how to hook up a 4 channel amp with rca

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hook up a 4 channel amp with rca

Including a 4 channel amp is a good concept. I’ve loved highly effective, crystal-clear sound in my automobiles for years utilizing my very own 4 channel amps.

However how do you hook them up?

Studying: the right way to hook up a 4 channel amp with rca

On this information I’ll present you the right way to hook up a 4 channel amp to entrance and rear audio system. After putting in a whole bunch of amps in automobiles identical to yours I’ll share with you the elemental suggestions you want for excellent outcomes.

And hey – don’t fear…normally you are able to do it your self and get skilled outcomes on a price range!

Infographic – hook up a 4 channel amp (suggestions and basic information)

Hook up amp 4 channel amp front rear speakers infographic diagram

Fundamentals first

When you’re studying this there’s a superb likelihood you’re not conversant in putting in an amp, connecting wiring, and different particulars associated to hooking up a 4 channel amp in a automobile.

Not everybody has put in automobile stereo gear earlier than so I’m going to be as thorough as attainable and keep away from making any assumptions about how a lot you realize.

What’s a 4 channel amp?

Holding Alpine MRV-F300 amp in my hand

Right now’s 4 channel amps supply newer know-how, higher sound, and extra compact measurement than within the previous days. A superb instance is the Alpine MRV-F300 50W x 4 mannequin. It makes use of Class D know-how to run extraordinarily cool and but it’s sufficiently small to suit underneath a automobile or truck seat. Very good!

What a 4 channel automobile amplifier is could appear apparent at first however there’s a bit extra to know Moreover, there are some fascinating (and good) methods they differ from 2-channel amps.

In truth, there are literally just a few advantages you’ll get utilizing one 4 channel amp as an alternative of two stereo ones to energy your entrance and rear audio system.

4 channel amplifiers add extra channels right into a extra compact and environment friendly design than separate amplifiers would have.

Moreover, they provide extra flexibility, as most may be configured for “bridged” operation which may give extra energy whenever you don’t want all 4 channels.

What’s “bridging” an amp?

Bridged mode functionality is a particular design characteristic wherein a “push-pull” arrange is created: one channel (usually used for the left speaker) produces a sign that’s the alternative of the second channel (usually used for the appropriate speaker).

This causes the speaker to obtain a voltage audio waveform that’s the distinction between the 2 channels – leading to extra accessible energy to audio system.

Basically, bridged mode is a versatile method to get extra energy in case you’re not driving 4 audio system. It means 2 channels are sharing the workload of 1 speaker between them and subsequently and drive it with extra energy.

2 channel vs 4 channel amp diagram

2 channel vs 4 channel amp diagram

A 4 channel automobile amp is principally an expanded model of a 2-channel amp. Nevertheless, as a result of they’re constructed collectively and never 2 separate 2-channel amps, they’re extra compact. This protects set up house and makes it simpler too. Moreover, most may be bridged to make use of 2 channels (or 3, relying in your wants) so that you’re not restricted to utilizing them with solely 4 audio system.

The advantages of utilizing an amp to drive audio system

Whether or not you could have a manufacturing unit stereo or an ideal aftermarket (non-factory) one, including an amplifier is likely one of the finest selections you can also make.

In-dash stereos are very restricted in how a lot energy they will produce. They will’t drive audio system with the identical readability and low distortion as a superb amplifier can.

The utmost quantity you’ll be capable to get out of your audio system shall be fairly low, too.

That’s why tiny amplifiers are hardly ever price bothering with – if there’s no particular energy provide inside, it’s merely not able to producing a lot energy.

Getting nice sound

Powering audio system from an amp makes an enormous distinction, and I’ve loved wonderful sound for years this fashion.

When an amplifier drives your automobile’s audio system it’s typically not even pushed to its limits. The sound produced on the speaker has decrease distortion, doesn’t “backside out” when heavy bass is performed, and you may get a lot extra quantity, too!

Moreover, utilizing an amplifier with built-in high-pass crossovers means you’ll be able to block out lower-end bass that causes your audio system to distort and try and play music tones they’re not suited to.

The result’s cleaner sound, much less distortion, and nice quantity – you’ll be able to crank your music even greater!

Simply think about driving down the highway with the home windows open and at last with the ability to blast the music you’re keen on. I’m assured you’ll adore it as a lot as I do.

Issues to know earlier than you begin

Clip art image of a face thinking - Things to know content image

It solely takes a couple of minutes to make an inventory of the elements, wire, instruments, and different bits and items you’ll want. Planning forward can imply the distinction between getting your system going with out main issues or having a irritating time – or full failure! I at all times get organized and get my gadgets collectively earlier than I begin a job.

Planning forward is essential. You don’t need to run out of wire or uncover you don’t have the rights elements, for instance. That may imply you’ll be able to’t end your venture.

It’s even worse when it’s important to drive round city looking for gadgets otherwise you’re not capable of do something after the shops shut. Imagine me, I’ve been there, and it’s horrible!

Notes about wire, instruments, and some different issues

In relation to installations, at all times plan to have extra, fairly than not sufficient, wire. This goes for speaker wire in addition to RCA cables.

The amplifier kits I like to recommend have the appropriate size on your amp set up, however speaker wire & RCA cables are one other matter on this case.

What size and measurement speaker wire do I want?

wire of 16 ga speaker wire

There’s no must spend an extreme sum of money on speaker wire. 18 gauge is sufficient for a lot of installations, however 16 gauge is a good selection too if the value is true. An ideal instance is that this AmazonBasics 100 foot roll. I like to recommend a 100 foot roll for a lot of installations with a 4 channel amp (see why under).

Right here’s an estimate of the worst-case state of affairs for the size of speaker wire required. I’ll use the instance of putting in an amp utilizing speaker-level inputs, with the next typical set up:

  • Amp is positioned within the trunk
  • Speaker degree sign connections close to the radio (middle console)

Meaning you want 2 100 ft rolls of wire. Or in any case, 1 100 ft roll and 1 50 ft roll. When you’re planning to make use of a line-level adapter, count on to select up a 100′ roll.

In case your set up is utilizing RCA jacks, count on a 100 ft roll additionally (4 channels x 15′ size estimate for the speaker wire from the amp).

What about RCA cables?

KNU Conceptz KCA-K4 4 gauge amp wiring kit RCA cables imageWhen you’re putting in a 4 channel amplifier and utilizing RCA cable connections, you’ll want to purchase a 2nd pair alongside along with your amp wiring package, as most solely embody a 2-channel cable.

For many installations, I like to recommend 18′ size cables. That’s normally lengthy sufficient for many automobiles and it’s best to normally have sufficient size to cover the cables inside the inside and underneath the rear seat, and so forth.

There’s no motive to spend an extreme sum of money. Simply decide up some good high quality, well-made cables. Even a pair like these value-priced ones shall be tremendous normally.

Instruments you’ll want.

Image showing example crimp tool and crimp connectorsCrimp instruments are nice for putting in your amp and speaker wiring with skilled outcomes. When you’re doing your individual set up, you may get by with a reasonable instrument like this Professionals’Package crimp instrument. Crimp connectors are bought individually in lots of automotive elements shops or basic shops and are very reasonably priced.

I like to recommend just a few instruments. When you store rigorously, you’ll be able to keep away from getting ripped off on instrument costs. When connecting speaker wiring to manufacturing unit wiring, it’s simpler to make use of crimp connectors than solder.

By no means merely twist the wire collectively and wrap it in electrical tape. All the time use a dependable connection.

Throughout heat climate, electrical tape adhesive can fail and the tape can come off of the wire. This exposes it to attainable brief circuits and potential injury to your radio or amp.

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You probably have entry to a cordless drill, that’s unbelievable! They’re nice for drilling holes within the automobile’s steel for mounting your amplifier or connecting the bottom wire to reveal steel.

I additionally advocate the next:

  • Wire cutters (some crimp instruments have this built-in)
  • Roll of high quality electrical tape
  • Wire ties (“zip ties”), 6″ size, bag of 100
  • A digital check meter for voltage measurement

A check meter is commonly extremely useful when putting in an amplifier. Nevertheless, you don’t must spend a lot cash! A fundamental however good price range mannequin like this one at Amazon will work nice.

I like to recommend getting an reasonably priced however good digital check meter to discover a switched +12V wire for getting a remote-on sign to the amp.

They’re additionally extraordinarily useful when troubleshooting energy issues when one thing isn’t working.

Get your set up purchasing listing collectively

Image of a paper checklist being prepared with a marker

Right here’s a basic however fairly correct listing of what you’ll want for connecting a 4 channel amp to entrance and rear audio system.

Set up varieties 1 or 2: Manufacturing unit radio or no RCA connections

  1. 4 channel amplifier with speaker degree inputs or amp and line-level adapter
  2. 120 toes or extra speaker wire, 18 gauge or bigger
  3. Amp wiring package
  4. Crimp instrument and butt (wire crimp) connectors (25 or extra not less than)
  5. Slicing pliers
  6. Electrical tape
  7. Wire ties, 6″, bag of 100
  8. Take a look at meter

Set up kind 3: RCA connections

  1. 4 channel amplifier with speaker degree inputs or amp and line-level adapter
  2. 100 toes roll speaker wire, 18 gauge or bigger
  3. Amp wiring package
  4. Extra RCA cables, 18′ minimal
  5. Crimp instrument and butt (wire crimp) connectors (25 or extra not less than)
  6. Slicing pliers
  7. Electrical tape
  8. Wire ties, 6″, bag of 100
  9. Take a look at meter

Make sure to plan effectively and estimate the quantity of speaker wire you’ll want. For the amp set up itself, I strongly advocate utilizing a pre-made amp wiring package such as you’ll discover right here in my amp package purchaser’s information.

You’ll additionally must get a 2nd pair of RCA cables. I like to recommend 18 ft size or extra. Don’t spend an excessive amount of cash, however do get first rate high quality ones.

get a sign to your amp

Example of the rear of a car stereo installation closeup

Picture of an aftermarket (non-factory) stereo displaying the RCA jacks and speaker output wiring. Both one can be utilized for getting a sign to an amp, however RCA jacks supply a greater choice. They’re usually decrease distortion and permit utilizing plug-in RCA cables. If these aren’t accessible, both an amp with speaker-level inputs or a line degree (speaker degree) adapter can be utilized.

With a view to set up a 4 channel amp and drive all 4 audio system, in lots of instances, the largest impediment is getting a sign to the amp. As soon as that’s accomplished, the remainder is normally an ordinary amp set up.

There are 3 fundamental methods to get a sign to your 4 channel amplifier:

  1. Join speaker outputs to your amp’s speaker degree inputs
  2. Join a line-level adapter to the radio then use RCA cables to the amp
  3. Join your radio to the amp utilizing RCA cables immediately

In just a few instances, adapters can be found to attach an amp to a manufacturing unit amplified system’s audio wiring, however it’s typically troublesome or there are obstacles you gained’t discover till you get began.

One of many explanation why is that manufacturing unit amplified programs typically have non-standard wiring connections for the audio path and are liable to dangerous noise issues in case you join an amplifier with out the correct adapter or wiring.

Which sort of connection do I want?

You probably have a radio with RCA jacks, skip on all the way down to the subsequent part.

Nevertheless, if in case you have a stereo with no RCA jacks (which is at all times the case for factory-installed stereos) you’ll have to purchase one of many following:

  • A “line degree” converter
  • An amplifier with speaker-level (“excessive degree”) inputs

1. Line degree converters

PAC LP7-4 4 channel line level converter

Line-level converters like this PAC LP7-4 4-channel mannequin are designed to take speaker-outputs from a stereo with no RCA jacks and adapt them to RCA jacks. Utilizing this, you’ll be able to run RCA cables to your amplifier.

Line degree converters are designed to permit connecting to an amplifier’s RCA inputs by changing speaker outputs from a stereo to a low-level sign an amp can use.

It’s essential to purchase a high quality, well-designed line-level adapter to keep away from noise, poor sound high quality, and different issues. Don’t get the most cost effective – as an alternative, get a reputation model mannequin you’ll be able to depend on (just like the one above).

2. Speaker degree inputs

Car amplifier speaker level input example Amplifiers with high-level (speaker-level) inputs like this one enable connecting to speaker wiring for a sign supply. This avoids having to purchase a separate adapter.

Speaker degree inputs are widespread on many 4 channel amplifiers. These amps include electronics that scale down speaker wiring indicators to a decrease sign protected for the amplifier’s enter circuitry.

They’re easy to attach: usually it’s only a matter of connecting each optimistic (+) and unfavourable (-) wiring for every speaker channel on a small wiring harness included. This then plugs into the speaker degree enter connector.

4 channel amp speaker level harness example

A typical speaker-level enter harness for a 4 channel amp. The wires are color-coded to make set up simpler. White = left entrance, grey = proper entrance, inexperienced = left rear, and purple = proper rear.

Whereas it may get monetary savings (you gained’t want a line-level adapter on this case) I typically advocate that individuals take into account shopping for a line-level converter anyway.

This permits a better improve on your stereo later, which is quite common for individuals to do. Utilizing the line-level converter now will let you run RCA cables to your 4 channel amp for use later in case you purchase a greater stereo (which can embody RCA jacks, virtually at all times).

3. RCA jack (line-level) connections

RCA jacks supply a clear, lower-noise connection than speaker-level adapters do, however actually, it’s not noticeable to the common individual. RCA cables (line-level connections) are the popular method to join a sign to your amp if in case you have that choice.

Pioneer RCA jacks rear image

RCA jacks on the rear of a Pioneer head unit. That is the perfect method to join your amplifier’s sign inputs, if accessible. For a 4 channel amplifier, you’ll want 2 stereo RCA cables to take action. White represents the left channel white purple represents the appropriate. These are commonplace colours for audio outputs for each automobile and residential stereo.

In case your stereo has RCA jacks, then congratulations. Issues simply received a bit simpler – and probably higher sounding, too!

You’ll want 2 stereo RCA male-to-male cables (4 audio channels complete) to run from the radio to your 4 channel amp. That’s 4 sign channels: left & proper entrance and left & proper rear.

4 channel amp sign connection diagram

Right here’s a useful diagram displaying the most typical connections you’ll must make one of many 3 most typical instances I discussed earlier:

  1. Connecting to your amp’s speaker degree inputs
  2. Utilizing a line-level converter
  3. Connecting your amp to the radio’s RCA jacks

4 channel amp signal connection diagram You may as well click on right here to view the .pdf doc for print or obtain.

Connecting and working sign wiring

Speaker-level connections

As talked about above and as proven within the diagrams, in case you’re utilizing speaker-level outputs to get a sign from the radio, you’ll want to attach wire. Ideally, you’ll achieve this close to near the radio, then run the wire collectively as a bundle.

You possibly can bundle speaker wire along with wire ties to maintain it neat and make the set up simpler.

Estimate the size of speaker wire you might want to attain the amp (or line degree converter) for every audio channel. To take action, run a size of wire from the radio to the place the amp shall be put in, then enable somewhat additional and sufficient size to run round curves and inside elements.

Minimize 7 extra lengths of wire, for a complete of 8:

  • 4 channels (4 pairs of wire) going to the amp’s speaker degree inputs
  • 4 channels from the amp to the radio’s manufacturing unit speaker wiring

Image of car stereo wires crimped

I like to recommend connecting to speaker-level outputs utilizing crimp connectors and a crimp instrument for a dependable, stable connection. Blue connectors are usually the appropriate measurement for 18-16 gauge wire.

Manufacturing unit stereo coloration codes

You probably have a manufacturing unit stereo, you’ll want to seek out the wiring colours for the speaker wiring.

An ideal useful resource for that’s, the place you’ll discover wiring diagrams on your automobile and coloration codes listed.

Making connections

Image of factory stereo wiring harness

After eradicating the radio you’ll discover connectors like this for the manufacturing unit stereo wiring harness. You’ll must separate the speaker wires, reduce them, and fix wiring to run to the amp.

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Take away the radio and disconnect the manufacturing unit wiring plugs or aftermarket radio’s wiring harness.

Minimize the speaker wires, leaving sufficient size to maneuver the wire and to have sufficient size to connect with the wire freely.

Strip a small half on each the stereo’s speaker wire and your amp speaker wiring. If utilizing a line-level adapter, hook up with the stereo’s speaker output facet. Then join the 4 pairs of wire to the speaker wiring within the harness.

Insert the stripped wire (about 1/4″ of naked wire) into the connectors and crimp them rigorously utilizing a crimp instrument if in case you have one. Alternately, you’ll be able to twist collectively wire, solder it, and thoroughly wrap it with electrical tape or use warmth shrink tubing for insulation.

If utilizing speaker degree inputs in your amp, additionally join 4 pairs of wire to the output of the stereo.

Wire bundle with zip ties example

To make a neater, extra skilled set up, bundle the speaker wiring just like this utilizing wire (“zip”) ties. I like to recommend utilizing 6″ ties which regularly are bought in packs of 100.

As soon as all wiring is linked, bundle it up utilizing wire ties or, optionally, somewhat bit {of electrical} tape wrapped round. In each instances spacing out wire ties or tape about each 1″ or 1.5″ alongside the size of the wire works effectively.

Connecting RCA cables

Example of connecting RCA cables to rear of a car stereo

Connecting RCA cables to an aftermarket (non-original) stereo for working to an amplifier.

When you’re utilizing a line-level converter or have a stereo with RCA jacks, join all 4 cables plugs to the entrance and rear outputs.

RCA cables are generally marked with left and proper symbols (“L” and “R”). In some instances, white, clear, or some lighter coloration can be utilized to characterize the left channel.

Join the cables constantly so that you’ll be capable to acknowledge which one is which. If the entrance and rear RCA cables are the identical, you would possibly need to mark entrance and rear utilizing some masking tape and a marker or pen.

Join the remote-on amp wire

Don’t overlook the distant wire! Amp wiring kits embody a small wire that’s used to attach the amp in order that it switches on and off with the accent place of the ignition change.

Find a +12V wire that has energy when the ignition is switched to “ACC” or comparable however turns off with the important thing. You might also have good luck discovering an current wire coloration from automobile wiring diagrams I discussed earlier or from a Google search.

I like to recommend checking the wiring even if in case you have already positioned it on-line, simply to make sure.

Earlier than re-installing the radio join this wire and run it alongside the speaker wiring.

join a 2 ch. automobile stereo to a 4 channel amp

Diagram showing a 2 channel car stereo connected to a 4 channel amp

You possibly can join a head unit automobile stereo with solely 2 channels (left and proper) to a 4 channel amp simply. Ordinarily, all you want is 2 RCA Y adapter cables. The pinnacle unit’s left channel RCA jack needs to be linked to the left entrance and left rear amp inputs. Likewise for the appropriate channel. If utilizing speaker degree inputs on the amp, use the connections proven above. NOTE: Use solely ONE of the 2 connections above! By no means join each varieties on the similar time! Speaker-level outputs will injury RCA connections.

In case your head unit (automobile stereo) solely has 2 RCA jacks or two pairs of speaker outputs, that’s not an issue.

As proven within the above diagram, you’ll be able to join 2 channels to a 4 channel amp utilizing both the speaker degree inputs wired in parallel or through the use of easy RCA adapter cables.

RCA y adapter cable image

All you want is a good pair (a complete of two) feminine to male RCA “Y” adapters like these low-cost ones from Amazon.

The sound high quality shall be precisely the identical. Right now’s amps are designed in such a approach that there’s no hurt in utilizing a Y adapter to attach the amp. The amplifier will obtain precisely the identical sign, with the identical high quality, within the entrance channels in addition to the rear.

The one disadvantage is there gained’t be a entrance to rear fader management like with head items with 4 channels of outputs.

After connecting the stereo to the amp, you’ll want to regulate the rear achieve to set the quantity degree for the rear audio system as wanted for the correct quantity relying on the stereo’s sign power.

Putting in the amp

Product image of Belva BAK82 amp wiring kitAn amp wiring package like this one will make putting in your 4 channel amp a lot simpler. A very good-quality one like this Belva 8-gauge full package contains not simply wiring however rather more. You’ll additionally want to select up a 2nd pair of RCA cables (if utilizing them) and sufficient speaker wire.

Your amplifier wants a superb stable steel connection to floor and also you’ll must run the optimistic battery wire to the engine compartment. Your amp wiring package may even embody a fuse holder that needs to be put in close to the battery as effectively (most kits embody directions, by the way in which).

You’ll additionally want to attach the amp’s speaker outputs to the wire you ran from the radio.

Because it additionally applies to 4 channels amps, for the amplifier set up you’ll be able to observe my guides right here:

  • How To Set up A Subwoofer And Subwoofer Amp In Your Automotive
  • The DIY Automotive Amp Rack Information

Right here’s a fundamental diagram as effectively to assist:

How to install a 4 channel amp diagram

Establishing your amp

Alpine MRV-F300 4 channel amp end viewAs soon as put in, it’s best to arrange your amp’s achieve ranges and crossovers for the perfect sound. On this picture, you’ll be able to see the adjustable crossovers for each entrance and rear channels. Activate the high-pass crossovers and modify to a setting near 50-60Hz, to permit good bass for music however block low-end bass that distorts.

As soon as put in, you’ll must arrange your amp’s achieve ranges and crossovers, if accessible. Most bought as we speak have that. (See my suggestions on the finish for some nice fashions)

Acquire management is the quantity of sign amplification the amplifier performs. Ideally, with a superb enter sign, it may be saved low to scale back any hiss or noise that may seem when it’s turned up excessive.

Right here’s an ideal rule of thumb for the right way to modify the achieve for such a system:

  1. Flip down achieve controls on the amp
  2. Flip the stereo’s quantity to 2/3 of most
  3. Slowly elevate the achieve controls till the quantity is sufficient

When completed it’s best to have sufficient quantity accessible from the stereo however noise needs to be minimal. You’ll nonetheless must tweak it a bit if the quantity is simply too excessive or too low.

Setting the crossover

As I discussed at the start of this information, utilizing high-pass crossovers will enable extra quantity with much less distortion and can assist defend the audio system from heavy bass.

For each entrance and rear channels activate the high-pass characteristic and, if an adjustable dial is accessible, set it close to 50 to 60Hz. Some fashions don’t supply an adjustable frequency for the cutoff however are possible preset to a superb degree.

Take a look at and tweak

amp in trunk on board

As soon as put in, check and tweak your amplifier as wanted. An effective way to mount your 4 channel amp is through the use of a board mounted to the automobile, lined with speaker field carpet or different materials.

Play some music you’re very conversant in and modify issues like bass, treble, and the fader as wanted. Utilizing music you’re very conversant in (of top of the range) means you’ll be capable to discover any issues with the sound pretty simply.

When you don’t have already got one, you would possibly take into account later upgrading to a head unit with built-in equalizer (EQ) features to assist tailor the sound.

Hopefully you’ve discovered this submit helpful. Hooking up a 4 channel amp to your entrance and rear audio system takes some work and time, however it’s a good way to get sound you’ll love.

Contemplating shopping for an amplifier? You will discover some nice 4 channel amps (together with the Alpine MRV-F300 pictured right here) in my 4 channel amp purchaser’s information.

You’ll additionally want a superb amp wiring package – I’ve received a superb amp package purchaser’s information right here.

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