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Kenwood KDC-138

AM/FM CD Player Car Stereo

Discontinued
|

We apologize

This item has been discontinued

Affordable Premium Sound

Incredibly rich audio from a cleverly simple receiver is something we can all jump aboard with. The Kenwood KDC-138 combines unheard of value with amazing sound processing. Easy playback features like a 3.5mm auxiliary plug allow for playback from devices such as an MP3 player, an iPod, or a mobile phone. This gives you the flexibility to listen to whatever your heart is longing for on your travels. This Kenwood receiver even has a pair of preamp RCA outputs so you can connect an amplifier with it. Combined with the processing this Kenwood receiver has to offer, an amazing listening experience will never be degraded.

General Features:

  • In-dash AM/FM, CD player
  • Detachable face
  • White dot matrix display
  • Red button lighting
  • Power Output:
    • Peak: 50 watts x 4 channels
    • RMS: 22 watts x 4 channels
  • 1-year Sonic Electronix warranty

Playback and Audio Features:

  • Playback of CD, CD-R, and CD-RW
  • CR-2 Advanced Tuner with 18FM/6AM presets
  • System Q 6 EQ Presets
  • Bass, treble, mid, fader, and balance controls

Expandability Options:

  • 1 set of 2V preamp outputs (rear/subwoofer)
  • Front-panel auxiliary input: 3.5mm (headphone jack) allows connection to portable media devices such as MP3 players, etc.

Key Features:

  • Clean Reception System Circuit
  • Selectable Preamp Output
  • Clock Display
  • Tel Mute

Product History:

Kenwood KDC-138 thumbnail
(newest, current model)
Kenwood KDC-135 thumbnail
(previous model, replaced by Kenwood KDC-138)
Kenwood KDC-132 thumbnail
(previous model, replaced by Kenwood KDC-135)

In-Dash Receiver Specifications

Receiver Size

Single DIN: 1 DIN dimensions will work with all single DIN installation kits we have to offer. Single DIN radios are the most common size for after-market stereos.

Single DIN slot with flip-out screen: The DIN stereo includes a retractable, flip-out screen. Before purchasing, make measurements to be sure there is no interference with dash accessories such as A/C vents or shift levers.

Single DIN slot with a larger face: Standard single DIN size, but the display is larger then the standard single DIN size. Due to the nature of the larger face, problems may arise when installing in particular vehicles. These stereos are great for single DIN slots where you want a larger screen.

1.5 DIN: This size is very uncommon in vehicles, however this size opening is most commonly found in Chrysler and Chevrolet vehicles.

Double DIN: Approximately 4-inches in height, this size is becoming more common every year. Prior to 2000, this size was typically only found in Japanese vehicles such as those made by Honda or Toyota. Now, it is becoming more popular for many vehicles to be fit with a Double DIN opening.

Single DIN
Faceplate Security

Detachable / Removable faceplate security: The most common anti-theft feature. It allows you to take the faceplate with you, thus disallowing operation, which deters theft.

Security Codes: Mainly a feature in high end video units which do not have a detachable face / screen. Once the unit is uninstalled (or stolen), a security code (or PIN) is required upon reinstallation. Though you no longer have your unit after the theft, the thief also does not have your security code, which makes the unit useless. The hope is the thief knows which units have security codes and he/she chooses not to steal your unit because of the security code.

Ghost technology: This is not commonly used, but can be found primarily in a select number of 2004-2005 head units. It creates an illusion that no unit is installed by appearing completely black when turned off. Potential thieves may steer clear because it appears as though no head unit is installed.

Anti-theft covers: Similar to ghost and hiding faces because they only create an illusion that the face/unit is not in place.

ESN: Stands for Electronic Serial Number. Allows the disabling of the radio and allows tracking if it is stolen.

Detachable
Remote Control
Allows control of specific features and functions from a remote control. Typically they are used to prevent button wear on your radio, or to allow easier navigation of menus.
No
Peak Power Output
This form of power rating refers to the maximum amount of power an electronic device can handle or output in an instant without damage occurring. Often times this maximum is achieved during a brief musical burst, such as a drum accent, or low bass hit.

Some manufacturers display peak power ratings on the face of their products to increase the appeal to consumers. The RMS power rating is more accurate, and we recommend using it for product comparison.

50 watts x 4 channels
RMS Power Output
The amount of continuous power, measured in watts, that an amplifier produces is called RMS power. The higher the RMS rating, the louder and cleaner your music sounds. The RMS output figure is much more accurate than the peak rating when comparing products.
22 watts x 4 channels
Preamp RCA Outputs
RCA outputs, commonly known as preamp outputs, allow you to connect one or sometimes multiple external amplifiers. An in-dash receiver will commonly have one, two or three sets of RCA outputs that can be used to connect external amplifiers and other components. One pair of RCA outputs will typically provide a full range signal that can be used for most subwoofer or speaker amplifiers. Two pairs of RCA outputs can typically be configured as four full range signals, or also as two full range and two subwoofer signals. Three sets of RCA outputs will almost always produce four speaker signals and two subwoofer signals for use with multiple amplifiers.
1 Pair
Dedicated Subwoofer Preamp RCA Output
A dedicated output that has a built-in low-pass crossover for specific connection to a subwoofer amplifier that powers a low frequency driver, typically a subwoofer.
Yes
Preamp Voltage
The preamp output rating is measured in volts (V). The higher the rating, the stronger the signal. This results in less unwanted noise being picked up.
2 volts
Built-In Equalizer
The number of graphic or parametric equalizer bands the stereo receiver is equipped with. The more EQ options, the more you will be able to adjust your music to your liking.
System Q -- 3 Bands Parametric with 6 Presets
Display Type
The type of display on your receiver refers to the monitor that is used to display the source information such as song names, radio stations, or track times.

Dot-Matrix Text Display: A simple display which uses dots in specific illuminated color(s) to light up and form letters or numbers that are displayed on the receiver.

Graphic or Motion Display: Typically found in mid to high-end receivers and give your text information and receiver more life by adding motion, backgrounds, or multiple colors to your display. There are types of graphic displays such as 3D Graphic, Motion, and OEL (Organic Electroluminescent) displays. They can range from one color to full color displays and typically allow you to select from one of many built-in animations, background images, screensavers or other graphics to enhance your experience and add an extra bit of personality to your system. Some units also come with software that allow you to load your own customizable pictures or animations.

LCD Monitor Display: Can be as small as 2" or as large as 10". Some LCD displays are motorized for angle adjustment. LCD monitors display full motion video playback as well as your standard text such as track status, radio station information and more depending on the receiver's features.

Dot-Matrix Text Display
Display Color
The display color refers to the color of the text and or graphics on the receiver.

Multi-Color: When more than one color is on the display, for example one part of the text is white, while the other part is blue.

Variable-Color: The display colors can be changed by the user. If the default color of text/display is blue for example, the user can change the settings to where the color turns to red. Variable color displays are typically described in detail in the item's description.

TFT-LCD Display: In-dash receivers with a video screen that display multiple colors and often times video such as DVD, navigation or other video sources.

White
Button Color
Refers to the color of the physical buttons on the unit.
Red
CD Signal-to-Noise
CD Signal-to-Noise Ratio is a key specification that is often overlooked by newbies. The CD S/N Ratio measures how well the CD player silences background noise. Higher ratings in decibels (dB) indicates less noise, and generally a cleaner signal.
93 dB
CEA-2006 Compliant
Amplifiers that have been tested to meet specific standards. When a car amplifier meets these standards, you can be sure that it will be able to produce the amount of power specified by the official CEA-2006 rating. Usually, these rating consist of the following items:
  • RMS Power
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio

This rating applies to both external car amplifiers, as well as the amplifiers inside of in-dash stereos.

No

Playback Features

AM/FM Tuner
Most in-dash CD players have AM/FM playback allowing you listen to your favorite local radio stations.
Yes
FM Presets
The number of FM radio stations that can be stored as presets.
18
AM Presets
The number of AM radio stations that can be stored as presets.
6
CD-R/RW Playback
This feature refers to whether or not the CD player will play finalized CD-R discs and/or CD-RW discs.
Yes
MP3 Playback
This feature refers to whether or not the CD player will play discs encoded with MP3 files. To burn a MP3 encoded disc, use the "data" mode on your CD Recorder and finalize the session and/or CD.
No
WMA Playback
This feature refers to whether or not the CD player will play discs encoded with WMA files. To burn a WMA encoded disc, use the "data" mode on your CD Recorder and finalize the session and/or CD.
No
DVD / Video Playback
This feature refers to whether or not the receiver will play DVD (or other listed) video disc formats. Unless otherwise noted, the unit is not guaranteed to play recorded DVDs.
No

Audio / Video Inputs

USB Input
This feature refers to whether or not the receiver features an input to connect a USB device via standard USB or mini-USB. The USB input may be a connection on the front or rear of the unit with an extension cable for connecting devices to the receiver. Some units have an optional input that allows for a USB adapter to be purchased separately and used with the unit.
No
Additional Audio/Video Inputs
These inputs enable the unit to receive an audio or video signal from a separate source. There are many different types of connections and ways to accomplish this. Most common are RCA Composite cables and 3.5mm mini-jack plugs.

RCA Composite Inputs
These are your typical red, white, and yellow RCA composite cables that are common among devices with audio and video inputs. The red and white cables are dedicated for audio. The red cable is for the right channel and the white is for the left channel. The yellow cable is specifically for the video signal. Because this type of auxiliary cable contains 2 channels of audio, it will support stereo sound.

3.5mm
This is commonly referred to as a mini-jack or a headphone jack. It is a 3.5mm plug that transfers audio only. There is a right and left audio channel on the plug which allows for stereo sound playback.

3.5mm AV Input
These plugs look similar to the common 3.5mm mini-jack, however they carry a third channel dedicated for video.

Optional
This means that an auxiliary input is possible, but only with the use of an optional accessory. These optional adapters will sometimes use the CD Changer port or other port on the back of a unit that might restrict the use of other expandability features. These accessories are typically sold separately.

Front 3.5mm

Expandability Features

Navigation
Built-in navigation is a convenient feature that allows the driver to receive driving directions and guidance.

Some in-dash head units are built-in with the navigation features, while others require an add on navigation box. Other navigation options include portable navigation units that you can take with you or attach to the dash of your vehicle.

No
Satellite Radio
This feature signifies whether or not the receiver is compatible with XM or Sirius Satellite Radio. "Optional" means while the receiver is capable of SIRIUS/XM playback and connectivity, you will still need to purchase an additional satellite tuner, adapter, and/or antenna.
No
HD Radio
This feature refers to whether or not the receiver is capable of receiving high-definition digital HD Radio broadcasts by either a built-in HD Radio tuner, or more commonly with the purchase of an optional HD Radio tuner box. Receivers which are HD Radio Ready generally require an additional purchase of a separate tuner.
No
Bluetooth Connectivity
This feature refers to whether or not the head unit is able to connect to a hands-free Bluetooth device. Head units that are Bluetooth ready typically require the purchase of an optional adapter or accessory that connects to the rear of the head unit. This optional accessory allows you to accept phone calls through your head unit and speakers. Some head units have built-in Bluetooth hands free capabilities with an included remote-mount microphone or built-in microphone.
No
CD Changer Controls
This feature signifies whether or not the receiver has the ability to control a CD Changer. If a receiver supports this function, it is usually compatible with a same-brand CD changer without the need for an extra adapter.
No
Memory Card Reader
Whether or not the receiver has a built-in input for removable memory cards such as SD (Secure Digital) cards or MMC (Multimedia) cards.
No

Smartphone Integration

iPod Audio Integration
This refers to whether or not the receiver can connect to an iPod and allow for audio control and playback of the iPod through the head unit. Head units that have iPod connectivity allow your iPod to be connected and controlled via the head unit, and they will typically connect through the USB input combined with your standard iPod-to-USB charging/connection cable. We encourage you to read the description of the head unit to see if an adapter is required or included, or if you can simply use your own iPod-to-USB cable.
No

Warranty and Return Policy

Parts Warranty Duration
1 year
Labor Warranty Duration
1 year
Warranty Provider
Sonic Electronix

Summary of Customer Ratings & Reviews

Rating Distribution

5 Star
47%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
12%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Average Attribution Rating

Durability
4.3
Value
4.6
Features
4.1
Design
4.2
Usability
4.3

Hubbal

Canyon, TX

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Perfect for basic necessities!

January 11, 2010

I bought this to install in my old '85 Jeep CJ-7, and my biggest draw was simple and that I could plug my iPod into into it. It works like a charm and I've attached two Kicker 08KS5250 in the front and two MTX (same size) in the back, and as loud as the road noise and engine are in my Jeep I can still hear my music quite clearly! Very satisfied overall with the head unit and system altogether.

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Blkmazit

Ceres, CA

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!!!

March 23, 2011

The Good; nice quality deck for the money. Great sound for the watts per channel. Loud, but very little distortion at maximum volume. The Bad; not easy to set up, to many functions on small knobs, knobs made for small finger person. Big fingers like me hit more that one function, drive you crazy. The Ugly; detachable face always catches on release hook and doesn't come with a holder for the detachable face.

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anthony

summerville, SC

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Kenwood kdc-138

February 1, 2011

Kenwood is a very good quality stereo. Great sound and 200 watts of power awesome.

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Tony

Theresa, New York

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Great Stereo

January 22, 2011

Installed the Kenwood into my alero. The sound quality is great and clean. Controls for non subwoofer use are easy to use. Subwoofer settings is kinda hidden but read the manual and you will figure it out. I have a MA Audio 15in Subwoofer I ran off of this head unit and it sounded great. I have had this head unit for 2 years but recently it seems that water or snow melted and fell through the vent holes on the top of the unit and destroyed its filter. Now I hear some strange engine noises in the speakers. Other then that I have never had any issues. I recommend this unit to anyone. Its cheap, sounds great, good features, and operates well with subwoofers. Sonic Electronix also ships fast and has great prices.

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donald

ventura, CA

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

very good value

January 16, 2011

Very easy to install, and it sounds very good also, highly recommend it.

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trevor

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

kenwood kdc 138

October 12, 2010

heard alot of good things about kenwood so id figure i would give it a try but i was not impressed at all cheap price, worked ok for a week then the cd player decided to crap out on me and now will not play any cds what so ever, even a store bought brand new one right out of the package. also cuts off music after you turn it up past a certain volume, (28 on my stereo specifically), dont know if it is an error or whether or not this is because it cant go over the power its putting out. but its highly annoying because you have to pop the faceplace off completely then re-attach it for it to reset it so it will work again.

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b

Canada

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

good deck

September 20, 2010

pro's- cheap, aux port, pre-amp. cons- hard to learn how to do stuff with it, even setting the clock is hard. no mp3 playback. It's very basic, but that's what I wanted. running an amp and sub no problem. Easy to set up and wire.

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Greg

Salina, KS

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Kenwood blues

September 20, 2010

We were excited to purchase this receiver to go with our already Kenwood Amp and Subs....It installed in 15 min...but our installer told us that it really was incompatable with our hi end amp and subs..We couldnt get the sound we wanted...We were told what to look for in purchasing another head unit....We did just that and we are more than happy with the JVC head unit we bought...but we paid $30 more....

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Patrick

Marine City, MI

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Good sound.

August 23, 2010

Great sound for the money. Good tuner. Skip free CD playback. Only drawback is that the buttons are small and the lettering is hard to read from a normal seating position. Once you learn the functions of each, not much of a problem, but I occasionally hit the wrong button. Clock display is also small but pretty easy to read.

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robert

Inman, SC

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Wonderful radio

August 20, 2010

Very simple radio. Sounds great every thing works well. Would be a great buy for anyone.

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Bryan

Commerce Township, MI

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Perfect value!

June 17, 2010

I bought this Kenwood for my daughters truck. I've owned this stereo for 6 months and its worked perfect. I like the options for the price. I Would highly recommend this product .

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Jimmy

Texarkana, AR

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

good value

March 27, 2010

Good player for the money.

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Matt

McDonough, GA

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Good starter headunit

March 26, 2010

I got this with my two 10" memphis subs. And it works well. Not very complicated just, nothing fancy, just a good headunit.

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Aaron

Tucson, AZ

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Great upgrade

March 21, 2010

This is not a top end stereo by any stretch but it gets good sound and is easy to install and use. I would recommend it for upgrading a factory system.

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Sherman

Lewisville, TX

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Grate Deal

February 17, 2010

This is a nice CD player. has all the power you need in a head unit and all the features you want. Ill be buying another one for my boat and truck this summer. Great price and grate place to buy your electronics from. Fast shipping and fast service.

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Joel

Rigby, ID

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

great

February 11, 2010

very nice. good unit nice controls. eye catching. good quality! kenwood made a high quality product for a good price.

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mtrwrks

Williamsport, PA

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Good product

January 17, 2010

This is a good entry level head unit. The sound quality is everything you'd expect from a kenwood product. It's good for someone who wants a simple head unit without all the bells and whistles.

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elmir

saint louis, MO

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

great value

January 11, 2010

great product for the price you pay. I strongly recommend this item. Thanks

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David

Spring Hill, FL

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

Great stereo at a Super Price!

December 1, 2009

This Kenwood CD receiver works great and has no issues at all. The service I got from Sonic Electronix was great. The stereo and the store are both highly recommended!!!

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Craig

Chattanooga, TN

Overall
Durability
Value
Features
Design
Usability

very pleased!

November 26, 2009

well pleased with this player and the ease of installation, especially with the wiring and mounting kit. It made me think I was an expert at connecting and installing the unit. Finished up real nice and fit perfect and trim right into the factory slot of my older '94 Mazda!

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Accessory Tools and Products

Accessories added

Monster Cable MPC CLNKIT-SM CN

2 Bottles of LCD Screen Clean with Cleaning Cloth

Your Price $2.99

Scosche TK12 Car Stereo Installation Kit

Includes panel removal tool, wire cutter/stripper, test light, RCA cable runner, screwdriver, and more!

Your Price $12.99

9-Piece Durable Nylon Plastic Pry & Chisel Tool Set

Helps with car stereo installation for use with dash and trim.

Your Price $14.99

18 Butt Connectors, 2 Ring Terminals, and Zip Ties

Great for connecting your car stereo wires to the harness.

Your Price $4.99

SoundKase DFC1X

Soft-Sided Nylon Receiver Faceplate Case

Your Price $5.99

Scosche SPL Meter

Monitor the noise level of your new car audio system with this SPL meter measuring from 60-135 dB.

Your Price $21.99

AutoSound 2000 CD-104

Audiophile reference series test disc for evaluation of all audio components.

Your Price $11.99

AutoSound 2000 CD-102

High frequency test CD specifically designed for the set-up and evaluation of sound system imaging and placement.

Your Price $11.99

AutoSound 2000 CD-105

Demonstrates different characteristics and specifications of an audio system.

Your Price $11.99

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Product Summary

Manufacturer

Model Number

KDC-138

UPC

019048174420

Weight

3.66lbs

Internal SKU

kdc138

Internal Product ID

10339

Sonic Electronix Wiring Guide

Wiring Diagram Legend

Warning: The image depicted shows the resistance change when wiring multiple subwoofer terminals. Please refer to your subwoofer's owner's manual for the proper wiring of its terminals. Sonic Electronix, Inc. is not responsible for damage caused to your audio system or vehicle due to improper installation. Please call tech support at 1-877-289-7664 if you require additional assistance.

Product Name: Kenwood KDC-138