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swiftone
01-26-2006, 10:43 PM
Hey I was just wondering if anyone had any insight into the difference between the Excelon series vs the XXV besides the display. I tried to look into it and the main difference besides this was the number of sound processing software or something, but is this a substantial difference (worth the extra price)?

Prowler573
01-26-2006, 11:00 PM
Umm....technically the Kenwood 25th Anniversary edition XXV-01D head unit is an eXcelon unit. It is currently Kenwood's top end non-DVD eXcelon in-dash receiver.

In the XXV-01D there are better-quality power supply capacitors and allegedly better cabling in the preamp outputs and aux input pigtails than those found in the rest of Kenwood's head units. Additionally, the obvious, it has a better screen than the KDC-X889 and lesser models.

While I cannot make a direct comparison between the XXV-01D and the KDC-X889 I can say as an upgrade from an '04 model eXcelon KDC-X679 it was well worth the price of admission to me. It sounds great, it looks great, in my particular install it took less than 3 minutes to have it securely in the dash and operating, and it allows (for me) a first foray into decks equipped with digital time alignment (a seemingly insignificant ability until you have and use it! I won't own a deck without it again)
It has Quad (4 of them) 24-bit Burr Brown Digital-To-Analog converters in place of the industry standard Quad 1-bit DACs and YES it makes a huge difference in the playback of your fave discs. There's an audible difference between this and a deck that came with a single 24-bit Burr Brown DAC (my previous eXcelon).

Available for $450/shipped from an authorized retailer complete with a valid manufacturer's 2 year warranty or for considerably less elsewhere on the 'Net sometimes with a warranty and sometimes not ~ depending on the source.

Long Story Short: I love mine and would recommend to anyone looking that they give strong consideration to picking one up.

brocken
01-26-2006, 11:34 PM
I'm interested in that 25 anniversary HU. Have you tried the iPod interface with it? I'm curious how well that functions.

bass_lover1
01-27-2006, 12:35 AM
I'm interested in that 25 anniversary HU. Have you tried the iPod interface with it? I'm curious how well that functions.


My friend has the XXV and uses his iPod with it.

I got to try it out the other night, and must say that I was impressed. It's basically just like controlling a CD Changer...but with more music. It displays the song titles and track/folder number.

Very neat feature IMO.

brocken
01-27-2006, 11:05 AM
Awesome, thanks for the feedback. How was the speed when scrolling through albums? I know some of them you can only go so fast.

thadman
01-27-2006, 03:49 PM
How superior is the screen of the XXV-01D to the KDC X889? How do each screens compare to Alpines Biolite display?

Ignatowski
01-28-2006, 09:58 AM
the SQ should be identical between the units according to Kenwood
when i asked them,which is why I opted for the cheaper 889.....

Prowler573
01-28-2006, 12:48 PM
Awesome, thanks for the feedback. How was the speed when scrolling through albums? I know some of them you can only go so fast.

Scrolling through albums how? Jumping from one to the next or fast cueing within a particular song? Seems to me it loads .mp3 files quicker and can jump from one album to the next faster than the '04 model eXcelon KDC-X679 I replaced with it if that's of any help to you...

brocken
01-28-2006, 01:29 PM
Yeah, that's what I was referring to. Like when you're scrolling through your whole album list looking for Monkey Business(figuring you're not going to B for artist instead).

Prowler573
01-28-2006, 01:37 PM
Yeah, that's what I was referring to. Like when you're scrolling through your whole album list looking for Monkey Business(figuring you're not going to B for artist instead).
Well - when I burn discs that contain entire albums there will generally only be 5 or 6 albums on the disc (I rip my .mp3 files @ 320 kb/s - they take up a bit more space on a CD-R than 128 or 224 kb/s files)

After burning them, seeing as there is only half a dozen or so to keep track of even my poor, pitiful little brain can remember which folder is which album and the direct folder access feature makes it pretty simple to go from one to another....

ynot818
01-30-2006, 01:11 PM
With the iPod interface, can you scroll thru playlist as well?

Ignatowski
01-31-2006, 06:59 AM
Excelon also has a new top model which is pretty much identical to the 25th anniversary unit
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-pelJQHq7nsF/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=300&I=113KDCX990

BodegaBay
01-31-2006, 04:38 PM
Excelon also has a new top model which is pretty much identical to the 25th anniversary unit http://www.crutchfield.com/S-pelJQHq7nsF/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=300&I=113KDCX990

The "new" KDC-X990 has Wolfson DACs vs. XXV-01D's (25th Anniv) Quad Burr-Browns. Yes the screen are the same but I believe the 990 left out some features that were available on the 01D. I haven't listened to any Wolfson DAC car audio implemtation, only home audio. (For my home audio the Wolfson DAC is slightly better sounding than BB but that was in my $4K Integra Research processor though.) IMO, the 990's $180 premium over the 01D is not a good buy (Crutchfield recently dropped the 01D's price to $400 -- a very good authorized dealer price: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-i8W2FO88vRT/cgi-bin/Prodview.asp?c=3&g=300&I=113XXV01D&s=0&cc=01)

For my part, I ordered a 01D unit based on curiosity and on good reviews from Prowler and various other forums. I have NEVER EVER considered Kenwood in all my time in car audio and have to admit that this unit is a pleasant surprise. It's SQ is excellent -- on par to my Eclipse 8455. Sure there is less flexibility in terms of 3-way setup (for active) but IMO, it integrates a passive speaker system better than the Eclipse; YMMV but that's how it was with my setup. Soundwise, I would put it right between Alpine and Eclipse -- not warm like Clarion DRZ, not thin like Alpine, and not analytical like Eclipse but full bodied and musical. The screen is one of the best displays I've seen in a long time. It's certainly the best in a single DIN unit.

For those looking to go active and have ultimate flexibility in the near future, this unit is not for you. But for those who like good SQ with decent flexibility then the 25th Anniv model is a very good choice. I may very well keep this unit when it's all said and done.

Prowler -- I'm glad I read your posts as I have never seriously looked at Kenwood to be a SQ player. Thanks.

Ignatowski
01-31-2006, 06:05 PM
The "new" KDC-X990 has Wolfson DACs vs. XXV-01D's (25th Anniv) Quad Burr-Browns. Yes the screen are the same but I believe the 990 left out some features that were available on the 01D. I haven't listened to any Wolfson DAC car audio implemtation, only home audio. (For my home audio the Wolfson DAC is slightly better sounding than BB but that was in my $4K Integra Research processor though.) IMO, the 990's $180 premium over the 01D is not a good buy (Crutchfield recently dropped the 01D's price to $400 -- a very good authorized dealer price: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-i8W2FO88vRT/cgi-bin/Prodview.asp?c=3&g=300&I=113XXV01D&s=0&cc=01)

For my part, I ordered a 01D unit based on curiosity and on good reviews from Prowler and various other forums. I have NEVER EVER considered Kenwood in all my time in car audio and have to admit that this unit is a pleasant surprise. It's SQ is excellent -- on par to my Eclipse 8455. Sure there is less flexibility in terms of 3-way setup (for active) but IMO, it integrates a passive speaker system better than the Eclipse; YMMV but that's how it was with my setup. Soundwise, I would put it right between Alpine and Eclipse -- not warm like Clarion DRZ, not thin like Alpine, and not analytical like Eclipse but full bodied and musical. The screen is one of the best displays I've seen in a long time. It's certainly the best in a single DIN unit.

For those looking to go active and have ultimate flexibility in the near future, this unit is not for you. But for those who like good SQ with decent flexibility then the 25th Anniv model is a very good choice. I may very well keep this unit when it's all said and done.

Prowler -- I'm glad I read your posts as I have never seriously looked at Kenwood to be a SQ player. Thanks.


wheres does it say the 990 has Wolfson DACs?

Prowler573
01-31-2006, 06:22 PM
The "new" KDC-X990 has Wolfson DACs vs. XXV-01D's (25th Anniv) Quad Burr-Browns. Yes the screen are the same but I believe the 990 left out some features that were available on the 01D. I haven't listened to any Wolfson DAC car audio implemtation, only home audio. (For my home audio the Wolfson DAC is slightly better sounding than BB but that was in my $4K Integra Research processor though.) IMO, the 990's $180 premium over the 01D is not a good buy (Crutchfield recently dropped the 01D's price to $400 -- a very good authorized dealer price: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-i8W2FO88vRT/cgi-bin/Prodview.asp?c=3&g=300&I=113XXV01D&s=0&cc=01) Thanks for that comparison. I know saw the Wolfson DAC mentioned somewhere when I first became aware of the KDC-X990 but while trying to find where so I could respond to excelerater's question I couldn't find it anywhere! Glad I have some backup on that and confirmation that I wasn't seeing things. I was wondering how the Wolfson compared to the Burr-Browns but didn't know of anyone I could inquire about it to. If the difference is minimal I cannot see it rating the extra expenditure over the XXV-01D. :mad: It's a bit maddening that Crutchfield dropped the price an additional $50 (maddening to me, anyway...I got mine about a month ago after the price had dropped to $450) but regardless of price even if the X990 was a considerably better deck I couldn't justify that kind of audio purchase so soon after having already made a major one.


For my part, I ordered a 01D unit based on curiosity and on good reviews from Prowler and various other forums. I have NEVER EVER considered Kenwood in all my time in car audio and have to admit that this unit is a pleasant surprise. It's SQ is excellent -- on par to my Eclipse 8455. Sure there is less flexibility in terms of 3-way setup (for active) but IMO, it integrates a passive speaker system better than the Eclipse; YMMV but that's how it was with my setup. Soundwise, I would put it right between Alpine and Eclipse -- not warm like Clarion DRZ, not thin like Alpine, and not analytical like Eclipse but full bodied and musical. The screen is one of the best displays I've seen in a long time. It's certainly the best in a single DIN unit.One of the best comparisons between the XXV-01d and other top-shelf units from its competitors that I have seen thus far. Thanks for that. :)


For those looking to go active and have ultimate flexibility in the near future, this unit is not for you. But for those who like good SQ with decent flexibility then the 25th Anniv model is a very good choice. I may very well keep this unit when it's all said and done.

Prowler -- I'm glad I read your posts as I have never seriously looked at Kenwood to be a SQ player. Thanks. Glad I could have been of any assistance ~ especially in making someone else a believer in Kenwood ;)
I'll happily admit due to personal experience I remain loyal to Kenwood somewhat blindly but thus far they've not given me any reason to feel that said loyalty is misplaced (I guess I got lucky and never bought one of the HUs with the now infamous D-Mask+ faceplate mechanism....it very well could have changed my mind)

BodegaBay
01-31-2006, 06:30 PM
wheres does it say the 990 has Wolfson DACs?

I can't find the link right now but I'm sure I read it clearly somewhere. Kenwoods model below that is the 2006 890 model, which does have Wolfson DACs(http://www.crutchfield.com/S-7m8LPLAbC2P/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=300&I=113KDCX890).

BodegaBay
01-31-2006, 07:04 PM
Prowler,

I'll continually opine about the 01D model in the next few weeks but after 15hrs. of playing time with it, it's a top performer in my book.

In comparing the build quality, I see that the PCB is not as good as the Eclipse; Kenwood uses a PCB material called CEM while Eclipse uses FR4 (I work in electronics manufacturing). From what I could see without opening the unit's internals, Eclipse seem to use more SMT (surface mount technology) components vs. some back end TH (through hole) of the Kenwood. The extruded aluminum heatsink is better on the Eclipse as well. However, the pre-amp connections and cabling is much better on the Kenwood. The motorized mechanisms for both is solid but I prefer the Kenwoods speedier and shorter singface design. The Kenwood is manufactured in Malaysia while Eclipse 8455 is made in China. From my travels, I still think Malaysia still has a slight edge on quality builds vs. China. But there are world class factories in China as well. Hardly any models are still made in Japan (except the $1K overseas units) which is still top dog in world class manufacturing IMO. I had an Eclipse 8053 and 8443 2-3 yrs ago and those were still made in Japan; the 1990's Alpines were also made in Japan.

I'm not sure how Kenwood implemented Texas Instrument's Burr-Brown DACs, but they sure sound lusch and full bodied in the 01D unit. I had a Clarion DRZ9255 18 months ago and it uses BB but that unit always sounded warm to me. Same with the Sony C90. The high end Eclipse's DAC was recently confirmed by another member here to be BB as well. But the Eclipse's sound is very much different, dry and analytical (I'm not saying that as a criticism, just my perception of the sonic signature). The Kenwood is just right in my set up; it's might lose out on ultimate resolution in the upper end to Eclipse, but it sounds more musical to me. Like I said, this is a very nice surprise discovery and I'm glad I had an open mind to try Kenwood.

I do have to give major props to Kenwood's OEL display. It's clear, precise, and can give so much info vs. the VF (vaccum flourescent) of Eclipse and Clarion. It might not be as bright as Alpine's BioLite but it puts out much more text and color to boot. What impresses me is Kenwood's GUI in that it lets you choose the information you want to display. Also having the RDS info integrated in this unit is just great for local stations. Also, the GUI used with the two knobs is very intuitive and great to use; I do not miss those hard buttons at all.

Certainly there are questionable "features" such as the G-Analyzer but then again even serious Eclipse receivers has the GPS Area Shot feature. The only thing I find lacking is it does not support a 3-way active setup and is missing 1-2 bands of PEQ (vs. Eclipse) but it's no biggie in a passive setup.

I'll see how it does in the incoming weeks but I'm very impressed so far.

Prowler573
02-01-2006, 02:56 AM
Prowler,

I'll continually opine about the 01D model in the next few weeks but after 15hrs. of playing time with it, it's a top performer in my book.

In comparing the build quality, I see that the PCB is not as good as the Eclipse; Kenwood uses a PCB material called CEM while Eclipse uses FR4 (I work in electronics manufacturing). From what I could see without opening the unit's internals, Eclipse seem to use more SMT (surface mount technology) components vs. some back end TH (through hole) of the Kenwood. This is information I would suggest I'd have never gotten anywhere else.


The extruded aluminum heatsink is better on the Eclipse as well. For those XXV-01D users that plan on using the unit as a dead-head, however, Eclipse's advantage there is eliminated. The internal amp in mine has never been powered. After installing it before I ever turned the unit on I got into the Standby Mode menu and turned deck power off. :)


However, the pre-amp connections and cabling is much better on the Kenwood. The better cabling is one of the points touted in the Kenwood's advertising material. It's pointed out that the 25th Anniversary gear has better preamp output / auxiliary input OFC cabling than the rest of its eXcelon brethren.


The motorized mechanisms for both is solid but I prefer the Kenwoods speedier and shorter singface design. The deck that my 01D replaced was the first with Kenwood's "AutoSlide" faceplate design - the KDC-X679 and I really liked it on the older one. I like it just as much on this one. :)


The Kenwood is manufactured in Malaysia while Eclipse 8455 is made in China. From my travels, I still think Malaysia still has a slight edge on quality builds vs. China. But there are world class factories in China as well. Hardly any models are still made in Japan (except the $1K overseas units) which is still top dog in world class manufacturing IMO. I had an Eclipse 8053 and 8443 2-3 yrs ago and those were still made in Japan; the 1990's Alpines were also made in Japan. Just to let you know, I'm madly scribbling notes here. ;) Always nice to have some solid ammunition in my never-ending battle in defense of Kenwood :laugh:


I'm not sure how Kenwood implemented Texas Instrument's Burr-Brown DACs, but they sure sound lusch and full bodied in the 01D unit. I had a Clarion DRZ9255 18 months ago and it uses BB but that unit always sounded warm to me. Same with the Sony C90. The high end Eclipse's DAC was recently confirmed by another member here to be BB as well. But the Eclipse's sound is very much different, dry and analytical (I'm not saying that as a criticism, just my perception of the sonic signature). The Kenwood is just right in my set up; it's might lose out on ultimate resolution in the upper end to Eclipse, but it sounds more musical to me. Like I said, this is a very nice surprise discovery and I'm glad I had an open mind to try Kenwood. I am too. Admittedly Kenwood dropped the ball there for awhile and whatever created their apparent lapse in quality control (or even the appearance that they truly cared about what grade of product was leaving their factories en route to more than a few ultimately dissatisfied customers) came back to bite them in the backside pretty severely. Public opinion is a very powerful force that can work greatly in your advantage or irresistably against you. Make one customer happy and they'll tell two friends about it. Make that same customer unhappy and they'll tell twenty.


I do have to give major props to Kenwood's OEL display. It's clear, precise, and can give so much info vs. the VF (vaccum flourescent) of Eclipse and Clarion. It might not be as bright as Alpine's BioLite but it puts out much more text and color to boot. What impresses me is Kenwood's GUI in that it lets you choose the information you want to display.
And to a certain extent the manner in which it is displayed to you as well.

Also having the RDS info integrated in this unit is just great for local stations.There is exactly one station here that broadcasts RDS information. Somewhat annoying to me to have this deck that will do all this neat stuff and my locality is too backwater to implement it. Akin to my disappointment that the SWS functions in my radar detector are useless in my neck of the woods.
An interesting drawback to the RDS information reception (to me anyway) is that it overrides user-custom station naming. I like to program whatever nickname a station is known by locally (ergo 98 Rocks, The Mix, The Zoo, etc etc) into the deck for my own purposes and I have done so since the first HU I owned that was capable of it.

The one station here that broadcasts the RDS info (an urban station, 99.7 FM, call letters KMJJ) will display KMJJ-FM no matter how I label it or how many times I reconfirm my choice of Band + Freq + SNPS for the display format. *meh* A minor annoyance but it's there nonetheless.


Also, the GUI used with the two knobs is very intuitive and great to use; I do not miss those hard buttons at all. The last HU I owned with no radio preset buttons, strangly enough, was the very first aftermarket stereo I ever owned. (A Coustic RX504 dual-shaft cassette deck) It took a bit of getting used to visually but like I always have I set the tuner movement to "Auto 2" and simply scroll through my presets. As such I don't particularly miss buttons I never used anyway. Add to that being able to input direct frequency choices from the remote as well as access your presets with a single button-touch and the on-deck presets are nothing more than redundant anyway, I reckon.


Certainly there are questionable "features" such as the G-Analyzer I agree but some users seem to enjoy it on this and other eXcelon decks that are so equipped so I reckon it isn't a total waste seeing as it does appeal to some. :)


but then again even serious Eclipse receivers has the GPS Area Shot feature. What does that do, exactly? Never heard of it (no direct experience with an Eclipse HU)


The only thing I find lacking is it does not support a 3-way active setup and is missing 1-2 bands of PEQ (vs. Eclipse) but it's no biggie in a passive setup.As that is all I run is a passive setup and having no plans for going active anytime soon (if ever) it's more than good enough for this user. :D


I'll see how it does in the incoming weeks but I'm very impressed so far.I look forward to your further critique. :cool:

AcidBoI
09-10-2006, 10:18 AM
Hi, can you make this clear for me please?

What are the main differences between the Kenwood 25th Anniversary XXV-01D, the new Kenwood Excelon KDC-X990 and the Kenwood european version KDC-PSW9531?

MBrock4u
09-10-2006, 05:53 PM
No doubt about it . The excelon line has amazing sq. I love mine. I am totally happy with it. :)