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How To Hook Up Amplifier

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Audiocontrol lc2i line output converter

How To Hook Up Amplifier Without RCA Cables – Easy Guide

How To Hook Up Amplifier – [Updated 2022]

More often than one may imagine, connecting an amp without RCA connections is necessary. There are a variety of approaches that may be used when it comes to wiring an aftermarket amplifier to a car radio installation.

Everything depends on the equipment being installed, the kinds of connectors that are offered with the equipment, and the system’s ultimate objectives.

A good set of car speakers is obviously essential, and after you’ve paired them with an excellent car amplifier, installing them can often be simple, but not always.

The majority of intermediate to high end car audio system instals use an amp’s RCA ports since they offer perhaps the best sounding connection. This is transmitted from the head unit (radio/receiver) of the system to the amplifier directly, but there are circumstances that call for a different approach, such as when the head unit lacks RCA outputs on the back.

It happens more frequently than you might imagine, and chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re currently experiencing it. Let’s investigate how to connect an amp without RCA jacks now.

In the end, there are three solutions to this install conundrum:

adaptor from speaker wire to RCA
High-level inputs for line output converters in an amplifier.

Like everything else, each strategy has its own pros and disadvantages. But don’t worry; the following information will dispel any misconceptions you may have about all three strategies.

#1 Speaker Wire To RCA Adapter

To start, the significance of an external power amplifier in a transportable audio system cannot be emphasised enough. The contrast is startling to those who have only ever used car radio within the parameters of its factory installation.

JL RCA to Speaker Wire Adaptor

Amplifiers deliver the visceral force necessary to make music actually come to life, from the jaw-dropping dynamic range provided by an amp’s high-current power to the sheer power that drives thunderous subwoofers in the trunk. That’s not even mentioning how a strong amp can cancel out the bothersome road noise that can be heard in many different car and truck models when the windows are down and the vehicle is travelling at a high speed. However, many newcomers to the world of automotive audio are unaware that a vehicle’s factory radio may really be utilised with an outboard amp; it just requires a little ingenuity and familiarity with the required accessories to link it all up.

When it comes to larger cars like vans or full-size SUVs, where it can be particularly difficult to generate a clear, strong sound, a high-quality car amplifier can help you get the most out of your factory system. Here’s where I introduce our first workaround: an adaptor cable that connects speaker wires to an RCA socket. The simplest method is usually to connect the aforementioned adapter to your car’s rear speaker wire harness and plug it into your amp’s RCA cable input if your amp can handle a high level input (see your amplifier’s specifications for more information). The best adapters available:


#2 High-Level (Speaker-Level) Inputs On Amplifiers

Using high-level inputs, also known as speaker-level inputs, is the second way to connect an amplifier without RCA connections.

What Is A High-Level Input On A Car Amp?

High-Level Inputs allow you to hook up an amp without RCA jacks

The majority of external power amps feature high-level inputs, allowing you to connect them to the factory speaker wires for signal flow because factory radios lack RCA or “preamp outputs,” which are outputs specifically designed for amplifiers. Because the voltage level is substantially higher than that of a typical preamp output connection, these are known as high-level inputs. In any case, the high-voltage is converted at these inputs to a form that the amplifier can handle. Once connected, the system produces clear, well-defined sound, and a choice of 2 and 4-channel amplifiers as well as monoblock amplifiers, which are typically used for subwoofers, all come equipped with high-level inputs.

How To Wire A High-Level Input On An Amp

The process for wiring an amplifier with preamp outputs is quite similar to that used for installing one with high-level inputs. It is always recommended that you unplug your battery’s negative connection before starting anything to guard against a potential short circuit. The red power cable from your amp kit should be run through the firewall of your car, to the battery, and then connected to the fuse holder, starting from the passenger compartment. Connect the connections to the battery and head unit, then mount the fuse holder. Your power will be produced through this process. You will now run your amplifier’s red (power) and blue (turn-on) cables behind door panels or seats.

Your power has now been used, so it’s time to start getting actual audio signals. Strip out a tiny portion of your car’s color-coded left and right speaker cables for each speaker (or subwoofer) that you intend to drive with your amp, then splice in the lines that lead to your amp (crimp or solder, and secure the connection for optimum performance). Reaching the amp shouldn’t be an issue if you plan to install the amp in the trunk of your car because it is only a short distance from the rear deck speakers or a subwoofer. To connect wiring to the front seat speakers, you will need to go under a door jamb or the carpeting of the floor. The front speakers will also be simpler to access than the rear ones if your amplifier is placed under the front seat.


#3 Line Output Converters (LOC)

A line output converter is the third method for connecting an amp without RCA connections. Many installers utilise this tool when working with customers who only want to add amplifiers and subwoofers and don’t want to change anything about their factory system.

What Is A Line Output Converter?

Audiocontrol LC2i line output converter

This RCA adapter for stock radio transforms the speaker-level, high-voltage signal into a preamp-level signal that a power amp can handle. A “LOC,” as they are referred to, connects to your amp via a regular RCA patch cable and is made out of a transformer and a high-voltage resistor. The transformer of this apparatus needs to be grounded, and most line output converters include a wire specifically for that purpose. When balancing an amp’s output trim levels, LOCs also frequently have an adjustable gain capability that allows the output driving the amp to be adjusted to some extent. This is useful for preventing subwoofers from becoming overdriven.

How To Hook Up Amplifier

What Does An LOC Do?

As mentioned in the section above, a LOC transforms the speaker-level, high-voltage signal into a preamp signal that a power amp can use. When adding a two-channel or monoblock amplifier to an existing factory radio, this is extremely useful (or even some aftermarket systems). The majority of LOCs have an output voltage of up to four volts, signal-sensing turn-on, and relay-driving capabilities. Some models also come with handy remote-mountable volume controls for accurate subwoofer amplifier level control from the driver’s seat.

How To Hook Up A Line Out Converter (LOC)

Here is a comprehensive, step-by-step manual for setting up a line output converter. Find the leads that connect the factory-installed radio and amplifier in your car to the speakers as a first step. These wires, in my experience, are situated directly beneath the head unit. The left channel of the LOC can then be joined to the left speaker, and the right channel of the LOC can be attached to the right speaker by first removing an inch of each wire’s insulation with wire strippers. The converter’s wires must now be soldered to the speaker wires before being sealed with electrical tape or a heat-shrink technique. The LOC must then be connected to your car at a point of attachment before RCA cables can be inserted into it and run to your amp.

In order to make sure everything sounds as clean as possible, the final steps require balancing various levels. The first step in doing this is setting your amplifier’s gains to a medium level before turning on your radio and adjusting the volume to what you consider to be a comfortable listening level. Then, after you see distortion beginning to sneak in, reduce the gains until it stops using the working end of a small screwdriver inserted into the amp’s adjustment detents. In order to make sure that the amplifier is not emitting any distortion, return to your head unit and increase the volume. Adjust the gains on the converter and amp if you hear distortion.

How To Hook Up An Amp Without RCA Jacks

It is normal practise to connect an amplifier that lacks RCA jacks. Even while the majority of systems already come equipped with RCA connections, which makes life much simpler, you shouldn’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a similar situation. It just takes a little bit of study and collecting the correct parts to connect your speakers wire using an RCA adapter, through high-level inputs on your amp, or through LOCs. This is the case regardless of the method you choose to use. When it’s done, you’ll be pleased you did it since a high-quality amplifier can make an unbelievable improvement to your sound system. Once it’s done, you’ll be glad you did it.

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