Tutorial on Amplifier Setup
First, disconnect the battery cables: Make sure you get home safely. Just do it.
Step 2: Connect the battery to the amp or power distribution block. (Click here to learn more about installing conduit)
Be sure you use a rubber grommet or some other form of protection for the power line if it passes through a hole in a metal sheet.
Make sure the cable is loose at both ends. Believe me; this will simplify your life.
Keep the power cord away from the audio/video cords. Typically, I route the power cord down the middle of the car and the RCA wires along the side where the battery is located.
The cable should be left alone for the time being after it has been laid and fastened. Don’t join, sever, or alter it in any way!
But remember to use wire ties or another method to keep the power cord in place. Not until the cable has been laid and it has been confirmed that the placement is optimal.
Determine a good grounding spot near the amplifier.
This should be a sturdy connection to the vehicle’s chassis.
Connect the grounding cable to the amplifier or distribution block.
This wire needs to be covered and secured in the same way as the power cable. It shouldn’t be set up somewhere that will be too rough.
You can smooth out your ground point by sanding off any excess paint or finish. If your ground point has accumulated rust or residue, you can use it to smooth it out. It would be best if you saw shining metal because you want a secure connection.
Get a ring terminal ready of the correct size.
Connect your ground cable using a ring terminal, the preferred connection method. Remember! Make sure you do well. We need a reliable, sturdy electrical connection. A solder is an excellent option if you have access to it.
When fastening the ring terminal to your car’s chassis, use a washer.
Finally, a nonconductive material should be used to cover the ground point. You should also get a rust-preventing spray paint or coating to apply to the grounding point.
4.) Connect the RCA cords and activate the remote!
Take your stereo’s head unit off of its wall mount.
Connect the cable from the remote switch to the wiring harness for the stereo if you haven’t already.
Find out which RCA cable goes to which amplifier input. A 4-channel cable and an extra 2-channel cable for your subwoofers are two things I find helpful. As a result, it’s less of a hassle to run the wires all at once.
Turn on the RCA cables and the remotes. Separate the RCA cables from any power cables, especially the amp(s)’ power cable. The RCAs can run the wire for the remote’s on/off switch.
Verify that all wires are safely fastened and not put in a manner that could damage them. Ensure they don’t become kinked, pinched, or scraped while behind the wheel. Be sure to choose a sturdy material anywhere they would be vulnerable.
Fifthly, get the speaker wiring installed.
More wiring needs to be installed now. Connect your speakers to your amplifier using speaker wire.
Be sure to secure and shield them similarly to the other wires up above.
Connect all the cables to the amplifier.
Plug in the RCAs, the speaker wires, the power cord, and the grounding plug.
Install a fuse box next to the battery, step 7.
You’ll need this (plus a fuse) before connecting your amp to your car’s electrical system. Seriously!
The holder for the fuse MUST be no more than 18″ from the battery.
Check that the fuse holder is securely attached to the power source.
The fuse must be the correct size.
Ensure the electrical cords are tucked away from moving parts and the fuse holder is secure.
8.) Connect any specialized connectors for the battery
You should check the connections of any special battery terminals right now. Guarantee safety and protection. Connect the battery to any of your car’s other cables. I suggest purchasing coverings for the new battery terminals if they are available.
Put the battery back in.
New terminals must be attached to battery posts.
Reduce the amplifier’s gain to zero before powering on the system. Activate your audio equipment and tune in. Is there no hiccup in the system? How loud is the background noise? Is there noticeable hissing or crackling? (If so, turn it off immediately!) If everything checks out, then proceed.
Mount your amplifier in a permanent location.
I’m going to assume that you’ve already given some thought to the placement of your amplifier and how you’ll connect it to the rest of your system before you get this far. If not, PLEASE CONSIDER THIS FIRST. Plan the placement of your amplifier, including where it will be placed, how it will be powered, and what other components, if any, will be installed nearby. Don’t be such a dolt, either. Make sure you’ve planned financially to get your amp appropriately fitted. Planning for a short period will help ensure a trouble-free setup and excellent sound quality. Not preparing ahead of time guarantees failure.
When you install your amplifier, take precautions to prevent it from overheating and accidental damage. Although car amplifiers are robust, you must safeguard your unit during installation.
Because amplifiers are typically mounted in vulnerable locations like the trunk or under the seats, it is recommended that you construct an enclosure to safeguard it from physical harm. The amplifier (and maybe some fans) and their associated wiring must fit inside this container. The controls should also be straightforward to use. If you’re a serious audiophile who enjoys tinkering with their setup, you might want to make your amp rack easily removable but remember to secure it when you’re done. Find ingenious ways to keep it safe. The truth is that this is a spot where you can either go all out or get something done quickly. Both options are viable.
Remember that the amplifier will get HOT if you mount it in a hot, stuffy environment or create an enclosure. It would be best to find a way to calm your amp and be happy, as heat is bad for electronics. Redirect the air conditioner or turn on the fans!
Finally, I have noticed that amplifiers mounted on metal are more likely to pick up interference. A piece of wood is what you should use to mount your amplifier before you set it up. This will keep your music free from any noise-inducing ground loop effects.
You’re ready to hit the road after setting up your amplifier(s). First, ensure the crossovers are adjusted to the correct frequency range, and the amplifier turns off the bass boost.
Put on a CD you enjoy listening to, ideally with good audio quality. Classical and jazz have worked best for me, although alternative and pop music have also been influential. Stay away from tunes with a lot of bass or volume. If you must, choose a CD with some pleasant music: No bass-heavy, noise-filled track here. The CD should accurately reflect your typical listening habits, as this is YOUR system and music. Good grief!
Turn on the electricity in Step 2!
Third, set the controls of the head unit to the neutral position. Equalizers disabled, volume at default, fade to center.
Step 4: Raise the volume until it starts to distort (you’ll know when it does; once you do, proceed to Step 5). (Procedure #6)
Fifth, turn the volume up until there is no longer any distortion. You now know how loud your system can get before it distorts, sounds terrible, and possibly even smokes the speakers. (Proceed to #7 and turn down the volume!)
In Step 6, you will know you have a good head unit that your amp can handle if you can turn it up and there is no distortion. While the music plays, head over to the amplifier and gradually increase the gain. It would be best to ease up a bit as soon as you hear distortion. Bring down the volume on your headphones!
Seventh, access the main control panel. Adjust the volume, crossover, and DSP settings as desired. After you’ve adjusted these features to your liking, return to steps 4-6.
Stage 8: Tailor the bass boost and other amp parameters to your liking. Do steps 4-6 again.
When you’re satisfied with the sound, move on to Step 9 and make sure your amplifier’s fans are connected correctly and the enclosure is sealed. Toss it out of your mind!
Tenth, open for business! Have a good time, but be mindful of your neighbors.
Entrepreneur and automobile audio aficionado Alan Bayer. He has a shop on eBay where he sells equipment to put in car stereos:
The essay about car audio is just one of many on his fantastic website. The website also includes information on automotive audio, including where to buy the best gear, how to set it up properly, and how to save a ton of money.