Our Blog

How to Install Subwoofers WITHOUT Replacing Your Stock Stereo

How to Install Subwoofers WITHOUT Replacing Your Stock Stereo

by Hi-Tech Car Audio | 18th Mar 2023

So here’s the rub…

You want to add a little boom-boom to your car but either…

1) You can’t replace the stereo system because it’s a new model (or it’s exotic) or…

2) You just don’t want to replace the stereo because you like the factory look.

In either case, you can’t install a bass system to your factory stereo.


Well, factory stereos don’t have something called ‘RCA pre-outs’.

These are the red and white inputs behind stereos that rca jacks plug into to produce sound…

…and factory stereos just don’t come equipped with them.

But is all lost?

Are you going to have to live with that transistor radio sound of your factory system?

Definitely not.

Here are two ways you can install an amp and sub combo to your factory system:

1. Hi-Low Converter

This has been the tried-and-true method of installing bass systems to factory stereos for decades.

It’s just a simple little converter that ties into your speaker wires and provides RCA inputs.


It’s fairly inexpensive and sounds pretty good.

The only problem?

You won’t get the exact same sound quality from your subwoofers as you would if you had an aftermarket stereo (like Alpine or Kenwood) in your car.

The reason is that you’re not enhancing the voltage of the stereo, and therefore aren’t giving it the proper “juice”.

Still, it sounds fine unless you’ve got a meticulous ear like me.

If that’s the case you’ll want to use…

2. A line out converter

A line out converter is like a hi-low converter – but on steroids.

In techie terms:

…it takes amplified speaker level signals and converts them into high quality preamp signals that can be fed into an amplifier.

For us humans, that just means you’ll get phenomenal sound ALL while keeping your factory stereo and controls.

The AudioControl LC2i PRO is a great example of a premium line out converter:

AudioControl LC2i PRO

This little puppy can even work if you have a premium factory system in your car – but still want to get more bass.

It takes the hi-level signals of your factory amp and drops them down to the line level that your amplifier needs – all without compromising the fidelity of the factory system.

Honestly, we rarely recommend hi-low converters unless a customer is on a shoestring budget.

Funny enough, hi-low converters typically cost $20… while the AudioControl LC2i PRO goes for only $133. Not that big a difference.

So now you know – it’s definitely possible to install a subwoofer and amplifier to your factory system, and still have it sounding good.

If you’d like to know more about how to get a killer system set-up in your car without swapping your stereo, give us a call at 510-527-9888.

Our team has more than 33+ years of experience in the mobile electronics industry, and we’ll make your car sound like Beethoven’s 5th (or Woodstock… whatever you prefer)