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Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-03-2010, 5:02 PM Reply   
Forgive me, but I'm dealing with a serious learning curve here trying to install a stereo in my boat. I have 2 amps. 1 mono for the sub, and a 4 channel amp for the 4 speakers, however, my head unit only has 1 RCA out. Is there a good way to install this or should I get a head unit with 3 RCA outs?
Old     (kko13)      Join Date: Jul 2006       08-03-2010, 5:12 PM Reply   
you can get a RCA spliter. I am not real sure how it affects sound quality if at all. I am sure some of the others that are more knowledgeable in the stereo world will chime in. Down and dirty cheap and easy and it will work the RCA splitter is how I would do it. Unless you have the money to throw and want/need a new head uint then by all means get a new one.
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-03-2010, 5:33 PM Reply   
Does either one of your amplifiers have pass-thru outputs on them? Most do nowadays. Just daisey chain them if they do.
Old     (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       08-03-2010, 7:15 PM Reply   
Kicker's new ZXMRLC Dual Zone controller with Line Driver will do ya just right.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-03-2010, 7:16 PM Reply   
I'm not sure if the amp has pass-thru...below is the 4 channel amp, don't remember what type the 1 channel was other than it's an alpine 600 watt.

I decided I'm going to take the head unit back and get one with 2 rca outputs. Could I plug the front and rear RCA's into the 4 channel and then plug the 1 channel amp into the 4 channel amp?
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-03-2010, 7:19 PM Reply   
I found the 1 channel amp I have...
Old     (mfenton)      Join Date: May 2009       08-03-2010, 7:55 PM Reply   
All you need is a RCA splitter from radio shack, well two splitters. One for each side.
Old     (jjaszkow)      Join Date: Apr 2010       08-03-2010, 8:17 PM Reply   
ideally you would split it using an EQ or a line driver/splitter, but two RCA Y cables would also work just fine
Old     (arrydjay)      Join Date: Jul 2010       08-03-2010, 9:52 PM Reply   
dude, pretty much all amps these days (including that rockford) will have RCA inputs and RCA outputs... you just go from the output of one amp to the input on the next one... It limits things like sub control via the headunit, but if the HU has only one RCA out it wouldnt have that anyway...
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-03-2010, 10:57 PM Reply   
The newer Punch 400.4 that he is using does not have pass thru outputs. Check the specs on the site. The sub amp he is using also does not not have outputs either. Splitter or Eq is gonna be needed with this product selection.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-03-2010, 11:36 PM Reply   
Y's available anywhere
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-04-2010, 6:04 AM Reply   
So since my head unit has 1 set of RCA that would mean I'd have to split it 4 times. Split once from HU to Sub amp, split 3 times from HU to 4 channel amp. That seems like a lot of spliting. Would I have a quality loss with this?

I could return the head unit I bought and get one with 2 sets of RCA outputs. Then I would only have to split twice to the 4 channel amp. Would this be a better option?
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-04-2010, 7:58 AM Reply   
Not really, you will only need 2 y connectors. The 4 channel amp does not need 4 rca inputs. You can input just two channels and the amp will distribute power out all 4 channels, usually there is a switch for 2channel input or 4channel input. This is all pretty basic stuff, but being as how you have so many questions about something so simple, I might suggest you seek help from a professional installer. You might do more damage than save a few bucks by installing it yourself.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-04-2010, 8:34 AM Reply   
Well the thing is, is I already had someone install it, however, I have 4 new speakers in the mail and I want to install them myself. The guy who installed it just spliced the crappy boat speaker wire (for the original boat speakers) because the wire wasn't long enough and plugged it in the amp. I want to replace the speaker wire with a more quality wire. Once I started looking at the amp I noticed there was only 1 pair of RCA connectors going to the 4 channel amp and the all 4 wires were all plugged into 2 channels on the amp. This made me think it was running in bridged mode and I was only get half the power from my I correct?

I know I'm naive about this stuff, but I want to learn...

Last edited by bendow; 08-04-2010 at 8:35 AM. Reason: messed up
Old     (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       08-04-2010, 8:43 AM Reply   
If you are going to exchange the head unit you might as well get one with 3 sets of RCA outputs instead of 2. That way you have front, rear, and sub. IMHO exchanging the HU is a much better option than splitting the signal.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       08-04-2010, 8:45 AM Reply   
Most 4-channel amplifiers have a configurable input so that one pair of inputs will supply all four channels. Some pass-thrus on amplifiers are a simple 'Y' division while the better amplifiers have an OP amp on the bypass output. This will make a difference in to what degree you are splitting the preout voltage. Simple RCA 'Y's will get the job done but here is the real issue. Its almost certain that if your source unit only has a single RCA output set then it is minimal voltage and will be diminished when split resuting in poor dynamic range (not just your base output). Sometimes just increasing the amplifier sensitivity isn't enough. So resolve this issue with a line driver or EQ. In the case of a line driver, which will provide 7 volts plus, you'll also be getting zone controls in a convenient location. Look at both the Kicker and JL Audio line driver products.

Earmark Marine
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-04-2010, 11:32 AM Reply   
David, I so respect your input on these forums, You are a super knowledgeable guy,........ But you gotta find a way of explaining things to most of the lay people out here that are asking these questions with out baffling them. I am pretty knowledgable and understand the points you make, but Jesus! Sometimes with the terms that you use and way you go about explaining things, even I have to read over your posts three or four times! If you are gonna help these guys out, HELP THEM OUT and don't add to they're confusion. Not hatin on ya, just letting you know that everone on these forums are NOT to be assumed as accoustical engineers.
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-04-2010, 11:33 AM Reply   
I second swapping the headunit if that is a viable option for ya. Better SQ and eas of installation. 2, preferably 3 sets of rca's is where you shoul look.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       08-04-2010, 12:16 PM Reply   
Sorry Bawshogg. For those who understand the points I've made then I'm happy to have helped. For those that don't understand then please ignore them. I don't always have the time to write a book and to go into detailed explanations. But I'll try and slow down and work on it anyway.

Earmark Marine
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       08-04-2010, 12:50 PM Reply   
I'm just going to return my head unit for one with 3 sets of preouts. Thanks for the help Bawshogg.

David you really know you're audio and I've got a lot of great info from reading your posts, but I have to talk over my head often
Old     (bawshogg)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-04-2010, 1:01 PM Reply   
Cool, I think you will be much happier with your system in the end, not only that you will have individual control over the sub and cabin speakers from the headunit.

No apologies needed Dave. You are a valuable asset to all of us audio enthusiasts.
Old     (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-04-2010, 1:11 PM Reply   
The other nice thing about getting the 3 preamp outputs is that if your fade will still work to control volume from front to rear. If you only fed the 4 channel with one set of cables you;'d lose that.

Also, if you decide to add another 2 channel amp for some tower speakers you can steal one set of RCAs from the 4 channel to feed it and use the fade on the head unit to control volume of the tower speakers somewhat independently of the passenger compartment speakers.
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       08-04-2010, 1:32 PM Reply   
The triple pair preout unit, especially if its a high voltage unit, is likely to be an upgrade in many other respects too. But many are only using their source unit as an Ipod passthru anyway. Don't overlook the convenience and location of the controls. For example, if the source unit is on the driver's side then all is usually well. However, if the source unit is located on the passenger side or if the source unit has a slow and tedious menu to gain access to the individual zone controls then you've delayed dealing with the next big issue by only focusing on the number of preouts now. So I would recommend taking a bit of a pause and thinking through all of your future usage. You want to avoid upgrading the source unit only to discover that down the road you still want an EQ or line drivers for the immediate control at your fingertips.

Earmark Marine
Old     (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       08-04-2010, 4:09 PM Reply   
I just went with the Clarion EQ746 ( ) in my system until I can afford a wetsounds 420. I don't have it in yet but that might not be a bad option to look at either.


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