Monday, September 5, 2022

Kenwood KAC-M5024BT Compact Bluetooth 4 Channel Digital Amplifier

It doesn’t matter where I am, I like to bring my tunes with me. While home audio and car audio has been around for decades and decades, a fairly new category is Motorsport. Boats, ATV’s, Golf Carts, and Motorcycles, these are all part of the Motorsport category. And innovations continue in this category, as it continues to grow and advance. An example of this is Kenwood with their KAC-M5024BT.  It’s a 4-channel amplifier designed for Motorsport with Bluetooth, and MSRP of $349.


Features and specs:

IP67/IP66 Certified Waterproof & Dustproof

RMS 50W x4 (4Ω)

RMS 75W x4 (2Ω)

7 Selectable EQ Presets

Wired Remote Control Included

Built-in Bluetooth with aptX

RCA Line Output Terminals for System Expansion

 (W)7-13/16” x (H)1-15/16” x (D)4-1/8”


The Kenwood KAC-M5024BT came in a great looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the amplifier. Opening the box revealed a well-protected amplifier held in place by custom molded Styrofoam. Materials used in the construction was mostly metal, with some plastic and rubber. Quality of materials used, and fit and finish, was very good. Also included was the wired remote and manual.


I love the design of the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT. But I’ll admit, initially I didn’t. I’m old school. I’m used to having a source unit, and the source unit feeding the signal to the amplifier. When you are dealing with the weather or electronic components in an outdoor environment; the more components, the more that could go wrong, the more cost, etc. It makes sense to have an amplifier like the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT.


After getting over my old school design preferences, I fell in love with the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT. The design is brilliant! It’s a solidly built, durable amp. You can see that they used a rubber seal around the control terminal, and silicon around the connection terminal to seal moisture out. There’s even an internal drain tunnel to help drain out any moisture like condensation that managed to get in. The wired remote would be easy to mount. And then there’s the built-in Bluetooth. The only potential downside for some…. no DVD/CD transport, since there is no receiver. It doesn’t even have RCA inputs, so using a receiver with it actually isn’t an option. It does however have a pair of RCA outputs for expansion, like adding a subwoofer.


The Kenwood KAC-M5024BT use of Bluetooth is quite ingenious. It simplifies things for use in many different types of vehicles, like boats, golf carts, even motorcycles and jet ski’s. If you have a motorized vehicle, and space for a couple speakers, all you need is a little more space for this amp. All of your music is streamed through the amp. Motorsport products are designed for the elements, to be dust and water resistant. But Kenwood took things a few steps further. The Kenwood KAC-M5024BT can actually be submerged! You read right. It can be submerged.  So if your intention is to use it in a watercraft, no worries!


If you’re like me, and want to take your music with you everywhere you go, and you have a Boat or ATV, all you need is this amp, and at least a pair of speakers. Although as a four-channel amp, you could have 2 pairs of speakers. And if you like extra bass like me, use the RCA outputs to add a sub. Very simple and minimal design. Now let’s see how it works, and sounds.


The amp was really easy to set up. The control panel has the controls for internal crossover, 2 or 4 channel use, and fader. Once you have the controls the way you want them, using the wired remote was also really easy. There are two blue LED’s, one on each side of the round knob. Once you power on the amp, they blink to show you are in pairing mode. Pairing my LG V40 smartphone was extremely simple. Once paired, it was time to listen to my tunes. The built-in EQ’s helped to get the sound curve I was looking for.


Other than the EQ curve settings, there was not much to the remote. There are buttons for pause/play, track forward/fast forward, and track back/rewind. There is also pre-out level control, dimmer control, and LED’s to show which EQ curve you are on. It was extremely simple to use.


I was impressed with how simple it was to use the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT. The sound was also equally impressive. Going through my favorite playlist, not only did the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT provide good power, it was more transparent than I was expecting, without coloring or altering the sound of the song. Highs, such as with cymbals, were crisp and clean. Mids, such as with vocals, were smooth with good texture of the timbre. Bass had very good punch, with nice authority and low-end extension without sounding thin.


Motorsport vehicles get loud. So if you want to bring your tunes with you on the go, an amp is almost a necessity to get the volume that you need to enjoy your music. Otherwise not only will they sound thin without an amp, they may be harder to hear over the engine noise and noise from your environment, such as the water up against the boat. You can’t go wrong with the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT. Not only is it very well made, it also is very simple to use, and sounds great! Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the Kenwood KAC-M5024BT has earned our Editor’s Choice Award! Kudos to Kenwood on such an excellent amp! For more info and complete specs, check out their website at  Reference gear: Kenwood DNX997XR, AudioControl DM-810, AudioControl In-Dash Epicenter, JL Audio XD600/6 Class D amp, Vibe Audio LiteBox Stereo4 CLass GH amp, Massive Audio Nano BLU BL1 Class D amp, German Maestro M-Line 3-way components, Alpine Type-X 2-way components, Image Dynamics subs.