Many of us enjoy listening to our favorite tunes. Yet, we often overlook each part of the sound system that makes these auditory experiences possible. One such thing is the so-called REM.
So, have you ever wondered, “What does REM mean on an amp?”
In the context of sounds, REM is a moniker for Remote or Remote Amp Turn-On. It’s the signal master that wakes up the amplifier when the stereo or head unit turns on or is powered up.
In this post, we’ll further explore the magic behind REM on an amp. We’ll highlight its function and why it matters on amplifiers. So, stay with us!
Table of Contents
What Is REM on an Amp?
The rem amp meaning is often confusing to most music enthusiasts. Primarily, the REM is a critical component in any car or home audio system. It’s a thin, low-voltage (12V) wire that awakens the amplifier and other sound system gear when plugged in.
When the head unit is activated, it sends a small signal down the REM wire, telling the amplifier it’s time to power up and start playing.
Like a TV or computer that stands idle even when plugged in, an amplifier won’t begin producing sound until it detects a signal from the REM wire. In context, REM mimics the role of the TV’s power button to command the amplifier into action.
To have an idea of its setup, take a look at the following wiring diagram:
2. Benefits of REM
From a functional point of view, the REM feature offers several advantages.
- Automatic power control: You don’t need to manually turn on the amplifier every time you start your radio or head unit. Beyond being handy, REM also ensures your sound system is more seamless and unified.
- Power-saving: If the REM is connected to the ignition or fuse box, it automatically powers up the amp when the car is turned on. Since the amp is only active when needed, it saves energy.
- Seamless integration and operation of the audio system: Usually, the amp speakers are directly linked to the amplifier and subwoofer. So, both of these devices are activated simultaneously.
How to Use REM in Your Audio Setup?
1. Identifying Rem Wires
A typical head unit has multi-colored cables in its wiring harness. Each denotes a distinct function in the head unit. As the owner, you should know these color codes, because any mismatch can cause potential damage to your equipment.
The REM (through the powered antenna) is easily recognized through its blue color. Besides the REM, there are other color codes.
- Red indicates a 12V ignition.
- Yellow is the 12V battery.
- Orange means dimmer illumination.
- Black/white is the factory amplifier ground.
- Brown is phone mute.
- Green connects to the speaker in the front right.
- White goes to the speaker in the front left.
- Purple is the right rear speaker.
- Gray is the right front speaker.
Here’s an image that illustrates the different color codes in a wiring harness.
Be aware that color coding can sometimes vary depending on the manufacturer. From our experience, some REM wires can be blue with or without white stripes. Therefore, it’s always best to check the amplifier’s user manual.
2. Connecting Rem Wires for Stock and Aftermarket Amps
To get the most out of your audio system, you must connect the REM in an amplifier correctly. However, the connection process slightly varies depending on whether you use stock or aftermarket amps.
- Stock Amplifiers
The REM wire in stock amplifiers is usually integrated into the factory wiring harness. You should locate the wire within this harness and connect it to the antenna wire or fuse box.
- Aftermarket Amplifiers
Connecting REM wires to aftermarket amps is straightforward. Simply attach a piece of the new primarily blue wire to the existing blue wire in the wiring harness. The new wire should run back to the amplifier.
Always remember that the REM wire conveys a signal, not power, so it doesn’t have to be a heavy gauge wire (often 32-28 gauge). Most importantly, ensure that the REM wire and other components used are compatible and suitable for the amp type and model.
We hope our post on “What does REM mean on an Amp?” has helped you understand the details of this simple yet critical component. Knowing the technical aspects of the REM wire allows you to harness the amp’s full potential, be it a stock or aftermarket setup.
To sum up, the REM on an amp ensures the seamless management of your system’s power on and off function. When connected perfectly, it elevates your amp’s performance to deliver immersive sound experiences.
Sam Stephenson is a writer who grew up in Washington, North Carolina. He was 2010 and 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor / Virgil Thomson Prize winner and a 2019-2020 Guggenheim Fellow in General Nonfiction. His books have been published by W.W. Norton, Alfred A. Knopf, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux