Quality 4 gauge wire next to cheap 4 gauge wire
Notice the Stinger 4 gauge wire has more copper tone and a thicker sleeve

How to buy the right amplifier wiring kit for your car audio amplifier.  Determining the proper gauge wire for your amplifier, fuse size, wire length and more.

How the quality of your car audio amplifier wiring can effect your whole car stereo system.

Estimated read time: 6 minutes 15 seconds.  Want to read later?

So you just got your amp and your sub and now you need to hook it up.  How do you know what gauge wire you need for your amp?  What size fuse do you need for your inline fuse holder?  How much wire do you need?

Many amp kits are labeled with wattage ratings on them to entice you to buy, but what’s actually on the package is not always the whole story.  A basic rule of thumb is this.  For up to 500 watts RMS, 8 gauge is sufficient.  In the 500 – 1000 watt RMS range, you want to run 4 gauge.  From 1000 – 1500 watts RMS you should be running 2 gauge.  Over 1500 watts RMS you need 0 gauge and a few other wiring and vehicle upgrades.

Not every wire is created equally.  Take a look at the picture above.  One is Stinger 4 gauge wire and it runs $2.99 a foot.  The other is DB Link 4 gauge and it runs $1.99 a foot.  What’s the difference?  Why should you buy the more expensive amplifier power wire?  Take a closer look at it.

The cheap amplifier wiring has some silver mixed in the strands.  That silver wire you see mixed in with the copper is aluminum.  Maybe you haven’t heard, but aluminum is not nearly as conductive as copper.  This means the cheaper power wire is not capable of carrying as much current as the Stinger power wire which is 100 % oxygen free copper wire. The other important thing to note here is the difference in the shielding.  The cheaper stuff has much less shielding.  The other tell tale quality difference which you can’t really see, but can easily feel, is the weight of the wire.  The cheap DB Link wire is feather light compared to the real copper wire.  A good quality amp kit should be pretty heavy.  A decent 4 gauge kit with RCA, fuse, fuse holder and 20 feet of wire usually weights around 8-10 lbs.

The weight difference has a lot to do with the wire being 100 percent oxygen free copper, which is heavier than aluminum, and also has to do with having more strands of wire.  You can see the Stinger wire has more strands and they are tighter and more compact.  The cheaper DB Link wire at $1.99 a foot, with less wire and more aluminum, is as effective as a decent 8 gauge wire.  And guess how much a decent 8 gauge wire goes for:  $1.49 per foot.

When it comes to amplifier wiring for your car stereo system, don’t cheap out.  Don’t you want to get all the power you paid for?  If your amp is capable of 1000 watts RMS then it requires 4 gauge wire.  Give it what it needs.  If you don’t, you end up starving your amp for power.  When you restrict the output that your amp is capable of you risk clipping the amp, which causes distortion which can blow your speakers. Besides using the proper gauge power and ground wire for your car audio amplifier, you also need to get the right size fuse for your inline fuse holder. 

How do you know what size fuse to use at the battery on your inline fuse holder?  Easy.  What size fuses are on your amp? If you have two 30 amp fuses on the side of your amp, you would want to have a 60 amp inline fuse on your power wire.  If you had two 40 amp fuses, you’d want to get an 80 amp inline fuse. This is kind of important because fuses are only available in certain sizes and in certain styles.  Glass cylinder style fuses (also known as AGU Fuses) are usually available in 40 amp, 60 amp or 80 amp ratings and are usually designed for fuse holders that can accommodate 4 or 8 gauge wire.

Examples of ANL, MIDI and AGU fuses
Examples of ANL, MIDI and AGU fuses

The next one up is the MIDI style fuse.  The MIDI style fuse has two hooks, one at each end and a small plastic body in the middle.  Midi style fuses are usually available in 40 amp, 60 amp, 80 amp, 100 amp, 125 amp, and 150 amp ratings.  The fuse holders that are designed for MIDI style fuses are usually designed to accommodate 4 or 8 gauge wire. For larger amperage and larger gauge wire we have ANL style fuses.  These are like giant MIDI fuses.  They also have two hooks, one at each end and a plastic body in the middle.  ANL fuses are usually available in 100 amp, 125 amp, 150 amp, 200 amp, 250 amp and 300 amp ratings.  The fuse holders designed for ANL style fuses are usually designed to handle either 0 gauge, 2 gauge or 4 gauge.

So how much wire do you really need anyhow?  This is something most amp kits do get right.  For your average car, you will need about 17 – 18 feet for power and no more than 3 feet for ground (the shorter the better on the ground wire).  It’s always better to have extra than to come up short after going through all of the trouble of running the wire.  Larger SUV’s may need closer to 20 feet if you plan on mounting the amplifiers in rear. In our shop, we get creative with our amplifier mounting locations.  Even in larger SUV’s, we usually don’t need anything longer than 18 feet for power wire.  It’s better to hide the amp (or amps) in a quarter panel or underneath a seat rather than extend power wire all the way to the rear cargo area of a large SUV.  For most vehicles, plan on at least 17 feet for power and 2-3 feet for ground. 

Tip: you always need to match the gauge or your ground wire with the gauge of your power wire.

Here’s a short and sweet guide to ensure you get the proper size inline fuse and correct gauge power and ground wire for your car stereo amplifier:

#1 Check the fuses on your current amp.  Total them up.  That’s about what size fuse you need for your inline fuse holder.  Note: you can’t always get the same exact rating, just get close to it.  Its safer to round the number down to the closest number rather than rounding up.

#2 Know the RMS rating of your car stereo amplifier so you can determine the proper gauge power and ground wire.  Here is are some rough estimates that can help you:

  • Up to 500 watts RMS = 8 gauge
  • 500 – 1000 watts RMS = 4 gauge
  • 1000 – 1500 watts RMS = 2 gauge
  • 1500 -2000 wats RMS = 0 gauge

 Update: Recently a helpful reader named Mike pointed out another very valuable tip in this process: The current capacity of the wire must always be more than that of the inline fuse. If the wire AWG is selected correctly, it shouldn’t be an issue but this is a very important part of the circuit design. After selecting the inline fuse value and wire gauge, it must be verified that the wire actually purchased (and length used) can handle the more current than the inline fuse.

#3 Don’t forget, your power wire must be the same gauge as your ground wire, always.

#4 You will need about 17 – 18 feet of power wire and 2 – 3 feet of ground wire for your average vehicle.

#5 Don’t cheap out!  Buy 100 percent oxygen free copper wire.  If you buy cheap power and ground wire for your amp you’ll risk starving your amp for power which means you have a higher chance of clipping the amp, thus playing distortion and eventually blowing your speakers.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  Buy quality power and ground wire.

*Just as a side note, if you’re running 1000 – 1500 watts RMS consider upgrading your alternator or at least installing a capacitor. If you’re running 1500 – 2000 watts RMS then you definitely need to upgrade your alternator, your power wire to the alternator, battery ground wire and chassis ground.

Now that you know what you need, go out and get it and install that car stereo amplifier with confidence! Still not confident after reading this post?  Just make a comment or shoot me an email if you have any questions or even if you just need a little reassurance.  That’s what I’m here for.  Thanks for reading!

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  1. Hey Annie,

    First off, I wanted to let you know that you’re the best! Your articles are very helpful as I am new to car audio but doing TONS and TONS of research to DIY install a JVC KW-V420BT head-unit, a Kenwood KAC-5001PS amp, and a pair of Kicker 40DCWR122 in their factory ported box into a 2005 Cadillac Deville with the Bose System w/o the factory navigation. Anyways, I am unsure of exactly what gauge wiring to get… My amps manual reads: “(Use a power wiring cord with the range of 5 mm2 (AWG 10) or more.)” …which confuses me…

    • Hi Darko – you would be save with 8 gauge for power and ground. It doesn’t hurt to go higher than the minimum 10 gauge, so I would go with 8 gauge in case you ever wanted to upgrade to something a little more powerful.

  2. Hello Annie – I just want to make sure I’m correct in my thinking. I currently have a Jensen XA2150 (75 watt RMS x 2 with 1 25A fuse). I already have 8 gauge power wire going straight to the Jensen from the battery, with a 50A inline fuse near the battery, with an 8 gauge ground near the amp. Current setup works great, just wanting a little more low end. I wish to add a Sound Ordinance B-8PTD subwoofer (125 watt RMS with 1 15A fuse). Can I get a power distribution block, and split the 8 gauge into two 8 gauge power wires to feed both amps, grounding both separately with 8 gauge wire? I calculated the draw to be just barely under 40A (total RMS x 2 divided by 13.8). Thanks!

    • Hi Jay, yeah that would work. I would try to get a fused distribution block if you can find one. I don’t know of any off the top of my head that will take 8 gauge in and give 8 gauge out, but I’m sure someone makes one.

  3. Hello? I’m installing in my mustang GT a kicker mono block amp rated @ 300rms @ 4ohms to a MTX Thunder rated @ 200rms @ 4 ohms in a 1.2 cu sealed box, and Length of vehicle is 16 feet. What gauge should I get for my amp kit?

    • 8 Gauge would be fine for that set up.

  4. Hey your post is amazing and very helpful ive got 2 pioneer champion series 400 watts RMS coonnected to a mono amp Kenwood KAC 9105d 900 watts RMS . I tried connected my subs in one ohm ,4 ohm and single coils also but they trip at higher volumes when the bass hits my 2 channel amp for speakers works good but the mono one for subs shuts.
    I have my components and speakers connected to 2 channel amp and also my TS20 tweeters
    where is it getting wrong

    • Hi Akshay,
      I’m pretty sure the Champion series subs were offered in either dual voice coil 2 ohm or dual voice coil 4 ohm. So if that’s correct, that would mean if you have the dual 2 ohm subs, you would want to wire the subs voice coils in series, then parallel each sub for a final 2 ohm load. But I have a feeling what you probably have are the dual 4 ohm voice coil models, which means you could either wire the subs in series then parallel for a final 4 ohm load (safe – but the amp will only put out 500 watts at 4 ohm) or you can run then in parallel, then parallel again for a final 1 ohm load. I think that amp might be 1 ohm stable so that would probably be the best way to wire it based on the power needs of the sub. So here is one of the reasons I don’t like to run at 1 ohm, the amp usually heats up and shuts down and goes into a protection mode. The only thing you can really do to try and stop that is make sure you are running high quality 4 gauge for power and ground and make sure you have a good, solid ground for the amp. A poor ground can cause that too or too think power wire can cause that issue as well. I hope that helps!



  6. One thing I see that isn’t mentioned, like the amplifier I own, it’s a synergy audio 1500 watt amplifier. It does not have its own fuse Block added into it. For those who don’t know where to go with that, what would be recommended for a proper in line fuse

    • Hey Devon – the owner’s manual should specify the recommended fuse size in that case and besides a fuse up front, I would put one near the amp in the back too. Not sure why some amp companies neglect to put fuses on board, but some do.

  7. Hi Annie.I’m looking for the right wire and fusing needed for a memphis 16-st1000d amplifier and two twelve inch Memphis c3 or possibly m4 sub’s. I have two 40 amp fuses on the amplifier.

    How would you run the wire from the battery at the front. And what should I be looking to do for inline fuses and capacitors .

    • Hey Anthony – sounds like 4 gauge would be good for your amp. How to run it? Every car is different depending on where battery is and if there are any existing grommets in the firewall, sometimes there aren’t and you have to drill through the firewall and seal it back up with silicone caulk after running through. Run your power wire down existing wiring under sill plates, but make sure you run your RCA cables down opposite side – not along side the power wire. 80 Amp fuse on inline fuse holder. Don’t buy a cheap cap, Stinger makes good ones. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Annie,
    I am looking to run a pair of Boston Acoustic Z6 speakers powered by a JL 360/2 amp, and then a single JL 12″ W3v3 @4 ohm with another JL 360/2 amp bridged. Is there a wiring kit you would recommend to do this? I believe I need 4 gauge wire all the way around, and a distribution block. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Erik, I like JL’s multi amp kits as they come with 4 gauge, 8 gauge and distribution block such as this one here.

  9. Hi annie,
    I’m wanting to install 2 or 3 15″ subs in my vehicle. And I’m wanting to use boss brand (their stuff sounds pretty good and is low budget). I want to go with as much watts as possible. Which amp(s) and subs do you recommend from boss to achieve this?

    • Hi Mike,
      I’m sorry I don’t recommend Boss ever. And forget the numbers game, Boss loves to get your attention with those peak watts, but they don’t mean a thing. Always go by RMS ratings and go by what sounds good to your ears! Even quality manufacturers like JL Audio offer subs that are competitive in price and give you an excellent value. One of my favorites is this box here. It’s ported, tons of output and you can down fire it if desired. The enclosure is perfectly tuned for those subs so it is designed to hit hard, loud and still tight. Despite what Amazon has it listed as it’s actually 600 watts RMS. You could use this Kenwood amp to power it nicely. For customers that want a LOT OF BASS without spending a lot of dough, this is the box I sell. Have not had one disappointed customer, just really big ear to ear grins.

  10. Looking for some help im installing only 2 subwoofers in a box
    1.500 amp Battery Isolator and Relay
    2.Digital 2 Farad Capacitor For systems up to 2000 watts max
    3.12-Volt Deep Cycle AGM Power Cell seperate battery in trunk
    4.Anarchy Series 2-Channel Car Amplifier
    RMS Power Rating: 2 ohms: 420 watts x 2 chan.
    Bridged, 4 ohms: 840 watts x 1 chan.
    Max power output: 2 ohms: 600 watts x 2 chan.
    5.Dual 12″ GT Series Subwoofers Loaded in an JBL Enclosure
    Power Handling:
    Peak: 1100 watts (each subwoofer)/ 2200 watts (both subwoofers)
    RMS: 275 watts (each subwoofer)/ 550 watts (both subwoofers)
    Final Impedance: 2 ohms
    6. 17 ft. (5.2 meters) Black 4 gauge power wire
    3 ft. (.91 meters) Silver 4 gauge ground wire
    17 ft. (5.2 meters) Gray 18 gauge remote lead wire
    17 ft. (5.2 meters) Helical Twist 2-channel RCA interconnect cable
    20 ft. (6.1 meters) Speaker cable
    One In-line Mini-ANL Fuse Holder with a 80 amp Mini-ANL fuse
    One Black rubber firewall grommet
    One 4 Gauge Blue chrome plated ring terminals
    One 4 Gauge Black chrome plated ring terminal
    Three 18 Gauge Blue Spade terminal
    Two 18 Gauge Black Spade terminal
    One 18 Gauge Red butt connector

    would a 4 guage be ok for this setup i went to get installed but the guys recommended a zero guage wire kit but my total rms for my ammp is only 275 per subwoofer and the 4 guage wire kit i have claims to be good for up to 1000 rms 2000 watts thanks for any help and input.

    • The zero gauge would be for the second battery and isolator set up and yes I would recommend it. If you were just running the amp and sub off the stock battery, then 4 gauge would probably be fine.

  11. hi Annie. i have question here..if im using 3600 watts v12 amp. and the only load is 1200 wats sub..then what should proper wire gauge for it??…thank you for your answer 🙂

    • Whatever the amp recommends – go by the fuses on the amp and power connection points on the amp if you’re not sure, my guess is you’ll need to run 4 gauge. That 3600 is probably a peak rating, RMS is probably a 1/3 of that.

  12. Hey i need advice on my system, i want to know what would be best for my 1500W 15″ Phantom Series Dual 4 Ohm Subwoofer. I know from your guide i should settle for a 0 guage wire kit but i dont know which one. Also im getting a BOSS Audio PH1500M Phantom 1500-watts Monoblock Class A/B 1 Channel 2-8 Ohm Stable Amplifier.

  13. hey, if im running about 2300 watts rms total (mono and 4 chan) and have a stock 110-120 amp alt (newer car) and have an agm batt in trunk and agm under hood, no big 3, would i STILL need to upgrade my alternator and do a big 3?? Or would i be able to get by with the 2 agms and my 110-120amp alt?

    performance alt shipped to canada is ridiculously expensive

    • Yes, you should still upgrade your alternator and you should get a battery isolator. Stock one only designed to run stock battery and stock vehicle, it wasn’t designed to charge two batteries and support your 2300 watt RMS amps!

  14. And I got another question on that I got them all hooked up but it cuts out after a certain volume for some reason

    • Could be an impedance issue – check out my post on ohms because I’m not sure what impedance you’re working with and what that amp can handle. If your impedance is okay, probably a bad ground.

    • The p3s can handle that amp for sure and with stuff cutting out go over all your wiring make sure its good and if that’s not the problem it might be an issue with not enough power

  15. Also am I going to be safe running a boss ar2000m on a pair of rf p3s

  16. So I just bought a set of Rockford fosgate p3s and a boss 2000 watt amp had to skimp out on the amp for now cuts the subs were not cheap but what kind of wire and fuses should I be running I honestly thing I have 4 gauge hooked up right now

    • Hey Reed, probably 4 gauge, just make sure your power and ground are the same size and that you have a good, solid chassis ground. For fuses check the amp owner’s manual, it should tell you what size fuse to use.

  17. Hi Annie, Awesome site.
    I have a Focal FD 2.350 2 channel amp putting out 105 watts rms @ 4 Ohms to go with a pair of ISC 165 (6 1/2″) Focal speakers rated at 70 W rms. This is for a large motorcycle so the wire runs are not long. Could you please tell me what I should use for wire and fuse? the amp has 2x15amp fuses but being as it is only a small amp would I need 8 gauge wire? also it would be awesome if you could tell me what to, or how to set the amp controls, Frequency, Base boost, gain and crossover. I’m in my 50s now and sadly have not kept up with this stuff in over 30yrs lol. What I have listed is the only stuff I will be using other than the original 2005 Harley Davidson head unit.

    Thank you Annie for any help you can offer,


    • Hi Lorne,
      Thanks, I’m glad you like the site! So I pulled up the manual for that amp on Crutchfield because I’m not too familiar with that model. It looks like most of these newer, smaller amps we’ve been seeing from Alpine and JL Audio. For the bike you should be fine with 12 gauge. Anything over 3 meters Focal recommends 10 gauge.

      If you’re using it on a pair of 6.5″ speakers I would leave bass boost off and try it with the crossover set to full range. If you hear distortion or any popping at high volumes, go ahead and turn the crossover on HPF (high pass filter) and adjust anywhere from 40 – 60 Hz and see what sounds good. Gains – you always want to start with the gains all the way down and the head unit volume at about 3/4 of max and then slowly bring the gains up just to the point of distortion and then back it back down. I hope that helps!

      • Awesome, Thank you so much for the quick response Annie and the very helpful info. Your the best 😉


  18. Thanks for this article.

    I have a JL 500/1 amp pushing 2 JL 12W3V2’s and have it connected to my battery with a 100% copper 8 gauge cable. I am now about to add a second amp to drive component speakers. I got a really good deal on a Sony amp that is rated at 100×4 @2ohm. I have another 8 gauge amp kit that is not being used that I could easily install along side the other power cable.
    I am aware that the “right” way to do this install is by running a 4 gauge cable from my battery to a distribution block, then run 8 to each amp. But a good kit is expensive when I already have another 8 gauge kit.
    Are there actual safety or performance concernes with running two separate 8 gauge cables (each with an in-line fuse) side by side from my battery to each amp?
    Any help is very appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Jared – not at all, by all means run the second amp kit since you already have it, won’t hurt anything. Just make sure to ground the Sony amp to the same point as your JL 500/1.

  19. I have a 1500 watt amp with and wiring harness for 1000 watt system……..will this wire be acceptable to be used for this amp? My sub is a 1200 watt, 400 rms……will all this work together?

    • Probably. You’re probably looking at the peak power rating on the amp, always look at RMS. My guess is your 1500 watt amp is really 1500 peak and like 500 RMS SO if your amp kit is 8 gauge or higher you should be good, but the only way to really know is to look up the specs on whatever amp you have and look for the RMS power.

  20. I also forgot to ask…since I bought the sub used I have no idea if it’s a d2 or d4 and I dont know how to hook it up or anything so I’m hiring someone to do it. But I want to make sure I get the right amp. If my sub is d4 then I’d have to wire it at 2 ohms which would put out like 900 watts of power with that amp and the sub is only 600 watts max, so that’s why I need to find out if it’s d2 or d4 before I get that amp. So my question is, how would I find this out? Will it say it somewhere on the sub? Or can you tell just by looking at it? Sorry for sounding ignorant. lol

  21. Hi there,

    I just purchased this pretty awesome 8 inch sub, you look it up if you want. It’s called soundcubed which the company used to be called audioque. The sub is 600 watts rms and I am debating which kind of amp to get. From the offical site I can get the 1200 amp, but it tseems a little too much for this sub. They had a smaller 750.1 amp I think but it’s sold out so now the smallest one they offer is the 1200 amp which puts out 510 RMS at 4 ohms so I figure just get it and wire the sub at 4 ohms.. Would this be too much for my stock electrical system to handle? And if not, would this be a good amp to match with the sub? Both are made by the same company. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing before I spend $300 on the amp. If you want to see what the sub looks like just google “Soundcubed 8 inch” or check out some videos on youtube with it. It looks like such a beast for only 8 inches and has had nothing but good reviews. I’m pretty excited to get it hooked up to hear it.


    • Hey Chris,
      Most companies list this information on the product page or at least in the manual. I see neither which is unsettling. I would contact them, they have a phone # listed on their contact page or you can email them. Looking at the picture, it’s definitely a dual voice coil, but can’t see whether it’s dual 2 ohm or dual 4 ohm. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably a dual 4 ohm. It should be labeled and you should be able to tell by physically inspecting it. If it’s not labeled you can use a multimeter to test resistance (or your installer can do that for you as I’m sure he has a multimeter).

  22. What are your thoughts on the “Big 3 upgrade”?

    Ebay has alot of 4-gauge kits for a good price…..do you recommend ?

    Last….I am getting Beyma 6mi90 6.5’s…ave you heard them before? What do you think?


    • Hi Trey,
      Depends on the vehicle, I have a lot of customers with older Audi’s that do the big 3 upgrade and in some cars I think it makes sense, especially on older Audi’s and VW’s with grounding issues. Whatever you get, make sure it’s 100 percent oxygen free copper. I trust Stinger brand wire, it’s good quality. I have not heard of Beyma before, so sorry, can’t comment on that. Thanks for the comment!

  23. I am wiring a stereo and amps in my boat. I am running about 15 ft of 0 gauge copper wire. Not sure about how to ground it on a boat? Might also have to run 15ft of 0 gauge ground wire also. Is that ok? Also running at least 2 house batteries for stereo.

    • Hi Pat,
      I don’t have as much wiring/battery experience with Marine audio, but we do boats in our shop occasionally and yeah there’s no ground so you run to the battery for power and ground. I’m not sure what it’s called, my husband would know, he’s not near by for me to ask him. Anyways, I know if we’re working on a boat with two batteries (one for driving and one for chilling) we wire it up in a way that allows you to switch between the two batteries while still keeping the stereo going. This way if you’re chilling and listening to the stereo you have another battery available to start the boat and you don’t end up stranded. Does that make sense? I’m sorry I wish I knew the terminology better, but we do maybe 4 or 5 boats a year.

      • I am running 2 batteries for starting motors and 2 0r 3 for stereo. It has a on board generator. And I do have battery switches. S0 I have to figure out what to do for charging system to recharge batteries while running off generator while stereo running. I am running 3 d class RF amps. Two 600 x 4 and One 750 x 1 for subs. Im running 1/0 gauge for power and ground. Do I run one in line fuse or three? one for each amp? and what size?
        Also can I split ground and power into 4 gauge with distribution blocks? Or keep it 1/0 gauge all the way?
        Any info you can tell me will help and be appreciated.

      • Hey Pat – Check to see what the manufacturer recommends on each amp as far as fuses go. I would recommend a fused distribution block. A lot of these newer amps don’t have on board fuses so you’d want one main fuse by the battery for the 0 gauge wire equal to the fuse rating of all three amps added up. And then at the fused distribution block (for power) you can put in a fuse equal to what the manufacturer recommends for each amp/line. You could use a non fused ground distribution block for the negative.

        I like these from Stinger. Here is the fused one and the non fused. NOTE – there are two 0 or 4 gauge inputs. If you’re really dealing with 1950 watts RMS, you’ll probably need to run two lines of 0 gauge or one line of 0 gauge and one line of 4 gauge. Which in that case you’d also want an inline fuse and fuse holder for the 4 gauge line. I hope that makes sense!

  24. Hi Annie,
    I recently recently purchased a Power Acoustik 2000 watt amp and a pair of Volfenhag 10″ 800 watt subs
    I have a couple questions for you…
    1. How should I go about wiring it up if my subs RMS at 400 watts and Peak at 800?
    I want the maximum watts they can handle without messing up the speakers.
    And this might be dumb, but I’ve already got a 1600 watt Amp Kit w/ capacitor,
    Can I use this to run my amp since I’m not going
    To actually use the full 2000 watts of the amp?
    Thanks I really appreciate any info you can give me.
    I want my subs to hit as hard as possible for continuous play, (about an hour or so at a time) on a daily basis .
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Patrick,
      I’m not sure where to start with your question.

      1. Forget about peak power, it’s like a sneaky little leprechaun you never get to meet. It really doesn’t mean anything in practical terms, more or less it’s just a fancy number that gets your attention.

      2. Always look at RMS – that is the practical real world application every day continuous power handling. Look at this number for both your amplifier and subs.

      3. Impedance matters. So I can’t really answer your question without knowing exactly what you have, but my guess is those subs are DUAL VOICE COIL 4 OHM since that’s what I saw in a google image search. Assuming this is your amp and these are your subs – it looks like you’ll have to wire them in parallel then parallel again for a final 1 ohm load.

      4. I don’t like 1 ohm amp loads. Very unstable, very few amps can actually do this for an extended period of time. But you won’t really get enough power out of that amp unless you run it that way. You could series each subwoofer, then parallel for a final 4 ohm load, but then the amp will only put out 600 watts RMS. At 1 ohm it will put out 1200 watts RMS. You can’t wire it for 2 ohm based on the impedance and model of subs you have (assuming I guessed that right). So it’s either underpower or overpower. I would overpower and keep gains low.

      5. Not sure what gauge wire comes in that amp kit you have, but you want it to be 100 percent oxygen free copper 4 gauge for power and ground.

      Hope that helps!

  25. Need some pointers to make sure I do this right . I’ll leave a list of what I’m upgrading to and what I plan on getting and the wattage . If you can help me make up my mind on how many audio batteries and what wire I should use where and what inline fuse you would prefer I would appreciate it .

    I will be getting .
    – Soundstream x3-152 6-7000 rms?
    10,000 watt max
    – Soundstream ta4.720 4channel
    – (2) Two Soundstream ta1-3000d
    Both together will be 6k rms 12k max

    Right now I have 0 gauge running from the hood to a 1050 watt blockshakers battery. Want to upgrade to (2) two blockshakers 12v 110ah 2000 watt m8/t8 batteries .

    I also am already upgraded to a 220 amp alternator .

    200 amp inline fuse already in .

    I plan on doing the big3 upgrade .

    Was wondering if you could tell me if that is enough power from the alternator ?

    If I should get another blockshakers battery ?

    If the inline fuse should be bigger ?

    What wires I should use for positive / negative for all 3 amps ?

    And if there is anything else you might want to add to make sure I get this done right ?

    Please take a look and help me out ?


    • Hi Rob,
      Yeah, I don’t know about Soundstream, I can see why you’d be lost. I don’t trust their ratings and they don’t give you enough information to accurately answer your question. The sub you’ve mentioned is a dual 2 ohm woofer. So if you want to run one amp per voice coil, you have to look at the RMS that the Soundstream TA1-3000d will actually put out. At 2 ohms, according to the manual, it puts out 1400 watts RMS. At 1 ohm it (assuming you used one amp and ran the sub parallel down to 1 ohm) it puts out 2500 watts RMS. If you’re going for straight up output it might be more efficient for your battery and alternator to run 1 amp and run the sub at 1 ohm. I don’t know that I believe that sub really does 6000 watts RMS, but I had a hard time finding any specs that said otherwise.

      In order to answer your question we need a fuse rating on the amps you’re using. Neither amp appears to have any onboard fuses. When this happens usually you just look at the owner’s manual to see the recommended fuse rating. Well, it’s not in the manual and in the manual the diagram for the amp shows a bank of fuses. But when you actually look at the photos of the amp posted on the manufacturer’s website it shows there are clearly no on board fuses. And when you scroll to the last page where it shows all the other amps fuse ratings it says “external” for that model. Yeah, but what size do they recommend???

      If you really want to use these amps, call Sound Stream and ask them the recommended fuse rating on each of the amps you want to use. Then add them all up. That’s the size you need for your inline fuse and your alternator needs to support that PLUS what your car normally needs to operate properly. Most likely you will need two batteries, a battery isolator, a larger alternator and 0 gauge for the mono amps, 4 gauge for the 4 channel. I hope that helps!

  26. Hi there, planning to do the big 3 update. My car has a 90amp alt and my battery has 430CCA (45AH). Im running a 0 guage wire with a 250amp inline fuse going to my trunk to power up my 2000 watts rms monoblock amp. My question is, what is the recommended wire size and inline fuse for my big 3 update? Should i use 4 guage with 100amp inline fuse or 0 guage all the way with 100amp inlinne fuse for the big 3? Im afraid it will overkill since my alt is only 90amp. Really need some advice from you guys. Thank you very much and more power.

    • Hi Jhon,
      Before you install your 2000 watt RMS amp you really need to upgrade your alternator. If possible I would try to get something at least around 220 amp to support running your car and running your amp. You will probably need to upgrade the battery too to something a bit beefier. Most of the time we’re using 0 gauge to do the big 3 upgrade.

  27. Hey, I have a 2004 Chevy Colorado and I have been having some problems with my subwoofer system. I have 1 12″ hifonics sub and a 1500 peak power acoustic amp. I have 8 gauge wire running from the amp to the battery under the hood. What happened is I’m moving my system from another vehicle to the colorado and while doing that I have blown four 50 amp fuses and two 60 amo fuses. I don’t wanna go any higher than that with fuses, so should I swap out my wire for 4 gauge or is there something else going on? My other vehicle was a 2002 Olds Bravada and it worked fine in there. The only difference is that the factory amp in that vehicle was bypassed and the one in the colorado isn’t. I had 8 gauge wire and a 50 amp fuse and everything under the hood of the bravada, but now I can’t get it to how it was before. So should I switch out my 8 gauge for 4 gauge and not touch the fuse or get a bigger fuse?

    • Hey Philip,
      I know I already responded to your email and you found the issue, but I figured I’d post this in case it helps anyone else out there with a similar issue! My suggestions were to check for a nick or scrape in the power wire or consider upgrading to 4 gauge anyways (and inspecting the power wire on removal). I later heard from you it was in fact the wire getting crushed and shorting out. Glad you found the issue! Take care.

  28. Hi, i have a navara with a yellow top optima paralleled with the stock battery. Interconnecting both is 4 gauge wire. I have a lil wonder 640 rms and and a lanzar mnx 3000. The lanzar is doing the bass at 1 ohm with a 3.0 farad cap connected to it and the woofer is an optidrive rated at 2600 watts. When a low bass note hits at high volume the amp momentarily trips and resets. Boths amps are connected directly to the yellow top in the back not more than 3 feet away using 4 gauge wiring. The mids and highs are perfect but the bass cuts out. For the mids im using two b&c 8″ and two rcf drivers. There is no dimming of lights whatsoever. Both amps are designed for 4 gauge power wires. Do i need to upgrade to zero?

    • I would upgrade to 0 gauge definitely, but it could also just to be the amp is getting too hot (which often happens with 1 ohm, it’s a HIGHLY unstable load and I never run amps at 1 ohm because they usually won’t run for very long even if they say they’re 1 ohm stable).

  29. I have a question. My amp manual says to use only a 4AWG- 6AWG wire for ground and power. But my amp only puts out 117w rms per channel. It’s a 4 channel amp so it’s 117w RMS x 4, which when you add it up is under 500 watts. So is it safe to use an 8AWG power and ground? My amp has 2 30A fuses and I noticed most 4AWG amp kits come with a 100A fuse when I would only need a 60A fuse at the battery.

    • Hi Sean,
      What kind of amp? Based on the fuse rating and RMS rating, I think 8 gauge would be okay. Just make sure it’s good 8 gauge, 100 percent oxygen free copper, like Stinger or Scosche. But if you can afford it, go with 4 gauge anyways. This way if you ever want to expand and add another amp you’ve already got a decent gauge wire run. You can always swap out the included 100 amp fuse in the amp kit for a smaller as long you go with an amp kit that uses a MIDI style fuse holder. MIDI fuses are usually available from 40 – 150 amp.

  30. Hello, my amp had 3×25 fuses located on it, so a total of 75 amps. You say to round down, so I would have to get a 60 inline fuse. that’s a big drop. Should I just go for the 80?


    • Yes, I agree 80 would be fine in that case since it’s so close.

  31. Erich,

    Filters are a joke when used as a band-aid for a real problem that hasn’t been addressed properly. They can drop your sound quality down in themselves, not to mention the degradation you are already having. It sounds like you have selected fine equipment, and it should be installed correctly. One thing we are big on in audiophile home markets is the purity of the entire signal path. Clean it up the right way, and the benefits are big.

    One reason I usually do my own installs is I find there are extremely few installers that really know how to do things right. I’ll find tricks that most of them don’t even touch, like tweeter and right-to-left channel polarity reversals.

    The Audison person you spoke with sounds like a good fellow, and he may have just had too much on his plate and you slipped through the cracks. I would call him back, and like Annie said, have him try to light a fire under the shop that put the stuff in.

  32. Hello Annie!

    What a great blog to stumble upon. Thank you!

    I have been in the audiophile home stereo/av market for 15 years. Previous to that, I hobbied in auto stereo. It is very interesting how much system knowledge cab be transferred over from home audio to mobile, yet is frequently overlooked.

    One significant area is cabling. You did a nice job covering power cabling. In the home market, recent years have given rise to the importance of getting fine power quality to components, with many new power cords coming on the market, as well as some excellent and some not-so-great power conditioners. Power is what you are listening too – it is just being modulated. In that regard, I would note that head units should have their own power sourced directly from the battery, or branched off from a power splitter coming right off the battery. NEVER directly power from factory wiring if you care about sound quality in a fine system. Install an inexpensive relay to trigger the power on and off from the factory harness.

    Other areas of under-estimated importance can be speaker cables and interconnects. For speaker cables, try to get away from typical zip cord designs. Analysis Plus makes some terrific sounding cables (www.analysis-plus.com) which are highly regarded in the home audiophile markets. They even supply cables to NASA. Their Oval 12 (12 gauge) and Clear Oval (14 gauge) speaker cables are very revealing, offer great midrange and imaging/soundstaging. It is very flexible, which makes it pretty easy to install. Their interconnects are nice too.

    DH Labs (www.silversonic.com) makes an interconnect called the BL-1 series II. It very thin, so easy to install. It is a high-quality interconnect that is of very high purity copper, with a heavy cladding of fine silver over it, brought to a high polish. This is much better sounding than just common silver plated interconnects. Silver helps with high frequency extension, giving it a real bell-like quality. Dielectric (insulation) is Teflon, which helps further clarify the sound. Be a little careful with silver though, if you have an excessively bright system.

  33. Thanks Annie. I called and spoke with Doug at Elettromedia. He was super nice and had the same thoughts as you, but unfortunately he did not follow up and call the shop. I ended up having them put in the filter and I’ll live with it.

    You guys are great. Do you want to expand and open a second shop in St. Louis, MO? I’ll be your first customer! Thanks again.

  34. I have a 94 gmc safari van. I think it’s a 105 amp alternator. No cap. Currently have 2 dual sd12 subs (This was designed to be a cheap system) 175 rms @ 4ohms a piece. Amp is a power acoustik lt980-2 (220watts @ 4ohm rms in stereo and 4X15 amp fuses). So the amp shouldn’t be working too hard to drive the subs. I bought a scoshe wiring kit from walmart (8 gauge OFC wire). Kit says up to 400 watts rms. 50 amp inline fuse (looks like the one in a car fusebox) The amp has the potential to push 440, but the subs should only be 350, so I hope the system will be alright. I’m thinking of duplicating the system. Adding another lt980-2 and 2 more dual sd12s with another power lead going straight to the battery. Is this possible? or do I need to get a cap? no dimming headlights yet even when thrashing those 12s.

    • Hi Stephen,
      Sounds like it’s probably a fine set up. You can run another dedicated fused power and ground for the second set up. I wouldn’t buy a cap just yet, only if you notice dimming once you’ve wired up the second amp.

  35. Hello found u on Google and have a few questions….i have an alpine cde-138bt hooked up to a Kenwood kac-9105d thats hooked up to 2 kicker 07cvr102 in a dual sealed truck box hooked to 4 gauge wire in a chevy s10 pickup standard cab….it pounds good but after a little while it starts to clip and i have to turn it down a little…so i started thinkin would it be better if i went and got a better amp cuz i have been looking at a sound stream stl1.1200d or a rockford fosgate prime r1000-1d….i dont wanna spend more money if i dont have to please help….thx Matt

    • Hi Matt,
      Actually the Kenwood is better quality in my opinion than either Rockford or Sound Stream. Are you running it at 1 ohm? If so, I think you’ll find that’s the case with any 1 ohm stable amp. And the reason I say the Kenwood is the better option is that’s the only amp I’ve seen that actually DOES run at 1 ohm consistently. Most 1 ohm stable amps last about 8 months before burning out completely. Also, are you certain it’s the kenwood amp clipping or the head unit? Remember, head unit pre-amp connections also distort. Typically at about 80 – 85% of their peak volume (ex at level 25 out of 31 on the head unit volume).

  36. Annie, I recently added an Audison bit Ten D to my existing system (Hertz HDP-5 amp running Hertz HSK-165 components and a 12″ Hertz HX300D sub) and started getting what I assume to be alternator noise. When the engine is off you hear nothing with the volume at zero but as soon as you turn on the engine you hear a low level of “chatter” through the tweeters. And once you step on the gas you can hear a faint whine also coming through the tweeters. This noise was not present prior to installing the bit Ten D.

    I had everything installed by the top Audison dealer in the country, so their work isn’t shoddy or anything. We tried installing a filter and that removed the noise but it cut the sound by about 1.5 db and didn’t sound that good. I feel like this could be a grounding issue but I don’t think the shop wants to redo their work so it’s either the filter or nothing. They tried to convince me that it is a characteristic of the active processor in some cars. Would you mind weighing in with your thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Erich,
      I wouldn’t say that’s characteristic at all. Sounds like they’re being lazy. It could be as simple as needing to re-tune the amps/bit Ten D. I see pretty often people picking up engine noise simply because they have the gains on their amps higher than they need to be. It could also be grounding, I would ask if they grounded the Bit Ten D to the same point as the amps. It could also be an RCA going to the Bit Ten D just not pushed in all the way. I would think if they’re the Top Audison dealer in the country they can handle eliminating some engine noise. If they refuse to help, contact the US distributor for Hertz & Audison, I’m sure someone there will light a fire under their asses and help you get it resolved.

  37. hi
    i am running 2 12in subs adding to 2500watts with a XTC 4000watt amp
    however recently it drained my battery to the point of no return i changed the battery and still drains it
    my lights dont dim so im sure that my alternator is supplying enough power
    my main concern is why is it draining the battery so fast and this is like over night if i forget to switch the amp off coz i put a switch in.

    • Hi Imraan,
      You should just wire your remote wire to an accessory source so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn your amp off. It’s not uncommon for that to kill your battery overnight. Run your remote to an accessory so the amp comes on with the key and goes off with the key and never play your stereo with your engine off. Also, not sure the age of your battery, but 4-6 years is usually normal lifespan. If the battery is not that old, you may need to put it on a trickle charger overnight to get it back up to speed if you don’t drive it regularly (30-60 minutes a day). Or you may have damaged it from continually draining it by forgetting to turn your amp off too many times.

  38. I just purchased a HiFonics 1500watt D-class amp (which is stable at 1ohm) and plan to use it to power 1 audiobahn flame compression woofer with an rms rating of 1500 watts. I also have a 5 farad capacitor to install in the system. I was planning on running 2guage wire back from the battery with a 150 amp fuse (amp contains 2 70 watt fuses) into the capacitor. Can I run 4 gauge from the capacitor into the amp. Then can I run 4 gauge from the amp ground into a converter then ground with 2 gauge. Also I was planning on grounding the cap with 2 gauge. Would this wiring set up be acceptable and safe.

    • Hi Mike,
      I don’t recommend that. If the amp is really pushing 1500 watts RMS you want 2 gauge all the way back from battery to cap, from cap to amp. 2 gauge for power and ground, forget the 4 gauge, too scrawny for 1500 watts. You don’t want to starve that amp for power, it wants to pull some serious current. Fuse rating sounds good though, just also make sure it’s fused at the battery as well as at (or on) the amp itself.

  39. Hi,

    I was wondering, the crossovers that go to my components get very hot, i am running 4 gauge power wire from the battery to my amplifiers. Do you think this gauge wire might have something to do with them getting hot ? do i need to go 0 gauge ?

    infinity kappa 4
    hifonics brutus 1 kicker at 2ohms about 800watts

    • You’re probably playing the speakers with distortion, re-tune everything so you don’t toast them completely 🙂

  40. The aluminium mixed wire is referred to as CCA, aka Copper Clad Aluminium wire. Also,you forgot to mention CEA-2015, which standardizes strand count and gauge. It seems as if the industry is starting to organize itself.

    • Thanks Cris.

  41. Hi Anne,

    This is a great site and it’s awesome that you are willing to share your expert advice! I am having an issue and would love to hear what your opinion is. I recently installed an amp and sub in my car and fried my alternator. I added a cap and the voltage is all over the place when I am driving, I am concerned that I might be buying another new alternator soon. The car will start at 12 volts, will get up to 14.5 volts at times and will dip down below 12 volts after a sustained bass session. Without the amp hooked up the car stays at 14 volts the entire time the car is running.

    I have a 2007 Cadillac STS (with a V6) and had a Mechanic tell me that the PCM can not support the additional power needed to run the amp and that I wouldn’t be able to keep the amp without damaging the alternator again or even the computer system in the car…. I don’t want to knock the windows out of the car but I need to have better sounds than what comes factory (just need a little bass).

    I did not install a deck or upgrade door speakers, here is what I have going on:
    8 gauge wire with an 80 amp fuse close to the battery
    Metra road works speaker to RCA converter
    Power Bass ACP 1.2 cap
    600 Watt Alpine V12 MDR-M605 amp
    1 Alpine type S 12’ sub
    I used 8 gauge wires for the power and grounds, the cap and amp are grounded in separate locations. I used a converter for the remote wire too; it is hooked up to the ignition fuse in the fuse box located under the back seat.

    The stereo sounds great but I am worried that the fluctuation in voltage is going to harm the car…. Do you have any advise to give me, did I do something wrong or do I just have a car from hell that can not handle a little 600 watt amp?

    My next step personally would be to get a high voltage alternator or run 4 gauge wire, but I don’t want to start playing an expensive guessing game.

    Thank you! Jesse

    • Hi Jessy,
      Considering the small amount of power you’re running off of a relatively newer car with decent stock alternator, I doubt it’s the amp causing the problem, it’s probably the cap. Just try bypassing it and see if there’s a difference. I’ve seen crappy defective caps cause a lot of damage including destroying a customer’s $1200 Audison amp. You have a good quality amp that’s pretty efficient. I would definitely recommend 4 gauge, but I don’t like the Power Bass cap. I stopped carrying Power Bass after seeing a ridiculous failure rate with their products.

      It all has to do with power distribution and demand and if the cap is faulty it could be causing issues. Cut it out of line! And be sure your remote wire is wired to a safe accessory source.

  42. Hey, I’ve recently ordered a fosgate t1500-1bdcp. The item description states that it has 4gauge battery connections and to use a 200amp fuse at the battery. I’m a little confused. I also may run a soundstream MC-300 4X75w to that says two 20amp fuses paralleled by the battery. So to run just the fosgate. I need at least a 2gauge with a 200amp fuse. Then a distribution block to a 4gauge close to the amp so my 4gauge doesn’t melt. If I decide for both amps should I just run another power from the battery? Or a 0gauge with a 250amp fuse to a fuse block near the amps with a 200amp fuse to 4gauge and 40amp to the 4channel? Thanks you seem a lot more intelligent than any forum. Lol

    • Hi Nick,
      Thanks for the compliment! Rockford has always been a little weird, why not offer a 0 or 2 gauge connection on a 1500 watt amp? Check out their very own calculator here. According to their calculator, yes you would need a 200 amp fuse for that amp. It doesn’t appear to have on board fuses which means you’ll also want to protect it near the amp as well. Yet in their calculator, when you get to step 5 where you enter the length of wire you’ll be using, you can’t select a large enough gauge wire for your power/ground or speaker wire to make their numbers work. You’ll constantly come up with not being able to deliver enough power to their amp, even with 0 gauge wire. The issue is that amp is inefficient. So at a 2 ohm load, according to their specifications, it’s only 63% efficient. Silly.

      ANYWAYS to answer your real question – I would run 0 (if running the amp at 2 ohms) or 2 gauge (if running the amp at 4 ohms) to a fused distribution block. I would fuse it at the battery with a 250 amp fuse. At the distribution block (This one would work) I would run 4 gauge since that’s all the Rockford accepts and fuse that line with a 200 amp fuse and fuse the other line with a 40 amp fuse.

      OR you could get a battery terminal and run separate lines if it’s easier. 0 Gauge isn’t always the easiest thing to run! I like this Stinger one. And then you could just run dedicated wires for each one and dedicated fuses for each one.

  43. I have two 12in Kicker Pro Comps in my car pushin 1600 watts all together but they’re 800 watts a piece and i have them hooked up to a 1000 watt Sony Xplode amp and at first my subs kept kicking on and off until i bridged them but now my fuse(20amp fuse) under the hood keeps blowing out everytime i go to turn up the volume more do u know what could be wrong?

    • Hi Yovany,
      There’s a lot that could be wrong. Typically when Sony labels an amp “1000 watts” the RMS or true power is usually around 300 – 500 watts. And Kicker usually does the same thing, so your subs are probably around 400 RMS each. So either way, it sounds like your definitely under powering your subs for one thing.

      Secondly, it sounds like the fuse you have is way too small for the amp. You probably need at least a 40 amp fuse under the hood. See what the fuse rating on the amp is (probably one 40 amp or two 20 amp fuses) and try to match or come close to that for your fuse under the hood. You’re probably just pulling more than 20 amps.

      Thirdly, when you say you bridged the subs, I’m not sure you’re really referring to bridged (typically using only left positive and right negative on a two channel amp – bridging two channels on an amplifier to one channel or mono operation).

      Assuming it’s a mono or single channel amp for subs, you can either wire your subs in series or wire them in parallel. I have a feeling you probably had them in parallel to begin with (positive to positive, negative to negative) and the amp was overheating on you and shutting down because it was seeing too little resistance or impedance. Wiring in series (linking positive from one sub to negative of the other sub and connecting remaining positive and negative to amp terminals) increases resistance leading to a more stable impedance which would reduce your chances of the amp overheating and cutting out.

      But without knowing exact model numbers and seeing exactly how you wired it, these are my best guesses as to what’s going on.

  44. I would like to power a 1200watt amp and a 500watt amp To push one 15 and two 12’s. The plan is 0 gauge to a fused distribution block, stepping down to two 4 gauge. Does this sound right?

    • Hi Sean, Yes it does.

  45. Hi I have 2 12″ kicker L7’s 08 model 750rms each so 1500rms all together, and a zx1500 watt class d mono block amp. (1500 rms), boss 2 farad cap and a 0 guage amp kit I have some power concerns and problems running the 0 guage wire through the firewall the system is going into a 2005 Honda accord. I want to hide the wires but the 0 gauge is so big I don’t know if this aol be possible. I have a couple questions please email me and let me know what you think. Also do you think i am going to have to upgrade the battery and alternator, I was trying to avoid this but with a system this powerful I will eventually probably end up doing the upgrade. Do u think I can het away with it for a couple months with my stock alternator battery and chassis wires, what do u think any advise with this system would be greatly appreciated some of these so called professional installers know even less then me and give horrible advice.

    • Hi Nick, it’s totally possible to run 0 gauge in that car. You’ll definitely have to drill the wire through the firewall and seal it up. I would absolutely recommend upgrading battery (I like interstate), alternator (the higher the better – ideally get ones that adds up to whatever stock rating your alternator was plus the fuse rating on your amp or more) and stock wiring/grounds. You could probably get away with it for a couple months, probably kill your alternator in the process 🙂

  46. I bought a new amplifier. Lightning lab am4100. I read that the current drain for 2 ohms is 60 amperes. The fuse on the side of my amplifier has 2 slots and a 25 amperes fuse per slot. Do i have to change it to 30 amperes each? Im planning to run my door speaker to 2ohms.

    • Hi Jude,
      Leave what came with the amp on the amp. What you read was probably the recommended fuse size for the fuse at the battery on your power wire as those fuses are usually offered in 40, 60, 80 amp etc (notice no 50 amp). The fuses on the amp are to protect the amp after the fuse at the battery, in other words, if there was a short and the power wire grounded out after the fuse at the battery, those fuses on the amp would protect the amp.

  47. Hey Annie I found your site on google and I need some help. I’ve got a system I want to get installed but people are really beating me over the head on the materials so Im looking to purchase some of the stuff online and I want to get the best stuff for my money.. I’ve got a Kenwood excelon head unit, Two pioneer premier subs running off a 1200w sony xplod 2channel amp then Ive got four JL C-2 door speakers (6/6.5 and 6/9) running off a kenwood 600w four channel amp.. Theres is a power distributor between the two so I wont need to run two amp kits… Can you tell me what the best gauge wire to run for everything and if you know what the best amp kit I should use. Thank you very much I look forward to hearing from you

    • Hi Jake,
      People aren’t really beating you over the head for materials, I think many consumers just don’t realize how many parts you need in addition to the electronics for a proper install. Because of that, I do line by line estimates for customers and when I see them adding up in their head the cost of electronics as we’re chatting I remind them that installation labor and materials typically adds another 50 % to whatever they’re looking at buying and installing.

      Anyways, I prefer the JL Audio wire kits. They’re not cheap, but you get what you pay for, they’re good quality. Why invest in all this great quality equipment only to limit the potential for performance using cheap wiring? My understanding is you already have a distribution block?

      This kit comes with one. You could buy the 4 gauge single amp kit, but you’ll probably still need to buy a couple feet of 8 gauge from the shop as most amp kits set up for dual amp install come with a dist block and 4 gauge and 8 gauge. You’ll also need three RCA’s for running Front, Rear and Sub.

  48. Hi Annie,
    Thanks you most kindly for sharing your knowledge, experience and wisdom. Your site does excellent job in helping people like me who some times get excited about DIY projects but have no basic understanding of the projects.

    I am planning to add a Kenwood KAC-8105D Amp
    [mono class D amp,CEA rated [email protected] & [email protected] (1channel)] AND Pioneer 309D4SB Sub
    [400Watts RMS, impedence 2 Ohms]
    to my existing car stereo.
    Is this combo right (Amp+Sub)?
    Will the bass be too overpowering?
    Do I need to change the existing speakers and wiring?

    I am sorry if I sound like an idiot but I will appreciate any input from your side.

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Sam,
      That’s a pretty good match. The only thing I would suggest is if you’re adding this to a stock stereo, is to add a sub level control knob so you can remotely control the sub level (not the same as gain) independent of the rest of your audio systems. This is helpful because a stock head unit will not have this adjustment and every recording is different (sometimes you need more bass, sometimes you need less). If you haven’t thought about it already, I would definitely upgrade the head unit at some point, even if you want to keep the original speakers for now.

      Starting with a new head unit allows a few things to happen that will make a big difference:
      -Cleaner source so you’ll have better sound quality
      -More power, so your speakers (even stock) will play louder and clearer
      -Built in crossovers will allow you to filter out the bass going to your speakers so they’ll play louder, cleaner and more efficiently (let the sub play all the bass, interiors play mid range and high)
      -Remote sub level control built in
      -pre amp connections for cleaner sound on the sub

      Have fun and thanks for checking out the site.

  49. what size ground wire should i use for a 600 watt amp. 4 gauge?

    • Hi Jeff,
      I would go with 4 gauge for power and ground with a 600 watt RMS amplifier, definitely.

  50. Thanks! I just wanted to verify that I wouldn’t do any harm with a bigger 1/0 gauge….also I use a 100 watt AMG fuse currently with the 4 (more like 5) gauge will this remain sufficient?

    • For now yes, if you decide to run different subs and lower impedance you’ll want to up it.

  51. hello

  52. What sort of marine connector could I use to connect and disconnect my boat tower with speakers each time I get back home from the lake?

    Also, what amp kit would be best for a JBL MA6004 amp and a Clarion M502 HU with 2-JL MX650 tower speakers and 2-Polk DB651 in boat speakers?
    Also,what gauge for kit and speaker wire?

    • Hi Darrin,
      Why do you need to disconnect the tower speakers? And what size is the boat and roughly how far away is the battery from where you’ll be mounting the amps? Thanks.

  53. Hey,

    I am running a power RMS 800 watts (feel like it pushes more like 900), any harm in running 1/0 gauge. I had 4 gauge but it melted around the fuse due to engine. power environmental heat…so I thought bigger and thicker…? Any recommendations? Should I just go with 2 gauge (&replace the ground wire with same gauge correct?)?


    • Hi John,
      Doesn’t hurt to go larger (and yes just match your ground accordingly). Also make sure you have the proper size fuse for the amp at the battery. If the current draw is way more than the fuse rating you can end up with a melted fuse holder rather than a simple blown fuse.

  54. Hello Annie,
    I’m buying a 2000 watt rms Soundstream Tarantula. I know this sounds dumb but with the subs I currently have that are wired to 4 ohms I will only be pushing 750 watts rms. Now, 2000 watt rms requires 0 gauge wiring, but 750 watts rms only requires 4 gauge. I have read a bunch on different wiring and it gets a little confusing comparing the rms the amp is capable of and what you’ll actually be using. So, would I be safe with 4 gauge or should I still get 0 gauge?

    • Hi Brock,
      I’d still go with the 0 gauge. Especially if you ever decided to upgrade, run it at 2 ohms or even add a 4 channel. It’s better to have more than you need than too little.

  55. i had 2 12 inch Coustic gave em to friend but was going to get 2 12 inch KICKERS. I need your advice 100% whats a good watt amp depending on each sub and should i get a 4gauge

    • I can’t answer that unless I have exact model #s so I can look up RMS ratings and the impedance of each subs.

  56. Thank you for your post on this matter. Secondly, I have just blown an expensive sub-woofer because I think the gauge of my wires in not correct. So… I’m going to replace the 6 gauge with 4 gauge and buy another sub. However, I’m nervous about it because in my current configuration my power and ground wire are both about 12 feet from the battery. This is a boat installation and therefore I don’t have a chassis ground to connect the negative side of the amp too and have to run it all the way back to the battery of the boat. Can you help me understand if I need to move the amp closer to the battery? (2-3feet?) and then double up on the length of the RCA cables? Not sure how to proceed, the amp is clipping at high power. Please advise as soon as you can Thank you!

    • Hi Christopher,
      Great question. With boats, you are correct in running the negative to the battery and the distance of amp from battery will also play into what gauge wire you need (we do boat installs all the time, we’re right near Candlewood Lake in Connecticut).

      It’s always a lack of power that causes clipping. Can you tell me what model amplifier and what model subwoofer you are using? It’s very possible the gauge wire was insufficient for the amps needs and the amp was starved for power and easily clipping thus blowing the sub. But if you upped your gauge wire and it’s the right gauge for the amp I’m wondering if you’re just wanting more output than the amp is capable of (based on 12 feet away, that wire should be good for around 600 – 1200 watts RMS, but this also depends on the efficiency and draw of the amp).

      So to really answer your question I would need to know exact model #’s of the amp and sub so I can look at amperage, RMS and efficiency of everything. I would also want to confirm the quality of wire you are using is true 4 gauge, 100 percent oxygen free copper. Also, can you tell me what head unit you are using? What other equipment is in the boat? Talk to you soon.

  57. Hi annie I’m about to install my 2 12″ Polk audio db 1222 subs with an alpine v-power mrpm500 amp in my 2004 Buick Century. I also want to put speakers in that will run off of a clarion xr2420. I want to run a 2 gauge wire from my battery cause I will be upgrading my mono amp sometime soon, so if I ran the 2 gauge to the back of my car could I just split it into 2 8 gauges and run those to my 2 amps then run 8 gauge ground wire from my amps? Also where would I need fuses and how much amps for the fuses? Do you think I will need a cap? And when I upgrade my sub amp can I run a 8 gauge wire for my speaker amp and a 4 gauge wire for my sub amp?

    • Hi Scott,
      You can use a distribution block for your power and go down to 8 gauge for now for the power/ground on your 500 watt amp. And yes when you upgrade your sub amp you could use 4 gauge from the distribution block for the bigger amp (for both power and ground). Whatever the total amperage on the amps you are using should match the fuse under the hood at the battery. So for now, you probably only need a 40 amp fuse since you’re just using the 500 watt Alpine amp. When you add your 4 channel, you probably need to up it to 70 or 80 amps (not sure what’s on the Clarion amp). So just know what the total amperage is on all your amps by looking at the fuses on the amps themselves.

  58. Hi Annie I have a problem. I have a 2 channel 1200 watt amp with new wireing and It keeps blowing the 20 watt fuse it came with what should I do??

    • Hi Jaramia,
      Does it blow as soon as you hook it up? Or only after you turn the volume up a bit? If it’s immediate upon replacing it, then you have a short somewhere along either your power or your remote turn on lead. If it’s only as you bring the volume up, then it’s safe to say it’s probably just too small a fuse for the amp. I’m surprised you only have a 20 amp fuse. My guess is that is what came with the wiring kit, not the amp. The amp probably has two 20 amp or one 40 amp fuse on it, based on typical Sony 1200 watt amps (probably about 400 RMS and 40 amp fuse rating).

      I would just make sure you’re running decent wire, 8 gauge for power and ground, and check the fuses on the amp. If they’re between 40 – 60, you should definitely go up on the fuse rating under the hood. Sorry for the delayed response!

  59. I was thinking about purchasing one of those hifonic Brutus and go 1 ohm with it, haven’t quite made up my mind but now you got me thinking. Would you recommend running it at 4ohms, what amp would you recommend, I don’t want to have issues with my battery/alternator down the road. I’m trying to push that Orion as far as I can.. Thanks Annie

  60. I am getting a rockford fosgate t500-1bdCP amplifier i am running 4 gauge power wire with two inline fuses. Do i need 2. 40 amp fuses or two 80 amp fuses? Or does it matter if there is a 40 amp fuse mixed with a 80 amp fuse in the same power wire?

    • Hi Keith,
      I’m confused as to why you’re running two inline fuses :/ I know on the older Rockford’s, they usually needed two power wires, but from what I can see in the manual, it looks like there’s only one power connection and it accepts up to 4 gauge so you should be good. It looks like there’s 100 amp fuse on the amp, so aim for around that for your inline fuse. You’ll probably want a midi style fuse holder which can accommodate up to 4 gauge wire and up to 150 amp fuses.

  61. Annie my friend and I are trying to figure out why his ground wire leading to his cap is getting so hot. Its starting to melt the plastic around the screw. He has 2 kicker L7’s 15″ with a 1500 watt amp. All the highs are ran off another small amp and the screens also ran off another amp its a major cluster but need advice before it all goes up in flames. Thanks I hope lol

    • Hi Cassidy,
      The power for all the amps should basically be coming off of the cap, it should act like a distribution block, and ideally you would have the cap and all the amps grounded to the same point in the car. The shorter the ground wire better. All of your power and grounds should match. So power for cap should match the ground for the cap, power wire for the amps should match the ground wires for the amps. Typically an amp will get hot when it has a poor ground and eventually that will damage the amp or it will stop playing/working. I imagine the same thing would be true for a cap. Also, some caps are just poorly built. I’ve seen defective caps damage really nice amps, so if it’s some walmart special, I’d invest in a better quality one and make sure the power/ground gauges match and try to ground everything at the same point in the car. good luck!

  62. If your running an amp ima give all of you a warning dont run the wire along the top of your fire wall it has to much heat with a combo of electric current resistancy causing heat too but under your hood is like a tea kettle the heat rises from the motor and also heat from wires and sun beating down on your car its all trapped at the top and can cause it to melt with a slight amount of electrical resistance and depending if you got it next to other wires or not you can do some serious damage like a fire under your hood so the lower you can line the power wire to your battery is better even if you have rite size gauge wire or not the outside coating can only stand so much heat from inside and out so bigger the wire is better but also the placement of the wire can be important too especially if are running powerfull amps, have a dark car and hot temps outside i had a 0gauge with inline fuse and my car caught on fire slight damage luckily i was close to a fire extinguisher because you cant rely on fire department all the time i was literally 1 min from the fire station and it took em an hour to show so its just a wire harness that needs replaced but if your unlucky you could be stranded on a back road with no help. And always keep somthing with you to disconnect battery terminals if i had brought my tools i coulda prevented the fire but since i had just gotten my car 2 months ago i had left them at a buddies house who was with me lol on our way to walmart.

    • Hi Nathan,
      In my 12 years experience I have never seen a car catch fire due to an amplifier power wire getting hot. A fuse and fuse holder should always be placed within 6 inches of the battery to prevent any type of surge traveling past the battery into the car. What can cause car fires when it comes to bad wiring?

      If you happened to scrape the shielding off of a wire or wires when pulling them through the firewall, that is a fire waiting to happen. Or if you don’t use an inline fuse holder (I’ve seen people install their fuse holders right next to their amp in the trunk, go figure, that won’t save your car).

      And all different years and makes of cars can have corroded wiring/insulation on the wiring which over time exposes portions of the wire which can ground out/short out causing electrical fires. I assure you, when a car stereo is properly installed, you will never have to worry about something like this occurring. Better luck to you in the future!

  63. Hi Annie , thanks for the good info. But I do have a question myself. I just got an Orion hcca 10.2 and I’m planning on running 1700 rms to it . 1st question. Is there such a thing as a break in period for this sub? 2nd question, it’s going in a 2003 mustang gt , is my alternator capable of keeping up? And last question, what gauge wire should I run from my sub to amp? I’m going to run 1ohm load on it… Thanks

    • Hi Carlos,
      I really can’t properly answer your question unless you can tell me what amplifier exactly you’re using? That will make a big difference. And have you seen my video on ohms???? I do not recommend running at 1 ohm if you’re concerned about your alternator/battery.

  64. I have three amps in my truck 2 of them are 1000 watts and one is a 200 watt and my lights dont dim because i have a red top and an upgraded alternator but i do notice that if i turn my system up to much on some songs my amps cut out do you know what could cause that

    • Hi Ryan,
      Are they hot to the touch when they cut out? If not, it could actually be the head unit. I’ve seen that happen before and it’s usually the internal amplifier. Certain model decks have the option to turn off the internal amplifier when using the preouts. I would suggest trying that if it’s an option on your head unit and see if it still happens.

      Do all the amps cut out or just the subs? Let me know which ones cut out and if they’re hot to the touch (be careful).

  65. hi, i have a twin blackair vibe sub (3600watt total) and a no brand 1000 watt amp,what wiring kit do i need please.thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sarah,
      I’m a bit confused, from what I can find, that enclosure comes with its own amplifier. Is this what you have? Based on the 1100 watts RMS rating shown in the owner’s manual, found here, it looks like a 4 gauge wire kit would be best, even though the manual says minimum 8 gauge. If the built in amp can do the power it claims, I would run 4 gauge.

      If you’ve got a different set up from Vibe, please send me the link and also the model # of your amp. You don’t want to risk under powering the subs with the wrong amp and end up damaging the subs.
      – Annie

  66. Thank you I will try another amp 1st, then see if that one goes into protection mode. And I am sure I didn’t nick the power wire since my battery is in the trunk I didnt have to run it from the hood. Also the amp doesn’t have a fuse on it but an ANL fuse inline like the one from the battery, that goes before going into the amp and thats the fuse that wiggles in the center. Well I will let you know what happens with the other amp.

  67. My amp is a 2 channel, the product description on Best Buy’s website says “handles up to 1000W maximum power (500W x 2) @ 2 ohms, handles up to 500W RMS power (250W x 2) @ 2 ohms or 340W (170W x 2) @ 4 ohms.” My sub is a dual voice coil, it says impedance 4ohm + 4ohm, peak power 1500W, rated power 380W, and the magnet is 1200 grams. The sub is “bridged” and I just watched your video on the difference in ohms and now it sounds like I need to “series” it, but I am not sure how to do that with just one sub, especially since it’s a dual voice coil.

  68. I have a 1000W Kenwood Amplifier, it has two 30A fuses, I use it to run one 12″ 1500W Kenwood sub. I don’t know what the fuse rating o nmy fuse holder is, I just looked at and it’s not listed. I have 4G ground and power wire. The wire is aluminum, however, I don’t think that the quality is cheap. Both wires are heavy and sturdy. My connections are solid, but my amp gets really really hot and goes into protection mode after not too long of bumping really hard. I turn it down and comes back on within a minute and a half which isn’t too bad of a wait time, but it is still annoying. I am going to note that the music I listen to is rather heavy and aggressive, lots of double bass and 808 hits. I’m not sure what the problem is. The amp is located in the trunk area (I drive an ’88 Acura Integra.) Can you please tell me what you think the issue might be? I’d like to be able to jam without the interruptions! Thanks 🙂

  69. I disconnect the subs and still stayed on protection mode, I also checked the remote and no tear of any kind. Should I try a different amp? Is the fuse plastic center suppose to wiggle?

    • Hi Josue,
      I would try another amp and also replace the fuse holder. I’m not sure what piece is wiggling, but it really shouldn’t have any loose parts. If the fuse holder was defective and the fuse itself was loose, the worse thing that would happen is the amp wouldn’t get power and wouldn’t turn on. It really shouldn’t have anything to ground out on that would be causing this trouble. When we bench test amps for people that show these kinds of problems, usually its just something internal in the amp that is just shot. My only other thought is do you think its possible you nicked the power wire when pulling it through the firewall? Normally that kind of thing would cause the fuse on the amp to blow, rather than the fuse under the hood, but anything’s possible. If you have a local shop, see what they would charge to just bench test it for you. We charge about $20 and if they end up buying an amp from us, we discount the product to offset the bench test charge.

  70. Hi im having problms connecting my amp. I have a Power Acoustik demon series2 6000D and I have a 0guage wiring kit of 5000Watts from lanzar. The amp keeps going to protection mode when I connect everything, could it be because the amps fuse is 250A and the the wiring kit is 150A. Is the plastic center piece of the fuse suppose to have some play if you wingle it? Thanks for your time

    • Hi Josue,
      Check out my posts on ohms. Sounds like your impedance is too low. Other possible causes would be a bad ground. The worst thing that could happen with a low fuse at the battery is it pops as soon as you start REALLY cranking it. That’s easily fixed with a higher amperage fuse. But 1st you need to get the amp to turn on and stay on without protect mode.

      To eliminate possible causes, try taking your speaker wires off the amp and see if the amp goes into protect mode with power, ground, remote and rca’s connected. If it doesn’t, then you know it’s your sub wiring. If still does, check and make sure you have a solid ground.

      Other possible causes would be a tear in your remote wire that is grounding out somewhere in your car. Good luck!

  71. I’m going to be hooking up 3 amps in which are the same 750.1 ZxKicker to 2 sub boxes. First box is 2 12in kicker cvr 800rms (total) and 2 12in kicker solo baric 750 rms ea. The cvrs are at 2ohms and the solo barics are 2ohms ea also. How would I go by hooking all this up and not blowing or frying anything up?

    • You don’t go about hooking it up. Period. It’s just wrong on so many levels. Here’s why. Having the amps the same is good, but in order to use all three amps, you would have to do this:

      – Have three identical subs
      -Have three identical enclosures (or one enclosure with three identical internal dimensions, each sub having its own separate chamber)
      – Be able to go through a very involved and detailed tuning set up that involves WAY too many steps/details to be explained in this response (it’s a whole other post for a whole other day).

      You would need to be able to measure a couple things using an Oscilloscope and Multimeter at the head unit’s RCA preouts, the amp’s RCA preouts while playing a test tone through. It’s pretty complicated and something I’ll write about in an upcoming post. Here is why it would HAVE to be such PRECISE and EXACT tuning:

      Phase. Phase refers to a number of things, but mainly what I’m referring to are sound waves.
      Low bass frequencies are very long sound waves. When you have different subwoofers, they have different efficiencies. When you have the same amps, but not set up at the EXACT same input sensitivity/crossover, what happens is the subs will hit differently. You will probably not be able to visually see this, but audibly, here is what happens. Sound Wave 1 bounces out and then a couple milliseconds later Sound Wave 2 bounces out. They’ve released at different times. If Sound Wave 1’s peak occurs at the time that Sound Wave 2’s Valley occurs, what happens is they become out of phase. That frequency is essentially lost or reduced, cancelled out (this is how noise cancelling head phones work by the way, they put the ambient sound out of phase). What’s the point of having all those amps and subs if the sound reproduced will be out of sync and missing desirable frequencies?

      You can have competition loud, but you need to go through a very detailed set up and use exact components, otherwise it’s all just a waste of time, money and energy. My advice? Get yourself to a local shop that has some experience with competition and see what they can build for you. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford any custom labor, see what equipment they recommend to achieve the kind of output you desire. Buy the equipment they recommend from them, build the box, wire everything up. When it’s all ready to go, go back to the shop and pay them for their time for a professional tuning (expect a couple hours). Then get yourself to a competition and show that shit off!

  72. I have the cpti 2000 watt power acoustic amp crypt what true rms 870 at 2 ohm And 670 at 4 ohm fuse 75 I know overrated can you tell me thank you alot .

    • I’m not sure I understand the question, but I think you’re asking me if it sounds like the amp is over rated based on the size fuse it has? It seems about right. Using a basic watts calculator (amps x volts), we can assume that 75 amps at 12 volts can produce about 900 watts.

  73. hi,
    I have a hifonics Brz 1700.1 amp i see no fuse on it? I looked on the internet i can’t find what fuse it has. So my question is what kind inline fuse would you recommend? Also is a 3.5 farad find to go with this ?

    • Hi Ezequiel,
      I don’t sell hifonics, but I read somewhere online that it has a 160 amp fuse rating. Based on it’s claimed power, I’d say that’s about right. General rule of thumb with traditional capacitors is a 1 farad per 1000 watts RMS, so the 3.5 would be more than enough. For hybrid caps, look for the RMS rating from the cap manufacturer to insure you are getting the proper size.

  74. Hi Annie!

    I have a question for you!

    I have a Pioneer GM-5400T

    125 Watts x 2, at 4 ohms <= 1% THD+N
    380 Watts x 1, at 4 ohms BRIDGE <= 1% THD+N
    75 dBA Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Reference: 1 Watt Output)

    A Pioneer GM-6400F
    60 Watts x 4, at 4 ohms <= 1% THD+N
    150 Watts x 2, at 4 ohms BRIDGE <= 1% THD+N
    80 dBA Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Reference: 1 Watt Output)

    I have the 5400T powering a Alpine Type-S (SWS-10D2) 500 RMS 1500 MAX, currently using 4 gauge wire front to battery to trunk with a 60amp fuse. (The previous subwoofer blew up – it's specs were 350W RMS 1300W MAX

    I am planning on adding in the second amp (6400F) to power my speakers (it has two 25 amp fuses on board)

    Front – Pioneer TS-D1320C 180W Max – 35W Nominal @ 4 ohms
    Rear – Pioneer TS-A1684R 350W Max – 50W Nominal @ 4 ohms

    I purchased an high-current inline fuse, with a total of 120 Amps of fuse protection (40 x 3), I am worried this is too high. However, I can only choose from 90 or 120 Amps since it has three fuses.

    I also have a distribution block, with two 60 Amp fuses. Again, I am worried this is too high.

    FYI – I am running 8 gauge wire to the amps, relatively short distance (less than 3ft)

    Thank you for your help!

    Is 10 amps something to worry about?

    And, should I worry about my speakers?

    • HI Michael,
      No worries, you’re fine. You’re close enough in the front and the back. I wouldn’t worry about your speakers either. Matching power handling, power wire, and physically properly wiring and installing everything is 1/2 the battle. The other half is in tuning the system. Too much power is better than too little. I would hope you also have an aftermarket head unit with 3 preouts (hopefully 4 Volt rating). As long as you tune everything properly, so there is no distorted signal ever playing to your speakers, they’ll be fine. Including the subwoofer.

      Distortion kills speakers. Distortion happens when a signal is being clipped. This can happen either at the pre-amp connection behind the head unit (typically happens anywhere from 5 – 10 notches below max volume knob capability on all stereos) or at the amp. It can also happen on your recordings, so be careful where you get your music from. Enjoy your system!

  75. Very informative post. Been doing a lot of basic installs over the years and am venturing into something a bit different this time. I’ve managed to aquire some real vintage Alpine amps all in pristine condition and want to do an old school setup. So could you please add your take on what I would need, from wire, to fuses, and where to put them in this system in my Acura TL.

    1 two channel AMP – Alpine MRV T505 Expert to run two coaxials as rear fill ( MB Quart) in rear doors (1-30 AMP onboard fuse)

    1 Four channel AMP – Alpine MRV F505 Expert to run a set of 5.25″ components in custom Kick panels of channel 1/2 and a set of mid bass 6.5″ woofers in front door….these are the old MB Quart Q series (Add a woofer set up) 2-25 AMP Fuses onboard)

    1 two channel AMP – Alpine MRV T1505 Expert to run my Alpine Type R’s (2 of them) I will wire the two subs to essentially have the amp see a combined 4 ohm bridged mono load. 1-80 AMP fuse on board)

    all amps mounted in trunk.

    With this in mind, and realizing I am not a high volume bass head, but do like to thump it from time to time (I’m in late 40’s) , what would you suggest as power requirements, starting with fuse at battery, gauge of wire to dist block, should dit. block be fused?..or just put another inline fuse before each amp? etc….I have heard so many mixed reviews about caps, mostly about them draining people’s battery when idle for extended periods, so I’m not sold on caps…never used them, and never had a problem…Bass is always very tight and solid……..

    **does running say 2 power lines from battery of 2 gauge equal running 1 0 gauge wire to a dist block, and then 4 gauge to each of the amps? 0 gauge can be a bear to work with . I was thinking a 2 gauge for sub amp, a 2 gauge to a dist block from which 2-4 gauge short leads would go to each of the other two amps. Confused yet? Sorry, but would appreciate your take on this… Thanks a bunch….Curt

    • Hi Curt,
      The only problem I foresee you running into, is this. My assumption is that all of these amps are also Class A/B amps (as most earlier model amps were) and therefore are not very efficient and will present a decent draw on your car’s alternator. I don’t like Caps. I think they’re a band aid. They don’t really address the problem which is too low amperage alternator. If you have a minimal stock alternator (like most Honda’s and Acuras) there is never really anything extra left over for storage, the cap is worthless.

      So 1st things 1st, find yourself a nice high amperage alternator for your car. As far as wire goes, you could really run this whatever way is easier for you. You could run a 0 or 2 gauge back to a dist block and branch off to 4 gauge to the MRVT1505, and then 4 and 4 or 8 and 8 depending on what the smaller amps accept. Without a cap in line (I’ve seen customers buy really cheap caps that go bad and damage really nice amps), I see no need for fused distribution as long as you’re fused near the battery around 150 – 175 amp fuse .

  76. Whats up..i was looking at your website nd thought u would be the right person to ask..my car audio system I just put in..i have a sony eplode amp 1000 wat amp nd two 12 inch clarions..every tyme I put the radio up after a certain point my subs start to turn o. Nd off or start to make a funny noise… Would that mean I need a thicler power wire?

    • Hi Antonio,
      Sounds like you have too low of an impedance possibly. Check out this video and make sure you have the correct impedance at the amp. Other things to consider would be the quality of wire and gauge and possibly a bad ground. Check your impedance 1st.

  77. I am running a 2800 watt amp (not sure on rms)with 0 guage wire from a capacitor to supply a boss phantom amplifier
    Would it be alright to run 8 guage to the capacitor + and ground than 0 guage from the cap to amp or would that render the cap useless? thanks!

    • Hi,
      In order to properly supply your amp with the power in needs, you would need to run 0 gauge power wire from your battery to the cap and 0 gauge power wire from the cap to your amp and both your amp and you cap MUST also be grounded with 0 gauge, preferably to the same ground point.

  78. Thanks Annie

    You are a great help… I ran 4 gauge from my battery to the distribution block then 4 gauge to the capacitor then 4 gauge to the mono amp, (grounding both with 4 gauge) then from the distribution block I ran 8 gauge to my 4 channel and grounded it with 8 gauge. I run 16 gauge to my 4 (2 ohm) system speakers and 12 gauge to my 2 ohm subwoofer. Wow, it kicks the beats and no dimming of the headlights.
    Thanks again Annie.

  79. Hi Annie

    Looking for a couple of answers on my install which I know you can help with reading the other posts….I have 2 Audioubahn A8002j 1000s bridged on 2 12″ Audiobahn AW1200j dual 4ohms (700 Rms) in a groundshaker bandpass box a Audiobahn A8004j 800 4chn on 4 Clarion 300w 6 1/2s and 4 Clarion 200w 3/4 tweets and a Audiobahn A2002j 300 on 2 Clarion 500w 3way 6X9s….I have a Kinetik KHC 600 in my trunk for a secondary battery and a Audiobahn 2farad cap before my distribution block I ran all Tsunami power wire threw out the car including Rcas….I ran 4Ga from the front to the back to my secondary Kinetik then to my cap before it got “bigger” and 8ga from the distribution block to each amp all tsunami….I need to know what size ANL to run on my inline fuse holder also tsunami….Is my power wire to small or can I leave it? Any info or suggestions to get max power would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Scott,
      Tell me if I understand correctly. You have TWO 2 channel amps, 2 Dual 4 ohm subs. One amp per sub? Is all of this hooked up and working right now? I’m surprised if it is and here’s why.

      The two channel amp bridged to a dual 4 ohm sub is most likely seeing a 1 ohm load. Check out this post on bridging an amp.

      So if you have a dual 4 ohm sub and you have it wired in parallel (positive to positive, negative to negative) the sub now acts as a 2 ohm sub. When you then bridge the amp, that impedance is being shared between channels. So each channel is now seeing 1 ohm which is highly unstable for a 2 channel. It will probably heat up and cut in and out all the time on you and eventually damage the amp.

      Besides all of that if you have two of those amps bridged, they’re capable of 1000 watts RMS. The 4 channel is 200 watts RMS total and the other 2 channel is 150 watts RMS total. Your total amperage between all amps (just looking at the fuse sizes on the amps) is 180 amps. Your total RMS power is 2350 watts RMS. So you should probably be running 0 gauge back to your secondary battery (do you have a battery isolator? How are you charging the second battery?) then same thing to the cap, then split off to 4 gauge for EACH sub amp and then 8 gauge is fine for the smaller 4 channel and smaller 2 channel running your interiors. Just make sure you match the power and ground sizes as well. I would use a 200 amp in line fuse. Good luck!!!

  80. Hi Annie,

    I am running a 400 rms 4 channel mtx amp(jh404) and a 600 rms mtx mono(jh 600) for my sub that is 600 rms too. I have a 175 amp inline fuse and am using a power distributor to run the two amps. I am using a 1.0 farad stinger capacitor between my power distributor and my mono amp. I am installing the system myself and would like your opinion on my wiring… I have a 4 guage running from my battery to the distributor and an 8 guage running to the cap(and mono) and 8 guage running from the distributor to my 4 channel amp. The 8 guages are less than 2 feet. Will this work? or what do you suggest I should use for powering my amps using the power distributor (to split the power between my amps using one line from my battery). should i run 2 guage and split into 4s or will the 4 guage to 8 guages work?

    • Hi Nick,
      Personally, I would run 4 gauge back to the cap, use the cap as the distribution block (unless this is to make things look pretty and space is an issue) and run 4 gauge to the mono from the cap and 8 gauge to the 4 channel from the cap. The 4 channel is actually 50 x 4 RMS, so you’d be running a total of 800 watts RMS (assuming using 4 ohm speakers for your 4 channel). The fuse rating on the amps are 70 and 75, I would probably do a 150 amp fuse. Anyways, definitely give your mono amp 4 gauge, it needs to be able to pull some current and the 8 gauge may choke it for power. I hope that helps!

  81. for the guy with the impala annie, b4 he goes and splurge on a rebuilt alternator he could possible upgrade his big 3, and the cap.. i used to have dimming, and what i did was upgrade my big 3, added another battery, AND i still added a cap at the end(crazy i know) never had anything close to dimming no matter how high i turned the system up now.. (couple months later i did get a new HO alternator though)people ask me why i have so many fuses in my setup(i have like 5 but after blowing a jl 1000/1 a $7 fuse is a great investment.. as far as wires, i have everything at 0 gauge except the power wire to the amps(cant go any bigger as amps wouldnt allow) but 0 from batts to distribution block and grounds..

    • Hey Dredd, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s valuable information.

  82. Hi Annie,

    I bought two kicker amps. (11ix500.4 and 11ix 500.1). One to power four speakers and the other for a sub.
    Neither amp has an on board fuse and the instructions say to install a fuse by the battery and another near the amp. I have already installed a 4 gauge power wire from the battery to a distribution block. There is a 150 amp fuse at the battery. The amps call for 4 gauge power wire. Can I run 4 gauge wire into the distribution block and 4 gauge out of the block to both of the amps? Do I then install additional fuses from the distribution block for each amp. The instructions say to install a 50 amp fuse near the amp. So to be clear, I need 3 fuses. One at the battery and one near each of the two amps…is this correct? Also if the fuses near the amps are 50 amp, should the fuse by the battery be 150 amp or should I remove it and replace it with a 100 amp fuse? Thanks.

    • Hi Don,
      That’s a new one for me. I’ve never seen a well known brand not use on board fuses! Both amps need a 50 amp fuse near the amp as they don’t have the standard on board fuse(s) that protects the amplifier should there be a short between the power wire under the hood after the fuse to the amp. That was a lot of words, I hope that made sense.

      I would get a fused distribution block for this application like this one from JL. I would probably go down to a 100 amp fuse under the hood. Others might argue against that, but the way I look at it is this. That rating on the amp (or for the amp) is maximum current draw which rarely ever occurs. Even when you’re CRANKING it, you’re never usually anywhere near that full capacity draw.

      And as long as the amps accept 4 gauge you can definitely go 4 gauge back to the block, then 4 out to each amp. This is because your total RMS is around 800 watts, well within the capability of 4 gauge wire. The cool thing about that block is it’s flexible too. You can do 0/1 – 4 gauge in and 4 – 8 gauge out to the amps. I hope that helps!

      • I’m running the helix DSP 8channel and I’m stuck on the power and ground wire the manual says a minimum of 18gauge is that speaker wire or what

      • Probably, speaker wire is commonly available typically in 18, 16, 14 or 12 gauge.

  83. hey i have recently had a sound system installed i supplied 1 x 2000 rms watt class d mono block sound stream amp and a t5 15 inch sound stream amp and a 0 gauge wiring kit. now i left that to get installed along with a heap of alpine things from the installer including a 1000 watt amp to run my r type speakers he supplied. i have noticed he did 0 gauge to the back then split it to 2x 4 gauge im just a bit concerned that my 2000 watt amp says min 4 gauge and i cant have it much louder than 1/2 vol on the amp as the wire becomes super soft and connections on the amp to hot to touch i have a 250 amp fuse at the battery not sure if its right but should i change that 4 gauge to maybe 2 gauge would that help with the massive load when i crank it up and stop me worrying that my little 4 gauge wire is going to melt? i spent alot of money bigger alt and a huge battery i just wanna be able to give it a go on full vol as we all do when we get a system in. any advice would be really appreciated 🙂

    • Nathan, Can you please supply me with a model # on the Alpine amp? And it’s just one T5 sub right? From what I can see, your amp is probably peak 2000 watts or 2000 watts RMS at 1 ohm, but it looks like the 15″ is offered in a dual 4 ohm voice coil only. So if you only have one 15″ sub, it’s gotta be paralleled meaning it’s running at 2 ohms. Even at 2 ohms, your amp is putting out 1300 watts RMS. Sound Stream recommends 2 gauge wire for that amp. So you have a right to be concerned. It’s okay to go to a distribution block as long as 0 Gauge was run from the battery for the main power line. From there the installer could have gone to a distribution block as long as that block allowed a 2 gauge out for the mono amp and you probably only need an 8 gauge out for the Alpine.

      If the Alpine is running your interior speakers, the RMS on it is probably no more than 400 watts. The 250 amp fuse sounds right, Sound Stream recommends a 200 amp fuse for that amp, so factor in the Alpine as well and 250 sounds right. It does sound like your amp is starving though, I would ask him to up it to 2 gauge for both power and ground from your 0 gauge distribution block.

      Bottom line, if you’re uncomfortable, go back to the installer with your owner’s guide out (you can download it here) and show him where it says 2 or 4 gauge for your amp. The reason they give you the lower option is if you’re only running a 4 ohm load, the amp will only put out 750 watts which 4 gauge is fine for. But if you’re running it at 2 ohms or 1 ohm, you need 2 gauge.

      You can always get a second opinion at another shop too. If you feel more comfortable talking to the people in the other shop, then go with them. That’s one way I gain lifelong customers is by helping people out when my competitors have failed. So if there are other reputable shops in the area, you can give them a chance to fix it for you. Hope that helps!

  84. Using an inline fuse that matches the amp fuse set is not only redundant but unsafe as well. The inline fuse is NOT there to protect the amp (that’s what the internal fuses are for); it’s there to protect the wire and potentially the battery.

    • Redundant? What the hell are you talking about? You have to have an inline fuse! If there were to be a surge in power without an inline fuse, that spark is going to travel along the power wire INTO your car until it burns something up and stops along the way. The inline fuse stops the power from getting any farther than 1 foot away from the battery. The inline fuse is there to protect the amp from receiving any more current than it is designed to handle. The fuses on the amp are only there to protect the amp should a problem occur AFTER the inline fuse. Like if you don’t know what the hell you are doing and pinch the power or remote turn on wire AFTER the inline fuse but before the fuse on the amp.

      If you had an amp with an 80 amp fuses on it, and you put a 30 amp inline fuse at the battery, you will be popping fuses every time you crank it up and draw more than 30 amps. You want your inline fuse to match or come close to the current draw capability of your amp.

      • It also prevents fires and possible battery explosions from shorts to the vehicles body. The cables are inevitably in contact with the body and vibration may cause wear, also unforseen events may damage cables.
        Good article, glad to see you discussed cca wire. We use aluminum wire to residential services, however you need to double the ga which makes the effort of the install not always worth the savings.

    • Hi, iam running a db drive 125.4rms for mids and a old school kicker amp for the sub how do i calculate the gauge of wire and inline fuse to run the two amp of one battery, when the spec may differ, do i just add up all the fuse from the two amp and go from there, reall neeed some help

      • Yeah, I would just look at the fuses on the amps to get an idea. If you’re running two amps, you can put one master fuse by the battery that equals the total fuse rating on the amps and then go to a fused distribution block – at that block put fuses that match each individual amp.

  85. Really what I was trying to point out is that the function of the inline fuse is to protect the wire between the fuse and the amp. This means that the current capacity of the wire must always be more than that of the inline fuse. If the wire AWG is selected correctly, it shouldn’t be an issue but this is a very important part of the circuit design. After selecting the inline fuse value and wire gauge, it must be verified that the wire actually purchased (and length used) can handle the more current than the inline fuse.

    • Valid point Mike, I will update the post to include this information. Thanks for your feedback, I really do appreciate it! Anything to help others out there, that’s why I do this.

  86. Hello, I have a question i want to install my car sound system, i have a Jl audio 1000/1 amp and i have a 2 15″ inch Old School Punch Dvc subs, which wire kit to you recommend me? Thanks for your time…Fernando

    • Hi Fernando, my first inclination was to say 4 gauge, but the last reader comment had me second guessing myself. I double checked the owner’s guide to be safe. Here’s what it says,
      “4 AWG is the only recommended power wire size for this amplifier.” Nice set up. Enjoy!

  87. Annie, the advice in this article is pretty informative and a good guide for a novice DIY installer. There is an important link between steps #1 and #2. The wire gauge as determined in #2 must be rated at a higher current capacity than the inline fuse determined in step #1. Too many people treat these 2 steps as independent when they are directly related as the inline fuse is there to protect wire between the fuse and the amp. If the amp has no fuses (rare nowadays) or if there is other inline equipment between the fuse and the amp, the inline fuse can be used (and value selected to) protect the equipment but the cable must always have a higher rating than the inline fuse.

    • Hi Mike,
      I never really thought of it that way. I guess I often look to the fuse rating to really determine the realistic output of an amp, and then choose my gauge wire based on the assumed RMS output. So for example, if someone were to bring me a “1400” watt no name brand amp that they want me to install, I wouldn’t automatically sell him a 2 gauge wire kit. I would look at the fuses on the amp. If I saw he had two 40 amp fuses, I would make the assumption that the amp was putting out around 800 watts RMS and would require 4 gauge wire and an 80 amp inline fuse. But I guess what you’re saying is if the amp had 2 50 amp fuses, you’re kind of on the cusp between 4 gauge and 2 gauge, so you’d be better off going with the higher current capacity wire. Makes sense. Thanks for the comment!

  88. Getting schooled and loving it! Thats great stuff but i have a reassurance question concerning the gauge of the wire:
    Is it ok to have heavier wire than you need? Im only going to be pushing less than 500 watts with my amp and there is allready a set of amp wires ran from a previous owner.IDK what gauge they are but most probably like a 2 or something.
    So i guess what im asking is would it be ok to use a 2 or 0 gauge for an amp around 300 watts or even less?

    • It’s always better to have more power than too little, same thing with wire gauge, bigger is always better than too small. The only thing you may run into is some amps will only accept up to 8 ga (if they’re on the lower power side), there are reducers you can buy. Stinger makes one, the SHT201.

      • Hey I have a 2000 watt boss amp with 2 12s rockford fosgate speakers what causes my amp to get real hot and cut off

  89. Hey, nice article. I have 3-12″ Kicker L7’s hooked up w/ a RE Audio 5000.1 amp (2500w max rms, hooked up at 2ohm so the amp should be pushing out 1700w rms). All hooked up in my 2005 Chevy Impala…I need to upgrade my alternator or battery?? thought about getting a yellow top. I have the 0 gauge wire ran from the amp. But my lights dim like crazy when my subs hit. I looked into a bigger alternator but they have none from what i was told. 2005 Chevy Impala 3.4L V6

    • Hi, I’m sure you could find someone to build you a high output alternator, but start with upgrading the battery. We like Interstate, most come with a 72 month warranty. Next get a capacitor, something like a Stinger Hybrid cap, probably the SPC5010. If you still have dimming, try to find someone who can build you a high output alternator, it will make a WORLD of a difference in your output and how your car runs when you’re cranking it.

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