Active Vs Passive Line Out Converters

Stinger AustraliaTechnical Information

Getting an amplifier into your factory audio system can be daunting and confusing at times. Do I need a line out converter? Which one do I need? Where do I start?
Today we are going to clean this up and make it easy for you to determine what product will suit your needs. Lets start with what is a Line Out Converter?

Your aftermarket amplifier is most likely designed for RCA (low level) speaker input. This is called a “common ground RCA” connection (+ for Left, + for Right with common ground -)

Amplifier RCA connection example

These are not designed to accept input from speaker wires (+ – for left and +- for right) which means you need to convert the signal correctly.
Speaker level (high level) output can also be anywhere up to 40v! Your aftermarket amplifier is designed to accept anywhere up to 4-6volts.
Stick 40 Volts into this and boom! see you later amplifier.

Some aftermarket amplifiers will have a ‘high level’ speaker input however it is rated for low voltage input much like a very basic passive line out converter.
A Line Out Converter takes this high voltage speaker level input and converts it to a RCA low voltage output for your aftermarket amplifier.
So now you know that you NEED a Line Out Converter…


What one do I need?

As a guide, there is two styles of converters (Passive and Active).

Passive Line Out Converter

Passive Line Out Converters are fantastic with low powered factory audio systems that don’t feature a factory amplifier.
These simple line out converters offer 2 or 4 channels of output and are available in the PAC Audio range and Stinger range.
These units do have the downside of not having a very strong signal output but for basic amplifiers in non amplified models, this can be suitable.
(Check out our range of PAC Audio line out converters to see whats available)

Active Line Out Converters are a more advanced line out converter with a better sound quality output.
AudioControl uses Active Line Out Converter technology which is fantastic for amplified audio systems, late model vehicles and high powered factory audio systems.
These are available in 2 Channel versions say like your AudioControl LC2i, through to 8 Channels or more with your AudioControl LC8i.

They can also offer added extra features like
AccuBass Bass Restoration
AudioControl’s Accubass processing chip to enhance your bass sound from your factory audio system. The factory audio system will ‘turn down’ the bass level output as you turn up your car stereo to protect the factory speakers. Fine for a factory audio system but you want your new speakers and amplifier to sing! AccuBass’s processing circuitry takes that factory bass roll off and corrects the output so you have a rock solid bass output at any volume (providing your speakers can take it 😉 )

Line driver capabilities
AudioControl LC products have a high powered, low noise pre-amplifier which will feed up to 8.5volts of high output signal to amplifiers, extracting the best performance.
Its more than 4x the output of a typical aftermarket head unit!

Channel summing capabilities
Factory audio systems can be more complicated than you think, with separate tweeter and mid-bass driver outputs from amplifiers, picking up signals from your factory audio system can be confusing for some of the best of us. AudioControl LC products feature channel summing capabilities which is where your tweeter and mid-range signals are fed into the Active Line Out Converter and turned into a full range signal.

No, not the Pontiac GTO your thinking of, however if that was included with AudioControl products that would be fantastic. GTO is a technology in every AudioControl product, Great Turn On.
GTO is a system that automatically turns on the AudioControl product when it detects the presence of a signal on the main input. This eliminates the hunt for a turn on wire for the AudioControl line out converter and your aftermarket amplifiers. Keyless play can be retained and no more hooking up your amplifier to the ignition circuit of your car.

So the next time your looking at adding an amplifier to your factory audio system, take the time to think the following. No matter how good your aftermarket amplifier is, it can only perform as well as the signal it receives.  Your Line Out Converter (LOC) is your headunit in this case. Get the best signal you can get from the factory audio system with AudioControl products meaning your aftermarket amplifier and speakers can do what it was designed to do, make your vehicle in car experience the best it can be.