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Connecting Your Radio to Your Vehicle's Speakers

Connecting Your Radio to Your Vehicle's Speakers

RetroSound® radios are designed to work with 4 ohm speakers. Be sure to check or replace your existing speakers if they are not 4 ohm. Your RetroSound® radio’s speaker output wire CANNOT be wired to a common ground system.

Common Grounding

When speakers in the vehicle use a chassis ground or a common grounding point for the negative side of the speakers, that is called common grounding. To use a RetroSound® radio you will need to either purchase an adapter or rewire your vehicle’s speakers
Your RetroSound® radio’s speaker wires CANNOT be bridged.


Connecting two speaker wire outputs together in an effort to increase power is called bridging. This will NOT work with our radios.
Any unused speaker wires MUST be capped off individually. Unused speaker wires must not touch each other or “short out” by touching the vehicle’s chassis; this will cause the radio to not work and can damage the unit.

Wiring from your RetroSound® radio speaker connector

Wiring with the factory radio or radio harness still in the car with speakers 

Remove the factory radio (if still in place) to access the wiring behind the factory radio, or go to where the old radio was located. There is usually a plug or harness coming from the rear of your factory radio (or in the original location of the factory radio).
After determining which wires carry voltage (see wiring a radio), next we will locate the speaker wires. In most vehicles there will normally be two wires per speaker* (one positive and one negative).
  • 4 speakers should have eight wires (one positive and one negative per speaker).
  • 2 speakers should have four wires (one positive and one negative per speaker).
The easiest way to determine speaker location and polarity of each speaker is with a common household battery (either AA or AAA – nothing larger). First, make sure that the speaker wires you are going to check do not carry voltage.
Speakers and speaker wires have a positive (+) and a negative (-) polarity, as do batteries. Hold the speaker wire you believe to be positive to the positive battery terminal (+). Gently tap, in a brushing motion, the other wire to the negative battery terminal (-). If the speaker is working and the wires are connected, you should hear static or a popping sound from the speaker each time the wire touches the terminal. If you do not hear static or popping, go directly to the speaker and test it.
Listen for which speaker the sound is coming from and watch that speaker for movement as you test. If the speaker "pops out", then polarity is correct. If speaker "pops in" then polarity is incorrect, and your speaker wires need to be reversed.
Once you have determined the speaker location and polarity connect those wires to the corresponding output wires on the RetroSound® radio.
*Note: If you have a common grounded system or factory amplified system, this testing may not work. It may be necessary to purchase an adapter or rewire your vehicle. For further options please contact technical support by email, via live chat or by phone at 888.325.1555.

No speakers or factory radio

Follow the standard wiring instructions. Then simply run new wires to each speaker location in your vehicle, making sure to avoid sharp edges or moving parts.

Standard dual voice coil (DVC) dash replacement speaker wiring using a single speaker

Using the left and right front speaker outputs to connect each side of the DVC to it's own speaker output

Be sure to “cap” off any unused speaker outputs separately to insure they do not touch each other or short to any part of the dash. Speaker output wires cannot be connected together.
See diagram below:

Using only one speaker output from the radio to wire the speaker in series 

Connect one voice coil negative to the other voice coil positive. Then connect ONE speaker output to the remaining positive and negative.
See diagram below:



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