Kenwood KDC-BT7539U review

As a lot of you know, I’ve had lots of trouble with a Pioneer DEH-P7050BT car stereo with bluetooth handsfree. After 6 months of talking with Pioneer to try and get a fix to the many issues I was seeing, they have finally pointed me to a document that Pioneer UK have released at the end of October saying that the unit is not compatible with my Dopod 838 Pro phone. I see this as admitting defeat.

So, I got authorised to return the unit to JB Hifi for a full refund! This I really liked, but it left me with a dilemma – What to do next?

After hunting around the stock of JB Hifi and looking at prices, I stumbled upon a Kenwood KDC-BT7539U on the shelf for $296AUD. Keeping in mind that I just returned the Pioneer unit for $420! My original plan was to purchase a non-bluetooth stereo and a separate Parrot car kit. This is when it was pointed out to me that the bluetooth module in the KDC-7539U is actually manufactured by Parrot!

After hassling someone in Strathfield to test the unit out, all seemed to work fine with my device, however Strathfield wanted to charge $429AUD – for the same unit on sale at JB Hifi for $296AUD!

Anyhow – after installing the unit, I paired up my Dopod 838 Pro and things seemed to go fairly smoothly. I had a few minor issues with phonebook syncing, so I downloaded the bluetooth update to version 1.60 from the Kenwood web site. Things seem to be going very well for this unit at the moment – and compared to the DEH-P7050BT from Pioneer, my gripes list is VERY minor:

1) The method to change to preset radio stations is a bit too involved – as you have to rotate the right knob, then select a preset and then press the knob again. I wish I could assign these to just moving the knob to the right or left.

2) The phonebook seems to use the Lastname, Firstname format when displaying phone numbers on the display. I like having this the other way around and I can’t seem to find a way to swap it to Firstname Lastname.

3) To select an option from the settings menu, you have to hold the right knob in for 1 second. When I’m used to just pressing a knob once, it takes quite a bit of time to get used to.

Other than that, the audio quality is suburb. Calls are clear, there is very little noise, I haven’t experienced a call dropout yet, and there aren’t any random hiss/hash noises in my car kit audio. All in all, Kenwood seems to have done an excellent job with this head unit – for almost half the price of the Pioneer 7050BT. When you consider a basic Parrot CK3100 is still selling for around $260AUD, then $270AUD for a Kenwood head unit AND a Parrot car kit is phenomenal value!

Rating: 8.5/10
Audio: 9.5/10
Value: 9.5/10


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    • Macca on October 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm
    • Reply

    Hey mate

    was just looking trying to decide between the kenwood XBT8013U in Australia and the eXcelon X933 from America. It works out cheaper to get the X933. Will this work in Australia what would you recommened??


    1. Sorry mate, I know nothing about eXcelon or if the FM bands in the US are the same as over here.

    • Stanks on November 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm
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    I just upgraded to the XBT8013U from an MP5033U (one of the few units that have a rear usb port). Any ideas how I might go about kenwood adding the ‘all random’ feature to the 8013U? I can randomize ALL tracks from my USB stick on the old HU, but they’ve left this feature out on the new one. You can randomize all tracks when an iPod is connected, but not when a USB stick is plugged in.

    Any help?


    • Murray on June 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm
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    I have a problem with my Kenwood KDC-U7046BT which has been on the market fro a couple of months now. It too uses the Parrot BT connection which works great except the sound quality for the receiver on the other end of the phone is appalling and likend to that of a 2-way radio. So bad i cannot use it. Kenwood support have not been able to fix the problem. I think its a design fault because the microphone hole is the size of a pin hole inder the vol button.
    If you are buying these bc of its bluetooth handsfree functionality, dont do it!

    1. I agree Murry, the only real BT car kits that sound any good have external microphones.

    • Glenn on July 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm
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    Hey, Just wondering if Murray sorted his Hands free problem. I to have just purchased a KDC-U7046BT and having the same issues. The person on the other end can’t hear me. Have purchased an accessory external mic but that’s worse! Now wondering about buying the kenwood external mic KCA-MC10 for $50 still not knowing whether it will fix it.

    • Rick on August 1, 2010 at 12:58 am
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    I too have just installed a KDC-U7046BT for the handsfree BT function but quality of mic leaves a lot to be desired. Will investigate the Kenwood mic next week but interested in any comments/feedback if others have tried it.

    • Jeremy on August 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm
    • Reply

    I also have the KDC-U7046BT with an external KCA-MC10. Sound quality for the person on the other end of a call is bad with the internal mic and terrible with the external mic. I thought it was in installation problem, but it seems not to be. I have done a few test calls swapping between the TomTom Car Kit for iPhone handsfree, Kenwood internal min and then external mic. The TomTom is fantastic (except very low volume on my end), then internal mic kicks in and you can just here a very tinny voice. When switching to the external mic all you can hear is white noise and distortion.
    Avoid like the plague. I will be going back to JB to see about swapping for something better.

    • Jeremy on September 19, 2010 at 10:31 pm
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    So, I took the head unit back to JB and they swapped it over. Same problem however – the quality of the handsfree audio was terrible. I took it to a Kenwood service centre (Impulse Audio near Highpoint) and they held onto it for three weeks, refused to do any testing and the day Kenwood released the new firmware rang me to tell me to take it back and try the new firmware. Unfortunately there was no difference. I rang Impulse and they basically said “it doesn’t work with the iPhone”. I did point out the big “Made for iPhone” righting on the side of the box…

  1. Hey Jeremy,

    Stick to your guns mate. If you still can’t get it going, take it back to JB and even give them a demo if they like to show the issues. I went back and forth between Panasonic and JB for quite a while before I was convinced the Pioneer was no good. I think it was nearly 2 months from memory. JB are a great store and will help you out as long as you don’t want to change things over because you’ve changed your mind…

    • Shahul on December 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Steve,
    This is an issue that I am facing with the KENWOOD Car Stereo “KDC-U7046BT”‘s Bluetooth Connection with my cell Nokia 5800.

    Let me give the details below:
    On the first pairing, everything went well, got connected, address book got synched, and was able to dial and receive the calls. In the evening, when I took the car out again, the problem started. My Nokia 5800 will show that it is successfully connected to Kenwood system, however Kenwood will show no signs of a connection. When I go to BT Setup Device Registration settings it says “Device Full”, Even though only one device is paired with the stereo. Also Phone Selection section shows blank entry (not listing anything), same is the case with Device Delete option. And when I dial a number no output sound from either of the devices.

    I took it to the people who installed my stereo first, and they reset the stereo settings (factory reset by disconnecting the power) and did all the settings from scratch again. All started working once again, but again went into the same error situation when I took out the car after some time again.

    Searching the internet, I see that this is a common issue some of the Kenwood stereos are facing. Some people resolved this issue by doing a factory reset. Wondering any other solution exists for this issue.
    Also where I can find the Reset button on this KDC-U7046BT.

    Any help would be appreciated.


    • Shahul on December 13, 2010 at 3:56 am
    • Reply

    This got resolved with help of ‘Reset’ button. Now everything works fine.

    • Daniel on October 3, 2011 at 7:38 am
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    My trouble is the USB;
    I am using 2 gig thumb drives but will never get past song #255.
    I have used different drives and adjusted the song list,No matter what is at #255 it restarts at #1 rather than continue on down the list.

    Thank you for your time.

    1. The specs say no more than 255 files per folder.

      Solution: Create a second directory and put more files in that.

    • Daniel on October 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm
    • Reply

    Thank You was making me crazy!


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