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basic installation information from DelReyCustoms

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Basic car audio installation

1.Stereo installation.

  • a lot of people have a surprisingly hard time figuring out the basics of stereo installation. I find that the easiest way to do it is color matching. In some situations that doesn’t work but for your average Honda civic/chevy cars more often than not a wire harness adapter is available this will save you lots of time in your install. They typically look like this-http://i.ebayimg.com/19/!B4owHLwCGk~$(KGrHqUOKjEEyVN)tq8oBMqlqlYkNw~~_35.JPG
  • At this point you strip the wires on the end of both harness’s and use nylon butt connectors to crimp them together(crimping is the act of taking a butt connector and basically squeezing it on both metal ends to give a tight connection between the wires, always give the wires a tug to see if they come apart easily. If they do, recrimp them)nylon butt connectors look like this most often-http://www.theelectricaldepot.com/images/categories/Butt%20Conn%20Group.gif.gif
  • The color difference is for larger wire, most often you are going to use the pink ones because they are for 18-14 gauge wire. A fully crimped and completed wire harness looks like this-Crimps.jpg
  • Hopefully you can complete your task while keeping your harness much cleaner than the picture I just posted. Make sure to keep track of which wires you’ve done. Almost ALL harness’s will come with a diagram that shows you which wires do what and you can match them up(also try to not make the constant and ground touch because you could blow a fuse)

  • Now that your harness is complete your going to take apart your dash(it is car specific and I obviously cant go over every car in existence) if you have trouble finding how to take your dash apart use the internet as a reference, there is more than enough people out there doing how to video’s for each car. After you take your dash apart your going to remove your factory radio. See the video I did in a Nissan Xterra as refrence

  • After you have removed the factory radio(depending on the car you might have to use whats called a IDO-mount ill go over that a little later in the basic’s section)
  • There are 2 big company’s for whats called a dash kit. All a dash kit does is in the event your after market stereo does not fit the full opening(it almost never does) the dash kit gives the stereo cage a place to latch on to and fills in the surrounding area. See picture for an idea-http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/mobile-emotions/LN1329BDD.JPG

Iso mounting

  • Iso mounting is a little more difficult to understand. Iso mounting is the act of removing the factory radio’s mounting brackets and applying them to the aftermarket radio due to the fact that you cannot mount the radio any other way.
  • It is fairly simple to do. You remove the factory radio and unscrew the brackets and simply apply them to the aftermarket radio(adding what’s called a universal pocket to fill in any remaining space) and simply closing the car back up.


  • Amplifiers are fairly simple to understand provided you have a little common sense and are willing to respect the equiptment.
  • All amplifiers do is take audio signal(in the form of RCA’s or speaker level in) and amplify the sound and redistribute it to whatever speakers are hooked up to it.
  • There are a number of different kinds of amplifiers with different output ratings(I found that this website give a very basic discription of the different classes of amplifiers http://www.bcae1.com/ampclass.htm

Running power and ground to amplifiers

  • Power wire and ground is VERY easy to understand, generally speaking you run power directly from the front battery (ALWAYS remember to place a in line fuse no more than 8 inches from the positive terminal)
  • Run the power wire through the firewall via whats called a grommet. ( a grommet is a rubber boot that will be attached to the firewall most often containing factory wire) the purpose of a grommet is to keep from wires touching the bare sheet metal and potentially cutting the wires therefore stopping a short.
  • See picture for grommet-http://www.turbomr2.com/MR2/HowTo/Safeguard/Firewall%20Grommet%2001.JPG
  • If you can not find a grommet on your car cut a small hole in the firewall and apply a aftermarket grommet(ive found the best way to drill the hole is mark it out and use a unibit)
  • Aftermarket grommet-http://media.digikey.com/photos/Keystone%20Elect%20Photos/746.jpg
  • Remove the fuse of the power wire during installation to prevent any short’s that may occur and for personal safety. After choosing a place for the amp continue to run the power wire under and body panel’s you can as well as carpet. Avoid letting the wire run loose that looks like you had it installed at the swap meet.
  • Grounds for an amplifier are VERY important. Many issues can occur if the ground of an amplifier is not in the propper place. You want to ground the amp to the chassis ALWAYS. And remember to sand down the chassis to mare metal to provide the best connection.
  • As you can see in this picture the installer did not sand down the paint http://www.popularme...round_large.jpg
  • This is NOT the right way to ground something, however I cannot find a picture to display the correct way.
  • Remember, ALWAYS ground to the chassis

Remote wire

  • Most people will buy a amplifier wiring kit that will include RCA’s power, ground, and remote wire as well as some small accessories to help with keeping the install clean(I.E. zip ties, split loom) you will find the remote wire in that pack and that will connect to the back of your aftermarket stereo what that wire does is tells the amplifier that the car is on/in accessory and gives it the 12v it need’s to turn itself on(this is to prevent the amplifier from draining the car battery while that car is off) this is most commonly ran with the RCA cables because it is so small you don’t run the risk of giving the RCA’s feedback.


  • RCA are simple to understand. You have seen them most of your life even before attempting to install something in your car. They came on gaming consoles and plugged into your TV set.
  • In car audio RCA’s are relatively the same. They take the audio signal and distribute it to the amplifier in turn giving you audio through your speakers. The important thing to remember while running your RCA cables is to run them on the passenger side of the car. It may seem like a hassle and out of your way to open up both sides of the car but its well worth it in the end. This is done to prevent feedback in the audio signal. As stated before you can run your remote wire with RCA cables to save a little more time.

Speaker types and installation

  • Speakers range in size and depth. That is one thing your going to want to make sure you have completely covered before choosing and trying to install.


  • speakers can range in size from as small as 1”-21” I will go over different applications as well as how to choose the best size for your application.
  • choosing the size you want/need. Just because you have 20 6x9’s in your car does not mean it sounds better than a car with 2 pairs of 6” components. In my personal opinion 6x9’s are not good speakers at all. Some people feel different about them, that is entirely their opinion. When choosing speaker size things to consider its power rating, as well as price. Generally speaking when you buy anything in the car audio world you get what you pay for.. If you find a pair of speakers for $25 your going to get $25 worth of audio. there are more aspects to cover in speaker choosing but none of them are easy to cover in the basics. See advanced portion for more detail.

Mid range speakers, tweeters and subwoofers

  • Mid range speakers- soley made for the mid range sound frequency(300-5000hz) these speakers are important in any well balanced audio system for the punch in music as well as the lower end vocals


  • tweeters are usually smaller than any other type of speaker and cover the higher range frequency’s (around 2,000-20,000)

  • Subwoofers in my opinion the most underrated portion of any good audio system. They cover the lower end of audio setups. (averaging between 20-200hz range)

Difference between component and coaxial

  • Component speakers have a separate mid range driver and tweeter. Good for front stage application, it doesn’t hurt to use in rear as well

Coaxial speakers

  • Coaxial speakers are good for tight space installs where a tweeter cannot be placed, they have a tweeter attached usually in the center of the midrange cone.

Speaker wire size

Wire Gauge Current Flow Max Total Amp PowerClass AB (60% eff) Max Total Amp Power Class D (75% eff)

0 awg 330 amps 2731 watts 3414 watts

1 awg 262 amps 2168 watts 2710 watts

2 awg 208 amps 1720 watts 2151 watts

3 awg 165 amps 1365 watts 1707 watts

4 awg 131 amps 1084 watts 1355 watts

5 awg 104 amps 860 watts 1075 watts

6 awg 82 amps 683 watts 853 watts

7 awg 65 amps 542 watts 677 watts

8 awg 52 amps 430 watts 537 watts

9 awg 41 amps 341 watts 427 watts

10 awg 33 amps 271 watts 339 watts

11 awg 26 amps 215 watts 269 watts

12 awg 21 amps 171 watts 213 watts

13 awg 16 amps 135 watts 169 watts

14 awg 13 amps 107 watts 134 watts

Power wire

Wire Gauge Recommended Maximum Fuse Size

00 awg 400 amps

0 awg 325 amps

1 awg 250 amps

2 awg 200 amps

4 awg 125 amps

6 awg 80 amps

8 awg 50 amps

10 awg 30 amps

12 awg 20 amps

14 awg 15 amps

16 awg 7.5 amps

These charts were taken from


To save you some Google time

ALWAYS fuse after a battery, even if its going to another battery. This is said to save yourself from buying loads of equipment after not fusing and blowing everything. And remember to use the proper size fuses otherwise your fuse holder can melt(I.E.http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/4/395/4309/38487154031_large.jpg


PAssive crossovers!

  • *added* A passive crossover is made entirely of passive components, arranged most commonly in a cauer topology to achieve aButterworth. Passive filters use non-reactive resistors combined with reactive components such as capacitors and inductors. Very high performance passive crossovers are likely to be more expensive than active crossovers since individual components capable of good performance at the high currents and voltages at which speaker systems are driven are hard to make, and expensive

active crossovers

  • An active crossover contains active components (i.e., those with gain) in its filters. In recent years, the most commonly used active device is an op-amp; active crossovers are operated at levels suited to power amplifier inputs in contrast to passive crossovers which operate after the power amplifier's output, at high current and in some cases high voltage. On the other hand, all circuits with gain introduce noise, and such noise has a more deleterious effect when introduced prior to the signal being amplified by the power amplifiers.

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ive tried to make this dummy proof and did it rather quickly so if you think ive forgotten something feel free to add it or let me know to edit something

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Add in the difference between running active and running passive?

Also, recommend this to be stickied. Good job DRC!!! :good:

My name is AdamThis is my Civic Build.7" Samsung Tab 2Kenwood KDC-X896Clarion EQS746Sundown X-15DC 3.5k @2ohmHatersGonnaHate's 02 Civic UBLELD Bypass for Honda Civic/Accord/FitDon's Jeep Grand Cherokee Rebuild

N8ball2013 - i think you'd stick your dick in a blender if it told you it was 40 wtih two kids your age. lol

srp365 - If posting were picking up bitches, I'd be going home single tonight

looks like tony montana sneezed in your car.



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anyone else?

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bump for views, this will help for the newcomers who have lots of questions they can find the answer to

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Add in the difference between running active and running passive?

Also, recommend this to be stickied. Good job DRC!!! :good:



thanks! ill be adding the crossover section soon. busy day at the shop

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bump, alot of questions are being asked in the forums and i feel like this could do more than hide in the back. feel free to ask any question you dont understand or add stuff to this thread

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Guess bcae1 won't let me link the calculator. :(

hopefully they will take the time to read the above portion that stated some of that charts benefits

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