was only replaced to add features and is currently still in service in my daily driver/beater vehicle. Unless Kenwood has drastically changed materials or processes I expect this new unit to perform similarly.
Why I chose this unit:
The main reason I stuck with Kenwood for the replacement stereo was ease of installation (it seems most/all kenwoods use the same harness) and compatibility with the marine remote controls I already had installed.
Inputs and Features:
The main features that drew me to this unit vs other Kenwood offerings were: Pandora/Android compatibility, HD radio BUILT IN, better EQ, 3 RCA outs, blue tooth, rear usb and 3.5mm jack. The KDC BT952HD did all of this for the cheapest price. It really is a jack of all trades as far as inputs.
The rotary volume control is much improved over my previous unit. LCD color selection is nice (I choose white for maximum visibility in bright sunlight). The CD player is able to cope fairly well with mild chop. If you install in a car or different boat (stingrays are known to ride rough... flat bottom = speed) you will be hard pressed to get this thing to skip. I have this unit paired with one of the Rockford Fosgate 5ch 1000 watt class D amps (P1000X5D) and the unit delivers very clean sound.
- - - THE BAD - - -
-I could do without the flip down screen for CD access. Feels cheap.
-Audio setup menus are cryptic and cumbersome at BEST
-Blue tooth setup more hassle then it should be
-Re-Pairing with a stored device is finicky and unreliable (Galaxy S3)
-EQ is good but DSP and speaker size settings are rather useless
-Generic blue tooth connectivity vs. pandora linking is rather goofy and feels like it was added on after the fact (see BOTTOM LINE)
-LCD graphics are cheesy
-ALL settings are stored in volatile memory... ie if you lose battery power, ALL settings are lost. This wouldn't be a huge deal if it didn't take 20 minutes to re-input all of the EQ and crossover settings. This is a bigger deal for me as I like to disconnect my batteries when the boat is not in use.
- - - BOTTOM LINE - - -
This is a well constructed unit that has an expansive feature set, high quality pre-amp signal, ability to connect to EVERY device you may come across and does all of this for a fraction of the cost compared to competing brands.
HOWEVER, like every Kenwood unit I've owned (this is my 4th) it simply doesn't live up to the hype. Like all Kenwood's, the features are there but do not work as you would expect. The interface lacks polish and feels incomplete. A word of advice: if you buy a Kenwood, do not expect it to do anything that requires an add on module. They always suck.
Every time I buy a head unit, I look at the other brands. In most cases, I would rather have the other brands but ultimately I end up settling for Kenwood because of the price. That cost savings is always at the expense of the user interface. That is the only compromise I'm ultimately willing to stomach as I refuse to listen to crap and at least Kenwood always delivers on hardware and sound quality...
Ultimately, if you want the most bang for your buck, this is a winner. If you want a rewarding user experience and slick interface, look elsewhere.