Wiring a Car Stereo

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Before wiring a car stereo system, it's necessary to decide whether or not the radio in the dash will be replaced, or if a new head unit is going to be used. Find out how to match wires when installing a car stereo with help from a car sound system designer in this free video on car audio tips.

Part of the Video Series: Car Audio
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Video Transcript

Wiring a car stereo system would first start with designing the car stereo system. First of all you would need to decide if you're going to replace the radio that's in the dash, are you going to start out with a new head unit, like a CD player, that sort of thing, that gives you options. I mean if you decide you want to add the iPod to the vehicle, and your factory radio does not have that capability, then you would want to add a new radio that has the capability to integrate with an iPod or XM or Bluetooth, that's real popular. Once you've decided that, you would start by installing the new radio in the dash, which of course requires a removal of the factory radio. Adding the adapter plates that fit the after market unit in the dash and the after market harnesses that allow you to plug into the factory wire, so you're not cutting all your wires and trying to figure which wire is which. That is made- customer installation is a lot easier because they can buy the parts, they match the colors and it physically plugs into the factory plugs. You just have to take your time and take the dash apart correctly without breaking things, because you can damage it and it'll cost you a lot more money than paying our company to do it for you. After that you would wire from the radio back to the amplifier. And the gage of the wiring would depend on the size of the amplifier. If you have a bigger amplifier, such as something like this one, you would take very large gage wire to supply power for it. Smaller amplifiers obviously take smaller wiring. Better quality equals better sound. Cheap wiring is going to give you more problems. You're going to have overheating of amplifier, which I think we're going to get into in just a little bit. The wiring has more resistance in it, especially power wiring, it's cheaper, it's built overseas, it doesn't have as much copper, it's actually replaced with cheaper metals that don't conduct electricity as well. The signal cables pickup more interference as you get cheaper, as you get higher end they have more noise rejection, so that you have less interference from the cars electrical system and alternator and that sort of thing.

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