How To Connect A Car Subwoofer To An Amplifier

Like any music loving car owner, you are probably feeling a bit disappointed with your current factory audio setup. First off the speakers are small and powerless, it’s like trying to listen to a couple of mounted headphones. Secondly, the subwoofer; that’s right, what subwoofer? The manufacturer probably did not bother to install one during assembly. And if they did, the quality of the bass is an outright joke. Thirdly, if you were lucky enough to get an amplifier, it’s probably the weakest, cheapest and most basic amp on the market. Again, your car manufacturer is only focused on the assembly of the vehicle, not creating a mobile recording studio.

Section Description
1. What You'll Need Some tools/supplies needed are: RCA cables, ground wire, speaker wires, remote turn-on wire, amplifier, subwoofer, speakers, connector plugs for head unit, phillips screwdriver / screws, wire stripper, electrical tape, needle nose pliers, among others.
2. Lay The Power Cables Run the power wire from the battery to the amplifier. Do not connect wire to battery just yet.
3. Find A Good Metal Ground Make sure you find a metal ground located within a yard of the amplifier. Bolts connected to the frame are an ideal grounding point.
4. Plug RCA Plugs Into Subwoofer Output On Receiver Now run your RCA plug through the car and connect the sub to the source.
5. Use Speaker Wires to Connect the Subwoofers to the Amplifier Using copper wire, connect the subwoofer and amplifier. Remember to match impedance of amp to woofer specifications.
6. Connect the Power Cable to Battery Now you can finally connect the power line to your amplifier. Don't be alarmed if there is a spark this is the electric current. Lastly, test the unit and enjoy your audio upgrade.

If you do not want to be stuck with a substandard stereo system, it’s time to do something about it. You need a decent subwoofer to add a bit more grunt to your music. Of course, you will also need some speakers and most importantly, a powerful amplifier to feed all these new components with enough power. This is the best part; installing the audio equipment in your car is so easy that you don’t need to hire a professional. Most amplifiers come with a wiring kit and clear instructions on how to install. If you are looking to save some money with your very own D-I-Y project, here’s how to connect a car subwoofer to an amplifier:

1What You’ll Need

When purchasing your amp, you will notice that most come with a full wiring kit. But if yours comes as a single unit with no accessories, no need to worry. These are the main components you will need (remember to use the fuse and size wire that manufacturer recommends)

  • RCA Cables
  • Ground Wire
  • Speaker Wires
  • Remote Turn-On Wire
  • Amplifier
  • Subwoofer
  • Speakers
  • Connector Plugs For Head Unit
  • Phillips Screwdriver / Screws
  • Wire Stripper
  • Electrical Tap
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Among Others

A cost-friendly first step is to purchase an entire amplifier kit to help the installation look clean and organized. If you know the precise dimensions and measurements of your car, you can also buy wiring by the foot. The amount of available space will be crucial to the size of the amp and subwoofer you buy.

How to Connect A Car Subwoofer to An Amplifier

2Lay the Power Cables

After you collect all the components you’ll need, now it’s time to put everything together. First off, you need to run the power wire from the battery, through the firewall, to the amp. This wire is usually the longest in the amp kit, typically ranging from 10 gauge to 0 and is often red in color. But do not connect the power cable to your car battery or amp just yet.

3Find a Good Metal Ground

To sustain the best ground connection, you need to find a spot within 3 feet of the amplifier. One conventional method includes pulling up the carpeting and scraping the metal until the paint comes off and then you can ground. If your amp is in the boot space (trunk), lots of suspension bolts can be found and used. After grounding, you should then take the remote wire and splice the wire running from the dash along the panel of the door jam.

4Plug RCA Plugs Into Subwoofer Output On Receiver

Whether you have a stereo or a media player, your next step should be running the white and Red RCA plugs that connect the sub to the source. Afterward, you need to run all these wires straight through and back to the amplifier. Experts advise that you run RCA cables at the middle of the car away from interference from wire looms and power wires since they tend to pick up certain sounds.

5Use Speaker Wires To Connect The Subwoofers To The Amplifier

In this step, the wiring thickness or gauge is not really that important; you can go beyond 8 gauge if you wish. However, the wire should be copper which has very little resistance for facilitating less voltage drops. Additionally, you should remember to match the impedance of your amplifier to the subwoofer’s specifications.

6Connect the Power Cable to Battery

Before you complete this step, you need to install the fuse into a 12v wire and mount it within the engine bay no more than half a meter away from the battery. Using the ring connectors and battery terminals, connect the power cable to the battery. Finally, connect the power line to your amplifier. After that, clamp down the power wire under the hood. In some cases, this causes a huge spark when the power cables touch the battery terminal. There’s nothing to worry about; this is just the amplifier charging the capacitors. Now, you can sit back and enjoy a hard earned break with superb music from your new set up!

JL Audio inverted subs custom audio with amplifiers

Born in a subwoofer box, music has always been my passion. At the proud age of 9 I began driving. The two eventually met and led to my career at Sonic Electronix.

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