This is one of the most common questions we get from do-it-yourself installers around the world. You turn on the radio at high volume and the sound is muted, or the radio is turned off completely.

Before answering this question, you should consider the type of audio system you have in your car, boat or engine. This means that the more complex your audio system is, the more problems can arise. Think of all the elements such as amplifiers, DSPs, EQs and others that change or amplify the sound.

Total high volume silent

Weak base

The main reason for the silence or total power loss of the audio system we diagnosed was incorrect grounding. This can happen at different places in the car.

To find the problem of total sound loss, one must first examine the sound source itself.

Incorrect connection to power supply

You may have a poor connection to the power supply of your amplifier, your stereo system or the battery to which you have connected the power cord of your amplifier.


You may notice distortion or static electricity coming from a particular loudspeaker in your car. If this column lights up or if the connections are not made correctly, this will cause a short circuit. A stereo system and/or amplifier will perceive an inflated loudspeaker or a poor loudspeaker connection as a random increase in resistance.

The increase of resistance in this situation is usually quite high and the amplifier and/or stereo system cannot turn it on properly.

The signal from the amplifier or stereo system must go somewhere, regardless of the interference from the loudspeaker. This means that it receives a signal that has to go to the 4 speakers and send it to the working speakers. It will also affect the power supply of these speakers in general.

Value of the loudspeaker in relation to the sound source

When installing the amplifier and stereo system, the impedance or resistance of the loudspeaker must be taken into account. Your stereo will show you the resistance your system needs to measure in order to function properly.

For example, if your amplifier or your stereo system manual recommends a stable 4 ohm system and you move the system too far or too far beyond this specification, you may damage your components and/or mute the system.

4 or 5 channel amplifier not properly connected

If the amplifier does not work properly, it will cause problems for each speaker to which it is connected. For example, if you have a 5-channel amplifier (4 speakers, 1 subwoofer) that has a poor connection to the ground or power supply, all speakers will be turned off.

The same goes for a 4-channel reinforced system.

The most difficult issue to be addressed is that of the stakeholders themselves. When amplifying a system, the sound source (radio) and everything that changes the signal (amplifier) must be taken into account.

Overloaded system

This problem usually relates to an amplifier with a higher RMS value than the speakers they are equipped with. Provided the car battery is in good condition and the wiring is properly charged and powered by the amplifier, the speaker output should match the speaker output if you have purchased the correct equipment.

For example, if your amplifier indicates that it supports 100 W RMS and you have 4 speakers per speaker, you can expect about 25 W RMS. Four parallel 25 W RMS speakers should together produce 100 W RMS.

High volume subwoofer mute

This section is about sections for the subwoofer. These problems have to do with the power of the amplifiers, the signal to the subwoofer or the subwoofer itself.

Subwoofer amplifier is not properly connected

If the amplifier powering your subwoofer(s) is not connected properly, impedance problems may occur. This happens when your amplifier sees more or less resistance coming from your speakers.

Suppose you connect a subwoofer and one of the speaker cords remains loose at the subwoofer terminal. Although this part can work in very small quantities, it is cut in large quantities.

The reason for this is similar to what has been discussed above in the chapter on high volume sound muting. The amplifier sees a large amount of resistance in this column and cannot generate enough current to feed a load with this amount of resistance.

Another problem may be that the power or ground wires are not connected properly. It’s called a voltage drop. You can easily determine this by testing the battery voltage on the battery and then on the amplifier. If you notice that the battery voltage is much higher than that of the amplifier, there is a problem with the battery or wiring.

Subwoofer connected incorrectly

This concerns the wiring of the subwoofer itself. You will notice that the speakers are connected to the amplifier in such a way that the resistance is increased or decreased to a level that is unfavorable for the subwoofer and/or amplifier.

Amplifier connection is not large enough

Often the power cables responsible for powering an amplifier are much smaller than what the amplifier needs. This limits the battery current and generates a voltage drop. If you increase the volume of your subwoofer’s amplifier, the battery power is not sufficient to support the subwoofer’s amplification. This mutes the subwoofer.

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