The car is a challenging audio environment. Not only do you need to overcome the sound of the road and wind noise, but your electronics have to contend with electrical interference produced by the car's engine, electrical motors, and the rest of the electrical system. In some cases, this can be a real detriment to enjoying the sound of your amplifiers and subs. Fortunately, a few basic steps and precautions can make this a fairly easy problem to solve.
Things You'll Need
- High-quality audio and power cables
Use high-quality wiring. High-quality automotive audio cabling is designed to reject and isolate noise from entering the system. Compared to inexpensive wiring and comparable home audio wiring, you'll find features like heavier insulation, noise-rejecting jackets, and helical wire winding schemes in higher-quality wiring. Most importantly, choose RCA cables with these noise-rejecting features, since the low-level preamp signal carried by these cables is susceptible to picking up engine noise interference.
Isolate power, signal, and speaker wires from each other. Running power cables along the same routes as signal and speaker wires provides an opportunity for interfering electrical signals to easily move from one part of the system to another. As a rule of thumb, run power cables down one side of the car, and signal and speaker wires down the other. If they must cross, have them do so at a 90-degree angle.
Check your ground point. If you don't have a good ground connection your equipment is more susceptible to picking up electrical interference from the car's engine and electrical system. Scrape away any dirt, paint, grease, or rust from the point on your car's chassis where you'll be making the ground connection, and you'll solve many potential problems before they even begin.
- Car Stereo Cookbook; Mark Rumerich; 1999
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