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Thread: efficiency of head unit or eq?

  1. #1
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    efficiency of head unit or eq?

    I currently am running a headunit with no aux inputs (it's really ancient...). I'm planning on replacing the head unit with one that has an aux input, but don't really need cd/mp3/etc because I have a slim slot loader for the laptop. Basically, Looking at an efficient way to hook the audio up to the factory speakers and sub rca's (the way it is now through the ancient cd player). I don't use the laptop yet, but it's mounted, tested, and ready to go.

    Since all I am aiming for is an efficient way to tap into my factory speaker wires without buying an amp/wire/rca's and running all that for the umpteenth time, a 1/2 din eq caught my eye. It was a clarion eqs746 7 band equalizer for a good price if I didn't need a head unit as well. I noticed that I could hook my laptop rca's (already split from headphone jack) to the main input rca's on the eq. The rca's for the sub would go to the sub outs on the eq. But then the front/rear outs are also rca... The only way to do this would be to purchase an amp and wire it all up to the factory speaker wires I believe...

    Is there an efficient solution to try to fix this mess I am in? Basically I am on a budget of sub $100-150 (gotta recover from holidays) for either a headunit in which I don't need/want half the functionality, or an eq and amp/wires and tear the car down to run wires again... I'm hoping someone might have a suggestion that works...

    Edit: I was doing a little searching around and thought about rca to speaker wire... I have cut off rca ends before to wire into an AVR for home theater speakers before, could I do this in the car as well? Take an rca from right front output, cut the other end of rca off and splice the correct wire into the original speaker wire? Or does this cause issues unlike it would when it worked in the home theater world?

  2. #2
    Raw Wave
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    Isn't the RCA an output for an equaliser or pre-amp or amp? IE - it will not power speakers.

    Usually your HU with RCA out feeds the Eq which then feeds an amp that feeds the speakers.
    The amp could be the HU if it has RCA out and RCA in specifically for EQ and signal processing etc (ie RCA out can feed the RCA in). Don't confuse that with an auxiliary RCA in which is before the RCA out.


    I'm not sure splicing speakers into RCAs would work an any world - except perhaps my old world. AFAIK, RCAs are now low-signal feeds; speakers are different or bulkier connections.
    Self powered speakers are a different issue - but they are usually RCA or Philips input. In those cases, buying adaptors is probably worthwhile.

  3. #3
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    Yes, the RCA's out on the eq are for an amp, but since I don't have an extra amp, I would be spending money on an eq, amp, RCA's, and speaker wires to extend from the factory harness to the trunk.

    I could replace the headunit with one with an aux input, but I don't need cd/dvd/mp3 playback or whatever else it comes with. I already have a wiring harness and aftermarket deck, so almost no labor is involved in just switching the decks.

    My dilemma was thinking if it was worthwhile to get a new head unit if I don't need half the functionality of it, just an aux input. Maybe it's better to get a new headunit, and then I can add an eq/amp/etc later if I decide I still need it. I just gotta make sure the headunit has the correct RCA outputs on it?

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    in regards to your first post edit-- you can technically do this, but it will result in a very low output on the speakers. so low, normal road noise will overtake the audio..

    anyways--i believe that it is feasible to get this around $100-- and all the items i picked here have free shipping..

    i like that eq, and have recommended it in the past-- it has everything needed for most installs-- some eq tweaks, fullrange volume adjustment, and sub volume adjustment as well..

    so, according to sonicelectronics: $59


    next, you will need a amp-- check for "motorcycle amps" on ebay-- most are between $25 and $50, and are reported to be at least as good as factory decks..


    many of these amps are 2 channel, and those can work-- either by getting 2 of them, or you can also use just one, but that will take some understanding of speaker resistance, amp power, and wiring configurations.. i won't go into detail on this now, but if you are interested in this option, i can discuss it further..

    this one is $18

    for simplicity, a 4 channel amp is going to be the best option.

    this one is $36


    for power, you 'might' be able to use the factory harness for power, but it is risky,so it is better to run a new power wire to better control the power flow to the amp. the amp will draw less then 15A, so even a 12ga wiring harness will work..

    this one at sonicelectronix is $15, uses 10 ga wiring and includes everything you need.

    so, $36 for the amp, $59 for the eq, and $15 for the wiring: $110 total.. just above your lowest max cost

    EDIT: forgot about speaker wire-- back to ebay:

    this wire varies by how much you need, but 30 foot is $7.43

    so grand total changes to $120, not including labor, and swear-jar deposits (to reduce that, just keep others away from the car so they don't hear you..)

  5. #5
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    soundman, I appreciate the links and feedback, it definately helps. I actually picked up a headunit for about 80ish. I figured for the time being I could go this route and down the line, add the 1/2 din eq to the setup. Expanding, I also ordered the wiring kit already so I'm on my way to adding to the setup. EQ will come next and amp to follow, probably have all of it in a couple months. I kinda like the idea of a headunit and eq working together as well, seems more 'complete' in my mind.

    Anyways, if the eq has 2 sets of outs (2 RCA's a piece for front/rear) and they are combined to one set for the amp input, is sound quality going to decline because of combining then outputting for each speaker again? If headunit front/rear outs go to one set of ins on eq, eq front/rear outs go to one set of ins on amp, and speakers each have their own outs, seems like the signal would get crossed or something at some point. And would this have an effect on the tweaking done by the eq?

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    you thinking of too many connections

    if you were to run a radio, and a eq, using the clarion you mentioned before:

    you would connect a l/r pair of rca's from the radio to the 'main-in' on the eq. from there, if your full-range amp only needs 1 pair of rca's, you would just use the 'front' output of the eq.

    if you were to combine the 'rear' and 'front' outputs of the eq, it would mess with the signal-- so don't do it

    though, you can split the signal many times before it audibly affects audio quality..(technically, every connection will sightly degrade the signal, but it is so small, it would take many, many, many connections to hear it with your ears)

  7. #7
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    Thanks for clearing that up a little. Just one more question...

    The headunit has f/r outputs, so I should use the front l/r to the main input on the clarion? That should allow the clarion to control all the freqs, including the subs?

    I am acquiring another amp. So I will have one amp for speakers and one for subs. I know the clarion out RCA's from front will go to speaker amp, and clarion sub or rear RCA's will go to sub amp. Not sure why I was thinking the f/r clarion outs would be combined, I think I confused myself while writing the last post .

  8. #8
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    looks correct to me!

  9. #9
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    I have a question regarding this method. I purchased the clarion eqs746. Reading in this thread it is stated that it is not a good idea because the signal would be too low. Well my car (bmw e90) already has a factory amp, so what I wanted to do was hook the computer to the equalizer, then use rca to speaker wire and hook to factory harness. Essentially, the equalizer would work more as a preamp (i'm hoping). Can anyone clarify if I could do it that way?

  10. #10
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    first, you need to determine what type of signal your factory amp accepts-- if it accepts a low level signal, then connecting the clarion to it will be fine.

    but there is more then one way that factory amps are connected, so don't assume that yours is this way without confirmation.

    once you determine this, and post up the results, we can confirm/deny which method your car requires.

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