No matter how old you are, everyone appreciates high quality sound. Sometimes the bare bones audio system that vehicles come equipped with just doesn’t cut it. While added amplifiers, speakers and subwoofers can generate amazing sound, it can also break the bank and take up needed space in our vehicles.
If you are fortunate enough to have high end factory equipment such as the amplified harmon kardon or even the high end Bose audio systems then chances are, you’re already satisfied with your sound. For those of you who are not, Ill walk you through a much less expensive but overly satisfying solution to getting the most bang for your buck while maintaining your factory look and space.
For this example, we are using a 2012 hyundai sonata with the factory amplified dimension system. It os equipped with 2 dash tweeters, 4 midrange drivers and an 8 inch subwoofer mounted in the rear deck. It is all powered by a multi channel amplifier located behind the passenger trim in the trunk.
We will start with a list of all components and wiring for the upgrade.
- Power Acoustik 5 channel amplifier – $200
- 4 gauge power wire kit – $60
- 4 channel line out converter – $30
- Lc1 remote gain controls – $30
- (3) 20 foot Rca cables – $45
- Amplifier bypass harness – $30
These are the basics needed to add higher quality audio to a stereo system that does not already have a low level audio output line such as factory radios or entry level aftermarket source units.
First and foremost is to plan your installation. Familiarize yourself with the audio system you have currently. If you aren’t sure what you have, a simple call to the dealership can give you those answers and locations of the equipment.
A power wire will need to run from the vehicle battery to the new amplifier. A remote turn on wire will need to run from the radios ignition or dedicated amplifier turn on wire back to the new amplifier. A ground wire of the same gauge as the power wire will need to connect the amplifier to the frame of the car no longer than 2 feet. That is all that is required to activate your new amplifier whenever your vehicle audio system is turned on.
For the audio signal, we will use the 4 channel line out converter and attach the white, gray, green and purple wires to the front right, front left, rear right and rear left high level speaker wires from the back of the radio. The solid color wire is the positive lead and the striped matching wire is the negative lead. Do this for each speaker. Once the converter is connected to the speakers, connect the rca cables to the converter and route the back to the new amplifier on the opposite side of the vehicle that has the power wire. If you choose to use the LC1 gain controls, they will connect between the line out converter and rca cables.
To complete the wiring, connect the amplifier bypass harness to the new amplifiers speaker outputs. It will use the same color scheme as the line out converter. White, gray, green and purple pairs.
Once all of the wiring is connected, turn the vehicle on and test for sound output, fade and balance controls and any distortion or engine whine while accelerating.
Now its time to mount the new amplifier in place of the old amplifier. We went with the power acoustik 2500d 5 channel amplifier because it is a powerhouse with a small foot print and built to withstand mounting in tight spaces.
Set your gains accordingly on the amplifier before mounting it away. You can choose to upgrade your speakers at this point or use the factory speakers for a short time if budget building is your need for now.
In this build, we retained all of the factory speakers including the subwoofer in the rear deck. The result was a greatly improved sound both in quality and clarity. Deeper bass, solid mids and screaming highs without sacrificing any space in the trunk.