How to Install a Line Output Converter
For some, keeping the factory stereo in place is preferred than installing any aftermarket equipment. The OEM features provide just enough programming to outweigh the desire, and cost, of a new unit. On the flip side, upgrading a sound system with an amplifier can provide more power to aftermarket speakers. Unfortunately, factory stereos do not have the necessary preamp outputs needed to allow you to easily connect an amplifier to it.
A line output converter (LOC) is made for these situations. They convert the speaker-level output into an RCA signal, which can then make the connection to an amplifier. This allows for higher quality and more powerful sound to flow through your system. At a basic level, LOC convert speaker into amp outputs, but can provide limited sound processing advantages like low pass filters and EQ signal processing.
Installing a LOC is simple and does not require you to outsource to a garage. Follow the steps below to amplify your car audio in no time.
1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal
Disconnect the negative battery terminal. This step will help keep you and your equipment safe by preventing shorts, blown fuses, and other electrical problems.
2. Remove your factory head unit
Remove the head unit so you can locate the wiring that will connect to the line output converter. Refer to your vehicle’s instructions (online or in the manual) before removing the necessary panels and bolts/screws to pry it loose.
3. Review your wiring diagrams
In order to understand where to connect your wires, you will need to ensure you understand your stereo output wiring and where the LOC will be connected. Familiarize yourself with the wiring and connection diagrams alongside your car model instructions before proceeding to the next step.
4. Strip Wires and Make the Proper Connections
Line output converters with wired connections
If you are using a LOC with wired connections like the NVX XFLOC4, you will want to follow these steps:
- Strip each of the wires by at least one inch on both the line output converter and the stereo wiring that will be connected.
- Make the proper connections, such as the front left to the front left, front right to the front right, etc. Use butt connectors (some prefer to solder) and wire crimpers to finalize.
- Lastly, you will plug in the RCA cables to the line output converter and run and connect the RCA cables to the amplifier. If using the remote wiring you will also need to run that to the amplifier at this time.
Line output converters with speaker connector terminals
On a LOC that uses speaker connector terminals and requires fewer install steps. Strip the wires from the stereo wiring and then make the proper connections with the corresponding speaker connector terminal. Make sure each wire is secure and the wire is not loose, but do not overtighten it. Then connect your RCA cables to the corresponding places on both your LOC and your amplifier.
5. Test your System and Tidy Up the Install
With the LOC wiring completed, test your new amplifier. Connect your battery and turn on the stereo to ensure the amplifier, stereo, and speakers are working as expected. Make any necessary adjustments, if needed, and proceed to finalize your install. Clean up all wiring, secure the line output converter, and reinstall the stereo.