When looking to get the most out of your car’s sound system, an amplifier is often times the way to go. However, installing an amp into your system isn’t as simple as buying one and plugging it in, you also will need to purchase an amplifier wiring kit that meets the power and wiring needs of the amplifier you already purchased.
Step 1: What Type of Kit Do You Need?
It is crucial to your sound system to understand what exactly you need when looking for an amp kit. When purchasing your amp kit, you have two options to choose from: a complete amplifier kit or a power kit.
Complete Amplifier Kit
A complete amplifier kit comes with everything you need to seamlessly integrate your amplifier into your sound system; the proper speaker wire, power and ground wire, RCA cables, remote turn-on wire*, fuse holders, grommets and terminals.
*See our wiring type guide for more detailed information on the wiring types you need to install an amplifier.
A power kit comes with everything you need to power your amplifier but will not come with any speaker wire or RCA connection cables. This includes power and ground cables, turn-on lead wires, fuse and fuse holder as well as an assortment of wiring hardware and cable ties (grommets, wring terminals, connectors etc.)
In case you already have a few of the necessary installation parts or need to replace anything from your kit these parts are also all sold individually.
Step 2: What Wire Size Do You Need?
It is important to note that any amp kit won’t necessarily work with any amplifier; the kit needs to be matched up to the amp (or vice-versa) to ensure the wires will fit properly. The cables and wires you use to install your amplifier are just as, if not more important than the amplifier itself. Using the proper wire gauge ensures your amp receives the amount of power it is designed for. The most common wire sizes for powering a car amplifier are 1/0 gauge, 4 gauge and 8 gauge. Due to the high current demands, a car amplifier needs large power and ground wires to get the energy it needs from the battery to operate to its peak efficiency.
As a general recommendation, Sonic Electronix follows the guidelines below as a quick reference in determining the appropriate wire gauge.
|Wire Gauge Size||Total Amplifier RMS Wattage|
|0/1 AWG||1000+ Watts|
|4 AWG||400-1000 Watts|
|8 AWG||200-400 Watts|
|10 AWG||100-200 Watts|
Step 3: Do You Have Multiple Amplifiers in Your System?
For more complex sound systems, you may need to install multiple amps. The simplest, most efficient way to do this is to get a dual amp wiring kit that includes dual fuses and distribution blocks. A power distribution block allows you to have multiple amplifiers in your system while only running a single power wire from your battery. Multiple outputs then allow you to run power wiring to your amplifiers. To protect your system from any power spikes, it is necessary to match the fuse and fuse holder size to your amplifier. It is important that the fuse rating of your amp kit matches or slightly exceeds that of your amplifier. When you have multiple amps wired together in your system, just add the amperages of each amplifier together to determine the necessary amperage of your fuses.
Step 4: Tips and Tricks to the Best Sounding System
- When possible, always buy 100% Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) wiring. While more costly up front, OFC wiring offers a huge performance advantage over Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) wiring and greater corrosion resistance. CCA wire is a suitable choice for lower powered systems or restricted budget applications, but it’s performance is much lower quality.
- Whenever possible, to ensure your system receives the proper amount of power always use true gauge wire. For more information on the importance of wire gauge, see our Wire Gauge Sizes and the American Wire Gauge (AWG) article.
Building out your sound system can be a complex, time consuming process, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience when you turn it on for the first time.