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Hey everyone.

I don't usually review equipment unless something really draws me towards the need to. This unit made me want to go out of my way to warn people of the things i ran into.

Leading up to purchase, I could have done more research. However i had good experience with previous Kenwood units and thought that I would see some improvements and added Carplay would be a bonus. Of course the Kenwood North American Rep just happened to be there when i walked in to purchase a unit. I played with the unit and asked the rep many technical questions. He came across as pretty knowledgeable, but couldn't answer a few of the in depth questions. He of course worded them as positive points for the unit regardless of it necessarily being true.

The pros of the unit:
This unit is not all bad by any means. The build quality, feel of the screen, the interface and the speed are all top notch and better than most comparable models. It is stable and snappy to use, and easy enough to configure. Audio Sounds decent (very low measurable distortion), Carplay works like a dream, It also includes a satisfactory implementation of Android Auto, Maestro has some great modules that also play well with this head unit. Really a not bad buy to the average or even slightly advanced user, right?


Well here are the kickers, a lot of them.
You can not bypass the internal audio processing!!! Even zeroed out, there is some phase shift, coloration, and tweaking happening. What were they thinking when they took away the option to actually bypass the Dsp in their units like you once were able to do.

No digital output. now I realize that it is a minimal point to make, and i won't go too in depth here. The lack of digital output would be acceptable if there was a Dsp bypass option, or a dsp that didn't colour the audio so much. Not having either makes me write this off as a non audiophile unit. It has near became a bottleneck in my system. When I brought concern to the rep, his standpoint was that I would be best served using the internal dsp over an external unit with far more capability. I think that point was a little bit (a lot) wrong, as we know the benefits of a real Dsp controlled active system.

The only way to stream audio from Youtube is through an app on Kenwood's Weblink system. It is useless because 85% of videos are blocked.

Android auto works, But the audio over usb is not good. I had a lot of compression with any settings, and any music app.

No more usb hub support. My older units worked with powered usb hubs. I needed this, as i leave an iphone in my vehicle always to run Carplay (main device is Android, and android auto sounds bad). We have cold winters and this trashes the batteries in devices. I would use a powered hub to keep the iphone charged when the vehicle is off, so i could avoid the 30 minute wait for the head units slow charge rate to boot the phone. Now i get greeted by a "usb hub not supported" error. Huge pain.

No Aptx bluetooth. It's 2018, must I explain.

Overall i spent a good amount of cash on a flashy feature rich head unit who's biggest downfall is sound quality. Sound quality being the sole reason i purchased the unit, I am disappointed and would not recommend the Dmx905S to anyone who appreciates sound quality above features. I simply feel like Kenwood missed the mark and left out some deal breaking features for me. They designed a very sturdy, great to use unit that I will soon replace because it just doesn't perform good enough on the sound quality/lack of annoying limitations front. It reminds me too much of Apple's IOS telling me, nope cant do that.

I just wanted to warn anyone considering a new Kenwood double din for their 'no holding back' SQ builds. Go for the older kenwoods instead.
 

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He meant to say Alpines are the best double dins out right now.
im saying kenwood, sony, and alpine are the big 3 right now. pioneers from a sound quality perspective are falling behind. The sony stuff is really nicely priced and look oem, the kenwoods sound really good and have a good interface. Not the most familiar with the newest alpine stuff
 

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People still buy Kenwoods?

Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
Yes. Just a couple of weeks ago.

Leland331, I am surprised to see some of what you are posting. My understanding was that the DMX905S was similar to the DDX9905S and DNX995S, only lacking Nav, a disc drive and high res display. The DDX and DNX have received pretty rave reviews from multiple forum members. That includes praise for the sound quality and lack of coloration.

I'd be curious to know if others who have purchased the same head unit share the same opinions.
 

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They're the best double dins out right now imo

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
Agreed. I did a lot of research, including hands on and asking people who owned various current units from Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer and Sony. I went with the DDX9905S, knowing what was going to be announced at CES this week from Kenwood. If I were on a tighter budget, I probably would have just gone with Sony.

He meant to say Alpines are the best double dins out right now.
Meh. Beyond the Halo models (which have some significant shortcomings), their lack of innovation and pricing is disappointing.
 

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The Alpines have a defeat mode for sound. I have it checked to allow the Helix to do its thing.
 

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i could not find a compelling double din myself, so in my current install i am just using an LG phone with BT and headphone output. screw it.
 

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I wouldn't make a big deal of it. Every piece of gear added to a system imparts its own "character" in some way whether it is noticeable, barely audible, and/or subjectively favorable/unfavorable.

Many have disagreed on different deck brands and the associated "sound signature" over the years; all of which have certain settings that affect the sound even when set to flat, and other functions are off. You're simplyy hearing the sum of the internals. My old JVC surely doesn't sound like my Pioneer, but both sound good in their own install even with an added external DSP.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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I wouldn't make a big deal of it. Every piece of gear added to a system imparts its own "character" in some way whether it is noticeable, barely audible, and/or subjectively favorable/unfavorable.

Many have disagreed on different deck brands and the associated "sound signature" over the years; all of which have certain settings that affect the sound even when set to flat, and other functions are off. You're simplyy hearing the sum of the internals. My old JVC surely doesn't sound like my Pioneer, but both sound good in their own install even with an added external DSP.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
Sounds good, thanks!

I ordered the DMX905S for my dad. He doesn't have a DSP in his system so I figured it won't make a difference for him. I was contemplating getting the DMX905S for myself, but I think I'll just hold out for a 906S. Afterall, even if there is EQing I can't bypass, it can't be worse than the Honda factory EQ.
 
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