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Life with a factory stereo

How to upgrade your vehicle's stock system

You buy a car, you drive it for a couple of months, and you decide that the sound system just isn't cutting it. In the old days, you'd buy a new stereo and some speakers and life would be good. But it's not that simple anymore. Many car makers use unusual dash configurations, and others use "premium" systems that use amps and speakers with unusual impedance ratings and proprietary connections.

Car stereo and speakers

Many new vehicles won't accept this traditional car stereo and speakers combo.

The biggest dealbreaker? Instead of the old in-dash CD player/radio combo, many new vehicles feature all-in-one consoles that incorporate climate controls, OnStar®, GPS, vehicle warning systems, and other unique features, housed right along with your sound system. Replace your stereo and you lose many, if not all, of these important factory functions.

Options for the 21st century

What are your choices if you've purchased a vehicle like this? Are you stuck with the limitations of the factory sound system? Is the local dealership your only option for adding to your system? Will you have to suffer with second-rate sound quality and limited entertainment choices for the next 100,000 miles? Cheer up. There's more and more good news headed your way.

Car stereo manufacturers have begun to adjust, moving away from the traditional stereo and speaker offerings toward developing products that enhance factory systems. Solutions range from adding a simple powered subwoofer, to using a sophisticated sound processor to expand your system, and from adapters that connect your iPhone® or iPod® to your factory stereo, to kits that integrate your smartphone into your factory system. Let's talk about some of your options.

Dysfunctional dashboards and other problems

Lots of cars — the 2006-up Honda Civic or 2003-up Mazda 6, for example — include heating and air conditioning controls in the console along with the factory radio, making it difficult to install a new receiver. Owners of these cars can rejoice, because dash adapters are available that allow you to install an aftermarket stereo while retaining your heating and cooling controls.

Many other vehicles (General Motors SUVs in particular) incorporate audible safety warnings, door chimes, OnStar voice prompts, and other features into the factory radio. Replace the factory radio and you lose major functions. But you can now find a variety of adapters that allow you to install a new stereo and still maintain these factory systems.

Getting the Sound Right

Most complaints about factory sound systems cite poor sound quality, and even expensive "premium systems" can suffer from muddy bass and poor imaging caused by inexpensive drivers and too little power. To compound the problem, most factory stereos don't offer the equalization controls you need to get the sound right. Here are a few easy fixes that can improve your daily commute.

Upgrade packages

Some manufacturers have designed innovative packages that use signal processing, added power, and a sub to improve the sound of your vehicle's factory system. Kicker's SoundGate Powerstage systems, for example, use a 4-channel amp and a powered sub to make your system rock. Even cooler, Kicker designed a sophisticated EQ curve for every system that maximizes the impact and clarity of the stock speakers, allowing them to handle 50 watts without flinching. The powered sub enclosure, also custom made for each vehicle, fits exactly in the intended location.

We've heard systems from Kicker, Helix, and JL Audio demonstrated with an on/off switch, and the difference in sound quality is astounding. Factory system upgrade packages are available for a wide variety of vehicles, and they're a great option if you don't want to go through the hassle of replacing the factory radio.

Adding amps and subs to your factory system

If you're keeping the factory radio but installing new amps, speakers, and subs, Crutchfield offers a wide variety of processors for this type of installation. For instance, the Alpine PXA-H800 processor can tap into virtually any factory system giving you extensive equalization capabilities and allowing you to add amplifiers and subwoofers.

In addition, many factory systems use a preset EQ curve that makes the factory speakers sound good, but creates a horrible sonic mess when you try to add an amplifier and/or new speakers. The PXA-H800 flattens out this factory curve, so you can install an amplified system and enjoy superb sound quality. Many other processors are available as well.

Bass, where art thou?

The Achilles heel of many factory systems is bass. A powered subwoofer can improve the sound in your car dramatically, even if your vehicle has a "premium" system. Why? When you turn up the bass on your car stereo, you lower the effective power of its amplifier because it takes more juice to produce bass. With a powered sub, you can leave the bass set to "0" on your factory stereo, and let the sub bear the brunt of producing the low-frequency response you want to hear. You'll get a much cleaner overall sound.

Any powered sub worth its salt will offer "speaker-level" inputs, so you can connect to the factory system by tapping into the speaker wires. Powered subs range in size from small enclosures designed to fit under a seat, to larger units that install in your trunk or rear cargo area. For many vehicles, you can use a "custom-fit" sub, a molded plastic enclosure complete with speaker, that installs in the rear side panel or under a seat. Powered versions include an amplifier for an all-in-one bass package that doesn't take up any space.

Improving clarity with tweeters

Check out the way you've set the tone controls on your factory stereo. If you see that the treble control is all the way up, consider buying a set of tweeters, small high-frequency speakers that you can install in your doors or dash. You can wire them together with your door or dash speakers, and you'll be amazed at how they'll bring your system to life. Even if you already have factory tweeters, installing a set of high-quality tweeters in their place can improve the clarity of your system dramatically.

Born for bad sound

Some cars are doomed to poor sound by virtue of their design. The Jeep Wrangler, for example, can ford mighty rivers and climb tall mountains, but its combination of small speakers and a noisy environment makes for a less than ideal listening experience. Now, you can buy heavy-duty plastic speaker pods that install in various spots in the Wrangler interior, housing a set of your favorite speakers or a small sub.

Sub-compact vehicles or small sports cars are also notorious for bad stereo setups, with tiny speakers stuck in the doors or dash as an afterthought. Replacing your stereo only goes so far when the music's broadcast through a set of 4" speakers. The solution? A compact powered sub, like the Sound Ordnance™ B-8PTD can fit in your trunk or under a seat without too much trouble, adding serious impact and punch to your system.

More entertainment options for your factory radio

In the past, car manufacturers have avoided giving you any way to plug an auxiliary device into the factory stereo, figuring correctly that they'd make more money by selling you the factory option at the dealership. But the overwhelming popularity of the iPod® forced this issue, and most carmakers now equip their new vehicles with USB ports. But what are your options if you're not one of the lucky ones with a car like this?

Take your tunes on the road

Fortunately, a healthy little industry has developed whose sole object is to help you connect your smartphone or music player to your factory stereo. Want to hook up your iPod? You'll find iPod adapters that'll connect you to factory radios from nearly every major car manufacturer. These adapters allow you to:

  • play your iPod through your factory sound system;
  • choose between using your factory radio's controls or the iPod's controls to run your iPod;
  • access all your iPod playlists;
  • charge your iPod's battery while you drive.

If you listen via a non-Apple music player or smartphone, you can find an auxiliary input adapter for most factory stereos. Pull your factory stereo out of the dash, plug one of these adapters into its rear CD changer plug, reinstall the stereo, and you're done. You can plug in and listen to your portable music player — or any other outboard audio source — through your factory stereo. Sweet.

Keep your phone at hand and secure

But what happens when you plug in your music player and start driving? You can't just hide it away, because you might want to get to the controls. So where do you put the thing? Solution: get a phone mount. They install easily — just remove a section of your dash, screw the mount in place, and replace the dash. Many just attach to the dash via an adhesive pad. You've created a permanent home in your car for an iPod or smartphone without any cutting or modification.

Cell phone safety

With each passing day, more and more locales are outlawing cell phone use on the road, trying to eliminate the hazard caused by distracted drivers holding a cell phone in one hand and driving with the other. But cell phones have become an integral part of modern life. How do you stay in touch and drive safely?

Bluetooth® wireless calling

You can take advantage of your phone's hands-free Bluetooth calling and install a hands-free kit. They plug into the factory stereo in many vehicles with the help of a handy vehicle-specific wiring harness.

This combo wirelessly connects your smartphone to your factory stereo, muting the stereo when you receive a phone call. You hear the conversation over your car speakers, and your side of the conversation is picked up by a small microphone that's included with the cell phone kit. Once you get in your car, the phone and kit sync up automatically, ready to accept or send calls. Your phone stays in your purse or coat pocket, and your eyes stay on the road.

More options on the way

In short, life with a factory radio can be good. As car audio manufacturers continue to adjust to the changing market, you'll find more and more products available that'll add functionality and performance to your factory system. Stuck with a factory stereo and haven't found what you want in this article? We have two words for you — contact us. We'll help you find your options for improved sound.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/12/2018

    Terry, you could go with either option. Keep in mind that many aftermarket stereos will also give you new AUX and USB inputs, and you'll be able to retain your steering wheel controls. I've passed your questions along to an advisor to help you find the right stereo or audio solution for your needs.

  • Terry U from BALDWIN PARK

    Posted on 2/11/2018

    I have a 2017 Nissan Juke. The factory stereo has a rear view camera, along with steering wheel controls and an aux and USB input mounted underneath the stereo (not ON the unit) I would really hate to lose any/all of these functions if I purchase an aftermarket stereo. I want to run a 4 channel amp to the 2 door speakers and (bridged) 1 sub. Is there a head unit available that allows for all of that without breakingthe bank? OR can I just install a line out converter and keep my factory head unit?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/23/2017

    Luis, I've passed your question along to our team of Advisors. Someone will contact you soon to find the right solution for your Nissan.

  • Luis from Falls Church

    Posted on 10/21/2017

    Hi, I have a Nissan Quest 2005 with the factory radio on it , no rca outputs, no aux connector in the back, any idea what kind of adapter can I use to add a aux or USB connector to this radio ...thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/18/2017

    Gabriel, check out our article on tuning your car audio system and then check out this article about tuning your subs.

  • Gabriel from Jacksonville

    Posted on 9/14/2017

    Hi, am I suppose to keep the bass and treble all the way down on my factory radio since I have subs installed in my trunk?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2017

    Christopher, I've passed your question along to an advisor who will contact you soon to get a bit more information and discuss the possibility of adding an amp.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2017

    Scott, ideally you'll tap into the full-range audio signal from your rear speakers. Keep in mind that if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Christopher from Campbell River

    Posted on 8/9/2017

    I have a 2017 Nissan Sentra SR without the bose system. I've replaced the head unit and added a subwoofer and a monoblock amp. I find that my head unit gets hot very quickly and starts to distort after 10 minutes of loud volume. I do not set the volume high enough to make the speakers clip. I considered adding my 4 channel amp into the mix because I assumed that the internal amp in the head unit was being over worked. Would you advise against amplifying my factory speakers?

  • Scott from clearwater

    Posted on 8/9/2017

    I have a 2017 ford focus del hatchback. I am currently going to be installing a sub and an amp to factory system. My question is should I connect to loc to the sub output of my factory sony amp or should it be connected to the front or rear door speaker outputs? I have the sony sync 10 speaker system.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/30/2017

    Chance, I've passed your question along to an advisor for help with recommendations. Someone will contact you soon, but to answer your question -- yes, any of those options will improve the sound of your new speakers (assuming you're currently using a factory head unit). If you plan on adding a sub down the road, you'll need an amp regardless. You could go with a 5-channel amp for the speakers and sub, or a 4-channel amp for the speakers and a dedicated mono amp for the sub.

  • Chance from Edmond

    Posted on 3/29/2017

    Okay so I drive an 08 f150 4 door, I purchased a pair of kicker component speakers for my front doors and kicker coaxial for the back doors, I dont mind the head unit, its nice and simple, will I need to replace it to get the best out of my door speakers? Or can I just grab an amp? I intend to grab a sub eventually, would one amp suffice for all 4 speakers and the sub?If so, I would like some help as I'm just now learning this stuff

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/21/2016

    Shaan, once you install an amp with Bluetooth, you'll have your option to pair with the stereo or with the amp. You'll lose the steering wheel controls and some other aspects if you pair with the amp because you'll have to control music directly from the phone. So, in your situation where you already have a Bluetooth-equipped stereo, there's no huge advantage to an amp with Bluetooth. Give us a call though and an advisor will help you with the best system for your van.

  • Shaan from Vancouver

    Posted on 12/20/2016

    I drive a leased Mercedes Sprinter. It needs more bass to sound good. Ive noticed that I can connect both the vehicle and a bluetooth speaker to my phone. All sound goes through the bluetooth speaker, however the factory deck shows the track titles and the steering controls work just like it should. If I bought bluetooth amplifier and spekers/sub. Would It connect just like my blutooth speaker? I like the idea of digital source directly to the amp. Im just not sure if the bluetooth amp will work just like my blutooth speaker. Thanks for your help.

  • lewis gunn from portsmouth va

    Posted on 11/10/2016

    this comment is to help the people out who want to keep their factory head unit and add amps and subs the audio control LC2I speaker level to RCA plugs allowed me to add a 4ch Jensen 4100 amp n a 1-10 kicker box I also have kicker 6x9"s on the rear deck { moved circuit from rear doors to rear deck} This is all in my 2013 ford fusion. I also have a kenwood 599 head unit waiting for kit. the kicker 10 sub is DVC so ch 3n4 is bridged. I'm still in the tweaking phase of this setup. you guys help me with wiring. haven't had any problem. you guys are awesome

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/24/2016

    John, if there's a mismatch between your subs and amp, we could expect your amp to go into protect mode, but the stereo shorting sounds mysterious. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • John

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    I have a 2011 Hyundai Elantra with 4 kicker door speakers and two 12'' pioneer subwoofers. I did not replace the factory stereo and tapped into the rear door outputs from the wiring behind the stereo and wired that to the inputs on my 1000 watt amp that accommodates the subwoofers. This setup works great, until a certain volume. Once a certain output is reached my entire stereo shuts off completely and I have to restart my car in order for it to come back on. Could this be the factory stereo not being able to handle the load of the door speakers and subwoofers? If so would installing an aftermarket stereo solve the problem?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/6/2016

    Nicolas, check out this article on installing an amp in your vehicle. Also, keep in mind that if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Ken Nail from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/6/2016

    Nicholas, adding an amp and some subs to your Impala sounds like a great way to up the sound quality. But since the factory system doesn't have line-level outputs, you'll need to tap into the speaker wires at some point along the way to get signal to your amp. Hope that helps.

  • Ken Nail from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/6/2016

    Mia, in the case of your Mini, there's no reason to have to cut off the factory plug to install an aftermarket radio like the Kenwood you have now. Of course there's no guarantee that the previous installer didn't do it anyway. Hope the news is good when you install your replacement radio!

  • Mia from hayward

    Posted on 9/30/2016

    I have a 2009 mini cooper and I removed the non working factory radio and had an after market Kenwood/Bluetooth radio installed. I have now purchased a new Mini Factory radio, and want to have it installed. But many places are saying that as long as the original wire harness is still intact, the factory radio can be installed. My question is, should my original wire harness still be intact , or did it have to be removed when I had the Kenwood installed?

  • Nicolas Consecion from Anaheim

    Posted on 9/28/2016

    I'm looking to install 2 subs and an amp into my 2016 impala with out bose. I want to keep my oem head unit what is the best way to do this with out tapping into the speakers.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/22/2016

    Jose, you may want to consider an all-in-one powered sub, but an advisor will contact you soon to help find the right bass solution for you.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/22/2016

    Matthew, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help find a solution that matches your budget.

  • Jose ortiz from Myrtle Beach

    Posted on 9/22/2016

    Hi guys.. I'm looking to install an after market amp and sub to my wife's 08 Jeep liberty. She wants to keep her factory radio which has an amp and sub in the rear.. What's the easiest way to add aftermarket amp/sub.. I purchased impedance converter.. If that helps

  • Matthew from Perth

    Posted on 9/20/2016

    I'm hoping you guys can help me out l. I have a 2006 suburu outback with automatic climate control and without the factory subwoofer. I'm wanting to improve my sound quality and wanting the option to connect my phone through Aux or Bluetooth. Every car audio shop I go to quote me around $1400-$1800. If you guys have any ideas that would be great thanks! :)

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/12/2016

    Oswaldo, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help you ensure a match with your new Trax.

  • Oswaldo Rabanal from NY

    Posted on 9/11/2016

    I just purchased a Chevy trax 2016, I have read online that the factory radio signal is too low for an aftermarket amplifier. I plan on buying from you guys the Alpine 5 channel 900 rms amp and speakers to go with it of course. So will it work? Especially because this amp has the speaker level inputs, I want to make sure it'll work before I spend a lot of money and time to find out it doesn't. Thanks!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/29/2016

    Rachel, congrats on the new ride. I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help find the right gear for your Ranger.

  • Rachel from Fort Leonard Wood

    Posted on 8/28/2016

    I'm purchasing a 2002 Ranger 4-door extended cab. I want to keep the look of the dash, but upgrade the sound quality and loudness (I have my windows down 90% of the time, and if it's hot, I also have my AC blowing full blast- like to have my cake and eat it too haha). I wish Kicker had that custom system for the ranger, but they don't, so I'm looking for alternatives. Also, don't want to lose any of my space in the backseat to a massive subwoofer (ha). I'm too picky for my own good. How could I go about doing something similar to kicker's system on my own (or with some professional installation if absolutely required). Thanks!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/22/2016

    Erich, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the right gear for your Chrysler.

  • Erich

    Posted on 8/19/2016

    I was hoping you guys have some sort of active line converter that would have the impedence value the factory radio needs to see to send out audio signal wants the rear speakers are unhooked and the factory speaker wires are hooked to line converter, my guess is a line converter with a built in reaistor would work , but unsure if any companies have such a device

  • Erich

    Posted on 8/18/2016

    2015 chrysler 200 , want to amplify rear deck speakers using factory radio, however line converters wont work as factory radio wont send signal once rear speaker is unhooked , i need a dummy load of some sort to trick radio , what do you have ?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/17/2016

    Brad, yes, you can still use your factory stereo, and you may find this article useful. You'll tap into the speaker wires behind your stereo, or possibly the rear deck speakers, to get audio signal to the amp.

  • Brad deshong from Gainesville

    Posted on 8/15/2016

    I have a 2010 f150 lariot, an alpine mrx-m110 amp and a sub. Is there a way to install that without replacing the head unit?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/15/2016

    Jerel, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure that your amp and sub are a solid match -- it's hard to tell for sure from the info you supplied. Check out this article -- it will take you through the steps of ensuring that your sub is properly powered. Also, keep in mind that if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Jerel from Houston

    Posted on 8/15/2016

    Hi, I have a 2011 Navigator. I recently added a subwoofer to the factory stereo system. The sub isn't doing the job. I have a 1200watt mono block and a punch p3. I have the LOC installed but Im not getting the output as the sub should. Do you think a bass processor(epicenter or other) would help resolve the issue, or what?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/10/2016

    Paul, rather than dedicate this wiring entirely to your new sub, you'll need to splice into rear speaker signal. That will allow you to send an audio signal to your sub, but you'll still be able to use your rear speakers to play full-range sound. Posi-Products speaker connectors will be the best tool for the job.

  • Paul Hazelwood from Wichita

    Posted on 8/9/2016

    I am wanting to add a subwoofer to a 2016 Ford Fusion. I am most likely going to use the rear speaker wiring as the input source for the amplifiers speaker level inputs. Do the rear speakers in my vehicle need to be permanently disconnected when using their wiring for this?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/29/2016

    Mike, if you have the right harness, you shouldn't need to bypass the amp. Your best first step would to be to recheck all your work to make sure all connections are solid and aren't picking up unwanted interference. If everything looks good, give us a call to make sure there isn't a better harness for the job (there are options with your vehicle).

  • Mike Trainor from Phila

    Posted on 7/27/2016

    I just picked up an 08 trailblazer with bose and onstar i switched out the radio and have the right harness but when I switched it out I get static out of the speakers alot of reviews say I need to bypass it but do you guys sell something to install between the aftermarket radio and stock bose amp to fix the signal

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/20/2016

    Al, you should be fine powering aftermarket speakers with your factory radio. I've passed along your question to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon with recommendations for your Tacoma.

  • Al from brooklyn park

    Posted on 7/20/2016

    I have a 2016 tacoma four door with thr non jbl 7 inch screen stereo. I would like to keep everything stock but add some better speakers. Will my stock head unit have any trouble running better speakers? Do you have any speaker recommendations?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/18/2016

    Anthony, you may be fine with your factory radio, but you will need to install an aftermarket amplifier to power your new subs. Here's a little bit more information about adding subs to your system, but feel free to call us with questions. An advisor will be happy to help you find the right gear for your system.

  • Anthony Pena from Manchester

    Posted on 7/17/2016

    Hi I have a 2015 Honda Accord Sport and want to install subs. Will I need to change the factory head unit or can I keep it just like that?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/30/2016

    Hope, I've passed along your question to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the right gear for your new Wrangler. The short answer is -- yes, you will be able to add subs and keep your factory radio. Check out this article for an overview on adding bass to your vehicle.

  • Hope from Seneca

    Posted on 6/29/2016

    I'm about to purchase a 2016 Jeep Wrangler and I want to purchase subwoofers.. Is it possible that I could keep the stock touch screen radio and have subs at the same time?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/27/2016

    Vernon, swapping out the subs won't work. You'll need to work around that factory amp. So, you'll want to make sure your new aftermarket amp has speaker-level inputs and "signal sensing" turn-on capability. Then, you'll tap into the speaker wires behind your factory stereo.

  • Vernon from Abilene

    Posted on 6/25/2016

    Hello, I have a 2010 4-Runner all stock ( JBL ), which means it has a factory AMP powering ALL the speakers which includes the factory SUB, I am wanting to ADD an AMP & 2 12" SUBS while still using factory radio, Can I just unplug speaker wires from factory SUB and then use the wires from it as the input into the AMP I am wanting to ADD? Thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/23/2016

    Francisco, you'll some basic questions about installing an amp answered here. Give us a call and an advisor can help you find the right system for your vehicle.

  • Francisco Pando from Great Bend

    Posted on 6/22/2016

    I have 2014 Ford fusion without the touch screen radio. I want to upgrade the door speakers and hook them up to an Amp, how would I go about hooking the amp up to the door speakers.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/20/2016

    Aldo, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help find the right amp for your needs.

  • Aldo

    Posted on 6/19/2016

    Hi guyd I have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with the OEM radio, what do I need to install an amp? Thank you

  • Dane from Perth

    Posted on 5/31/2016

    Hi, I have purchased a powered sub and am going to wire it to my vehicles factory head unit and factory amp. The head unit doesn't have RCA outputs and so I know I have to splice the sub cables to the speaker cables. My question is do I put the splice in the speaker cable after the amp? And does it matter if I pick up the front or rear speakers for the splice. Thank you.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/20/2016

    Brooks, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to offer advice on a factory sound processor. In the meantime, this article goes a little more in depth. Also, keep in mind that speaker fit will change from vehicle to vehicle. Before you disassemble your Kia's door, be sure that your Alpine speakers will fit. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which speakers fit your car.

  • Brooks from Woodstock

    Posted on 5/19/2016

    I just bought a 2014 Kia Forte. I have taken my entire Alpine system out of my previous vehicle and am wanting to put just the speakers and amp (no sub) in the new car. My biggest concern is retaining as much sound quality as I can. I realize that you get what you pay for and I fear the cheap line out converters won't help me retain the quality I had with the entire alpine set up. Is the AudioControl LC6i (or similar higher priced units) worth the extra investment?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/17/2016

    David, if you're talking about adding another sub to your system, you won't be able to use factory amplification. Give us a call at the number above for help with options.

  • DAVID from BIRMINGHAM,AL

    Posted on 5/16/2016

    MY JEEP HAS A FACTORY INSTALLED SUB...CAN I BRANCH OFF OF IT WITH OUT AN ADAPTOR

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/10/2016

    Gary, give us a call or use our vehicle selector to confirm which accessories you'll need for installation. We carry a variety of speaker adapters.

  • Gary from Berlin, nh

    Posted on 5/9/2016

    I just purchased some Kicker 6.5" speakers for my travel trailer. The stock speakers are horrible, so I wanted to replace. When I went to install, I realized the stock speaker hole is slightly larger. Do you have any type of adapters to " fill the empty space? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/28/2016

    Matt, we can help you upgrade your Civic. I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will be contacting you soon.

  • Matt from San Diego

    Posted on 4/27/2016

    Hey, I have a 2016 Honda Civic ex t and would like to upgrade the factory speakers and maybe add a powered sub, is this possible?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/18/2016

    Bill, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help.

  • Bill Reines from Hamburg

    Posted on 4/18/2016

    Just purchased 2013 Impreza hatch (non-turbo), sold my old sound system (double-din pioneer and 2x kicker comp 12's) with my old car. Looking to throw a single 12 in without breaking the bank and without having to replace the stock radio and dash configuration and steering wheel control function. Is this possible?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/11/2016

    Garrett, check out this video as a guide. Take note of this section on connecting to a factory radio: "You'll want to make sure your powered sub has speaker-level inputs and "signal sensing" turn-on capability. In this case, you can just tap into the speaker wires behind your stereo, or possibly the rear deck speakers. This will get signal to the powered sub's built-in amp."

  • Garett Wages from Clovis, CA

    Posted on 4/8/2016

    Hello Crutchfield! I have a 2005 Honda Civic Special Edition and a Rockford Fosgate Powered Subwoofer. How do I keep my head unit and speakers stock, but wire in my subwoofer?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/16/2016

    Yasmin, unfortunately, we can't help you with your Ibiza. Our vehicle database spans vehicles sold within the U.S. You may be able to find recommendations on forums that discuss the Ibiza specifically.

  • Yasmin from Eastbourne

    Posted on 2/16/2016

    Hi I have a seat Ibiza 2001 model with the factory stereo that controls the heating and all shows up on the screen, I've looked into putting my normal head unit in but it seems like it's a lot of hard work and a bit complicated for me to do alone unless I send it off somewhere which is too much so I was wondering if you would be able to customise it like some people do to make a normal head unit fit? Thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/29/2016

    Alexi, I've passed your question along to our sales department for the best answer in your case. An advisor will contact you soon. In the meantime, check out our our instructional on installing a powered sub.

  • Alexi from Tacoma

    Posted on 1/27/2016

    What other materials are needed to connect a powered sub with a factory stereo? Would a basic wiring kit work?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/24/2016

    Taylor, not sure what you mean by options since you've said you like your factory receiver. It sounds like you already have the gear you need? If you need help setting it up, you can check out this amp installation guide or if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help setting up your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details. If you're looking for options to replace your factory receiver, you can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation and to retain your SYNC system. Or just give our advisors a call at the number above.

  • Taylor Courter from Kansas City, MO

    Posted on 1/22/2016

    Hi, I'm installing two alpine type r 10's in an I closed box with a 1000w amp and am upgrading the door speakers with alpine spr-68s which will also be hooked up to a separate 1000w amp. I like the factory head unit in my car for its sync system and various other reasons. What options do I have for this set up? Car is a 2009 Ford Escape limited 3.0V6. Thanks, Taylor

  • Ken Nail from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/7/2015

    Thanks for the question, DaRhonda. Factory radios typically don't have preamp outputs, so if you're using a factory receiver, you need to get your amp's input signal from the factory speaker wiring, either behind the radio or from the rear speaker leads. Many amplifiers have high- or speaker-level inputs to accommodate this kind of setup. So you'll need to splice into those wires and probably run some wire to the amp's location.

  • DaRhonda Warren from Maywood, IL

    Posted on 10/6/2015

    I have a Suzuki XL7, and I want to hook up 2 subwoofers and an amp to the factory radio. Do I need an adapter, or anything that's not included in a standard amp wiring kit?

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/19/2015

    Chris, since you purchased the gear from us, give us a call and our tech support team can help you with that and also let you know what gear you need for the installation.

  • chris from United States

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    i purchased from you guys an alpine head unit and sound ordinance powered sub for a pickup i had, i just bought a new jeep and would like to hook up the powered sub to the uconnect 130 factory stereo unit

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Jennifer, the harnesses aren't amplified, but I understand what you mean. Those little black boxes they include contain the circuitry to make sure most of the electronics in your vehicle still work after you replace the stereo. For the most part, the different adapters all let you retain OnStar (if you have it now) and warning chimes. The ADS-MRR also retains factory Bluetooth capability AND includes an adapter for the steering wheel audio controls. You have to purchase that separately with the other adapters. Of course, if you don't want any of these features, you can get the least expensive adapter, the the LAN-01 to save a few bucks (but even that one lets you keep the warning chimes). When you use our vehicle selector and choose a stereo, we'll show you a chart that tells you which adapter keeps which factory functions. That'll make it easier for you to decide which one you need. And if you have any questions, please, give us a call. That's why we're here.

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Jennifer, the harnesses aren't amplified, but I understand what you mean. Those little black boxes they include contain the circuitry to make sure most of the electronics in your vehicle still work after you replace the stereo. For the most part, the different adapters all let you retain OnStar (if you have it now) and warning chimes. The ADS-MRR also retains factory Bluetooth capability AND includes an adapter for the steering wheel audio controls. You have to purchase that separately with the other adapters. Of course, if you don't want any of these features, you can get the least expensive adapter, the the LAN-01 to save a few bucks. When you use our vehicle selector and choose a stereo, we'll show you a chart that tells you which adapter keeps which factory functions. That'll make it easier for you to decide which one you need. And if you have any questions, please, give us a call. That's why we're here.

  • Jennifer from SC

    Posted on 6/16/2015

    I noticed that some harnesses come amplified and some are not. Does it matter which one I choose for my vehicle. It's a 2013 Chevy Impala without bose.


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