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Photos: Kenwood DPX302

The Kenwood DPX302 has basic digital-audio support and some advanced audio-customization features, but its user interface is less than adequate, even for an entry-level car stereo.

CNET Reviews staff

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Audiophiles may tolerate the Kenwood DPX302's unwieldy programming controls and small screen in order to get a budget stereo with decent customization features. However, there are other stereos in the same price range that are much easier to use.
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We do like the DPX302's prominent auxiliary-input minijack for connecting portable digital audio players.
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The Kenwood DPX302 features six preset EQ configurations (including Rock, Pop, Jazz, and Top 40) plus an option for users to customize their own output levels. The system also has dedicated settings for bass, mid, and treble, plus a subwoofer level control if your audio system is equipped with a standalone sub.
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With its silver controls, luminous blue backlighting, and lacquered, black-plastic trim, the Kenwood DPX302 looks at first glance like a stylish car stereo. However, the volume knob to the left of the faceplate feels cheap and poorly integrated, as does the loose, fiddly control knob on the opposite side of the unit.
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Navigating disc-based digital-audio libraries using the right-hand jog wheel is a time-consuming process. Tracks can be skipped and selected by moving the joystick to the left or right, but the display shows only the track number when browsing, and the driver has to listen to at least five seconds of a track before the (truncated) ID3 tag information shows up.
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The Kenwood DPX302 features dedicated controls for tweaking the front and rear high-pass filters, as well as a setting for the low-pass filter and controls for subwoofer phasing. To optimize all this output tweaking for individual cars, the system enables drivers to calibrate the output based on speaker size, with settings for 6x9-inch speakers, 5- or 4-inch speakers, and OEM speakers.

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