Kenwood KC-Z1 A/V Preamplifier

3.86/5 (7 Reviews) MSRP : $2800.00


Product Description

Digital PreAmp with TouchScreen


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by dai de a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
nice pre with nice price.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jim a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Prreamp/amp combo sounds harsh without the right cables/wires. Can sound musical if set up right, lots of trial and error though. Lots of flexibilty with other component control via RF to IR repeaters. Almost enough inputs, but no multi channel for future upgrades.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $1400.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 28, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this unit from the Kenwood Factory Outlet. This was the manager's special; a remanufactured KC-Z1 with a new KM-Z1 amp. Total price with 2 year warranty and tax: 645.00. Not bad for a THX certified system. Wasn't in the market for a pre/pro, but at that price I couldn't pass up.

The sound:
This unit replaced a 6 year old Nakimichi DPL receiver with KEF and Def Tech speakers about 6 yo. The combination of Nak and KEF on 2 channel stereo is hands above the KC/KM. I find the KC/KM smears the sounds together for the mid/high ranges. The bottom end has better extension with the KC/KM but is not as tight as the old Nak. On surround I cannot stress the improvement I have seen with the KC/KM. This is in DPL, not DD. Not having much experience with DD, all I can say is DD sounds great over DPL. Of course by now, everything sounds fine as my ears have become used to the KC/KM sound.

Ergonomics:
The remote is working fine for me. It seems to handle most of my equipement including Hughes DSS, Pioneer DVD, and Sony-ES CD Changer, Sony 27" TV. I tend to use the KC remote to turn everything on. I then surf with the DSS remote. I realized that you have to look at touch panels to
use. Doesn't really work when you are surfing becuase you don't look at remote. At least I only have 2 remotes on the table vs 5. The battery life is OK for how I'm using it and the 2 battery system works well. I've searched around a little for replacements and haven't found any yet. UH OH. The auto surround sound works well although you can get it mixed up. Overall

Connections:
I purchased a bunch of SVideo cables so I could run all video sources (DSS, DVD, PS2) through the unit until I found out that there is no SVideo for the DSS. This really is a downfall for my particular setup. Note: Even though Video 1 and 2 do switch SVideo, you can't assign the DSS code to the Video 1 on the remote, so when you switch to Video 1 the remote shows VCR play, stop, etc. Beyond that, there really seems to be a lot of options including enough DD inputs. I can't wait to hook up the room b for my deck.


4 stars for the lack of SVideo on the DSS.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Kenwood Factory Outlet



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Gabe Balfour a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 6, 2000

Bottom Line:   


overrall i am pleased with this product it is a
great sounding unit and the ac-3 processing is
second to none! the flexibility of the remote
is a great tool to use nothing beats RF
transmitting.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $3800.00

Purchased At:   Audio Express



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dave a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I got the KC-Z1 as a combination with the KM-Z1 6-channel, 130wpc power amp from the audioadvisor for $1500 for BOTH units. Overall, that's supposed to be $2500 off the original list, but there are some reasons why.

This unit is THX-Ultra certified, with enough inputs and outputs to satisfy many an audiophile. The front panel is exceedingly sparse, however, and without the remote, most basic parameters and surround settings just cannot be set. I have a problem with the remote unit, and although it is supposed to be the showcase feature of this preamp, I just wish that I could replace it with one of the standard, all-in-one IR remotes. Why? Because this unit uses special Duracell DR17 batteries that are not easy to find, and cost about $50! The Kenwood comes with two batteries, but you can bet that when it comes time to replace these, it's going to be expensive.

This wouldn't be so bad if the remote didn't burn through a re-charge of one of these huge batteries every two days or so. The remote is the LCD type, which needs to light up every time you use it to push one of the 'virtual' buttons. Even worse, the remote is RF (radio frequency), not IR (infrared). This means that while it can learn all your other codes, it does not do so directly. It must transmit RF signals to the base unit, which translates these to IR, then sends the appropriate signal to your other components. This requires several repeaters in addition to the one supplied (available after-market).

Overall, the sound is pretty darn good, although the unit takes several seconds to switch between different surround-sound modes.

This unit is probably the least expensive way to get into a quality dolby-digital home theater separates system. I wouldn't pay much more for it than I did, however, and I will probably replace this unit with something that is more straight-forward and traditional in design (Carver, HK, Marantz, B&K, Adcom, or the like).

This unit replaced an Onkyo TXD-555 dolby digital receiver. In some ways, I miss the simplicity and straightforward ease-of use of that unit, as well as the superior ease-of-use than the Kenwood.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating



PSB Speakers:



Axiom Audio: