Not sure how to install AMP without RCA jacks? We’ve got you covered. Car stereos are designed to work with several electrical components, and the solution is right in front of you.
RCA connectors are used to transport audio and video signals from the source to the output speaker. They carry sound from the audio player to the amp or subwoofer or from the car amp to the subwoofer. Since their design in the 1930s, we’ve seen those RCA jacks in hundreds of connections, and by the looks of it, they’ll be around for years to come.
However, just because RCA jacks are widely used doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to your favorite playlist without them. RCA jacks often get damaged after years of use or due to minor accidents. Other times, the type of stereo on your car may not have RCA outputs (especially in factory radios). This article will teach you how to bypass the connection and listen to your favorite tunes without RCA jacks. So, read on for more tips on how to hook up amp without RCA jacks.
A Little Information About Car Amps
Amplifiers get their name from boosting a small electrical signal into a much larger voltage with the capacity to move the speakers. Today, most amplifiers come with a DC-DC power supply, bridging circuitry, noise prevention, etc. Despite these handy features, it is difficult for the speaker to work without the amp’s switch-mode power supply (SMPS). This critical feature makes it possible to harness powerful sounds from a 12v supply.
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Your amplifier, in most cases, will not come with the necessary wiring kit. Instead, you may have to purchase the ground wire, power cable, fuses, and terminals separately. The amp needs a separate wiring kit because it needs to draw sufficient power from the battery and also support other connections.
Tip 1: Use an RCA Adapter Car Audio
The first, easy method you can use to connect your amp is through an RCA adapter for car stereo. Whether you own an old head unit without RCA jacks, you can still add an amplifier to your car and give your speakers some extra juice.
You need two RCA plugs, an adapter cable, and of course, some speaker wires. Before trying anything like this, you must first ensure that your amplifier can take high-level input from the RCAs. The rear speaker is where you want to hook the adapter cable. Connect the speaker wires to the adapter cable.
Next, insert the adapter into the amp’s RCA cable input. Using a car stereo RCA adapter is one of the simplest connections you can use in the absence of RCA jacks. Fortunately, there are several RCA adapter options in the market.
But what if you have damaged RCA inputs on your amplifier? Learn how to fix RCA inputs on an amp from the available guides online. Broken RCA inputs are an irritating inconvenience, but luckily, they’re not hard to deal with. You may have to replace the entire socket or open up the entire unit to find and fix the damaged inputs.
Tip 2: Use Line Output Converters
If you’re new to car stereos, line output converters are a term that may confuse you. Line Output Converters (LOCs) are small devices that support connections between the radio and the car amplifier. They can also be used to connect a brand new radio to your car’s factory amplifier.
Line output converters comprise a high-voltage resistor and transformers that turn a powerful speaker level input amp signal into an amp-friendly signal. This means that they convert high-level amplified audio signals into low-level signals that can actually be fed into the amplifier.
Line output converters work hand in hand with RCA cables to transmit sounds to the amplifier. However, if RCAs are simply not an option at the moment, you can try something else.
Installing the Line Output Converter(LOC)
A LOC should fit in any car with a factory radio. This allows any vehicle with a stock radio to run an aftermarket subwoofer and amp. Converting the high output signal (delivered to the front or rear speakers) into a low output signal (delivered to the amplifier) should give your subwoofer enough juice to produce quality bass.
To get started, you’ll need a high-quality line output converter from a respected brand, a voltmeter to test what goes where, some wires, connectors, a wire stripper, and some tape.
Locate the factory wiring harness
Find whatever wires connect your car’s factory radio and the speakers to the amps. In most cases, you’ll find these connections and many others just behind the head unit.
Figure out what the wires mean
Manufacturers use different color coding to separate positive and negative terminals. For instance, your car speakers may have red cables for positive terminals and black for negative. Figuring out what connections these wires feed helps a great deal in getting the best sound from your stereo and preventing possible interference.
Strip away the insulation
Be careful with the wire strippers because you don’t want to strip away too much wire. Instead, strip away about an inch of insulation from each wire to give room for the connections. The right channel of the LOC goes straight into the right speaker while the left channel goes into the left speaker.
Hold the wires together
Winding the wires together is a simple method to make a strong connection between them. However, there’s a much better, neater way to keep the wires intact. One way to keep the connection neat is to use butt connectors. For every group of twisted wires, use a butt connector to keep the connection stable. You can also use electrical tape to keep the wires from getting in contact with each other and causing interference.
Regardless of whether you’re installing the LOC for the rear speakers or setting it up in the factory wiring harness, this procedure should help you get the connection right.
Tip 3: Use The High-Level Amp Inputs
Car amplifiers come in different configurations, each suited to a set of installation procedures. In most cases, you’ll find factory radio systems without RCA jacks, meaning that you’ll have to find other means to connect the speakers. On the other hand, aftermarket radios contain several outputs for several amps.
To connect your amp without RCA jacks, you can also use the high-level input amp. The high-level inputs at the back of the amplifier allow you to feed signals into the factory speaker wires. The name “high-level input” comes from the fact that these ports deliver a higher voltage than a standard preamp output.
How To Use This Connection
Installing your car amp with a high-level input begins with removing the negative terminal from the battery. This will prevent other components along the circuit from getting fried. Your amp kit comes with a red power cable, which must run to the battery and also go through the fuse holder.
Connect the cable to the fuse holder
Cut a short piece of the cable that runs from the battery to the fuse holder location and ensure that there is enough wire from the battery to the fuse holder. Attach the fuse holder on one end. The remaining wire will run from the fuse holder to your amp. Strip off the insulation on one end of this wire and attach it to the other end of the fuse holder. Attach the shorter end of the wire that feeds into the fuse holder to the car battery positive terminal.
Mount the fuse holder somewhere near the battery for easy access
Locate an entry point on the car firewall. The entry point should allow you to run the power cable all the way to the amp. It would help if you hid the cable by passing it under the carpet, seats, or trim panels on one side of the vehicle. This way, they will be less prone to damage and premature wear and tear.
Connect the speakers
Front speakers are easier to reach than the rear ones. Make sure that you have speaker-level inputs on your amp. For every speaker you intend to boost with your amp, cut off a piece of the speaker wires and join them with the wires that lead to your amp. Remember to test for polarity to put the correct speaker to its correct connection.
Fasten the ground connection
The ground wire runs to the car’s chassis. Where possible, look for a nearby bolt on the chassis and fasten the ground wire at this location.
Reconnect the negative terminal and check whether the amp turns on after starting the ignition. At this point, you’ll need to reset the gains to your preferences.
Not so Fast! Points to Remember Before the Connections
The new connections are intended to last for a long time. However, a minor issue arising from a faulty connection or a substandard piece of equipment could render your stereo non-functional over time.
Avoid poor quality audio equipment.
When dealing with audio equipment, you want to make sure that you only get the best gear from trustworthy manufacturers. Don’t fall for the figures advertised (for instance, the output wattage) as these are just mere advertisement figures.
Figure Out Where To Place The Amp
There are several places you can install your amp in the car. Just don’t put it where loose items can damage it while driving. Most people will install the amp in the trunk where there is plenty of space. While there is no problem installing the amp in the trunk, make sure there’s a cool air supply as it will get hot while running.
Disconnect the Negative Battery Terminal
Safety comes first when installing your new amp. Always disconnecting the negative terminals ensures that other electrical components are not damaged in the process. Finally, check the amp’s RMS and speakers’ RMS. They should be the same or very close. If the amp’s RMS is way too high, it could damage the speakers.
Getting the best from your car stereo depends mostly on what gear you have and a little knowledge to join it all together. Whether you have RCA jacks or not, using your car AMP without RCA jacks is possible but only if you get the connections right.