Some help with my new Kenwood HU

Discussion in 'Car Audio Head Units' started by TJ05, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    Hello everyone,

    I recently bought a Kenwood KDC-X591 HU and installed it in my Jeep Wrangler yesterday. Install went very smoothly (it was my first ever car audio install) and everything seems to work perfectly. Here's what I have to help you guys help me better (because I have no clue).

    1) Stock system in a 2005 Jeep Wrangler, two speakers upfront and two in the sound bar along with a built in sub in the center console. Only the HU is aftermarket.

    2) Kenwood Excelon KDC-X591 HU with a USB jack in the rear.

    3) Creative Labs Zen Vision W 60GB media player connected via USB in the glovebox.

    I did a search but it didn't turn up anything. Two issues I am having that's really bugging me are:

    1) Load times: It seems to take too much time to load a CD. My MP3 player takes about the same amount of time to be recognized by the kenwood. the display on the kenwood will flash "reading" for a good minute or two.

    2) (this is the most frustrating one). Whenever the MP3 player is recognized, browsing is a real chore. Instead of being able to see what the name of the folders are, they are displayed in a numerical sequence (folder 20, folder 21, etc., etc). So pretty much, I have to let the file start playing to know what the folder is. I don't have any sub folders on my player, each album is it's own folder. In other words, I don't have all my Allman Brothers albums under one "Allman Brothers" folder.

    I did notice the HU included a CD-ROM containing their Music Editor software. I have not used it as I figure it's just their version of syncing the HU with the MP3 player. I never used the software with my Zen player either as Windows Media, Media Monkey, and other software did as good a job.

    One other thing. When I do change the display (I leave it on the clock setting) It doesn't change from the clock display whenever I perform a function, like browsing through my MP3 files/folders. I'm more or less browsing blind.

    It is a great unit and sounds much better than the factory HU. If this is a common thing with Kenwood, I might send it back. Is this common on all USB equipped headunits or just with Kenwood's? I bought the Kenwood mainly because of the rear mounted USB jack. I like being able to leave my player in my glovebox connected and locked.

    I was deciding between a Sony CDX-GT410U, the CDX-GT610Ui, and a JVC KD-G830 before the Kenwood. The rear mounted USB jack was what won me over. Any info on those units in comparison to what I have is also appreciated.

    Thank you all for your time and patience. Sorry for the long (and winded) post. :)
  2. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    I am probably the biggest Kenwood fan here, but for MP3 the Pioneer is hard to beat. It accesses almost instantly, whereas the Kenwood takes a few seconds. And it is a little slow going from song to song, where the Pioneer does it almost instantly.

    But your song title, album title display problem I have not run into. Double check the ID3 tag info. Make sure its there. I am wondering why they included the CD?

    Recently I connected a WD Passport USB Portable Harddrive to a Pioneer DEH-P6900UB. The Pioneer actually accessed the hard drive and I was able to navigate through all the music folders.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2007
  3. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    I might just send the Kenwood back. I do like Pioneer and I did look at some of Pioneer's decks (My TV is a Pioneer Elite), but some had the USB jack to the left of the main control/volume knob which I didn't like. What models do you recommend and how do they compare to the Sonys and JVC I listed earlier. I'm leaning toward the JVC since it was initially the one I was wanting before settling on the Kenwood.

    A rear USB jack model would be great, but it's not going to be a deal breaker if you recommend models without them.

    Thanks again for the help.
  4. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

  5. Throttletune

    Throttletune Full Member

    I compared the 591 to the 791 and the 791 won hands down. I have no where near the experience of Ranger as far as what he has seen, so you can take my advice with a grain of salt.

    The 591 only gives you one line of text, and you get the clock, the file name, or whatever you choose as your only choice. The 791 give 3 lines, so on mine, I have the file name, clock, and the folder name set. You can also choose different display choices depending on the media. Be it an MP3 CD, a regular audio, and the tuner. With the 591 you get the clock. Or the file name. Or the frequency of the radio station.

    As far as the folder deal, I am only running a 2g flash drive, and when I go to the folders, it briefly gives the folder number, then on the lowest line of text, it then displays the folder name. Then you can twist the right side knob, and it will give a list of the files in the folder, and scroll them as you twist the knob. This is the first time with a USB drive, so I just thought it was pretty cool, no matter if it was right or not.

    One other thing, you don't get the amp control from the 591 should you choose to add one at a later date. No real fine tuning.

    Hope this helps.
  6. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    I appreciate the help folks. Thanks.

    I think I'm going to send this unit back in exchange for the Pioneer 6900 that Ranger SVO mentioned in his post.

    Thanks again for the help. :cool:
  7. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    We sell that model at the shop I work at. Its a great HU.

    I wanna hear all opinions. I have played MP3 CD's in my Kenwood and compared to the Pioneer in my car, it accesses everything slow. Now to be fair mine is an older Kenwood compared to a much newer Pioneer.

    The main advantage to the Kenwood is the direct access capability. If I want folder 22 and song 12, its as easy as entering those numbers in the remote. Now mine also only displays one line of test at a time, but I know where all my music is so I leave the clock on
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  8. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member


    What do you like about the Pioneer I linked (the 6900) over the X591 Kenwood I have?

    Also, will the Pioneer let you use a portable hard drive? You mentioned the Pioneer 6900 being able to access files on your WD portable. How is the drive powered? How also does it compare to accessing files from a dedicated player like an iPod or Zen Vision player? Faster? Slower? About the same?

    If it is faster or the same as a dedicated player, I might look to sell my Zen and just get a bigger portable drive. To be honest, I didn't think using a portable player would be possible in a car audio setup.
  9. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    Hard Drive first. It took the Pioneer about 30 seconds to access the hard drive. But once it figured out where everything was, I could navigated between folders and music with no problem and it was fast. The Western Digital Passport is powered through the USB cable.

    WD Passport Portable (Black) 120 GB USB 2.0 Hard Drives ( WDXMS1200 )

    Now I use the Portable Harddrive to back up all my music files, video files and other important stuff, so the Pioneer had to sort through all that. Also I only had the HD hooked up for a couple of days. In those two days it worked flawlessly. I might question the HD's ability to handle temp extremes. Afterall, it was probably not designed to work in the car.

    I have an Ipod hooked up to both my Kenwood and my Pioneer. Both use interfaces to access the Ipods. And in both cases music is accessed almost instantly. I have never used a Zen but I cannot imagine the Pioneer having problems with it.

    What I don't like about the Pioneer. Too many menus and options. I get lost occationally and have to pull out the directions, like when the battery was replaced in the car this past summer. But it is a good unit.

    What I like about Kenwood. I have about 48 playlists on my ipod. I can go to any playlist instantly. But if I play an MP3 CD the access is much slower.
  10. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    Thanks Ranger.

    I'll mostly just want playback through a player or HD via the USB jack and the ability to play the occasional CD I might happen to buy while I'm out. I might even consider selling my Zen if I think a WD passport (or other reliable USB powered portable HD) will work

    If it means not having to deal with the "folder ###" display issue of the Kenwood, I don't think the excess menus of the Pioneer will bother me, once I have it dialed in to my tastes.

    Again I appreciate all the help from you and the other members. Thanks a bunch as it has saved me some grief.

    BTW...what does anyone think about the two Sony models and the JVC model I mentioned? Would you all still pick the Pioneer over those three? I'm still settled on the Pioneer due to the recommendations here and the rear USB jack, but I do value all opinions.

    Thanks again for the help.
  11. G3n3R@1

    G3n3R@1 Full Member

    I plan on trying a USB HU with my WD 400GB drive. Only thing is I'll have to use a power inverter which really shouldn't be much of an issue.
  12. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    The only concern I might have with that is the inverter. A good quality inverter, no problem. A cheap 49.95 Walmart inverter, big problem. Inverters will typically generate noise into your sound system. They are also not filtered well (the AC that they produce). Do a little research before buying an inverter.

    Let me know how it goes. The next major change in my truck will include a Hard Drive.
  13. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    Just curious, what's the biggest USB powered portable hard drive that's available?
  14. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    The biggest one I've seen from the Western Digital Passport line is 250 Gb.
  15. electrolytic

    electrolytic Full Member

    WD Passport Portable (Black) 120 GB USB 2.0 Hard Drives ( WDXMS1200 )

    That's cool, i want one..

    I love my Pioneer, all the menus take awhile to get used to but once you master them it's amazing how good you can set it up. I'd probably take Pioneer over Alpine only because of the features. Not much experience with kenwoods.

    So i guess a regular external hard drive for a computer would work the same, would just have to give it 12 volts. They go up to 1 Tarabyte and bigger...

    USB Powered Portable Hard Drive
  16. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    i just bought that one 2 weeks back.$149. man is it a life saver,and small.i have it velcroed to my laptop.

    all my music,pics and vids are in there.about 38 gigs worth. it really gave me back some space in my comp.

    my friend at work has a sony head with the usb in front,and he too has the folder issue. no names just folder #'s.he dosent care though as he has all his songs memorized.
  17. Throttletune

    Throttletune Full Member

    My thoughts on a big capacity HD, if I may.

    Maybe being a bit cynical, but when someone decides they want your stuff more than you, you lose a lot. Granted, anything PC related should be backed up, but how often does that really happen in real life? Also, 2 or 4 gig jump drives are dirt cheap, and you can still stuff a ton of music on those. Plus, it's easier to remember what you have on each stick.

    But, I'm an old geezer, and memory is turning to crap.

    What was the question?
  18. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member


    Well I got everything installed and I am much happier with the Pioneer than I was with the Kenwood. Here's a couple of pics:




    (the SD card/reader was what I was using before I hooked up my Zen Vision player).

    I am very happy with this unit. In the second photo, I like how everything is on the display (time, artist/song title, etc.). The Kenwood would just have either/or which I don't like. I could have stepped up to a higher line model, but the Pioneer was a better deal.

    What I really like is you can use the control knob on the HU to browse through the folders. I was concerned at first as the remote makes browsing large collections slow and tedious (it goes through on at a time). The control lets you browse as fast as you can turn it which is great for larger collections.

    About the only thing I don't like is I have to remember to turn on my Zen player and select "removable disc" or the Pioneer sees it as 'no device'. If the Zen is at idle for 5 minutes, it turns itself off. No big deal, but I might seriously look at a WD portable drive (120GB - 160GB) to replace it if those will power up when the HU does after starting my Jeep.

    I also need a USB female to mini male adapter. I might check Radioshack for that.

    I appreciate everyone's help. Thanks a bunch! :D
  19. TJ05

    TJ05 Full Member

    I got that (mostly) covered. My music collection is in Flac on a 1TB hard drive (also a Western Digital). I use it in conjunction with a Squeezebox hooked up to my home audio setup. I have a separate 320GB drive in my PC that has WMA192 versions of my flac collection. I just copy those files to my Zen and I'm good to go.

    For the most part, I'm not worried about losing any music from my Jeep as I have two different backups to go to for that. I do need to work on getting my Flac collection backup though. That I'm working on doing next.
  20. Ranger SVO

    Ranger SVO Full Member

    I'm the same way. I have two hard drives on my computer plus my portable back up drive. All three drives have a "MY Ipod Files" folder. Cause re ripping every CD I have could take days. Important stuff is backed up. Some stuff is even backed up on Data DVD's.

    TJ05 I'm glad to hear that you like the pioneer. I have found it to be a great unit, especially for USB devices.