How do you hook up an amp to a stock radio

Connect the red power wire and ground wire you prepped earlier to the proper inputs on your amp. Secure all of the amp's connections tightly using a screwdriver. Reconnect your car battery, and test your new audio system. If the amp doesn't seem to be working properly, disconnect your battery again and go back and double-check all of your wiring for possible damaged wire, grounded wire or loose connections. Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.

He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth. Disconnect your car battery's negative terminal for safety purposes. Tip Using high-quality speaker wire will give you the best sound quality possible.

Hide all of the cables and wires behind carpeting, panels or trim for a cleaner and more professional look. Warning Never let your amp rest freely in your car without being mounted, because it can shift while you're driving and damage the wires or even pose a fire hazard. You can purchase a separate amplifier and speaker or you can purchase a powered subwoofer with a built-in amplifier. When purchasing either form of amplification, look for an amp that accepts high-level signals.

This allows you to run a high level speaker signal from your stock stereo's powered head unit without any additional wiring. If you purchase an amp without speaker level inputs, you will need to also purchase a line-out converter to alter the output of your stock head unit to a low-level signal to be accepted into standard speaker connections on your amp. Position your amp and speaker in your car. Subwoofers can be large speakers that are usually housed in speaker enclosures installed in the trunk of the car. Your amp could be installed near the speaker in the trunk or under a seat. Mounting brackets and speaker enclosures can be purchased at any local car audio retailer.

Connect your amplifier or powered sub to your car's stock head unit. If your amp accepts high level signals directly, simply match the appropriate speaker output wires from your head unit to the appropriate speaker level inputs on your amplifier. If your amplifier accepts line level signals only, you will need to cut the wires coming from the back of your head unit and splice them to the corresponding wires on a line-out converter.

This converter can then be connected directly to your amplifier's line level inputs.


  1. How to Wire an Amp to a Sub and Head Unit: 12 Steps.
  2. How to Add an Amplifier to a Factory Stereo;
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That would be the proper place to wire in the remote turn on lead. You do not want the amp wired up to constant power as this will drain your car battery. One down side to wiring in an amplifier to a stock radio is that most stock stereos are self adjusting, meaning as you turn the volume up on the stereo, internally the stereo is usually keeping the bass level and the same in comparison to other frequencies.

They do this to prevent you from blowing up the stock speakers. This can be pretty frustrating as it means your subwoofer level may stay the same regardless of you turning up the volume knob on the stereo. One way around this is to also wire in a subwoofer control knob.

How to hook up an amp and sub to a stock stereo.

Line drivers boost the signal from the stereo which can give you a lot more output. Now that you have your signal and remote turn on figured out, the rest is a pretty standard amp installation. If you are adding an amp and sub to an already amplified factory system, you need to wire your amp in a little differently.

If you do not, you will not get any bass output. The reason for this is the stock amplifier will be crossed over at a certain frequency. When there is a stock amplifier in a car, it is filtering what frequencies get played through what speakers. So be certain you get your signal from the stock subwoofer if your vehicle comes equipped with one.


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  • How to Wire an Amp & Subwoofers Into a Stock Stereo | It Still Works?
  • Another problem you may encounter when wiring an amp and sub into a premium factory sound system is the signal level may be too high or too low. You may have to get your signal before or after the amplifier; every car is different and you just need to try it to really see what will work best for your vehicle and application. Adding an amp and subwoofer to a stock radio can be the easiest way to improve your stereo system in your car, if you do it correctly.

    I hope that helps! If I connect and amp for a subwoofer to the stock sub speaker wires. Will my new subwoofer be limited to the same range as my stock one? Sure wish we had you guys nearby. In about a 9-hour drive, I could make it.

    How to Wire an Amp & Subwoofers Into a Stock Stereo

    So I had the remote starter done by local shop and the audio done by a big box company. So, I have a Toyota 4Runner. It has the Entune system — non-JBL and no subwoofer but with eight speakers — but it sounded pretty disappointing. So I had the store last week install a w kicker four channel amp, all new kicker KS speakers everywhere except the dash and some dynamat in the front doors.

    Stereo sounds so much better that it is actually kind of amazing to me. Llots of bass despite no subwoofer and pretty impressive highs, too. Lots of volume now, which was really weak before. So I took it back — they swapped the component cables on the amp under the seat and all is well, EXCEPT, now the truck acts like the key is in the accessory position all the time. The radio stays on, as does the clock and the 12v ports. Switched back the RCA cables and it stops and returns to normal. Installer thinks a remote turn on signal is feeding back from the amp.

    Hi Matt, Sorry I could not reply sooner — interesting story there. I guess in this case they used a separate line output converter since you mentioned they used RCA cables. Perhaps a faulty line output converter? Let me know what happened. The amp has both high and low inputs, remote subwoofer control as well as variable bass boost.

    Can that feature be turned off on the stock head unit? Some have that option. How would I be able to install the most optimal setup possible? I have them in a Honda accord tapped in through both rear trunk speakers currently and they sound great and all but with all this new technology there has to be a way to improve, could you guide me with any way to improve my system when switching it from the Honda to the cadillac? Or do you prefer I try to purchase maybe a more up to date amp for my optimal set up.

    I can include pictures if needed. I did it all with a little hard work and wal mart. Hi Mr Linville, I apologize for the late reply. You could grab your audio signal right at the stock subwoofer in the Cadillac. Hi Anne i have a jeep Cherokee sport and the jeep came with no amp or subs. I replaced the stock speakers and tried to get them amped. As soon as the speakers were amped up the sound shuts off.

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    The place where i got the amp installed said that my oem unit cant be amped. Now i have nice speakers that i cant turn up loud. Is there any amp that will work with my stock head unit. Basically, you need more professional, more experienced shop to help you. The best way to do this would be to use a processor that corrects the audio coming out of the head unit before it gets fed into the amp.

    It already has 2 factory subs under the seats. Do I have to splice the LOC on both subs or just one? Whats the best LOC for such a job? For this vehicle where would I get the best frequency results from? Have you guys worked on such a vehicle before? My main concern is controlling the volume to a subwoofer. With many aftermarket headunits, they have sub volume control so you can lower the subs volume and turn up the other speakers or vice versa.

    What if any options are there for this if using a factory head unit? Hi Frank, Towards the end of the article I mentioned the option of a separate bass control knob. We normally take it apart and mount the box behind a panel so all you see is the knob itself. I am hooking up after market amp in range rover and have loc converter got to factory sub but has four wires red and black also green and grey on the other side which ones do I hook up to to get bass for after market subs. If we have a factory sub we typically tie the positives together and tap into the single positive lead of the sub and negatives together and tap into the single negative lead of the sub.

    I had my installation done by so-called professionals. They are powered by: Here is the problem when I play music too load the system shuts down.

    How to Add an Amplifier to a Factory Stereo | It Still Works

    The shop that did the installation put a converter and they say that everything is fine. They say the problem is with the factory radio. Could this really be the case. Hi Allan, sorry to hear about your experience, but it sounds like a bunch of unprofessional installers. Did you have the stock JBL amplifier in that car? Or just the basic head unit? Typically the only things that will cause an amp to shut down like that is a bad ground or a signal that is clipping causing the amp to overheat and shut down.

    By the way, it would sound way better with an aftermarket head unit, just an FYI. When I play the radio the sound is low, lacks bass, cannot enjoy it at all. Radio volume cabln be cranked to the maximum. The bass is overpowering. The highs are sharp intolerable.

    Previously had the same amp and sub with zero distortion. Is it possible that this car cannot be fitted with and amp and sub? The stock set up was better than it is now.

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    Most Honda Accords are equipped with a noise cancellation microphone in the cabin — it needs to be disconnected, that will fix your problem! When the install is complete and I hook back up the battery neg terminal to the car, the system works and sounds good. But when I shut my car off and then turn it back on my amp comes up with the red light protection error every time after.

    I have no idea why. The factory system is the beats audio. Do I need to keep the factory sub installed and wired up too? If it does, that would indicate possibly a poor ground for the amplifier.


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    • Hi Annie, I have an 06 maxima with the factory premium bose sound system. All i will need is a LOC with bass control, to tap into the rear stock sub and wire the amp kit like normal right? Also, the watt amp has watts rms x 1 channel 4 ohms bridged , and my sub is 4 ohms, watts rms watts max.

      Is this amp good enough to get nice bass from the sub? Or do i need to upgrade to a bigger one before i hook it up? I want bass without having to buy a new alternator lol…. Hi Ashton, yeah you got it right. Can you do that or am I way off the mark? Hey Ben, it really kind of depends on your equipment. If not, yeah I would grab a 4 channel line output converter and use two separate RCA cables — one run the front channel and another to the sub channel.

      Additionally I would get a bass knob so you can have an independent sub level volume control as opposed to adjusting the bass on the head unit which will adjust bass levels to all speakers. I just installed a aftermarket radio in my 06 Chevy Equinox, everything turns on and looks like it is working but no sound is coming out.

      Any ideas as to what could be wrong? You probably have a stock amplifier that needs to be powered up. Like if you have the Bose system? You would need to use the remote turn on lead from your aftermarket radio usually blue with a white stripe and wire that to the amp turn on lead in the car harness.

      Hello annie,awesome blog here!

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