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Old 02-09-2005, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default DAB's Kenwood KDC-MP628 Review

First off let me say that I currently have the Kenwood KDC-MP6025 - 2004 model. I have been totally pleased with it. So my interest in the 628 was due to the fact that I decided to buy a head unit for my company van. Its hard for me as always not to compare, but to review this head unit based on its own merits or faults.

I purchased this head unit from Crutchfield and got it $229.99 because I charged it to a MasterCard, they gave me $20.00 off.

INSTALLATION: Since I already had a Kenwood tuner, the wiring harness was the same, but of course Kenwood always includes the wiring harness with a new tuner. So basically for me the installation was more or less unplug, plug and play. It was matter of taking the front plate off my dash, removing the screws holding the head unit, unplugging all the wires. Plugging the wires back into the new head unit, screwing it back into place and putting the face plate back on.

DISPLAY: I powered up the Kenwood KDC-MP628 and of course the first thing I see is the display. The first time I seen it, I was a bit under whelmed. I noticed the graphics were light and sort of washed out looking. Since I had the SIRIUS tuner plugged in, I switched the select mode to SIRIUS and of course I had to figure out how to get it to show the text info. The first battle was getting it out of demo mode. You must hold down the right button and demo mode will go off, but strangely to change the setting for everything else you simply move the button up, down, left or right. I finally got the display setup, Artist on the top line, Song Title on the second line and Channel Name on the bottom line. Once again as the text popped up, I just didn't see that heavy bold text that I was use to on my Kenwood 6025. But there I go comparing... It is cool that you can change the color of the text between white, yellow and blue. There is a number of ways in which you can set the text to show up, from category to artist, song title. composer, clock with a little graphic. So whatever your preference you can set it up. There is no artist/song on a single line though. I have never understood why Kenwood doesn't allow this.

Since it was late afternoon and the sun was already going down, I was not able to see what it was like it the bright daylight. But at night its really looks nice. I did have to turn the auto dimmer off, because when I turned on my head lights the display dimmed and boy this really makes it harder to see because the text is already so light.

Let me just say that I am just not overly impressed with this colored display. But I think with a little time it may grow on me. It just different than what I previously had. Its really nice having the three lines of text with the ability to change it around including the color.

DISPLAY MODES: You can change the modes to show just graphics and no text information. There must be 6 or 8 built in graphics and one mode is like a screen saver it just constantly goes through the different graphics. There is 2 text modes. One is the three line mode, the other is a 2 line mode, that has a neat little SIRIUS type logo (no not the dog) in the corner. The underneath on the 3rd line you have the 1 2 3 4 5 6 which are your presets. YES its strange you have to push a button to activate the presets buttons or else they simply don't work. In fact you may find yourself in the menu or changing the equalizer. Once you get use to this though that is no big deal. Its like anything new there is a light learning curve. There is couple of other modes. One is the graphic that is like a meter that the lines go up and fall down to the beat of the music. Then the next mode does the same thing except instead of going up the meter drops the down. Neither really interest me as I am mainly interested in the text info.

TEXT INFO: The text info when on a set channel works pretty seamlessly, I didn't notice any delay whatsoever in the text info showing. However, when changing channels, you will momentarily see "waiting" as it is waiting for the data to fill in those fields on the head unit display. For some strange reason and I can't explain it, I find that it takes a bit longer for this tuner to show the text info than with my 6025. There is also a slightly longer delay between channel changes for the music to start playing. Its not significant and certainly not enough that its a big deal. The categories and channels are evidently mapped in the tuner as that information pops up immediately. The song title seems to always pop up quicker than the artist. Did the same on my 6025. Once new thing about this tuner is that you can now turn off the scolling. So, it would sroll one time when the song changes and then won't scroll again, until the next song. If you wanted it to scroll you simply hold down on FM via the control button for 1 second.


SOURCE MODES: Of course you have SIRIUS, AUX-INPUT, TUNER and if you stick a CD in the CD player you'll get the CD SOURCE. EACH selection mode allows you to adjust the bass, treble and midrange to your liking. This is good because I use XM on my Aux-input and it doesn't require nearly as much bass as SIRIUS. So, this allows me to adjust each source mode once and I never have to fool with it again. There is also an ATT button that will of course turn the volume down immediately by about half, once you push the button again the volume slowly returns to it previous volume level. You can also choose STANDBY, which leaves the unit fully powered, but its not connected to any source.

CATEGORY and CHANNEL SEARCH: Searches can be done from the front of the head unit or by the remote. What is really neat is that when do a SEARCH. You get a 3 line category listing. Using the left conrol knob pushing it go up or down will take you through the categories or left and right through the channels in the category. So, if you are on the POP category that will show up initially then it will switch to show the channel you are listening too, so if you go left or right you'll then see the rest of the channels in the pop category. However as you are moving through the channels, the head unit will try to tune in that channels. Pretty handy for searching for channels, that are not in your presets.

REMOTE: The remote appears to be an upgraded model over the last 2 that I've gotten from Kenwood. The one big change is that you can now easily change your listening preference with the click of a button on your remote. It will quickly take you through your bass, treble, midrange, fading and balance controls. They have also added rear volume for those that use the 2 zone setup. There is no difference in doing a direct entry for SIRIUS on the remote. I do like how the changed the up down, left right to a round pad, its much easier to use, plus if you push the middle of it, its a selection button.

SOUND: I have never had a Kenwood HU that I was not happy with the SQ. This one is no exception. The sound is great, the front and rear pre-outs hooked up with no problems and my AMP loves it. I have no complaints whatsoever about this area.

SUMMARY: I have some concerns about the display. Its not as dark or bold as I'd like to see it. I think its going to have some daylight, specifically direct sunlight issues. The price is great, it does give you a 3 line display that you can setup anyway you like. I think Kenwood has made some improvements in the 2005 mid priced mode head units. I also think if this was my first head unit, I'd probably be totally happy with it. The fact is that when I compare the display with my 6025 its not as good. However, there are many improvements in other areas over the 6025. My decision about rather to keep it or not will depend on how it does over the next couple of weeks in daylight. If it works reasonably well, then its found a home, if not its going back to Crutchfield. I'll post more as I do more experimenting with it.

I did take a few pictures, but my camera for some reason just doesn't like this display.

Shown here in the 2 line text mode (notice the SIRIUS in the corner) Also see how the 2 is highlighted that is because this channel is my 2nd preset.


Another of the 2 line mode, but notice none of the numbers at the bottom are highlighted, not one of my presets at least not yet.


Shown in the 3 line text mode.


This is the Search Mode ( see the three lines of text categories, whichever one you highlight then shows the channels, you go left and right through the channels and up and down through the categories.


A bit blurry, but this is in Aux-Input Mode.. Notice the Clock and Date.


$249.99 at Crutchfield.. currently out of stock, but there are other online retailers that have this head unit in stock. If you know where its available, please feel free to post them in this thread.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:01 AM   #2
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Great review dab ok you totally convinced me to get it btw if you want to play with it I found it on display at my local bestbuy but it isnt on bestbuy.com.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:08 AM   #3
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Great review dab ok you totally convinced me to get it btw if you want to play with it I found it on display at my local bestbuy but it isnt on bestbuy.com.
GREAT, glad to hear you liked the review. I think you'll be happy with this one. Its a sweet head unit, no doubt about it. NSimkins and I have PM each other and he is pretty happy with it in normal sunlight conditions, though he admits it probably will fade out in direct sunlight. My previously did as well in direct sunlight, but in just bright daylight, it was always very visible.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:14 AM   #4
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Nice review DAB. No need for the Starbase for you! I like the 3 line display. Nice and sharp too! Congrats!!!
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAB
Quote:
Originally Posted by colk
Great review dab ok you totally convinced me to get it btw if you want to play with it I found it on display at my local bestbuy but it isnt on bestbuy.com.
GREAT, glad to hear you liked the review. I think you'll be happy with this one. Its a sweet head unit, no doubt about it. NSimkins and I have PM each other and he is pretty happy with it in normal sunlight conditions, though he admits it probably will fade out in direct sunlight. My previously did as well in direct sunlight, but in just bright daylight, it was always very visible.
Well at least its better than my jensen which I cant see at all during the day direct sunlight or not. I would actually sell the jensen on ebay right now but I dont want to spend too much time without sirius so im waiting Now if the IRS would hurry up with my tax refund
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: DAB's Kenwood KDC-MP628 Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAB
The underneath on the 3rd line you have the 1 2 3 4 5 6 which are your presets. YES its strange you have to push a button to activate the presets buttons or else they simply don't work.
Not sure I follow, do you mean that if you are using the 3rd line to display channel name and then you press a preset (say #2) that it will not change to it? Instead the first preset press simply displays "1 2 3 4 5 6" and then you have to press the preset number again to actually change channel?
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: DAB's Kenwood KDC-MP628 Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by joker454
Not sure I follow, do you mean that if you are using the 3rd line to display channel name and then you press a preset (say #2) that it will not change to it? Instead the first preset press simply displays "1 2 3 4 5 6" and then you have to press the preset number again to actually change channel?
Preset Tuning

Calling up the channels in the memory

1. Select the preset band (Push the FM Knob) The left knob is pushed upward basically changes it through the 4 banks.

2. Select the key function section (Press the [NEXT] button)

Repeatedly press the button until the "[1]--[6]" are displayed, above the preset buttons.

3. Call up the channel (Press the desired "[1]--[6]" button.


So that answers that and its what I thought I had done. The goodnews is that unless you mess with the settings, you'll stay in the preset mode, so even though the [1]--[6] isn't showing on the display when in 3 line text, when you hit one of the buttons it does change, but for just a moment the third line is replaced with the [1]--[6] indicator.

It sound much more complicated that it really is and once you get use to it, it won't be a big thing at all.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:24 AM   #8
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Follow-up

Bright Sunny day here in Central, La. This was the perfect opportunity for me to test out the display on the Kenwood KDC MP628.

I truly wish I had better news to report. But in direct sunlight the display is a total wash out. I guess this isn't to be unexpected as my previous display did the same thing. However, what really bothers me that even when not in direct sunlight this diplay is a tad bit hard to see. By this I mean the text is just not dark and bold, its sort of light, but not washed out so you can still see the text fairly well. However, compared to the Kenwood KDC-MP6025 (there I go again comparing) this display isn't nearly as bold or brite in regular bright daylight. In low light or night time driving this diplay is beautiful. I think direct sunlight is no friend to most of these head unit displays.

I do think for most it would be acceptable. Honestly, how much time do you spend looking at your display. Seems to me as long as you can glance down and see what is playing then its serving its purpose. I wish it was a bit bolder and thereby easier to see, but I just don't think its bad enough to be able to say this display is a total failure.

I recommend this head unit especially to first time head unit buyers. The 3 lines of text is great and the SQ of course from Kenwood is just hard to beat. Once you learn it the interface is easy to use.

I give the Kenwood KDC-MP628 4 paws out of 5.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAB
I give the Kenwood KDC-MP628 4 paws out of 5.
Excellent review - you summed up my opinions almost exactly on this unit as well.
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Old 02-10-2005, 05:03 PM   #10
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is there an aux out on the front for my ipod?
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Old 02-10-2005, 05:52 PM   #11
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is there an aux out on the front for my ipod?
Aux input is only on the rear.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:50 PM   #12
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DAB...How did it do playing MP3's off of CD's? I have a lot of them. What kind of display options for that?

BTW, mine comes in on Saturday. I cant wait.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:54 PM   #13
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DAB, as usual great review. I like the fact that they made room for 3 lines of text. The price is good too.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:57 PM   #14
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Does your Kenwood have any sort of Display adjustment feature in the setup menus???

On my Alpine unit I have Contrast, Brightness and Auto/Manual Settings.
Might be worth a shot.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:11 PM   #15
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DAB...How did it do playing MP3's off of CD's? I have a lot of them. What kind of display options for that?

BTW, mine comes in on Saturday. I cant wait.
It does GREAT with MP3's. I love how it will show title/artist Album etc.. you just tell it what you want it to show and it will do it.

What is really cool is it support CD Text, so if your CD's have the text field build in it will also display that info too. I created a regular music cd and it show the name of the album on the top line and the song/artist on the second line. Its really cool..
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