Review of Kenwood DNX1780

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by pmf608, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    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.
  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Electrical alternator whine is usually the result of ground issues -- specifically use of a poor ground. It's likely got nothing to do with the head unit, itself. I'd chase that down if I were you. Those speakers are too nice to be pumping alternator whine through them...
  3. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Thanks PMF...another great write! I'm sure this information will be extremely helpful for our members and guests who are shopping around.

    PS...I'm partial to Kenwood too!
  4. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I will deal with it once I have time and the right weather. I just need to make sure I do it when I have time to run a new ground wire in there to a better ground, if thats what it comes down to. Hopefully a better ground to the dash rather than the factory ground should fix it though.

    Edit - now that I think about it, I might look into improving the ground on the Bose amp since it has had just a bit of a hiss in the system even when it was all stock.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  5. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I typically stick with Kenwood E. head units, but lately, with everything my Android can do, I would rather use the android as the face place for the pre amp behind the faceplate and then farm that out to the amp in the back
  6. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    I strongly recommend a good ground (using an appropriately-sized wire for the amps the unit draws) to frame/chassis, since that's what the engine and battery are grounded to. I have no idea how the dash is connected to the frame/chassis, which means I can't speak to the quality of such a ground.
  7. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Thtas true. I'm going to try grounding the radio and interface module to the dash first since it is more convenient than trying to run wires through the firewall and the tiny openings on the dash of this truck (my Silverado had a lot less things in/around its dash and was nicer to fish wires through). But like you said, I'm not putting too much faith in that. The dash can be hit-or-miss. For the Bose amp, it shouldn't be something I would ever even have to think about improving the ground on, but I'll see what works for that one too.
  8. marko54

    marko54 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    I glad your happy with the Kenwood. I have the DNX6180 and LOVE it! I have one issue though, for some reason i tried to update it and it wont take the update. I think i will go back to the shop and see if they can do it for me.
  9. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I did have a bit of difficulty updating mine, but for me it seemed to be something to do with the way my Mac wrote Kenwood's files to the flash drive. My solution to that was to access them from my windows virtual machine (on my mac, so access to all of my files) and write them to the flash drive from Windows.
  10. marko54

    marko54 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Thanks, i downloaded the update to a flash drive from my PC. When i plugged the flash drive in to the unit and went to the software menu, i wasnt able to highlight the update function, nothing happened.

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