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Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

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dwcains
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Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by dwcains » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:28 pm

I'll start with a pic of this unit installed, since many of us are concerned with something that doesn't look too out of place in a classic E24 dash:

Image

All those LED's blew out the exposure of this iPhone pic, but you can see the color match is pretty close to the rest of the dash. It's selectable from a bunch of presets, or it can be a custom-color using R-G-B values. This color is called "orange-red".

Beyond that, I was looking for a head unit with great sound, Bluetooth connectivity for both media and phone calls, and compatibility with the iTunes, SiriusXM, and Pandora apps on my iPhone. There are both front and rear USB inputs, and I ran a cable from the rear input to the ashtray, which my phone fits just about perfectly, and the USB will charge the phone. A CD/DVD player was not something I needed, and this unit doesn't have one, nor was terrestrial radio, but it does have a good-sounding FM HD radio feature. There is also an easy to use set of audio controls to tailor the sound to your tastes, as well as 6 4-volt pre-amp outputs, which I already wired for future use, while I was running the new speaker wires to the rear of the car. Finally, there's even an iPhone app to allow remote control and easier adjustment of the settings.

I mentioned the BT for phone calls, and here's where I placed the remote microphone:

Image

It's up between the sun visors, and the audio quality of phone calls is very good. There was already a small hole on the front edge of the header panel, which I had previously made for the wiring of the auto-dimming mirror I installed. I fished the mic wire past the sunroof motor to the rear edge of the panel, then left to the A-pillar trim, and finally under the dash and back to the right for the head-unit hookup. Much easier than I thought it would be.

Overall, I couldn't been too much happier with this head unit. There was a lot of previously mangled wiring in the console of my car, several old sets of preamp cables and speaker wires, and lots of electrical tape and wire nuts - none of which remains. That sort of thing can be a problem with these decades-old cars, and my solution was to just cut it all out and start from scratch. If you're expecting a plug-and-play install, forget it, as even without a bunch of hacked wiring, the original system used a speaker fader with a common ground that won't work with any aftermarket head units. The unit is also just barely small enough to fit into the very tight dash space. Even an extra few millimeters of depth would have made this install impossible, as it's jammed up tightly against the a/c evaporator box. When sliding the unit into place, you have to be careful that none of the cables get pinched behind it, or you just wont get it to lock in place. My car's console is actually pushed out a tiny bit from its normal position, but unless you know what to look for, it's not obvious.

So, that's about it, except a link to Crutchfield's site for more detailed info/specs/pics. I actually bought mine from Amazon for $105.

https://www1.crutchfield.com/p_113KMBT5 ... d&skipvs=T

https://www.amazon.com/Kenwood-KMM-BT51 ... mm-bt518hd
Last edited by dwcains on Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dean
Lutz, FL

'85 635 CSi Euro #9402254
'87 Spider Veloce
'92 Spider Veloce
'08 350Z

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GazM3
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by GazM3 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:51 pm

I have similar ken wood gear in all my bmw's. Simple and reasonably priced and don't look like they belong in a teenagers pimped up ford festiva
BMW’s
74 2002 2.3ltr
84 E24 M635csi
94 E34 540i/6 SC
97 E36 M3 euro SC U/C

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baders
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by baders » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:16 am

Nice review Dean.. Kenwood have certainly raised their game with regards higher quality head units. I recently installed a Kenwood DDX 9017 DABS in my E46 M3. For my E24, I went with a Pioneer DEH 80PRS. As you said, tight, tight, tight :)
1986 635csi LOCUTUS / Arktis Blau Metallic / Pearl Beige / S38B36/ Close ratio dogleg 5sp
2002 E46 M3 / Topaz Blau Metallic / Black Nappa / 6 speed SMG software tuned / Bilstein PSS10 Coilovers

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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by jps635 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:12 am

I've just upgraded my HU while engine is out.

This is how installed the mic.
Attachments
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'85 635csi JPS (RA2-66)

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MrE
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by MrE » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:21 am

dwcains wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:28 pm
Image
Looks great Dean, really tidy, I like all that illumination. I too have a Kenwood unit though its about 12 years old. Can't change the colours however it does have a USB input in the rear, which was pretty radical at the time.
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by Stoffie » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:35 am

Looks pretty awesome in the dark!

How does it look in daylight ? Is the fascia not too blingy/shiny ? That often puts me off more than the illumination color being a bit off. :-k
The M88/3 was all about power, no cats. At idle the raw fuel from the exhaust will make your eyes water like an old V-8 powered muscle car's exhaust did.

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dwcains
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by dwcains » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:55 am

It's not bad. The only chrome are the two strips, top and bottom, and I'm tinking about rubbing them off with a pencil eraser. Still undecided.
Dean
Lutz, FL

'85 635 CSi Euro #9402254
'87 Spider Veloce
'92 Spider Veloce
'08 350Z

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sansouci
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by sansouci » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:39 pm

Dean,
There is a "dulling spray" used in photography to knock down the reflections:
Krylon-K01310-11-Ounce-Dulling-Spray

Might be an alternative to the eraser method. Just need to mask it properly.

Regards,
Ken
Sansouci
84 E24 633Csi Auto, Bronzit/PearlBeige 6997510
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dwcains
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Re: Mini-review: Kenwood KMM-BT518HD in-dash media player

Post by dwcains » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:52 pm

I've actually got a can of the SEM Matte clear, but honestly, those two little chrome strips are fairly unobtrusive. Haven't driven around with it long enough to make a decision, yet. Sure sounds good, though, even without the amps and subwoofer I'll install soon.
Dean
Lutz, FL

'85 635 CSi Euro #9402254
'87 Spider Veloce
'92 Spider Veloce
'08 350Z

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