Install essentials are, well, essential. Digital Signal Processors, Line output converters, TESA tape, OFC wiring, data-bus interfaces, what does it all mean? Check out this page for a rundown on the parts of your system you may not have considered.
Digital Signal Processors
Digital signal processors, also referred to as DSP's, are used to gain the maximum control from your system. DSP's control every channel individually, allowing you to tune every speaker to perfection. Control time alignment, EQ, gain adjustment, and much much more from one device, protecting your speakers and giving the best possible sound output.
DSP's vary in size and performance, and should be chosen based on size available for mounting and number of channels in and out. DSP's are vital in a system with an amplifier powering the door speakers playing your mid range music and vocals, but aren't as important for a subwoofer amplifier only.
Amplifier Installation Parts
Amplifier install parts are totally a "Get-what-you-pay-for" segment. Amplifier wiring is critical to get the proper amount of power to your system, and derive the best possible sound output. Look for AWG (American wire gauge) certified amplifier wiring kits, utilizing OFC (oxygen free copper) wiring. This will provide a great quality wire, using a known amount of copper to move power. Try to avoid kits that aren't certified, or that have CCA (copper clad aluminum) wiring, as it's not as efficient moving electricity.
Distribution blocks and fuse holders are also an incredibly important part of your wiring system, they protect your wiring and divide power amongst multiple amplifiers.
Data-Bus Interfaces for Radio Replacement
Interfaces are becoming more common due to the complications of newer vehicles. Data interfaces use a small computer module to take the digital factory computer signals in the car and adapt them to an analog signal your new aftermarket radio can understand. These allow the new radio to turn on, be controlled by your factory steering wheel buttons, and potentially show vehicle information on the new radio screen like TPMS data, vehicle features, or engine monitoring gauges. Not every vehicle needs an interface, but many do.
Installation Supplies, like connectors and tape
Quality install supplies are paramount for a clean and reliable installation. Good solder, quality crimp connectors, and name brand tape all aid in a quick and reliable gear swap.
TESA tape is a great example of this. This tape is the type used by vehicle manufactures on wiring harnesses both inside and on the engine and chassis of the vehicle to protect factory wiring, and is what we use at Star City 12Volt on aftermarket installations for a clean factory fit and look. There are tons of examples we could go on about, but shoot us a call if you're interested in hearing more!
Line output converters
Line output converters or LOC's are used to adapt your factory radio to an aftermarket amplifier, allowing you to upgrade the sound of your vehicle without a radio replacement. There are various levels of LOC's based on your needs. Premium LOC's like the Audiocontrol LC2i are great for eliminating factory system shortfalls like bass roll off, where the OE radio turns the bass down as you turn the volume up. If you're not looking for such a financial commitment to get your subs working, look into an LOC like the Kicker KISLOC. This wires into your factory speaker wires and provides you with an RCA connection as well as an amp-turn-on output to connect to your new amp.
Speaker Adapters and Sound Dampening
Vehicles now aren't as simple as they were once before. Speakers are larger, different sizes, and are hidden in different locations. Because of these challenges, it may be needed to use a speaker adapter to fit a different size or depth speaker, or to fit the correct sized speaker properly in it's mounting location.
Sound dampening is used independent of or alongside speaker adapters to help lower the noise floor of your vehicle by reducing rattles and vibrations of your speakers, but also blocking out external road noise. Sound dampening is often placed around speakers in door or rear deck areas, and is also used in trunks to prevent rattle from subwoofers. But, it's value doesn't stop there! Use sound dampening on the entire door or floor of your vehicle to kill road noise moving through the body panels to allow a quieter ride and more enjoyable experience all around. Kill road noise, improve speaker sound, and "Get two birds stoned at once"!
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