Begin with Excelon
While it’s the first touchscreen receiver in Kenwood’s popular Excelon lineup, I certainly wouldn’t consider the DDX396 DVD receiver an “entry-level” model. Its 6.2″ touchscreen display shows off music info from a variety of sources, all your phone call info, and the extensive sound-shaping options built into this receiver. For a wide range of vehicles, you can also view engine data and other vehicle information, using iDatalink’s Maestro interface (not included). And Kenwood backs up this Excelon receiver with a 2-year warranty.
Let’s talk music
If you like radio, you’ll love the options the DDX396 offers, including Pandora®, iHeartRadio®, Spotify®, and SiriusXM (optional satellite radio tuner and subscription required). You can plug your Android™ phone or iPhone® into the rear-panel USB port, and control the music in your phone while you charge it. This port can also handle music stored on a thumb drive, including high-resolution FLAC music files. And yes, you can still rely on CD playback and AM/FM radio too.
You choose the look and sound
This receiver’s variable color illumination lets you match its display to your interior lighting, including the illuminated volume knob. It also sports a 13-band equalizer that allows you to set up separate tone curves for different audio sources. The driver’s seat isn’t exactly the best listening position, but the digital time alignment processor times the output from different speakers so you hear a much clearer stereo image. The Drive EQ mode also boosts certain frequencies that help overcome any nasty road noise you come across.
Bluetooth for you and your passengers
Bluetooth gives you a wireless connection for hands-free calling and streaming songs, audiobooks, and podcasts from your phone. And if you’re not the only driver, this Kenwood enables you to pair two phones simultaneously. And if you’ve got trouble deciding on music while streaming audio, the Music Mix feature lets you pair five phones so everybody can help create your new favorite driving playlist. Just make sure everybody gets a turn!
Many portable high-res audio players also include Bluetooth, too, so you can stream your music collection on your road trip. You can even control playback and set up this receiver’s robust tone controls using Kenwood’s free Remote app on your phone.
Great video options
In addition to all the great audio options, the DDX396 also provides handy video options like a backup camera input that includes onscreen parking guide lines. If you’ve got a restless backseat crew, you can feed them some video by connecting additional monitors to this receiver’s video output. You can watch the DVD videos on this Kenwood’s display when your vehicle’s parking brake is engaged. If you’ve got an audio/video piece to add to the system, like a video game console, you can plug it into this receiver’s rear mini-jack input. Use Kenwood’s CA-C3AV A/V cable to adapt it for RCA-type connections.
iDatalink Maestro lets you keep your factory extras
The DDX396 offers compatibility you won’t find in many other aftermarket radios, thanks to the iDatalink Maestro module (not included). In a wide selection of vehicles, this module lets you keep factory features that you’d otherwise lose when you install a new radio. You’ll also be able to check out engine performance data and other vehicle info on the Kenwood’s screen. Once you’ve identified your vehicle, you’ll see the iDatalink module offered on the way to the Shopping Cart if it’s compatible.
Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver’s Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone’s Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.
Smartphone note:If you’re going to use your smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check “Details” for compatibility information.
You’ll need a wired connection to your parking brake to access settings and other features on this receiver. Your parking brake must be connected and set in order to view video on its screen.