There’s nothing more satisfying than blasting music from your car stereo during long drives and listening to the beat as you go cross-country – or even just to a nearby store.
I personally enjoy soft and melancholic tunes on short drives and something with a bit more rigor over long distances.
Have you ever tried to increase the fidelity and power of your car’s speakers at one point?
From installing hi-fi speakers or subwoofers to amps and acoustic panels, there are several things you can do to improve your listening experience on the go. But of course, there are limitations.
In this article, I’ll discuss the limitations you’d have to deal with when attaching an amp to your car stereo and whether you can attach a regular amp. Plus, I’ll include a quick guide on how to attach an amp to your car.
Understanding Your Car’s Voltage Limitations
You can install the biggest and most powerful amp in your car, but it all comes down to the voltage the alternator can supply.
Generally, they generate 14.2 to 14.5 volts. This creates a bottleneck for your vehicle, and you may require an external power source to get the most out of your amp.
This limitation can be particularly concerning if you have an amp or speakers with high power requirements, as they can require more than the usual 14 volts for optimal performance.
The best way to get around this issue is by purchasing an external power source like a Volt meter or DC converter. This will allow you to bridge the gap between your car’s voltage output and what’s needed for your amp or speakers.
Of course, getting one of these devices comes at an extra cost, so make sure to factor it in when considering whether or not you should invest in higher-powered amplifiers and speakers.
Can You Just Plug in a Regular Amp to Your Car Stereo?
The short answer is yes; you can plug in a regular amp to your car stereo – provided that the voltage output of both the amp and your car’s alternator is matched properly.
However, this will usually require an external power source or DC converter since most amps require more than 14 volts for optimal performance.
So if you want to attach an amp to your car’s stereo without using an external power source, it would be best to look for models with lower power requirements, for example, 1-2 watts.
This will help ensure that the voltage output of the amp matches that of your car’s alternator, and you won’t have to worry about getting an external power source.
How to Attach an Amp to Your Car Stereo – A Step-By-Step Guide
Now that you know you can attach a regular amp to your car stereo, you’re probably wondering how to do it properly so here are the basic steps:
1. Determine the voltage output.
Before doing anything else, determine the voltage output of your car’s alternator and the amp you plan on attaching. This will ensure that you don’t damage either device by connecting them with mismatched voltages.
2. Connect RCA cables.
Once the voltages are matched, connect the RCA cables from your car stereo to the amp. See to it that all connections are secured tightly and that no wires are exposed.
3. Connect power cables.
Next, connect the power cables from your amp to your car’s battery. Make sure that all connections are secure and that no wires are exposed here as well.
4. Test It Out
Once everything is connected, turn on the system and test it out. Adjust the settings on the amp until you get the desired sound output.
And with that, you can now enjoy higher-quality audio in your car! Just make sure to adjust all settings accordingly if you ever plan on changing amps or speakers down the road.
Now, let’s say you want to attach a really powerful amp to your car. In this case, then there are extra steps that you need to do during the installation.
For this, you’ll need a new power source, perhaps a dedicated battery, to provide the voltage necessary for hi-fi speakers.
Generally, hi-fi speakers and their amps require up to 22 volts of power. For this power source, you’ll also need to provide dedicated housing for the new battery. You can either weld or bolt the battery in place, depending on your car.
You will then need to connect the battery to a regulator circuit, which helps convert the voltage output from the battery to the necessary voltage required by the amp and speakers.
Then connect all of the components together before connecting them to the power source and testing it out. Of course, the wires you use will also need to be high-fidelity and must be able to withstand constantly changing weather conditions, heat, cold, dust, debris, and more.
Once everything is connected, you can adjust the settings on your amp until you get your desired sound output.
3 Key Considerations to Make
When installing a hi-fi speaker or amplifier in your car, there are three major considerations to make.
Hi-fi speakers and their amplifiers will require significantly more power than regular car stereo systems.
Make sure to check the power requirements of your equipment before installing anything, as too much or little voltage can damage both your amp and speakers.
Due to constant weather changes and running over bumps in the road, you must use high-fidelity wires when connecting all components together. This will ensure that the signals sent between devices don’t suffer from interference.
As with any electrical installation, safety should always be a priority. Make sure all connections are secure and double-check everything before turning on the system for the first time.
Additionally, check that all wires are not exposed and keep any flammable materials away from the area.
By following these steps and considerations, you should be able to successfully install speakers or amplifiers in your car with no issues.
Now that you know how to attach an amp to your car stereo, you can get ready for some high-quality audio wherever you go.
While it may seem like a daunting task, taking the time to research and plan out your installation will help make everything much easier in the long run.
Just double-check all connections before turning on the system, and ensure that the housing you recently installed for the new battery, if any, is secure.
Good luck, and enjoy the new sound system!
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.