Kenwood Model Eleven III

Kenwood Model Eleven III Receiver

The Kenwood Model Eleven III was introduced around 1976 and was on the market until about 1978. It was sold primarily on overseas military bases to U.S. military personnel. Many would consider the Eleven III a monster receiver given it produces 120 watts per channel. It is large too, one of the larger receivers ever made. In fact, it won’t fit in most standard audio cabinets.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Timer


The Model Eleven III has a multitude of controls on the front panel including:

  • Loudness
  • High/Low Filters
  • Triple tone controls
  • Timer
  • Dial Light Dimmer Switch
  • LED Dial Pointer
  • 2 Headphone jacks
  • Mic jack
  • 400Hz Tone button
  • Mono
  • FM muting
  • Flexible Dolby Noise Reduction controls

Triple Tone Controls

Besides the standard bass and treble controls, the Eleven III features a mid-range tone control, which gives you better control over listening room conditions, and provides for more delicate adjustments of tonal nuances.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Knobs

Automatic 2-Hour Shutoff Timer Control

One of the distinctive features of the Kenwood Model Eleven III is it’s timer function. The entire audio system can be pre-set to shut down automatically at any desired time within a 2-hour period. AC outlets on the rear panel can supply power to a turntable, tape deck, or other components you want to include in the system. When the timer shuts the receiver down the AC outlets will shut down as well thereby simultaneously shutting down all the components. This feature is great if you want to doze off to good music every night.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Timer Instructions


The Kenwood Eleven III features a total of 4 precision adjusted meters including signal strength, FM tuning, and left/right power output meters capable of accurate metering up to 150 watts. These power meters are also used for checking line levels.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Meters

There are a multitude of indicator lights on the front panel as well. These include:

  • Signal Strength Meter
  • Tuning Meter
  • Power/Line Level Left
  • Power/Line Level Right
  • Stereo
  • AM
  • FM
  • Phono 1
  • Phono 2
  • Mic
  • Aux
  • Dolby NR
  • Dolby FM

Speaking of lighting, there are 22 bulbs in the Model Eleven III. You can find both incandescent and LED kits on eBay HERE.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Stereo
Kenwood Model Eleven III

Kenwood made a number of different versions of the Eleven over the course of about five years, from 1975 to 1980. They included:

  • Model Eleven – 60 wpc
  • Model Eleven II – 80 wpc
  • Model Eleven III – 120 wpc
  • Model Eleven G – 120 wpc
  • Model Eleven GX – 120 wpc
  • Super Eleven – 125 wpc

The ‘G’ models have a graphic equalizer built into the receiver.

Kenwood Model Eleven G
Kenwood Model Eleven G

The Eleven II and Eleven III are essentially the same externally and internally. The only difference is the power, with the Eleven III having 40 watts more per channel than the Eleven II.

Kenwood Model Eleven II vs III

The Eleven has less wattage than the II and III and is also slightly different on the outside. Note the three switches on the right side of the front panel. The Eleven II and III have six knobs and one switch while the Eleven has five knobs and three switches.

Kenwood Model Eleven
Kenwood Model Eleven

Kenwood also sold the KR-10000, KR-10000 II and the KR-10000 III which were essentially the same as the Model Eleven series receivers but sold in regular audio stores as opposed to military exchanges.

Kenwood KR-10000 III
Kenwood KR-10000 III

Most all of the KR-10000 III stereos I have seen have a gray face plate. The front page of the service manual shows that the Eleven III and the KR-10000 III are the same.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Service Manual

The KR-11000, KR-11000 II, KR-11000 III, KR-11000 IV, KR-11000G, KR-11000GX were all sold in Europe and have black or gray face plates.


The Kenwood Eleven III receiver can deliver sufficient reserves of stable power at a very low level of distortion. The Kenwood Eleven II will deliver 120 watts of rms power into 8 ohms, with both channels driven, at no more than 0.1% total harmonic distortion. With this this level of power the Eleven III can drive even less efficient speakers to sustained, high listening levels without an audible trace of distortion.

Kenwood utilizes an Automatic Impedance Detector that will insure optimum operation at full power with 4-Ohm or 8-Ohm Speakers. This circuit detects whether 4-ohm or 8-ohm speakers are connected, and automatically changes the power supply to the power amp stage accordingly. So, you’re not limited in your choice of speakers. You can safely connect any pair (or foursome) of any 8-ohm or 4-ohm type, and you will always be assured of the optimum power and performance.


The Kenwood Model Eleven III has a special, low-noise, junction-type, FET equipped front-end that provides excellent sensitivity of 10.3dBf (1.8uV). Even distant stations sound as if they’re up close. Kenwood was known for their excellent ham radios and tuners and they incorporated a lot of that technology into the Eleven III and other models.

It has an outstanding S/N ratio of 75dB (at 65dBf ) which means noise levels are almost non-existent. Harmonic distortion (at 65dBf) accounts for a mere 0.4% during stereo.

The extremely accurate 4-element phase-linear type ceramic filters in the IF stage, plus the highly effective and reliable phase lock loop IC in the stereo decoder stage (MPX), are major contributing factors behind the excellent alternate channel selectivity and stereo separation ratings. Like most of Kenwood’s high end receivers, the tuner in the Model Eleven III is superb.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Cabinet

Because of their size and weight the Eleven series receivers can be difficult to moving. Because of this they tend to have issues with their wood cabinets. The Eleven III especially as it has quite a few slots on the top of the cabinet that can be broken or cracked. The Eleven II has fewer slots while the Eleven has two wire mess grills on the top.

The bottom of the Eleven III’s cabinet has four venting grills as well as wood feet which probably aren’t too kind to whatever it is sitting on.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Bottom

The Kenwood Eleven III is large. It dimensions are 22 1/2” W x 7 1/2” H x 14” D. It weighs roughly 40 lbs. Not as heavy as some of the other monster receivers out there but still formidable.

Rear Panel

There are connections for 3 sets of speakers on the back panel of the Model Eleven III. What’s nice is that you can run A, B, C, A+B, A+C, B+C, or A+B+C.

  • AC Outlet Un-switched
  • AC Outlet Switched
  • Main In Left, Right
  • Pre Out Left, Right
  • Tape Monitor 1
  • Tape Monitor 2
  • Aux Input
  • Phono 1
  • Phono 2
Kenwood Model Eleven III Back Panel

There are a few issues with the Model Eleven III. Some have mentioned that the dial lamp dimmer will not work with LED lights. So, if you like the dimmer feature and you’re contemplating changing the lamps to LED you might want to verify whether it will still work.

The most common problem with the Eleven III’s is the timer. There is a piece of hard plastic that is part of the timer control shaft that is very often broken so that the timer is stuck either on or off. Most solve this by bypassing the timer switch so that the receiver is always in the ON position and they then control the power via an external power strip. I have seen newly fabricated plastic connector shafts on eBay that will solve the problem though.

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Here is the timer shaft with the missing plastic coupler.

Kenwood Model Eleven III Timer Shaft

Here’s what some have said about the Model Eleven III:

Tons of power and sounds warm and toasty.

Has a nice warm sound. The display looks really good in low lighting.

Powerful, impressive tuner section, good phono section and enough space inside for air venting. Nice design and quite reliable.

Classic “black out” dial styling. Kenwood’s answer to the Sansui 9090DB.

Overall, the Kenwood Model Eleven III is a good performing receiver with an exceptional tuner. It looks great lit up, is very flexible with it’s plethora of features, and produces enough power to run most any speaker setup. The timer issue is easily fixable now so that’s not really an issue. It’s big so you’ll need to make sure you have the space for it but, wow, what a conversation piece it is. The larger Kenwood models don’t command the high prices that comparable Marantz or Sansui models do so you have a chance of getting more value for your money as well. Definitely worth picking one up if you have the chance.

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3 thoughts on “Kenwood Model Eleven III

  1. I’m glad you did the review on this receiver. I recently aquired one and I can tell you,it is absolutely awesome and beautiful. I wouldn’t trade it for two Sansui’s. I turn it on in the dark sometimes just to admire the craftsmanship of this work of art. Mine does not have a scratch anywhere and sounds amazing.

  2. Hey. Guys kenwoods
    I was at a garage sale and picked a kenwood 11 up for $30.00 a Jem the timer works but not connected do any one know how or the connection for it is.

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