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Crossover/Equalizer Installation Guide

This installation guide offers examples of crossover and equalizer (EQ) installation types and suggested system layouts. The installation of your crossover or EQ will depend on the make and body style of your vehicle as well as the equipment purchased.

Install Tools needed, depending on vehicle

A note about wiring: In addition to the tools listed above, your EQ or active crossover installation will require power and ground wiring, plus RCA cables, terminals, and a remote turn-on lead. The easiest way to get all of these items is in an amplifier wiring kit, available at crutchfield.com.

You can also download a pdf of the Crossover/EQ Installation Guide. Note: To view this file, you will need the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader (free download).

Crossovers

Passive crossovers: A passive crossover steps into the signal path after the amplification. It's a capacitor or coil usually installed right on your speaker lead. Crutchfield carries passive high-pass crossovers, called Bass Blockers, that clean up the sound of midrange speakers and tweeters by removing the low frequencies. To install:

Remove your speaker from its location in your doors, dash, or other (see Speaker Installation Guide or your Crutchfield MasterSheet for more details). Disconnect the positive speaker lead from the speaker, and connect the bass blocker to the speaker in its place. Connect the positive speaker lead to the other end of the bass blocker, and test the speaker's operation. Re-install your speaker.

Install To install a bass blocker: disconnect the positive speaker lead from the speaker, and connect the bass blocker to the speaker in its place. Connect the positive speaker lead to the other end of the bass blocker, and re-install the speaker.

Active crossovers: Installing an active crossover requires a little more work. You have to connect 12-volt power, ground, and a turn-on lead. The active crossover gets installed between your receiver and your amplifier. (Many active crossovers have both speaker-level and preamp inputs, so they can usually accommodate either type of connection.) The outputs will be preamp connections to your amplifier. To install:

1. Mounting the crossover:
A crossover can be securely mounted with just a few screws. Anywhere between the receiver and the amp is fine. Most people mount the crossover in the trunk near their amp, especially if you have more than one amp. This also makes it easier to add additional amps later. You should mount it where it will be easy to get to so that you can make adjustments without too much trouble.Don't mount your electronic crossover directly on steel — you will invite noise problems. Instead, install it on a non-conductive board and attach the board to the car body (or use rubber grommets under the screws to isolate the crossover).

2. Making the power connections: Your crossover will require 12-volt power, ground, and turn-on signal.

  • To obtain 12-volt power: Cut a length of small-gauge cable (16 gauge is typically sufficient) long enough to reach from the crossover location to your vehicle's fuse panel. Strip one end of the wire, and attach it to the crossover's power input. This may require a crimp-on connector, or bare wire might be sufficient, depending on the equipment you're installing. Route the wire from the crossover location to your car's fuse panel. Using a fuse tap, connect the wire to a source of switched 12V power.
  • To ground the crossover: Remove a bolt near the crossover mounting location. Crimp a ring terminal to one end of a length of small-gauge wire, and then bolt the terminal tightly to the vehicle's metal chassis. Scrape away any paint and clean the bolt location thoroughly. If you can't find a convenient ground screw or bolt, drill a hole for one — be careful not to drill into the gas tank or a gas or brake line.
  • Making the turn-on connection: In most cases, you can tap into your in-dash receiver's amp turn-on lead to get a turn-on signal for your crossover. Remove the receiver from the dash to access the turn-on wire (usually a blue wire. For step-by-step instructions on removing your vehicle's radio, see your vehicle-specific Crutchfield MasterSheet, or read our In-Dash Receiver Installation Guide. Strip the insulation off a small section of this wire coming from the radio . Strip the insulation off another small-gauge cable that's long enough to reach from the in-dash receiver to the crossover, then connect the two with crimp caps or solder. Wrap the solder or crimp connection with electrical tape to guard against a short. Using wire ties to secure the wire, route the turn-on lead behind your dash all the way to the crossover mounting location.
Install Locate the remote turn-on lead behind your radio (usually a blue wire).
Install Connect the turn-on lead from your amplifier wiring kit to the blue wire. You can wrap the bare wire ends together and cover with electrical tape, or use solder.

3. Making the signal connections: In most cases, you'll be routing RCA cables from your in-dash receiver's preamp outputs to the inputs of your crossover. While your receiver is out of the dash to access the turn on lead, connect a set of RCA patch cables (long enough to reach your crossover in its mounting location) to these outputs, taping them together so they won't come apart. Route the patch cables (again using wire ties) behind the dash, and to the crossover mounting location.

Equalizers

Like a crossover, the equalizer gets installed between your receiver and your amplifier. The outputs will be preamp connections to your amplifier. You'll find EQs that are designed to be installed in the dash, above or below your receiver. Others are designed to be mounted in a remote location, like the trunk. Either way, the wiring connections required will be the same. To install:

1. Mounting the equalizer:
A remote-mount EQ can be securely mounted with just a few screws. Anywhere between the receiver and the amp is fine. Most people mount the EQ in the trunk near their amp, especially if you have more than one amp. This also makes it easier to add additional amps later. You should mount it where it will be easy to get to so that you can make adjustments without too much trouble. Don't mount your EQ directly on steel — you will invite noise problems. Instead, install it on a non-conductive board and attach the board to the car body (or use rubber grommets under the screws to isolate the crossover).

An in-dash EQ can be mounted above or below your in-dash receiver, assuming that you have space available in the dash. This will require custom installation work. Another option is installation below your dash, in a universal under-dash mounting kit. To install the under-dash mounting kit, attach it to the mounting surface using the supplied self-tapping screws. In most cases, the use of an under-dash kit will require modifications to the kit or to the mounting surface.

Install Locate the remote turn-on lead behind your radio (usually a blue wire).
Install Connect the turn-on lead from your amplifier wiring kit to the blue wire. You can wrap the bare wire ends together and cover with electrical tape, or use solder.

2. Making the power connections:Your EQ will require 12-volt power, ground, and turn-on signal connections.

  • To obtain 12-volt power: Cut a length of small-gauge cable (16 gauge is typically sufficient) long enough to reach from the EQ location to your vehicle's fuse panel. Strip one end of the wire, and attach it to the EQ's power input. This may require a crimp-on connector, or bare wire might be sufficient, depending on the equipment you're installing. Route the wire from the EQ location to your car's fuse panel. Using a fuse tap, connect the wire to a source of switched 12V power.
  • To ground the EQ: Remove a bolt near the EQ mounting location. Crimp a ring terminal to one end of a length of small-gauge wire, and then bolt the terminal tightly to the vehicle's metal chassis. Scrape away any paint and clean the bolt location thoroughly. If you can't find a convenient ground screw or bolt, drill a hole for one — be careful not to drill into the gas tank or a gas or brake line.
  • Making the turn-on connection: In most cases, you can tap into your in-dash receiver's amp turn-on lead to get a turn-on signal for your EQ. Remove the receiver from the dash to access the turn-on wire (usually a blue wire). For step-by-step instructions on removing your vehicle's radio, see your vehicle-specific Crutchfield MasterSheet™, or read our In-Dash Receiver Installation Guide. Strip the insulation off a small section of this wire coming from the radio. Strip the insulation off another small-gauge cable that's long enough to reach from the in-dash receiver to the EQ, then connect the two with crimp caps or solder. Wrap the solder or crimp connection with electrical tape to guard against a short. Using wire ties to secure the wire, route the turn-on lead behind your dash all the way to the EQ mounting location.

3. Making the signal connections:
In most cases, you'll be routing RCA cables from your in-dash receiver's preamp outputs to the inputs of your EQ. While your receiver is out of the dash to access the turn on lead, connect a set of RCA patch cables (long enough to reach your crossover in its mounting location) to these outputs, taping them together so they won't come apart. Route the patch cables (again using wire ties) behind the dash, and to the crossover mounting location.

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