Getting more into car audio, you will begin to hear the term “strapping” amplifiers. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of strapping (also called bridging or linking), what it’s for, and how it works. So, sit back, get a snack and a cold drink, and let’s delve into the world of strapping amplifiers.
Strapping: What Do You Need?
In order to strap your amplifiers, you MUST HAVE two identical amplifiers. The amplifiers have to be the exact same models and they must be capable of being strapped, or linked, together.
In addition to the amplifiers, you will also need all of the necessary amplifier installation accessories, such as amplifier install kits, and RCA patch cables. Once you have acquired all of the necessary pieces needed, you can begin the process of installation and strapping the amplifiers together.
Why Strap? The Benefits
The single main reason that car audio enthusiasts strap their amplifiers is to power a single subwoofer voice coil with multiple amps. In a setup like this, the main amplifier (master) is combined, power-wise, with the second amplifier (slave), thus creating a situation where the power is doubled. In addition, the primary amplifier controls the secondary amplifier. By this, I mean, once properly strapped, the first amplifier (master) can be tuned and its settings are then passed on to the secondary (slave). So you only need to tune one of the amplifiers, eliminating the hassle of trying to tune both amplifiers.
So what are the other benefits? Well, strapping allows you to run two smaller amplifiers rather than run one larger amp. This allows you to possibly install the amps in locations that would not accommodate a larger amplifier. It will also provide an easier way to replace an amplifier should southing happen. It’s more cost-effective to replace a single smaller amplifier than replacing, or repairing, a much larger amp.
Strapping can benefit you if you are looking to upgrade your system. Say you are running a single small (strappable) amplifier and you want to go a little bigger. All you would have to do is buy a second (same) amplifier and strap them together to get that jump in power that you needed or wanted when you decided to upgrade.
NOTE: Keep in mind, when you strap two amplifiers together, you will double the RMS power output, but you will also double the minimal impedance handling of the amplifiers. For example, if you have a single Down4Sound JP23, it is rated 2300 WRMS at 1 ohm, but if you were to strap two JP23s together the power output would jump to 4900 WRMS, but the minimal impedance rating would also change to 2 ohms. Just something to consider when choosing whether to strap amplifiers together, or not.
How To Strap
The first place to start when strapping two amplifiers together is to connect the head unit to the amplifier you will use as the primary or master. Then take a look at the RCA connections between the two amps. In most cases, you will be looking for RCA connections labeled “master out,” “slave in,” or some variant. Some amplifiers, like the JP23, have a single RCA connector used for strapping and it is controlled by the master/slave switch. So depending on the position of this switch, the RCA connector will function accordingly.
To set up the JP23s the correct way, on the primary amplifier (connected to the head unit RCAs), set the master/slave switch to “master.” This will then turn the RCA connector into an output connection. Next, set the switch on your second amplifier to “slave.” This, in turn, will turn the RCA connection into an input connection ready to receive a signal from your primary (master) amplifier. Once the amplifiers have been switched to their proper designations, then you can run a single RCA patch cable between the two amplifiers using the RCA connection designed to link the amps together.
Much of the installation process of the amplifiers will remain the same. You will need to run power cables to both amplifiers, make sure they are grounded properly, and complete all of the other connections necessary to send the audio signal and remote turn-on trigger to the amplifiers. Once all of the connections have been made, you can now connect your power source to the amplifiers. You can then begin the tuning process of the amplifier you designated as the “master” in your setup. All of the settings are done as if they were a single amplifier. The settings you make on the master will then be passed on to the “slave,” eliminating the need to change the settings on the second amplifier.
Now that you have all the amplifiers installed and the tuning down, you can now enjoy the added power and begin throwing down the BASS.
I hope this small post has given you the basic information to understand what the term “strapping” means, and how to perform this for yourself. This post has been written to provide only the general knowledge and steps of linking two amplifiers together. There are different ways of performing the strapping process based on the amplifier and your personal circumstances, so some information may not pertain to you, or some more research and steps may need to be done in order to provide you with a proper installation.
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** Please note that this article provides general information on how to perform the process of strapping (linking or bridging) two amplifiers together in a car audio installation. Keep in mind that not all vehicles are the same and may require different installation methods and techniques to ensure a safe and effective install. By no means, am I a professional mechanic or car audio installer, and D4S and I, are not liable for any damages cause to your person, audio equipment, or vehicle by following these instructions. Please consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns regarding your own vehicle and how to perform modifications such as the one explained in the previous statements.