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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(We'll assume you have an aftermarket headunit)

This is a basic diagramme of how you can run 2 amps in your car. Obviously, if you only need/want to use one amp, then you dont need all the other wires.

Mono Amplifier
A mono amplifier is a "single channel bass" amplifier.
Although it's single channel, more than one sub can be used. However, you cant run normal speakers from this amp, doing this can damage the amp.
When wiring up a mono amp, you need to find out what "independence load" the amp can take, as different subs will put a different load on it. The lower the load, the "louder" the sub can be. Do not go too low however, as if the load you make, is lower than the amp can handle - the amp will get very hot and melt.

2/3/4/5/6 Channel amplifier
This amp covers all frequencies, not just bass
These amps usually power components, 6x9s or coaxils. You run one speaker per channel. However, you can "bridge" the channels to make the out put twice as powerful. here is an example of what i mean on a 2 channel amp:

(the small speakers would be comps, OR you could run the sub instead)

Wiring a Sub to a mono amp?
must make sure the load on the amp is right
Different subs have differnt voice coil configs. the most common are
4ohm Single Voice coil (4ohm SVC)
8ohm Single Voice coil (8ohm SVC)
2ohm Dual Voice coils (2ohm DVC)
4ohm Dual Voice coils (4ohm DVC)

The amount of subs you have, and the way they are wired vaires massivly what load is put on the amp. There are far too many possible confis to explain, so simply having a play around here will give you an idea

Link to Rockford Fosgate Wiring Wizard

Wiring components from a 2channel amp
one channel per speaker
You take speaker wire from each channel into a cross over. This cross over is then wired into a tweeter (hi notes) and a mid (low notes). The cross over sorts out what frequency to send to which speaker.
This means you are powering your comps in "stereo"

Wiring subwoofer from a 2channel amp
one channel per speaker
Channels are in pairs. You can take the correct positive from one channel and negative from the other channel to run your sub. usually at a higher load (4ohm on the amp) but it can be done.
This means your two channels are powering one sub in "mono"

Gains and Frequency dials on an amplifier
both mono and "channel amps" have these dials
--- On a mono amp, you want your frequency low, its automatically a low pass filter, so will only play low notes. The lower you have it set, the more efficient it is (in theory) so will play louder. Have it to low and you miss out some notes. Have it set playing to high, and it will damage the sub. The gain is to match the head unit pre out level, to the amp. Its not a volume control. You can have the amp turned lower, this wont damage anything - it just means your sub isnt as loud as it could be, so its a waste of money lol. If running a big system, get it professionally scoped so you dont get clipping (damage)
--- On a channel amp, freq is down to personal preferance. Sit in your car and twiddle until it sounds right. There isnt a set level for this, as everyones music taste is different. Once again, dont over do the gain, this will cause damage. You can have it quiter and play it safe, although your not getting the most from your ICE.

RCA/Phono Lead
sending a low level out put to your amp
Your headunit sends the signal to your amp. red and white wires = left and right, so; stereo sound. The RCA's plug into the amps INPUT 2 RCA sockets. Your headunit may have a choice of out puts:
--- preouts; just a normal out put, any amp can run from this.
--- sub out; a signal ready to be sent to sub. Usually has more options to it.

If you want to run 2 amps from one pre out you have 2 choices:

1) get a Y Splitter and split the amp signal into 2. then send one signal to each amp.

2) the amp may have an RCA out put socket on it, simply plug leads into this, and run into your other amp. It just sends the same signal to your second amp.

Mounting Amp
dont necessarily have to have them on your back seat
Amps cool differently. The cooler the stay, in theory the more efficient they can be. It's recomened to have cool air passing through and around your amp. If you have an urge to put it under a false floor, please use some 12volt fans. they only cost a fiver and can save your amp melting. Amps want to be mounted differently to cool best. (example JL 300/2 likes to be on its side, the RF X6 likes to be on its base) Check the book to see how your amp wants to sit.

Fuses for amps
fuse protects the cable
You amp book will say what fuse rating you need. Its up to you whether you use AGU or ANL fuses. If a fuse pops, dont just replace it. Investgate te problem. Fuses tend not to blow for no reason. Make sure the fuse is about 8" away from the battery.

Size cable
measured in AWG - (gauge)
Again, depending on amp size, depends on what size (diameter) cable you need. The thicker the cable the more power it can handle. You dont want to put too much power through a cable otherwise it'll melt and burn out. You can have a thicker AWG, but not a smaller AWG. Your amp will say what size is best. When earthing amp, it needs to be perfect. a dodgy earth can cause your amp to pop. Some people even earth with a thicker AWG than the power AWG just to be safe. The earth should always be shorter than live.
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