It's possible to add an amp to your car's factory audio system without having to buy an expensive new head unit CD player.
Wiring up an amplifier to a stock radio is something that many of our customers do themselves. With the proper parts and correct wiring, this can be an easy way to improve your factory stereo system. Line output convertor LP has adjustable input als and al sensing remote turn on.
This is what is going to feed al into your amplifier. These line output converters, also known as hi to low level converters, are typically wired into the rear speaker wires of a vehicle. This will provide audio al to your amp. It is very important to get the phase of the wiring correct. If you just tap into a pair of speaker wires and happen to get some sound, you may not necessarily have positive and negative correct.
If you were to get the right rear speaker positive and negative correct, but the left rear speaker positive and negative reversed, you will have effectively canceled out your bass frequencies. The factory speaker wires will not be labeled and will not be marked like typical aftermarket wiring harnesses. You will need a multimeter and a double AA battery with some speaker wire hooked up to it in order to test for for speaker wires and the phase.
To make your speaker wire tester, simply take some speaker wire and electrical tape the positive wire to the positive post and the negative wire to the negative end of the battery. Speaker wires tend to be grouped together, so look for what may be pairs to start testing. You will want to make sure you are not sending power to any wires other than speaker wires, so that is where your multimeter comes in handy. Testing stock stereo harness wires for remote turn on lead. In most cases, you will want to wire the line output converter in behind the stereo.
This is a good idea if you ever plan on changing the stereo as your RCAs will already be ran. After removing the radio, using your meter, check for power, ground and accessory wires. Once you know what is not speaker wires, you can start testing pairs of wires. Strip back a little bit of the wire and hook each end of the battery tester up to a pair of wires. If you have a pair of speaker wires, you will hear the speaker popping or scratching. Once you hear sound, you need someone else to actually look at the speaker. If the speaker is moving in and out, you have positive and negative correct.
If the speaker is sucking back in, you have positive and negative reversed. Once you have determined the proper speaker wires for the rear speakers, you can tap into them and hook them up to the line output converter. Now that you have your speaker wires figured out, we can move on to the remote turn on lead. If you use the PAC LP with al sensing remote turn on, the line output convertor itself will give you a remote turn on lead.
This is not a standard feature of all line output convertors, so depending on which one you use, you may still need to find an accessory power source in the vehicle. If you were testing all of your wires earlier with a multimeter, you should know which wire is a switched power source.
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.
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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. Line drivers boost the al from the stereo which can give you a lot more output.
Now that you have your al 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 al from the stock subwoofer if your vehicle comes equipped with one.
Another problem you may encounter when wiring an amp and sub into a premium factory sound system is the al level may be too high or too low. You may have to get your al 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.
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 al 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?
Youll be installing a 4-channel
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 al 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. 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. Good luck! 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 from? Have you guys worked on such a vehicle before? See attached schematics.
Make your factory audio system
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.
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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. Here is the problem when I play music too load the system shuts down. The shop that did the installation put a converter and they say that everything is fine.