HOW TO CONNECT A SUBWOOFER TO A CAR STEREO WITHOUT AN AMP
In this guide, you will know everything about how to connect a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amplifier.
WHAT DOES AN AMPLIFIER DO?
Before going to know about How to connect subwoofer to car stereo without amp it is important to understand the amplifier’s purpose.
An amplifier takes a “weak” signal from your car stereo, boosts it so it is at the same level as the original signal, and then sends it to your speakers. If you have factory-installed stereos in your vehicle, there is likely already an amplifier included. This makes adding on another one redundant.
If you prefer to use a subwoofer and speakers that require an amp, you also have the option of bypassing the factory-installed amplifier by connecting your car’s stereo directly to those exterior speakers. This is known as a line-out converter and is often installed in vehicles with rear-seat entertainment systems. If you want to know How to Choose an Amplifier for Car Speakers then click here. A step-by-step guide has been written by our experts.
WHAT IS A CAR SUBWOOFER AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
A car subwoofer is a speaker specifically designed to reproduce low frequencies, or “bass”. This type of speaker is similar in most ways (such as size and power requirements) to a regular speaker. However, they are also wired differently for maximum performance with bass.
One of the most common mistakes people make when wiring up their system incorrectly is using the same speaker wire to send power to both the subwoofer and other speakers in the system. This will not work and can damage either or both sets of speakers.
WHICH SUBWOOFER TYPE CAN I CONNECT TO A CAR STEREO WITHOUT AN AMPLIFIER?
There are several types of subwoofers available on the market but the most useful are Powered subwoofer and passive subwoofers, and each one requires a different type of connection.
POWERED SUBWOOFER VS. PASSIVE SUBWOOFER
There are two common connections that you can use to connect an aftermarket subwoofer to your car stereo without having to purchase an additional amplifier. The first option is called “passive” or “high pass,” which is the connection of the subwoofer to the stereo’s front left and right speaker outputs using a standard RCA cable.
The second type, which is more expensive but offers the better sound quality, is “active/low pass or powered subwoofer,” in which you connect an amplifier to your car stereo in order to power your subwoofer. If you are running only two speakers in your car, then an active/low pass connection will not be necessary because the stereo is already powering your subwoofer.
If you have a factory-installed amplifier in your vehicle, an aftermarket amplifier may interfere with its operation and may take away power from your vehicle’s speakers when connected to the same circuit.
WHAT IS THE SUBWOOFER FOR DRIVERS SIDE?
The “Subwoofer for Drivers Side” is a device that assists in creating rich and powerful bass. They make the vehicle powerful and give a good sound quality.
It can be installed inside the trunk of the car using two-sided tape or Velcro. While you can add one to your factory stereo, it is not required when adding a subwoofer.
WHAT ARE THE VEHICLE SPECIFIC SUBWOOFERS?
The vehicle specific subwoofers are woofers that work seamlessly with the factory speakers and can improve your output without changing out your radio. These Subwoofers are made according to what type of car you have. They are also made following the space available in your trunk or backseat.
Some drivers prefer larger subwoofer speakers, but this requires more power and can damage your car if not installed properly. For factory sound quality, OEM speaker/subwoofer attachments are better than creating an aftermarket system that relies solely on amps and external speakers.
Related Article: Best Subwoofer Box Design for Deep Bass in 2023
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CONNECT A CAR SUBWOOFER WITHOUT AN AMPLIFIER?
1. Spanner/wrench and a Hammer
2. Screwdriver or a drill with screwdriver
4. Ear Protection
5. Screw & Pliers
1. Crimper/crimping tool
2. Soldering rod
3. Wire Strippers
4. Wire cutters
Note: I wouldn’t recommend using some of these tools unless you are familiar with electrical work.
Spanner/wrench and a Hammer – to remove the speaker from the old stereo system, most cars have six screws on each side of the unit holding it in place. Remove those and the stereo will pop right out. Those screws also hold the speakers in place, and you can use a wrench to remove those as well.
A screwdriver or a drill with screwdriver bits are preferred tools for connecting a subwoofer without an amplifier.
Tester – you’ll need one of these for testing the wires without shorting out your vehicle’s electrical system.
Ear Protection – To prevent noises that may happen suddenly. Because loud noises are bad.
Screw & Pliers – To attach the speaker to the new amplifier, pick up an amp kit (which includes all of the necessary hardware) at your local car audio store. Turn the stereo system over and remove the six screws (and their corresponding screw nuts) holding the amplifier to the bottom of the stereo itself. Ensure that you save all of those items as you will need them later.
Optional tools for connecting a subwoofer without an amplifier
Soldering rod – If you have a factory-installed stereo that has a wiring harness to plug in speakers, or if you purchase an amp kit that includes a wiring harness, then this will not be necessary. If your factory-installed unit does not have one of these and you want to use a factory-installed unit, you will need to either solder or tape (heat shrink tubing is another option) the wires together.
However, if your vehicle does not come equipped with an amplifier and you do not have a factory-installed system that has a wiring harness, then the following procedure will be necessary; you will need to tap into the car’s electrical system.
Crimper/crimping tool – many wire sets come with connectors already attached so this will not be necessary if you buy an amp kit that includes this or purchases your wires with connectors attached. You can simply cut off the connector and solder the wire together, but crimping it will make it much more secure and allow for easier plugging into the amp later on.
Power drill – if you are connecting a subwoofer without an amplifier one of the perks is that you can use a factory-installed unit if it has a wiring harness or select one that includes this. You can mount your amp completely out of sight and use either an L-bracket (which attaches to the bottom of the amp.
Then mounts to any flat surface) or a custom faceplate which replaces the stereo’s old one, but provides a compartment for hiding the amp behind the faceplate. That way it looks like part of the stereo and you can’t see any wires or cords at all; it is completely invisible.
Wire Strippers – many wire sets come with connectors already attached and if not then crimpers will attach them to your wires for you. However, if you need to attach the wires yourself, you should invest in a pair of these.
Wire cutters – while not an absolute necessity for adding on an amp, it is much easier to have a set around if needed.
HOW TO CONNECT A SUBWOOFER TO A CAR STEREO WITHOUT AN AMP?
How to hook up car subwoofers without an amplifier is not a difficult task. Just follow these steps and go away from your problem.
Step 1: Shut Off the Infotainment Components
Shut off all of your infotainment components. This means your radio, GPS, parking assist, etc. Leave any trunk pop mechanisms turned on until you have secured the subwoofer in its enclosure. At this point you should also disconnect the gas tank release wire or leave it on if the enclosure is small enough that you can’t get to it.
Step 2: Disconnect the Car Battery or Electric System
Disconnect the positive and negative terminals of your car battery or disconnect all wires powering your infotainment components. If you are not sure how to do this, consult a professional for assistance. Your onboard computer can retain an electric charge for several days, so disconnect the battery. At the very least you will need to remove the negative terminal of your car’s battery.
Step 3: Remove the Fuse
Depending on your vehicle there may be a fuse box in your trunk or around your steering column or anywhere else that houses your fuses. Find the fuse that powers your radio and speaker wires, remove it, or disconnect its wire.
Step 4: Detach the Stereo from the Dashboard
Detach the stereo from your dashboard by removing screws or bolts depending on your vehicle’s make and model. If you do not see any obvious way of removing the stereo, consult a professional or take your car to an auto parts store.
Step 5: Identify The Relevant Output Ports
Once you have access to the wiring of your stereo, find the relevant ports for your speakers. The ports are typically labeled positive and negative for each channel, with left being positive and right being negative. If all else fails, look for the red and black wires that power your speakers; positive is usually red, negative is black. The ports should be either metal screws or plastic clips with holes in them.
Step 6: Attaching an Adapter with Stereo Wires
Attach an adapter to the relevant metal port on your stereo’s wiring with the appropriate wires. The red wire will attach to the positive terminal on the adapter, while the black wire attaches to the negative one.
Step 7: Enclose The Subwoofer
Enclose your subwoofer in its enclosure. This is usually a large square or cylindrical plastic box that goes behind, below or around the speaker itself.
Step 8: Reinforce The Connections
Reinforce the connections between your subwoofer and adapter with wire ties. This will keep things from vibrating apart or interfering with other components in your car’s stereo system as you listen to music. Your subwoofer will now function as a part of your car’s overall sound system.
Step 9: Replace the Fuse and Reattach the Stereo to Your Dashboard
If you removed a fuse in step 3, replace it now. Reattach your stereo to your dashboard by positioning its holes over the bolts or screws that held it in place before and tighten them until snug. If you do not see any obvious way of reattaching the stereo, consult a professional or take your car to an auto parts store.
Disclaimer: Please follow this guide at your own risk. It is meant as a helpful suggestion, not a how-to instruction manual. Changes you make to your vehicle can have unintended consequences; proceed with caution.
Here are some Additional Techniques to Connect car Subwoofer without an Amp
HO TO CONNECT CAR SUBWOOFER BY USING STEREO RCA OUTPUT?
Cut the RCA cable in half and strip back the insulation on each of the two ends of one half (the end that is not connected to your amp or receiver). You only need about an inch of wire exposed on both wires.
Connect one wire from each “R” channel on your amp’s output terminals to its corresponding “L” channel on your subwoofer.
Connect the other end (the “R” wire) of this cable to the “R” speaker-level input terminal on your subwoofer or to the R terminal on an amplifier that has one.
Connect the other wire from each “L” channel on your amp’s output terminals to its corresponding “R” channel on your subwoofer.
Connect the other end (the “L” wire) of this cable to the “L” speaker-level input terminal on your subwoofer or to L terminal on an amplifier that has one.
Connect a RCA cable from your receiver’s “Subwoofer Pre Out” or “Sub Out” output to the subwoofer.
Connect a RCA cable from your receiver’s “Main Left and Right Out” channels directly to the amp’s positive (+) terminals, respectively.
Connect a RCA cable from your receiver’s “Main Left and Right Out” channels to your subwoofer’s negative (-) terminals, respectively.
HOW TO CONNECT CAR SUBWOOFER BY USING SPRING CLIPS?
1. If you are using spring clips on a bare wire (for example, not soldered), use wire strippers or scissors to strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from the wire.
2. Wrap the exposed wire around one of the spring-clip terminals and tighten down using a flathead screwdriver or pliers. Repeat this for other end of cable with the other terminal.
3. If you are using pre-terminated cables, simply connect each end to your subwoofer’s corresponding pos (+) and neg (-) terminals.
HOW TO CONNECT CAR SUBWOOFER BY LFE OUTPUT PORT
1. When the receiver’s built-in amplifier is turned off, connect a standard RCA cable from the receiver’s “Subwoofer Out” or “Amp/Pre Out” to your subwoofer.
2. Connect another RCA cable from the receiver’s “Main Out” to your subwoofer.
3. Connect a standard RCA cable from the receiver’s “Sub Out” or “Amp/Pre Out” to your amplifier.
4. Connect another RCA cable from the receiver’s “Main Left and Right Channels” to your amplifier.
Now if your mind is searching for a speaker that runs without amplifiers, we have some recommendations here.
Related Article: The Complete Guide of Best Subwoofer Box For SUV in 2023
HOW TO HOOK UP AN AMP WITHOUT RCA?
Connecting an amplifier without RCA is one of the more difficult tasks that can be asked. The reason is quite logical since this type of connection requires not only to provide power to the amplifier but also to send the signal or audio input to it.
The most common use for this purpose are subwoofers, which usually do not have a phono input, or do not have enough RCA to connect it. In these cases is where the main problem comes from, but there are many ways to solve this issue.
– A pair of speaker wires (usually included with the amplifier).
– Audio cable able to send a signal for this type of use, usually an RCA to RCA.
The first step is to connect the amplifier’s speaker terminals to the speakers. If it has two wires then just put them on one or the other side, if it has four wires then you’ll have to find out which are positive and negative on each speaker. Usually, there are written on their terminals.
If you are not aware of the polarity, then check the amplifier’s manual under this section or you can use a multimeter.
Related Article: How to test car amplifier with a Multimeter
Once this is done, it is time to connect the audio cable. Start by stripping both ends of the cable until reaching its wires. Prepare them for soldering in case it has little connectors covering it, otherwise, just strip the ends of them.
. Start by stripping both ends of the cable until reaching its wires. Prepare them for soldering in case it has little connectors covering it, otherwise, just strip the ends of them. Solder audio cable to amplifier’s speaker terminals. For this process, you can follow your amplifier’s manual or you can use a multimeter
. For this process, you can follow your amplifier’s manual or you can use a multimeter. Once the signal from the audio cable has been sent to the amplifier, it must be able to reproduce it correctly.
Check if there is power by touching the ground with one hand and touching each speaker terminal with the other one. If it buzzes then you are good to go, if not check the speaker connections again or if you used a multimeter for this step.
. Check if there is power by touching the ground with one hand and touching each speaker terminal with the other one. If it buzzes then you are good to go, if not check the speaker connections again or if you used a multimeter for this step.
If the amplifier is giving a signal then it means that you’ve done everything correctly and your audio cable is working as it should. Remember that not all amplifiers have the same output, so check it before going ahead with this process.
that not all amplifiers have the same output, so check it before going ahead with this process. Once connected, remember to use the volume knob on your amplifier and not on the connected device (iPod, computer…).
To avoid this problem next time, you can buy an RCA or phono input adapter for your subwoofer which will save you a lot of time.
Also, remember to check if your speakers are compatible with your amplifier before connecting them together, you can do this by checking specifications on both devices’ manual.
1. Where can I put a subwoofer in the car?
The most common place to mount a woofer is in the trunk of your vehicle. Floor-mounted and under-seat mounted subs are usually powered and handle more power than regular speakers, so an amplifier is recommended for these subs.
2. Is it essential for the car subwoofer to have an amplifier?
There’s a belief among many car enthusiasts that the subwoofer installed in their car sound system would be improved and perform better if it was amplified. After all, we need an amplifier for our speakers so they can reach peak performance. Experienced installers will tell you that it’s even better to add an amplifier for each individual speaker (to reach “true” surround sound), and many people will go along with this advice without question.
It is important to take the time and make sure you have all of your equipment installed correctly. You will want to follow the instructions for your particular car stereo, amp, and subwoofer carefully. Double-check that everything is securely connected before turning on your system! Your amplifier installation should be easy as long as you know how it works (which we’ve discussed in this blog post).
Once finished with our guide about how to install a subwoofer in a car without an amp, if there’s anything else you’re wondering about amplifiers or installing a subwoofer without an amp please let us know below. We’ve also given some helpful tips so that connecting a new amp isn’t such a daunting task. Our team wants nothing more than to help people like yourself find peace and happiness with your car’s audio.