How to Connect a Car Stereo Line Out Converterby Travis Corkery
Remember the days when we hooked stereo systems up with stripped-bare and twisted wires stuck into little spring-loaded clamps? At least in the aftermarket and consumer audio world, that method has long since been replaced by coupling with plug-in RCA jacks. Though RCA jacks are great for foolproof installation of audio components like amplifiers, almost all cars still use old-school single wires leading from the stereo head unit to the speakers. Not to worry, though; a simple line-out converter will get your system banging away pretty quickly, provided you're willing to strip a few wires first.
Installing a Line Output Converter
Locate the wires running from the head-unit or factory amplifier to the speakers. In most cases you'll access these wires behind the head unit.
Once you find the speaker wires, use the wire strippers to remove 1 inch of insulation from each one. Attach the left channel of the L.O.C. to the left speaker, and the right channel to the right speaker.
Solder the L.O.C. wires to the speaker wires and seal the connection with heat shrink or electrical tape. Secure the L.O.C. to the vehicle. Plug in some RCA cables to the L.O.C. and run them to the amplifier.
Adjust the amplifiers' gain levels to a medium setting. Turn on the stereo and adjust the volume to a comfortable listening level. Use a small screwdriver to adjust the gains on the L.O.C. up until you hear distortion, then turn the gain down until it goes away.
Turn the volume up on the head unit and make sure that there is no distortion present in the amplifier. If you hear distortion, adjust the gain on the amplifier and L.O.C. accordingly.
- Before connecting an L.O.C, check the amplifier to be installed for high-level inputs. Many amplifiers have high-level inputs and do not require RCA signal wires to operate.
- Check the polarity of the speaker wires before connecting the L.O.C. Reversing the polarity will result in a loss of volume, poor sound quality, and possible damage to equipment.