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What Happened to Kenwood Audio?

Car Audio System
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If you’re old enough, you must have at least heard about Kenwood, the audio appliances maker. If you’ve had the privilege of using one of its audio devices, then you can attest to its quality.

The older generation of audiophiles will experience a feeling of nostalgia at the mention of Kenwood. For the sake of the younger ones, we’ll do a bit of a history lesson. Then we’ll bring everyone up to speed with what’s going on with the company. 

Keep reading to learn about the establishment, transformation, and progress of Kenwood. By the time you’re done, you’d have known enough about the company for anyone to call you its fan.

A Brief History About Kenwood Audio

Kenwood began its journey in December 1946, as Kasuga Radio Company Limited in Japan. It started making high-frequency radio parts, and in 1949 its coil passed the HNK approval certificate.

Afterward, the name changed slightly to Kasuga Radio Industry Corporation. In 1957, the company started exporting its FM tuners. Following the success, Kasuga Radio moved its head office from Akaho, Komagane to its Tokyo plant in Yukigaya, Ota-ku.

In January 1960, Kasuga Radio changed name once again to Trio Electronics, Inc. The following October, the company got listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Fast forward to December 1963, Trio extended its operation to the US. A&A Trading Co., a Japanese-electronics importer in the US, partnered with Trio to be the sole importer of its products. 

Come 1986, there was another name change. This was when Kenwood became the corporate brand name we’ve come to know.

Kenwood Product Milestones

Now you know how the name and the company came about. Let’s touch on how Kenwood got into the manufacture of the products we know them for. 

We’ll start from 1955 after the company’s high-frequency transformer passed the Japan Broadcast Corporation (NHK) approval certificate.

1955—Started mass producing audio, communications, measuring equipment.

1958—Sold its first amateur radio.

1962—Launches the first transistor amplifier in the industry

1963—Broke into the US market and started full-scale operations

1966—Pioneered fully transistorized audio products in the industry

1969—The 144MHz and Trio-TR7100 amateur radio car transceiver hits the market

1979—Trio presents its first professional analogue two-way radio

1981—Built its first audio-video amplifier for home theater

1983—Kenwood enters the land mobile radio market in the US

1991—Enters the licensed Private Mobile Radio (PMR) market in Europe and signs a contract with McLaren to supply wireless equipment for the F1 Championship giant.

1995—The Mir space station verifies the reliability of Kenwood’s amateur wireless signal

1997—Became the first Japanese manufacturer to launch the car-mounted DAB receivers. 

Since then, it has made the first anti-theft car cassette deck that can slide out of the dash. Many innovative technologies have since followed.

Currently, the company still goes by the name Kenwood. It manufactures top-quality car electronics, professional communications, and audio devices. If you’re curious about its brand identity and values, Kenwood’s global website has you covered.

Kenwood Products: Past and Present

As you’ve seen, Kenwood has been filling the global market with innovative and reliable products since its inception. We’ll take a quick look at some of those products in the different categories the brand focuses on.

Car Navigation System
Image Source: Pixabay

Car electronics

Past

Kenwood has a long list of award-winning products in this category across decades. It’s one of the brands that started the in-car audio/visual entertainment and navigation industry.

Its products included retractable color monitors, DAB tuners, surround sounds, DVD receivers, car navigation systems, etc. 

Present

Kenwood is still at the fore-front of the in-car entertainment industry. Its eXcelon is a range of car audio systems that lets you take excellent sound with you wherever the road leads.

This range comprises masterfully crafted car receivers, amplifiers, speakers, and multimedia screens. These components match precisely to give you premium sound output.

Professional communication

Kenwood has a legendary status in the professional communications industry, with its highly acclaimed products. It quickly hit success when it broke into the European market with ties in the F1 Championship.

Past

It started with license-free transceivers, then launched its purpose designed PMR range, the TK-250. Kenwood jointly developed the mobile digital broadcast receiving system, a world’s first. Then launched the Pro Talk PMR446 license-free, two-way radio.

Kenwood was also responsible for: 

  • The first digital transceiver operating on P25
  • Creating a network interface module for digital broadcast over a communications satellite
  • Launching 144/430 (440) MHz FM Dual Band TMV-71 series
Smart Digital Radio
Image credit: Deposit Photos

Present

Presently, Kenwood has a series of communications products under the reputable lines of:

  • NEXEDGE digital radios
  • NEXEDGE digital systems
  • ProTalk On-site business radios
  • Amateur radios

Audio

You’ve seen how times have changed for Kenwood, and how its quality has remained the same. From Hi-Fis to digital AV receivers, Kenwood promises the best in audio technology and performance.

Past

The company used to offer its KA and NV series of Kenwood Home Audio System. In the 80s, they were top of the line systems producing high fidelity sounds. You could also get Kenwood speakers for home audio in its X series. These products were meeting the needs of audiophiles in time past.

Present

Kenwood home audio systems are available these days as Smart Home Hi-Fi Systems. The standalone Compact Smart Radios are great for those who love impressive sounds on the move. Finally, there are the Smart Headsets, Kenwood’s response to today’s hands-free trend. 

Whenever anyone asks you if Kenwood still makes quality products, you know what answer to give them. Yes, it does. From the look of things, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

If you want to know the answers to some questions fellow audiophiles are asking about Kenwood, keep reading. We’ve answered some of them below.

HIFI Sound System
Image credit: Deposit Photos

Are JVC and Kenwood the Same Company?

JVC and Kenwood used to be separate companies. However, in 2008, both companies agreed on a strategic partnership and became JVC Kenwood Holdings Inc. In August 2011, the companies finalized their merger and became JVCKenwood Corporation under a single management.

When Did Kenwood Stop Making Home Audio?

Kenwood didn’t stop making home audio, at least not completely. Though you won’t find its home audio systems in the US anymore, except for those Hi-Fi systems from the 80s. However, Kenwood still makes Smart Home Hi-Fi Systems that are available on its European website.

So, if anyone asks you, “does Kenwood still make home audio?”, how would you answer?

Who Bought Kenwood?

If you’re referring to the Kenwood audio equipment manufacturer originally from Japan, no one did. The closest it got to being bought was a merger with JVC in 2008. 

If you’re wondering if there’s another Kenwood, you’ll get an A for curiosity. There is the Kenwood Limited, a British kitchen appliances manufacturing company headquartered in Havant, Hampshire. That is the Kenwood De’Longhi, an Italian appliance manufacturer, bought in 2001.

Where is Kenwood Made?

Kenwood is a Japanese brand. It’s car entertainment and professional communication devices are designed and engineered in Japan. However, they’re made in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Is Kenwood Still Good?

Kenwood is still good at what it does. Its high-quality and innovative car stereo and communication equipment attest to that. As a brand that has existed and through trials over decades, it’s easy to doubt its prowess. However, Kenwood products are still as reliable as they were back in the day.

Kenwood Has Survived and Is Still Going Strong

Kenwood is one of those brands that has maintained its reputation since its establishment decades ago. Achieving many world’s firsts in the communication and in-car entertainment industries is no small feat. 

This is a brand older fans have trusted, and have gained the respect of younger audiophiles. Still at the forefront of its game, we hope Kenwood will continue to impress us with its products. 

If you want to know more about speakers, and audio in general, explore our other pieces. Let us know in the comments what you think about Kenwood. We’d love to hear your opinion.


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