Cadence Q DRIVE SERIES Stereo Amplifier User Manual

Thank you for purchasing a Cadence Q Series amplifier. Over the past years, the technology used to create audio amplifiers has grown
by leaps and bounds. We have tens of thousands of satisfied customers still using our first generation Ultra Drive amplifiers which are
more than 10 years old. Our competition is satisfied with just continuing to build the same units year after year without thought for
improvement, but not Cadence. We consider it our mission to use our expertise in developing the latest technologies and to bring you
the absolute best sounding, most powerful amplifiers on the market and of course at a reasonable price. We are very proud to introduce
this third generation of Q Series amplifiers featuring C-FORCE technology, "ARVA" and "ADR" circuitry. You will be amazed at the
quality and power that these new amps offer. You will "Boom-Harder!" with Q Series amplifiers.
We have spared no expense in designing these amplifiers, creating the most rugged, reliable, powerful and best performing amplifiers.
In fact we are so sure of the quality we backup every Q Series amplifier with our exclusive two-year warranty which exemplifies our
commitment to excellence in car audio musical reproduction. (See enclosed warranty card for details.)
Please read this installation guide carefully for proper use of your Cadence power amplifier. Should you need technical assistance
during or after your installation please call our technical-line between 9:30 am and 5:00 PM EST at 732/370-5400. Read this entire
guide fully before attempting your installation.
WARNING: BE AWARE! Use of this amplifier at extreme high volumes for extended periods of time may cause hearing loss and or
hearing damage. During periods of prolonged high volume levels it is recommended that you use ear safety devices. Playing Cadence
amplifiers at high volume levels while driving will impair your ability to hear necessary traffic sounds. While driving always keep your
sound volume at reasonable levels. We at Cadence want you listening for many years to come.
When installing the amplifier, secure it tightly. An unmounted amplifier in your car can cause serious injury to passengers and damage
to your vehicle if it is set in motion by an abrupt driving maneuver or short stop.
All the terminals on the amplifier are solid brass and gold plated for high conductivity and
minimum impedance loss. The power and ground terminals are extra large and capable of
accepting 4-8 gauge wire. The speaker terminals can accept 16 gauge wire. When wiring the
amplifier, be sure to strip just enough wire that fits into the terminal so that bare wires do not
touch each other, or the amplifier chassis and cause a short circuit.
Q Series amplifiers feature our unique IC controlled protection circuitry. This sophisticated
circuit constantly monitors the heatsink internal temperature and various voltages, adjusting
the amp automatically and protecting it from dangerous conditions. The 2 LEDs located on
the input side of the amplifier provide indication of the amplifier status, the Power LED will
light when the amplifier is receiving proper power, ground and remote voltages and the IC
monitoring sequence indicates the amp is functional. In case the amplifier encounters a
diagnostic condition as listed below, the second LED will light indicating a Diagnostic
condition. When a diagnostic condition is sensed the amplifier will then turn into a self
preservation mode and if the cause of the diagnostic condition is not corrected will eventually
shut off. There are certain critical diagnostic conditions which will turn the amplifier off
1. Speaker short circuit.
2. Input Overload.
3. Thermal overload.
4. Reverse Polarity.
To reset the amplifier, you must first diagnose what caused the problem, correct the fault and
restart the system. See the Trouble Shooting page for further details.
The Q Series amplifiers feature an anti-thump, mute and delay circuit. This eliminates
irritating and speaker damaging turn-on and turn-off transients normally experienced with
less expensive amplifiers.
A narrow "Q" shelving equalization circuit is included in the amplifiers. The equalization
system is preset at 45Hz. The boost control allows you to add up to 12dB of Bass Drive effect.
Utilize the Bass Drive to tailor your bass response to your systems needs. Please keep in
mind that by adding Bass Drive you are adding stress on your speakers. Make sure your
speakers can handle the extra power output! It would be foolish to add 12dB of gain to low
excursion 8" and 10" Subwoofers .
Cadence Q Series amplifiers feature our proprietary ADR, Active Dynamic Regulated power
supplies. 100% HexFET devices are utilized in the power supply for high speed (100KHz)
switching frequencies. The power supplies are capable of supplying the main amplifier with a
considerable amount of reserve voltage for peak "high demand" situations. The ADR circuit
provides full bandwidth power for authoritative bass response, high current output into low
impedance loads and increased headroom. The ADR is supplied with power via a high speed,
high temperature capacitance bank and 100% pure copper rails on the PCB enabling fast
transient response to musical demands.
The audio output section of the Q Series amplifiers feature Japanese studio grade, high
current BiPolar audio transistors. Unlike other manufacturers who use a host of different type
transistors, not originally designed for audio output, ie: power supply transistors, motor
control transistors to produce the audio signal, (You can only imagine what they sound like.)
Cadence uses only true audio transistors. These transistors were designed and engineered
to produce music. That’s why Cadence amplifiers sound better. They are cleaner with lower
distortion, higher current capable and more reliable. We challenge you to test listen a
Cadence amplifier and hear the difference yourself.
Cadence Q Series amplifiers feature "ARVA" circuitry in their power supply. This circuit
constantly monitors the output stage and under high current demands will adjust the power
supply rail voltages so that enough power is available for peak situations. The "ARVA" also
improves the damping factor of the amplifier when playing low impedance mono loads.
Cadence Q Series amplifiers have tighter sounding bass reproduction thanks to this unique
CadenceQ Series amplifiers are rated and regulated to 13.8 volts and below. Increasing
voltage to 14.4 volts will increase the power output of the amplifier in the same proportion.
Maximum input voltage is 14.4 volts while the minimum voltage is 12 volts.
Clipping or total shutdown may also be a result of a bad ground connection or loose ground. If
you find that your speakers and speaker wires are not shorted, please check your ground
Input Overload Protection: This circuit will either shutdown the amplifier completely or
make the amplifier spurt on and off indicating that it is in a diagnostic condition. Turn the
system off and reduce the gain on the amplifier or volume from your head unit, this should
result in a corrected condition.
DC Offset Protection: Should any DC voltage try to enter the amplifier via the speaker
terminals it will cause the amplifier to shut down and not operate until this condition is
remedied. This circuit will also protect damaging high DC voltages from reaching your
speakers should your amplifier ever miss-function.
Cadence Q Series amplifiers are not competition style amplifiers!
Before you begin with your installation disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) terminal from your car's
battery. This safety precaution will avoid possible short circuits while wiring your amplifier.
Cadence amplifiers operate on 12-volt negative ground systems only.
Cadence amplifiers incorporate many outstanding protection circuits to help protect the
amplifier from being damaged during operating conditions.
It is recommend that you layout your sound system design on paper first. This will help you
during the installation so that you will have a wiring flow chart and not miss-wire any of your
Thermal Protection: When the amplifier reaches an unsafe operating temperature of 80
degrees Celsius the amplifier will turn off. Once the amplifier cools down, simply reset the
amplifier by its Remote connection, (turn the amplifier off and then on again once you have
given the amplifier a chance to cool down) and the amp will once again begin to play.
Mount the amplifier in the trunk or hatch area of your vehicle. Never install an amplifier in the
engine compartment or on the firewall. Please be sure to leave breathing room around the
amplifier heatsink so that it can dissipate the heat it produces efficiently. The amplifier can be
installed either horizontally or vertically.
If you live in a hot climate we suggest installing additional cooling fans in your trunk to exhaust
the hot air which can build up in the trunk this will help keep the ambient temperature in the
trunk as low as possible so that your amps work flawlessly and without any musical
When mounting the amplifier on the trunk floor, be sure to watch for your gas tank, gas lines
and electrical lines. Do not drill or mount any screws where they might penetrate the gas tank
of your car.
Speaker Short Circuit Protection: Should your speakers short circuit due to voice coil burn
out, or should the amplifier sense an impedance too low to handle, the Protection LED will
light, indicating a diagnostic condition. Turn off your system, disconnect one speaker at a time
and try to determine which speaker might be faulty. Correct the condition and restart the
amplifier. You must reset the amplifier by turning off and then on by the Remote power for
proper operation after correcting a diagnostic condition.
The Q Series amplifiers are supplied with built-in fuses, never replace the fuse that the amp
came with, with one of a larger value.
We suggest you construct a Red wiring harness with 2 additional fuse. One fuse should be
located near the car battery. This fuse near the battery offers protection against damage from
short circuits to the car chassis between the battery and the amplifier. A second fuse closer to
the amplifier offers additional safety to the amplifier itself. This fused red power wire should be
attached to the amplifier power terminal marked 12V+.
The wire harness should be made of red primary cable of at least 4-8 gauge. The harness
should terminate in a large ring terminal for connection directly to the positive terminal of the
car battery. Use a spade plug to attach the wire, which connects to the amplifier location
marked 12V+.
A second black color wire of equal gauge should be used as a ground connection to a welded
chassis member. When connecting the ground wire make sure that there is no paint or other
insulator blocking a good ground connection. When installing multiple amplifiers, mount them
in close proximity so that they can all share the same ground point. Attach the black ground
wire to the amplifier screw terminal marked Ground.
We recommend that you use the Cadence ZIK-8 or ZIK-4 amplifier installation kit, which
contains all the cabling and accessories necessary for a good, reliable installation.
Over the years we have received many an amp back to our service department with melted
power/ground terminals. The cause of this is a bad ground connection. When there is a lack of
good ground heat builds up at the weakest point which is the contact screw of the terminal.
Over time the heat generated will begin to melt the terminal. It is a good practice to feel the
power and ground wires with your hands, near their amplifier connection after having played
the amp for a while. If the wires feel hot to the touch you probably have a bad or loose
connection. If you are sure of your connections and the wires still feel hot to the touch, you
should upgrade the gauge of the wire to next heaviest gauge.
The remote turn on connection is located on the barrier strip next to the power and ground
connections. This connection is responsible for turning the amplifier on and off with the rest of
the system. A smaller gauge wire can be used to make this connection to your radio's power
antenna lead. Should your system not have any turn on leads, you can wire the remote
terminal to an accessory lead, which turns on, with your ignition.
The Q Series amplifiers feature RCA preamp inputs. Run RCA cables from your sound
source to the inputs of the amplifier. We suggest the use of high quality shielded RCA patch
cords to help reduce and eliminate unwanted electrical noise from your system.
Be sure to run the RCA cables on the opposite side of the vehicle that you used to carry the
power and ground leads of the amplifier.
All the Q Series amplifiers feature 12dB per octave fully adjustable low-pass and high pass
electronic crossovers.
For Low Pass systems, set the crossover mode switch to LOW PASS. Now the knob marked
FREQUENCY will control the low pass frequencies from 50Hz to 250Hz. A frequent mistake
made is setting the low pass frequency too low, especially when using vented subwoofer
enclosures. We recommend that for most installations you do not set the frequency knob
lower than 100Hz (the 12 o’clock position).
When using the amplifiers for component speakers or coaxials, you will want to set the mode
switch to HI PASS. The FREQUENCY control knob adjusts the high pass frequencies
between 50Hz and 250Hz. Do not attach tweeters directly to these amplifiers, even in the high
pass mode without a secondary passive crossover to protect them. 250Hz high pass is not a
frequency high enough for tweeters.
Q Series two channel crossover section, located under the light up plastic plate.
Once the system is operational, the first thing to do, is set all crossover points to approximate
settings. In the case of the basic subwoofer system Low Pass filter crossover at 100 Hz or so.
Set the Bass Boost equalizer controls to 0 dB
Now you should set the amplifiers LEVEL adjustment. The knob accessible on the top of the
amplifier marked Input Level adjusts the input sensitivity from 150mV to 5Volts.
To adjust the input sensitivity, turn the control using a small flat head screwdriver fully counter
clock wise to the minimum position. Do not apply any pressure while turning as this might
break the control unit. Adjust your radio volume level to maximum volume. Now turn the level
control on the amplifier clockwise towards the Maximum marking and until audible distortion
occurs. When you begin to hear any distortion in the sound, back down one notch and your
amp is set. It is helpful to have a second person to help you set the gain.
When setting up a multi-amp system, set each amplifier’s gain separately. Start off with the
bass amplifier, then adjust the highs amplifier’s level control to match.
Once you are satisfied with the level control settings, use the equalizer controls to adjust the
system tonal level for personal preference. Keep in mind that after equalizing, you may have
to go back and reset the level controls.
The level control of any car amplifier should not be mistaken for a volume control. It is
a sophisticated device designed to match the output level of your source unit to the
input level of the amplifier. Do not adjust the amplifier gain to maximum unless your
input level requires it.
If your unit has been professionally installed please do not change the gain settings set by the
installer, he is the professional!
Your system can also be extremely sensitive to noise when the LEVEL is set to maximum and
does not match your input signal. The gain adjustments need to be made only once when first
setting up the system.
Channel 3/4
The four channel models feature separate crossovers for channels 1-2 and 3-4. All the Q
Series amplifiers feature 12dB per octave fully adjustable low-pass and high pass electronic
1. All four channels High Pass for internal component speakers in doors and rear decks.
2. Channels 1 and 2 High Pass for front component speakers, while channels 3 and 4 are
wired to subwoofers.
3. Bridge channels 1 and 2 for single high power subwoofer channel. Bridge channels 3 and 4
for second high power subwoofer channel.
For Low Pass systems, set the crossover mode switch to LOW PASS. Now the knob marked
FREQUENCY will control the low pass frequencies from 50Hz to 250Hz. A frequent mistake
made is setting the low pass frequency too low, especially when using vented subwoofer
enclosures. We recommend that for most installations you do not set the frequency knob
lower than 100Hz (the 12 o’clock position).
When using the amplifiers for component speakers or coaxial, you will want to set the mode
switch to HI PASS. The FREQUENCY control knob adjusts the high pass frequencies
between 50Hz and 250Hz. Do not attach tweeters directly to these amplifiers, even in the high
pass mode without a secondary passive crossover to protect them. 250Hz high pass is not a
frequency high enough for tweeters.
Choose a convenient mounting location with unobstructed airflow.
The Q amplifiers feature four plastic mounting tabs located at the amplifiers four corners. You will need to remove
the light-up acrylic panel and the chrome trim plate to access these mounting tabs.
Using the supplied screws, gently mount the amplifier in to position. Do not over tighten the screws.
All Q series amplifiers come with three molded acrylic covers in
red, blue and orange. The cover is held down with four thumb
screws. The amplifier crossover and gain controls are located
under the cover. Please note that the length of the four thumb
screws are different, there are two short ones and two long ones.
The shorter screws are for the lower shelf of the acrylic cover,
while the longer screws fit the raised shelf area of the acrylic
There is an area of multiple white neon LED bulbs underneath
the cover which transmit the light through the cover. By simply
changing the cover you can change your amplifier installation
color to either blue, red or orange.
Please take special care not to scratch the surface of the acrylic
covers. Clean them only with a soft damp towel. The use of any
cleansers may scratch the surface and remove the silver
stamping of the logo.
Replacement covers and thumb screws are available from
Channel 3/4
Channel 3/4
Channel 3/4
Please note that the minimum impedance load for single
Cadence Q Series amplifiers is 2 ohm stereo and 4 ohm
mono bridged.
Lower impedance loads will cause overheating and may
damage the amplifiers.
Do not mix different type and different impedance
speakers in the series and/or parallel combinations, as
unequal power sharing and acoustic outputs will result.
4 Ohm Stereo Power:
2 x 75 Watts
2 x 125 Watts
2 x 175 Watts
4 x 75 Watts
2 Ohm Stereo Power:
2 x 125 Watts
2 x 175 Watts
2 x 250 Watts
4 x 125 Watts
4 Ohm Bridged Mono Power:
Dimensions (LxWxH):
1 x 250 Watts
1 x 350 Watts
1 x 500 Watts
2 x 250 Watts
9” x 10.75” x 2.5”
12.75” x 10.75” x 2.5”
17.75” x 10.75” x 2.5”
13.75” x 10.75” x 2.5”
Input level adjustment range:
150 mV to 5 Volt
Low pass filter adjustment range:
50 Hz to 250 Hz
Low pass filter slope:
Bass boost range:
Bass boost center frequency adjustment range:
Signal to noise ratio:
Damping factor:
Minimum THD&N:
Frequency Response:
Due to constant product improvements, these specifications
are subject to change without notice. High current rated
powers are at amplifier minimum distortion and are for
competition purposes. Not responsible for typographical
errors. Copyright by Cadence Sound Systems, Inc. 2003
12 dB/octave
0 dB to +12 dB
45 Hz
> 100 dB
>200 @ 100 Hz
20Hz - 35KHz