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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.

Description

Estimated wait for next available agent :. For Tech Support, call I belong to a culture of fine sights and sounds, and I like spreading the word. I've been tinkering with electronics ever since I was a kid - starting with taking apart and putting back together televisions and radios.

I always got them back together again and working. I took courses in radio and electronics as a teenager, and became a ham radio operator. I worked in my high school's stage crew, running sound, lights, and a movie projector.

After college, I ed a rock 'n roll band as the soundman and learned how to lug around and operate the gear that helps make music sound good and loud. Working in a music store in Austin, Texas, I spent a few years manufacturing, installing, repairing, and operating sound systems.

Our customers were recording studios, nightclubs, and touring bands. Eventually I moved back to Charlottesville, Virginia and opened a small demo recording studio. InI finally came to my senses and got this job at Crutchfield. They actually pay me to ramble on, rant, and explain the things I love about music, electronics, and getting good sound.

Given my background, they put me to work writing about some of the most complex electronic products Crutchfield sells: car amplifiers, digital al processors, wiring, professional sound mixers, and PA systems. Adding an amplifier to a factory stereo often requires running a lot of new speaker wire — from the stereo to the amplifier and then from the amp to the speakers. This can feel like an impossible nightmare.

Fortunately, we have a way to make it a little easier. This article explains how to connect an amplifier to a factory stereo. If you have an aftermarket stereo, you'll use a set of RCA cables instead of one of the 9-wire cables below. Refer to our article about adding an amp to an aftermarket stereo for more details. Usually, you'll be installing a 4-channel amplifier with speaker-level inputs.

The best way to connect it to a factory system is to tap into the stereo's speaker outputs for the amp's input al. Then send the amp's outputs back to the stereo's harness, and on to the speakers through the factory wiring. Run two of these cables from the dash to your new amplifier. You'll need one for the amp's input and the other for its output.

These cables will act like a "T-harness" to connect your amp to the factory system. Behind the factory radio, you can access all of the speaker wires in one place. The radio's wiring harness delivers power to the radio and sends its output to the speakers. You'll need to identify which wire goes to which speaker. Positive le are usually solid-colored wires, while their accompanying negative le tend to be the same color with a stripe of a second color.

Please be aware that these wiring colors vary widely from one car to the next.

How to hook up an amplifier without rca cables

If you purchase your new gear from Crutchfield, our Tech Support team can look up the wire colors for you. Give us a call before you tear apart your dash, so you'll know what to expect. Once you've identified each of the eight speaker wires, cut each one. Connect the end coming from the radio plug to a new wire going to the amp's input. Connect the end going to the speakers to the appropriate wire coming from the amp's output. That means you'll use two of the 9-wire cables, one for the amp's input, the other for its output. Even with my challenged eyesight and shaky hands it only took me about 40 minutes to wire this harness for illustration.

Amplifiers that have speaker-level inputs also feature "al-sensing turn-on. This means you don't use the ninth wire the blue wire of either cable for this installation.

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Our favorite option is the Crutchfield 9-wire cable shown above because each set of speaker wires is color coded. We also carry a selection of highly conductive, pure copper speaker wireavailable by the foot, if you prefer that. You can make all the speaker connections without having to solder or crimp anything.

One package will cover this job and give you a few spares. For amps with more than 75 watts RMS of output per channel, it might be better to go ahead and run new or gauge speaker wires directly from the amplifier to each speaker. Factory speaker wires are very thin, with high electrical resistance. They can cause noticeable power loss when higher wattages try to get through. But amplifiers of watts or less aren't really affected by this. Running their output through factory wiring remains a practical and convenient solution. Another popular way to connect an amplifier to a factory radio is to use something called a line output converter.

It connects to the factory radio's speaker wires and converts the speaker-level al to a preamp-level al. This lets you use RCA cables to run that al to your amplifier. A line output converter offers some advantages, like the ability to sum and control als of a multi-channel factory system. So if you're upgrading a complex system, using a line output converter might be your best option.

The speaker wire solution we've shared here is a simpler, less-expensive alternative that will work for most people. about line output converters.

Reader interactions

This article focused on a way to simplify the speaker connections. For information about other aspects of amplifier installation, like power and ground wiring, check out our Amplifier Installation Guide. If you have any questions about connecting a new amplifier to your speakers, contact our advisors via chat or phone.

They'll take the time to answer your questions and explain the details, then get you set up with whatever you need. I added alpine amps into my wrangler. I got the al from where all of the speakers are mounted From the factory amp and I was wondering if that's okay? Systems seems okay. I have a mazda cx3 non bose system, I recently replaced my door speakers with aftermarket ones component in the front and coaxial in the back.

Now I read somewhere that my car has a tau unit tuner amplifier unit and because of that the result is not much better. So I would like to amplifie my door speakers with an aftermarket amp, but I also want to keep the factory head unit. Can I bypass the factory amp to my new amp without losing to much of the original controls? I was planning to buy the JBL clubcan it be done with this amp? I have an add an amp on my silverado I have and issue with subs popping when i turn the gain up much at all!

I thought it might be due to an under powered amp so I got a new on I have 2 new Ds18 12s watt rms and a shar audio watt rms amp! I have also installed a compasitor to help with power drawl! But I still have a popping when bass hits hard unless I turn my gain way down which make my subs very weak!

I don't know what I need or what is wrong any help would be very appreciated! Do you have adaptors for adding amplifiers to factory head units that use a CanBus optical cable with factory apps?

I do not want to use speaker level inputs due to quality of sound, plus the Alpine amp is 50w RMS per channel, the Sub is w RMS, so levels higher than most amp's speaker level inputs will handle. Could I just tap into the factory speaker wires behind the door panels and run it like that? Can I splice into the remote wire on the amp then run a wire to a kill switch?

Meaning: not take the factory head unit out but unhook the remote wire from the amp itself and run a kill switch? The factory until does have a line output converter installed. Maybe show us? A "new wire?

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

Where did this wire come from? I'm trying to figure out the Metra T's wiring.

With this kit, I would plug the male connector into the the vehicle's wiring harness female plug at the floor, under and behind the radio. That female plug has the eight speaker outputs, right, since those go to each speaker? But where are the input wires? There are just three wires from the Metra T male connector to its female connector, which goes into the back of the factory stereo.

So, do the eight wires from the Metra T male connector go into the 5ch Soundstream amp's input or output?

Lastly, how would I create a 5th input to run a small 6. Hey there! I have a Ford Escape with no factory amp. I am about to go to the junk yard to find a factory amp just for the door speakers. Is the article above what I need to do for that install?

If I find a factory amp from a Ford, will my head unit have the clip in connections for the amp or will I have to locate the speaker wires and pigtail them? I need to put a amplifier to a Tucson and run of the original speakers with a sub.

Anyway sound companies in JHB can do this for me.

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Sela

Having to hook up an amp without RCA jacks is more common than one thinks.
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