Best Line out Converter- Top 6 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
If you want to upgrade your car sound system for more powerful sound output, including louder volume and booming bass, then you need to invest in an external amplifier. However, if you’re using a factory stereo, you might find it hard to connect an amplifier. Basically, an amplifier is connected to a preamp output. Sadly, most factory stereos don’t have a preamp output. That’s where a line out converter (LOC) comes in handy. A LOC converts high-level signals from a stereo receiver into low-level signals for amplification by an external amplifier. However, you need to invest in the best line out converter for efficient signal conversion.
Essentially, most stereo receivers output signals of up to 400 watts. On the other hand, amplifiers can safely handle an input signal of about 6 volts on average. If you connect an amplifier to a higher signal voltage than what it can safely handle, it may burn out. Thus, it’s advisable to invest in a LOC to ensure your amplifier is only fed with an input signal whose voltage is safe for the amplifier to handle.
There’re many LOC models available in the market today. Thus, choosing the best one for your car sound system can be a challenging task. That’s why we’ve prepared this buyer’s guide and reviews to assist you in making the right choice.
Quick Comparison Table
Line out Converter Model
Speaker Level Input (Watts RMS)
Top 6 Line out Converter Reviews
Line out converters are available in different models. They mainly differ in output levels and input/output channels. Thus, you need to make your choice wisely to ensure that the LOC you choose is suitable for your car audio system. Here’re the top 6 line out converters available today.
1. Kicker KISLOC
Kicker manufactures some of the best LOCs available today. Their Kicker KISLOC is preferred by many car owners for good reasons. If you’re searching for a 2-channel LOC, Kicker KISLOC would be one of the best options to choose from.
If your factory radio has an open-circuit protection, then this Kicker KISLOC is the right option for your car audio system. It’s also perfect for use with monoblock amplifiers.
2. AudioControl LC2i
AudioControl LC2i is one of the best line out converters available today. If you want high-quality signals from a factory receiver to an external amp, then look no further. It’s made for those who like premium sound systems in their cars. It’s made to output high-quality preamplifier signals without interfering with the factory controls.
The AudioControl LC2i line out converter is specially designed for use with premium quality sound systems and amplifiers that can handle high-powered preamplifier signals. If you’re willing to pay a little more for a premium-quality LOC, then this is the best option for you.
3. SCOSCHE LOC2SL
The SCOSCHE LOC2SL is designed as a 2-channel line out converter. It outputs an RCA signal for use with subwoofers or amplifiers. Furthermore, it features a compact design for a concealed installation.
The design behind this SCOSCHE LOC2SL line out converter makes it ideal for quick installation when adding an aftermarket subwoofer or external subwoofer to a stock car stereo.
4. PAC SNI-35 Variable LOC
The PAC SNI-35 Variable LOC offers an extra set of preamplifier outputs from a factory receiver that only has a single set. It’s designed as a variable LOC with advanced adjustment options.
The PAC SNI-35 Variable LOC is specially designed with affordability in mind. It’s ideal for anyone who wants an efficient LOC but is working with a very tight budget.
5. DS18 V5HL
The DS18 V5HL is yet another well-designed LOC. It’s designed for use with OEM car receivers and offers signal conversion for both the rear and front channels. DS18 V5HL comes as a 2-channel LOC. It’s compact for a more concealed installation.
The DS18 V5HL line out converter is a perfect choice for pushing the subwoofer, rear speakers, and front speakers without distortion. It’s also perfect for anyone who wants a simple yet functional LOC.
6. NVX XLCA2
The NVX XLCA2 line out converter is designed to accept a speaker level input of 400 watts RMS at most. It comes with advanced features that make it one of the best LOCs out there. Although it comes with a high price tag, its features and performance are worth the extra money.
The NVX XLCA2 is a great choice for anyone who wants to power high performance and more powerful sound systems from an EOM head unit. It’s also perfect for anyone who loves listening to music with deeper, louder, and cleaner bass.
How to Choose the Best Line out Converter
Hooking an amplifier or subwoofer to a factory head unit or radio can be quite challenging. Luckily, a line out converter can assist you to connect an amplifier or subwoofer to the factory head unit. However, you need to choose a proper LOC to convert the output from a factory radio into a preamp output efficiently. If you choose the wrong converter, you may not enjoy high-quality sound. Thus, it’s important to make your choice wisely. Here’re how to choose the perfect line out converter for your car music system.
Tip #1- Active vs. Passive Line out Converter
When shopping for LOCs, you’ll come across two styles of LOCs. They include active and passive LOCs. To start with, active LOCs are essentially more advanced than passive LOCs. Active LOCs require a power supply of 12 volts to convert and output a signal. They’re capable of handling a power input of 400 watts RMS at most. Thus, you can easily use them with factory amplified head units and powerful sound systems. Also, the best active LOCs come with extra features such as remote turn on and bass restoration.
On the other hand, passive LOCs are low powered. They don’t require any power supply to convert and output a signal. They work by scaling down the speaker level voltage to preamp low-level voltage. Thus, if they receive a weak sound signal, the output will be weak. They’re advantageous due to their simplicity, remote turn-on feature, and power efficiency. However, they’re not powerful enough to work with amplified head units.
Tip #2- Power Input and Output
It’s important to consider the amount of power input a LOC can safely handle and its power output. If your factory radio is amplified or highly powerful, consider a LOC that can handle more power to avoid burning it out. If the factory radio is not amplified, then a less powerful LOC would suffice.
Also, if you want to power a more powerful sound system, you should consider a LOC that can output more power. If the sound system you’re powering isn’t very powerful, then a LOC with a low power output would work efficiently.
Tip #3- Remote Level Control
Another important consideration to make is whether the LOC comes with a remote level control. While it’s not a must to have one, a remove level control will assist you to control the gain or bass level from the dashboard with ease. That way, you won’t have to keep on stretching your hands to access the converter from its mounting location, something that can be quite unsafe while driving. However, in most cases, a converter with a remote level control may come at a higher price.
Tip #4- Number of output channels
Line out converters are available in 2, 4, and 6 output channels. The output channels determine the number of amplifier channels you can hook the converter to. If you need to connect it to an amplifier alone or a subwoofer alone, then a 2 channel LOC would suffice. If you want to connect it to an amplifier and several subwoofers independently, then you’d need a LOC with more output channels.
Tip #5- Ease of Installation
It’s also necessary to choose a LOC that’s easy to install. It should be easy to wire it to the factory head unit. It should at least come with wires for connecting it to the head unit. Also, it’d help if the LOC comes with an installation manual.
If your factory head unit lacks a preamp output or RCA outputs, you can still connect it to an amplifier by adding a line out converter. However, choosing the best LOC for your needs can be quite hectic due to the numerous options available. Our reviews have only listed the best line out converters available today. We’ve included the best LOCs within all budgets. Thus, you won’t feel left out regardless of your budget. Hopefully, you’ll find a perfect LOC for your needs from our reviews.