How to hook up amp without RCA jacks in your car’s audio system (Tried & Tested)

So, you got yourself an amp for your car audio system, and it's made you all excited. You're about to boost your subwoofers and speakers, and that's a good thing.

You get down to hook up the amp when you suddenly realize that your car audio system is older. Frankly, an older system means no RCA jacks to ensure you successfully hook up the amp.

Trust me when I say you stumble into an intimidating situation. Then, the billion-dollar question that arises becomes, "how do you hook up amp without RCA jacks?”.

For starters, it might be pretty tough, but it's not an impossible task. Stick with me long enough and I'll show you how to hook up an amp without RCA jacks. Ready? Let’s do this!

Definition of some terms

Hold on! Before I show you how to solve this problem of how to install amp to factory radio without RCA jacks, here are some of the terms related to the radio system in your car that you should know.

Related: Mounting Amp to Sub Box


About speaker

If you're like me, you can't enjoy short or long trips in your car, except these trips are accompanied by a high-quality car audio system. Of course, the speakers connected to your car audio system determine the kind of audio your car audio system produces.

If you still use the factory speakers, there's no way you'll enjoy clear and crisp audio. There are two types of speakers whit the first being the component system speakers. This speaker type comes with both a fantastic design and an impressive sound quality.

The superb sound quality that it produces is all thanks to the multiple drivers that it has. Thankfully, the drivers aren't for fun. They're designed with their frequencies, which they do not fail to operate effectively.

The superior design ensures also contributes to the superb sound quality that a component speaker system is capable of producing. You can achieve greater depth and clarity of sound with a component system because the multiple drivers can be mounted in a different area of your car.

The full-range speakers are the second type of speaker that easily replaces your car audio system's factory speaker.

Once you have a whole range speaker, you do not need to buy the other speaker elements, such as the woofers and tweezers, as they're already part of the full range speakers. With the right kind and the right amps, you'll always have a fantastic time enjoying your car audio system.

Related: Kenwood vs Pioneer

About RCA adapter

An RCA adapter is also known as an RCA plug or RCA connector. It has to carry audio and visual signals from an electrical device like a CD player or DVD to a TV or radio system. Regarding your car's audio system, you'll need the RCA cable or adapter to transmit the audio signal from your car's audio system and out through the speaker or amp.

The connector has three color-coded plugs at its end that connects to three color-coded ports behind a TV or other audio output.

About amplifiers in the car

So, you might think that once you get your choice speaker for your car’s radio head, that’s all there is to it. But you couldn’t be more mistaken. Sometimes, your radio head unit isn’t strong enough to power the speaker to its maximum audio quality.

In this case, to get a much clearer and louder sound quality, your car's radio head needs an amplifier. Most of the time, there are built-in amplifiers that your car's radio head comes with that are strong enough to power a handful of speakers.

However, not all car sound systems make use of built-in amps to boost the poor audio level of the car speakers and radio unit head. While built-in amps are good, outdoor amps are better as they produce better audio quality.

Related: How to bridge an amp

How to hook up amp without RCA jacks

Now that you know about car stereo RCA adapters, speakers, and amps, let's see how you can hook your external amp to your car audio without using RCA jacks or adapters.

But first, you have to decide where to mount the amp in the car. The reason is, mounting the amp in the wrong location in your vehicle can ruin. For instance, when you mount it where a loose item sits, you might regret it as the item can potentially ruin the amp. Furthermore, make sure your amp sits at a place where cool air can easily reach it so it won’t overheat itself while working. That said, here’s how to how to install amp to factory radio without RCA jacks.

Related: How to split RCA for multiple amps

Connect speaker wire to RCA adaptor

This first method seems to be easy. You require your RCA plugs or connector and your speaker wire. Join or connect both, and it'll boost your car audio system. If that doesn’t work for some reason, you can try another method.

Speaker level input style

Speaker-level inputs are majorly referred to as high-level inputs, and it comes in handy when it comes to adding an amp to the factory stereo.

For starters, it is referred to as high-level input because of its voltage level. The voltage level on the outboard power amps is naturally higher than on the standard preamp output. Using this method, you’ll need to run your amplifier’s red power wire to your car’s firewall.

The goal is to connect to the fuse holder, but you should route it through the battery. You’d need to mount the fuse holder as a result. Once that is done, proceed to create a battery and radio head unit connection. Then run the blue turn-on wire and the red power wire through your door panel or under your car seats to connect to the amplifier.

For the final step that connects your desired speaker to your amp, strip back your speaker's color-coded wire (right and left). Then connect the wires that lead to the amplifier, and you're done. This method looks a bit complicating but is easy once you get the hang of it.

Wrap up

Old car audio systems generally lack RCA jacks, but that's not the end of the world. Sure, you can get another car stereo, but don't dispose of the old radio head because it didn't have RCA jacks.

You can find a way to work with it, and I just proved that in this article. This article on how to hook up an amp without RCA jacks shows you two major and easy ways to go about it.

Trust me when I say that with an amp onboard connected to the radio head, as I showed you how to, you will enjoy better sound quality in your car. So, the next time a song by Imagine dragon or Coldplay pops up on the radio, you’ll enjoy it better than before.

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