How to Hook up an Equalizer

An equaliser is a piece of audio gear that allows the user to change the frequency responses of an audio signal. They come in a variety of prices and features, but they all perform the same basic function: adjusting the sound level at different frequencies. Learning how to connect an equaliser to your stereo system or vehicle is a simple process that requires only a few simple considerations.

Method 1 Hooking Up an Equalizer Between Your Receiver and Amplifier

1. For the simplest connection, connect the equaliser to your receiver. Preamp-in and preamp-out connections, as well as tape monitor connections, are found on the majority of receivers. Most of the time, this is the best way to connect an equaliser to your stereo.

Connecting to the tape monitor channels will necessitate only a connection to your receiver. Instead, learn how to connect an equaliser to the receiver.

2. Buy two pairs of RCA cables. Two sets of RCA cable are required to send a signal from your stereo receiver to the equaliser and then to your amplifier (the same kind that is usually used to connect source components like turntables and CD players).

The RCA cables should be the same length as the distance between the receiver and the equaliser.

3. Connect the receiver and equaliser with one pair of RCA cables. Connect one pair of cables to the receiver’s pre-amp output channels and the other end to the equalizer’s left and right channel inputs.

These channels are usually found at the back of the equaliser.

Right channel jacks typically accept red RCA plugs, while left channel jacks accept white or black RCA plugs.

4. Connect the other RCA cable pair between the receiver and the amplifier. Connect the other pair of cables from the equalizer’s output channels on the back to the amplifier’s left and right input channels.

Right channel jacks typically accept red RCA plugs, while left channel jacks accept white or black RCA plugs.

5. Connect the amplifier and the receiver. The amplifier should be kept connected to the receiver via an RCA cable connected between the amplifier outputs and the receiver’s amp inputs. This effectively creates a loop from the receiver to the equaliser and amplifier and back again.

6. To use your equaliser, turn on the receiver, equaliser, and amplifier. Turn on all three components and adjust the equaliser knobs to your liking. You should now be able to change the frequency response or tone of your music by adjusting the controls on the equaliser.

Method 2 Hooking Up an Equalizer to Your Receiver

1. If your receiver does not have preamp-out channels, connect your equaliser to it. Always place the equaliser between the receiver and the amplifier. To use this method, your amplifier must have integrated preamp-out and preamp-in connections.

2. Buy two pairs of RCA cables. You’ll need two sets of RCA cable to send a signal from your stereo receiver to the equaliser and back (the same kind that is usually used to connect source components like turntables and CD players).

The RCA cables should be the same length as the distance between the receiver and the equaliser.

3. Connect the receiver and equaliser with one pair of RCA cables. Connect one pair of cables to the receiver’s tape monitor output channels and the other end of the cable to the equalizer’s left and right channel inputs.

These channels are usually found at the back of the equaliser.

4. Connect the other RCA cable pair between the receiver and the equaliser. Connect the other pair of cables from the equalizer’s output channels to the tape monitor input channels on the receiver’s back.

Right channel jacks typically accept red RCA plugs, while left channel jacks accept white or black RCA plugs.

5. Make use of your equaliser. Turn on the receiver and set the front panel output control to “Tape Monitor.” This activates the tape monitor channels, causing the sound to pass through your equaliser before being sent to the amplifier. Adjust the equaliser knobs to suit your tastes.

You should now be able to change the frequency response or tone of your music by adjusting the controls on the equaliser.

To activate the “Tape Monitor” setting, press the button on the equalizer’s front panel.

If you have a tape deck connected to the tape monitor channels, unplug it before connecting your equaliser.

Method 3 Connecting an Equalizer Directly to an Amplifier

1. If your receiver lacks preamp-output channels or tape monitor channels but your amplifier has preamp-in and out channels, connect the equaliser directly to your amplifier. Preamp-in and preamp-out connections, as well as tape monitor connections, are found on the majority of receivers. Most of the time, this is the best way to connect an equaliser to your stereo. If your receiver lacks these channels, some amplifiers allow you to connect the equaliser directly.

Connecting directly to the amplifier necessitates the use of preamp-in and preamp-out channels on your amplifier.

2. Buy two pairs of RCA cables. You’ll need two sets of RCA cable to send a signal from your equaliser to the amplifier and back (the same kind that is usually used to connect source components like turntables and CD players).

The RCA cables should be the same length as the distance between the receiver and the equaliser.

3. Connect the equaliser and amplifier with one pair of RCA cables. Connect one pair of cables to the amplifier’s pre-amp output channels and the other end of the cable to the equalizer’s pre-amp input channels.

These channels are usually found at the back of the equaliser.

Right channel jacks typically accept red RCA plugs, while left channel jacks accept white or black RCA plugs.

You can use these if the amplifier channels say tape monitor output rather than pre-amp output.

4. Connect the other RCA cable pair between the amplifier and receiver. Connect the other pair of cables from the equalizer’s output channels to the amplifier’s pre-amp input channels.

Right channel jacks typically accept red RCA plugs, while left channel jacks accept white or black RCA plugs.

Some amplifiers may have tape monitor input channels rather than pre-amp input channels, which you can also use.

5. Turn on the amplifier’s pre-amp connection. Some amplifiers will have a switch that allows you to activate the pre-amp connections. If you are using tape monitor channels, you must also turn on the tape monitor switch. To activate this connection, press the button.

6. To use your equaliser, turn on the receiver, equaliser, and amplifier. Turn on all three components and adjust the equaliser knobs to your liking. You should now be able to change the frequency response or tone of your music by adjusting the controls on the equaliser.

Method 4 Connecting a Remote-Mount Equalizer to Your Car

1. Connect an equaliser to your car stereo in a remote location using this method to save space. Some equalisers are intended for installation in the dash, while others are intended for installation in a remote location such as the trunk. The installation location will be determined by your particular equaliser and preferences.

Many people prefer to install their equalisers near the amp in their trunk so that they can easily add more amps later.

Some vehicles will not have enough space in the dash for an equaliser, necessitating the use of a remote-mounted equaliser.

Equalizers can be installed between your amplifier and receiver.

Most remote-mount equalisers include a remote that allows you to change the controls from the driver’s seat.

2. Determine where you want to mount the equaliser. The majority of people prefer to keep their remote-mount equaliser in their trunk, close to the amplifier. This way, they can easily add more amps in the future by connecting a close wire. Other possible locations include under a vehicle seat.

Remember that you will need to run wires to your head unit, receiver, and amplifier regardless of where you mount your equaliser.

3. Buy two pairs of RCA cables. You’ll need two sets of RCA cable to send a signal from your stereo receiver to the equaliser and back (the same kind that is usually used to connect source components like turntables and CD players).

The RCA cables should be the same length as the distance between the receiver and the equaliser.

4. Take your receiver out of the dash. Remove the receiver from the dash to gain access to the wires behind it. Typically, you can remove the plastic piece that covers the dash and then gently pull the receiver out.

5. Connect the RCA cables to your vehicle’s in-dash receiver. Connect the two RCA cables to the preamp outputs of the receiver. Tape them together so they don’t fall apart.

6. Bring the cables to the equaliser and connect them. Connect the cables to the equaliser by running them through the dash. Tape or wire ties should be used to connect the two cables along the way. Connect the cables to your equalizer’s preamp inputs.

7. Attach your equaliser to your vehicle. Do not attach your equaliser to the metal chassis directly. This will cause the sound to be muffled. To avoid interference, it is best to mount the equaliser on a platform or some kind of rubber material.

If the equaliser must be bolted directly to the metal chassis, rubber pieces should be used between the equaliser and the vehicle.

8. Turn off your engine. Before you begin installation, turn off your vehicle and remove your keys. This is for your safety while connecting the wires so you don’t get shocked.

9. Attach your ground wire. Three wires will be visible on your equaliser. The ground wire is the black one. Remove a bolt near the equaliser mounting location and scrape away any paint that has accumulated in the area around the bolt. Crimp a ring onto the wire’s end and bolt it to the vehicle.

If no suitable location is available, you will have to drill a hole in the chassis. While doing this, take care not to damage the gas tank or brake line.

10. Plug in the power cable. The 12V power cable on your equaliser is the yellow wire (it could be red or another color- check your manual). Connect this cable to either the receiver’s power cable or a 12V variable power source in the fuse box (such as the wiper fuse).

If your receiver does not come with a wiring diagram that shows which wires are switched power cables, you should use a digital multimeter to determine which cable is which. When the key is in the off position, connect the multimeter to the cable and make sure the voltage reads zero. Then, with the key in the on position, check to see if there is now 12V. If the wire follows this pattern, you’ve discovered the correct switched 12V power wire.

Splice the wires together and completely cover the exposed metal with electrical tape. This prevents the exposed areas from coming into contact with other wires and potentially shorting out the system.

Crimping the wires together is also an option, but it is not as strong as splicing.

This wire must be routed from the receiver to wherever the equaliser is installed.

11. Connect the remote power wire. This wire, which is usually blue with a white stripe, should be labelled on your equaliser. There should be a blue (usually blue, but other colours are acceptable) wire on the receiver that connects to the amplifier. After routing this wire through the vehicle from where the equaliser is located, connect it to the blue wire on the receiver.

Splice or crimp the wires together to form a connection, then wrap it in electrical tape.

12. By starting the car, you can put the equaliser to the test. Insert the key into the ignition and turn the key to the “on” position. Then, turn on the radio to ensure that everything is in working order and that the equaliser comes on along with the radio.

13. Remove the receiver and replace it. Replace the frame covering and the receiver in their respective brackets. Before you begin, make sure that all of the wiring is pushed inside the dash.

Method 5 Connecting an In-Dash Equalizer to Your Car

1. Connect an equaliser to your car stereo in the dash using this method if you want easy access to the controls. Some equalisers are intended for installation in the dash, while others are intended for installation in a remote location such as the trunk. The installation location will be determined by your particular equaliser and preferences.

Many people prefer to install their equalisers in the vehicle’s dash so that they can constantly access the controls.

Equalizers can be installed between your amplifier and receiver.

2. Determine where you want the equaliser to be installed. An in-dash equaliser should be installed directly above or below your head unit, or stereo control unit. Some vehicles’ dashboards will have room for this. Other vehicles will not have enough space, so the equaliser can be mounted beneath the dash. The final option is to have your equaliser custom-fit into the dash.

If you have enough space in your dash, all you’ll need is an installation kit to mount your equaliser. These kits are brackets that attach the head unit to the dash with only a few screws. Mounting instructions will be included with your kit.

If you don’t have enough room in your dash, you’ll need an under-dash mounting kit. These kits are typically designed to fit under the driver’s side dash, though other options are available. There are many different designs for under-dash kits, so pick one that you like and that fits your vehicle.

If you want a customised installation, it is best to hire a professional audio installer.

3. Buy two pairs of RCA cables. You’ll need two sets of RCA cable to send a signal from your stereo receiver to the equaliser and back (the same kind that is usually used to connect source components like turntables and CD players).

The RCA cables should be the same length as the distance between the receiver and the equaliser. To avoid “cable clutter,” buy “patch” size cables that are only about a foot (30 cm) long.

4. Take your receiver out of the dash. Remove the receiver from the dash to gain access to the wires behind it. Typically, you can remove the plastic piece that covers the dash and then gently pull the receiver out.

5. Connect the RCA cables to your vehicle’s in-dash receiver. Connect the two RCA cables to the preamp outputs of the receiver. Tape them together so they don’t fall apart.

6. Bring the cables to the equaliser and connect them. Connect the cables to the equaliser by running them through the dash. Tape or wire ties should be used to connect the two cables along the way. Connect the cables to your equalizer’s preamp inputs.

7. Install your equaliser. Install your equaliser in the location of your choice. To mount your equaliser, you will simply need to attach a few screws.

8. Turn off your engine. Before you begin installation, turn off your vehicle and remove your keys. This is for your safety while connecting the wires so you don’t get shocked.

9. Attach your ground wire. Three wires will be visible on your equaliser. The ground wire is the black one. There will also be a black ground wire on the back of the receiver, which you should splice (or crimp) together. Wrap the connection in electrical tape after you’ve completed it.

Remove a bolt near the equaliser mounting location and scrape away any paint covering the area around the bolt if you can’t find a black wire on the receiver. Crimp a ring onto the wire’s end and bolt it to the vehicle.

If no suitable location is available, you will have to drill a hole in the chassis. While doing this, take care not to damage the gas tank or brake line.

10. Plug in the power cable. The 12V power cable on your equaliser is the yellow wire (it could be red or another color- check your manual). Connect this cable to either the receiver’s power cable or a 12V variable power source in the fuse box (such as the wiper fuse).

If your receiver does not come with a wiring diagram that shows which wires are switched power cables, you should use a digital multimeter to determine which cable is which. When the key is in the off position, connect the multimeter to the cable and make sure the voltage reads zero. Then, with the key in the on position, check to see if there is now 12V. If the wire follows this pattern, you’ve discovered the correct switched 12V power wire.

Splice the wires together and completely cover the exposed metal with electrical tape. This prevents the exposed areas from coming into contact with other wires and potentially shorting out the system.

Crimping the wires together is also an option, but it is not as strong as splicing.

This wire must be routed from the receiver to wherever the equaliser is installed.

11. Connect the remote power wire. This wire, which is usually blue with a white stripe, should be labelled on your equaliser. There should be a blue (usually blue, but other colours are acceptable) wire on the receiver that connects to the amplifier. After routing this wire through the vehicle from where the equaliser is located, connect it to the blue wire on the receiver.

Splice or crimp the wires together to form a connection, then wrap it in electrical tape.

12. By starting the car, you can put the equaliser to the test. Insert the key into the ignition and turn the key to the “on” position. Then, turn on the radio to ensure that everything is in working order and that the equaliser comes on along with the radio.

13. Remove the receiver and replace it. Replace the frame covering and the receiver in their respective brackets. Before you begin, make sure that all of the wiring is pushed inside the dash.

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