Review of Kenwood DNX1780
Today marks the one month mark with my Kenwood navigation unit installed in my Avalanche, so I decided I would post a quick review of it for anyone looking at upgrading their stereo. So, I guess I'll go through a few categories.
1) Sound Quality: I used the Metra GMOS-04 to retain the Bose amplifier and the chimes in my truck. Between that and the head unit, I seem to have a bit of alternator noise, but it does sound a bit like a turbo when I accelerate so I'm alright with that for now. And it usually isnt noticeable if the radio is at a comfortable volume level or higher. Aside from that, this system sounds great. I have some really nice Focal speakers in the front doors and it uses them a bit more to their potential than the factory system. The sound is great. Putting the Kenwood unit in also woke up that tiny little Bose subwoofer that is hidden in the center console. It barely made any noise with the factory system, but now it actually has the power to vibrate the rearview mirror if you want it to.
2) Features: The bluetooth on this unit is great - I haven't had any complaints about the quality of it and it works really well. The slowness that many people have reported with Kenwood units went away with a software update. The layout of the iPod interface took a while to get used to - it is easy to use, but I didn't immediately figure out how to see all of the song information. I will probably add Sirius radio to it in the future, and it has lots of inputs - Video, backup camera, front camera if you need it, TV tuner (which Kenwood no longer makes as far as I can find), DVD, etc. It also has dual-zone, so you can set up the rear speakers and video output to play a different source than you listen to in the front. It also stores 2 sets of brightness settings - one for daytime, and one for when the headlights are on. I seem to have picked the wrong illumination wire on my interface though, so that doesn't seem to be working on mine. It also has a memory setting so you can save and recall your settings so they won't be lost if the battery dies or the radio loses power. I was also able to load a custom start-up screen that matches my Avalanche.
3) Navigation: Kenwood uses the Garmin navigation, so it works really well. When I got the unit, it had a navigation glitch that meant you would have to reset the unit often because it wouldn't get satellite reception, but I update the unit's software and haven't had a single problem since. It's easy to use and the traffic feature is cool to have as well.
So Overall, I'm very happy with this unit. I was going to get a Pioneer unit, but the eBay seller was backordered on the Pioneer so we worked out a deal and he sent this one for the same price and got it here despite needing last-minute shipping before christmas. Looking back, I'm glad that it worked out that way because I think I'm happier with the Kenwood than I would have been with the Pioneer. The Kenwood does everything I want it to and more, and sounds and looks great. I still plan on installing some better subwoofers at some point since I have had a really nice Focal subwoofer amp sitting in its box for quite a while now, but with this unit sending out the sound, the Bose might just stay the way it is rather than using another amp to bypass it as I had originally planned.
Bottom line is the Kenwood units are great and I highly recommend them.