Harman-Kardon TC300, TC600, TC304 User Manual

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Harman Kardon design philosophy

The TC Series amplifiers employ the key Harman Kardon design principles of highinstantaneous current capability (HCC), ultrawidebandwidth, low negative feedback, and fully discrete preamp and output circuitry.

HCC (High-instantaneous Current Capa,bility)

While reproducing dynamic music signals, the instantaneous impedances of nearly all loudspeakers drop to less than a third of the nominal rating. These low momentary impedances typically require three to six times more current from the amplifier than would a nominal Cohm resistive load. The TC600 amplifier can supply 100 amperes of instantaneous current, while the TC300 and TC304 can

supply 50 amperes. This HCC provides control over the low impedance and fluctuating phase angles produced by normally operating speakers, ensuring that your speakers will be able to continually reproduce the entire dynamic range of music without premature clipping or current limiting.


All TC Series amplifiers are designed to provide increased power into 2 ohms stereo or 4 ohms bridged. Unlike many lower-quality amplifiers, the TC Series amplifiers can be bridged for increased power. Stable, reliable operation in these higher power modes is assured by the TC Series' wide-margin Safe Operating Area (S.O.A.), which anticipates the toughest operating conditions.


Unlike conventional automotive amplifiers, the TC600, TC300, and TC304 can reproduce musical frequencies ranging from less than lOHz to more than 100kHz. This ultrawidebandwidth improves the accuracy of reproduction of transient signals and ensures phase linearity.

Low negative feedback

This design philosophy is used by the world's most exclusive amplifiers. It requires the highest quality internal components, and results in an extremely stable amplifier with unmeasurable TIM distortion and absolutely outstanding imaging characteristics.

Fully discrete circuitry

Rather than employing inexpensive integrated circuits, which reduce bandwidth and increase required negative

TC600, TC300, and T C 3 0 4 Features

feedback, the TC Series amplifiers use completely discrete (separate) electronic components for greatly improved linearity and less distortion.

Ultrawidebandwidth combined with low negative feedback and fully discrete curcuitry maintains the correct harmonic and phase relationships in your music, providing superior imaging and definition.

Designed and manufactured in the U.S.A.

The TC Series amplifiers were designed with the aid of CADICAM computer systems at Harman Kardon's state-of-the-art industrial complex. The result is rugged, high-performance amplifiers employing only the highest-quality parts and materials, including double-sided fiberglass-epoxy printed circuit boards and high-current capacity bipolar transistors.

Transverse tunnel fan cooling

Major heat-producing components in the amplifier are mounted directly to the center heat sink, localizing the area to be cooled. Harman Kardon's exclusive transverse tunnel cooled design employs a fan to eliminate heat directly from the heat sink, enabling the amplifier to remain cool to the touch and permitting installation in restricted spaces, such as under car seats. This exclusive design not only protects the preamplifier and power supply components from high temperatures, but also keeps dust and dirt from contaminating the inside of the amplifier, further ensuring reliable operation.

Two-stage music-linked cooling fan speed

The music link whisper fan operates inaudibly until the music volume rises, then goes to a higher speed for more efficient cooling without interference with your listening pleasure. The fan returns to its inaudible state between musical passages.

Reversible fan

For side-by-side multi-amp installations, the fan in each TC Series amplifier can be reversed, providing control over the direction of the cooling air flow. This enables you to prevent the warm air from one amp from being vented into the tunnel of the next amp.

Simultaneous stereo plus bridged mono operation

For one-amplifier stereo satellite/mono subwoofer systems, the TC Series amplifiers can provide stereo and bridged mono operation simultaneously, eliminating the need for electronic crossovers and additional amplifiers.

50Hz boost

All TC Series amplifiers provide 50Hz boost equalization, enabling you to adapt your sound to your personal taste and compensate for acoustic limits inherent in the automotive environment.

Fully regulated highcapacity power supply

The high-capacity power supply is fully regulated, ensuring stable amplifier operation over a wide voltage range and cornpletely eliminating damage to speakers due to DC leakage.

B+ and remote-on power noise filtering

The TC Series amplifiers contain powersupply filters that effectively reject any power-supply-related noise, such as alternator whine. The 12-volt B+ main power input is filtered by a bank of capacitors and a large high-current inductor.

Balanced differential variable-gain inputs

The input circuitry on TC Series amplifiers isolates signal cables from potential ground loops and radiated noise. In addition, it allows preamp or high-level (speaker) inputs to be directly connected to the amplifier inputs.

Installation precautions

Disconnect the negative (-) battery terminal before beginning your installation, and do not reconnect it until all connections have been made and you are completely finished with your installation.

As the very last step before reconnecting the battery, connect the positive power lead (sometimes referred to as B+) from the amplifier to the battery terminal.

Important: To prevent serious shortcircuits that can do major damage (including potential for fire), you must install a fuse within 18" of the positive

(+) battery terminal on the positive B+ power lead to the amplifier. (See the "Connections" section for information about fuse size).

Make sure that the inlets and outlets for the amplifier's cooling fan are unobstructed. You must install the amplifier in such a way as to allow free air flow through the cooling tunnel to ensure that the amplifier will be able to dissipate its heat.

Pay particular attention to the power ratings of the speakers you choose. Many speakers are not capable of handling the high power produced by the TC Series amplifiers. Match your speakers to the power ratings of the amplifier(s) you will be using, and never operate your speakers at higher levels than specified.

Charging system




The TC600, TC300, and TC304 are highperformance amplifiers whose current demands place an additional load on your car's battery and charging system. Depending on the volume at which you are playing your system, the amplifier can draw an average of 20-40 amperes, and under certain extreme operating conditions, can draw up to 90 amperes in the case of the TC600.

Because of the additional demand, the life of your car's battery and charging system may be shorter than it would have been before you installed your music system. You may need to install a heavy-duty charging system and a high-quality heavyduty battery to support the higher demands on the charging system. Depending on your listening habits, you may want to install a second battery and an isolation switching system. Consult your Harman Kardon dealer for professional assistance.

Harman Kardon's tunnel cooled design keeps your amplifier cool to the touch. enabling you to install it even in a very confined space, such as under a seat with limited clearance. Just be sure that you don't block or restrict the inlet or outlet to the amplifier's tunnel, so air can be circulated freely by the fan. This cooling method allows the amplifier to be positioned in any orientation (horizontal, vertical, upside down).

Do not install your amplifier in a location where i t would be exposed to rain, moisture, or direct sun, and do not allow dirt or foreign objects to enter the cooling tunnel.

Use the amplifier itself as a template for marking the mounting holes. Before you drill mounting holes, make sure that you know what is located directly behind the panel you're drilling through (e.g., gas tank, brake lines, wires, etc.).

System configurations

This section describes some of the system configurations possible with the T C Series amplifiers.

Low-level input to amplifier

TC-Series amplifiers are most commonly used with a low-level (preamp) input signal from the head unit. A control on the T C Series amplifiers enables you to adjust the input signal level for optimum performance. (See the "Controls and operations" section for information on adjusting input level.)

High-level input to amplifier

All T C Series amplifiers can also accept a high-level (speaker-level) input signal from a head unit that has no preamp-level outputs. In this situation, the leads from your head unit that would ordinarily connect directly to your speakers are instead connected to the input of the TC Series amplifier. A control on the T C Series amplifier enables you to adjust the input signal level for optimum performance. (See the "Controls and operation" section for information on adjusting input level.)

Normal stereo or four-channel full-range operation

("Full-range" means that a single amplifier provides the entire spectrum of audio frequencies to a speaker or speakers with no electronic crossover used.) Either the TC600 or the TC300 am~lifiecanr be used in a normal two-channel stereo installation in which the amplifier provides power for both the left and right channels. The TC304 can be used in a normal four-channel installation in which the amplifier provides power for left and right channels, both front and rear

Dedicated full-range bridged amplifier operation

Any TC Series amplifier can be bridged. combining two of its channels into a single channel to provide higher power. The TC600 or TC300 can be bridged to convert from stereo operation to higher-power mono operation. In this configuration, the amplifier provides all its power into a single channel. The TC304, being a four-. three-, two-channel amplifier. can be bridged to combine one or two of its channel pairs into one or two single mono channels.

Bridged amplifier operation with electronic crossover

If you install an electronic crossover between the head uni t and the TC Series amplifier. you have several options for using TC Series amplifiers in bridged mode, such as:

Use the TC600 as a dedicated mono amplifier running parallel subwoofers.

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Use the TC300 as a dedicated mono amplifier running a single subwoofer or other combinations of series/parallel woofers.

Use the TC304 in one of two ways:

(a)as a dedicated two-channel amplifier running two single subwoofers. or

(b)as a stereo high-pass amplifier to two stereo channels and as a mono low-pass amplifier to a mono subwoofer channel.

Use the TC304 as a four-channel highpass satellite amplifier. and use either a TC600 or TC300 as a dedicated subwoofer amplitler.

The connectors on TC Series amplifiers are large enough to accept up to 10-gauge wire. If you want to use a heavier gauge of wire than will fit into the connector, remove one strand at a time until the end of the wire can fit. Even though strands are removed at the connector end, you still receive the benefits of the heaviergauge wire, since the significant loss in a long run of wire occurs along its length, and not at its relatively short termination point.

The screw-type connector used on TC Series amplifiers works most effectively when the stranded wire is not tinned with solder. When the tiny wire strands are loose, the connector can compact them uniformly, achieving maximum surface area contact between the wire and the connector. Use a good screwdriver and tighten the connector securely enough to ensure that the wire will not pull out.

Wire-routing tips:

Plan your wire routing carefully before you begin your installation.

Always route signal cables separately from power cables to avoid noise in the system. For example, run your power cables along one side of the car chassis and the signal cables down the opposite side.

Keep each ground wire as short as possible to avoid power loss and the possibility of introducing noise into your system.

Use grommets or other protective devices when running wires through metal parts.

If you have mounted several amplifiers and accessory devices (e.g.. electronic crossovers, equalizers, etc.) together in the same area, connect all the ground leads from these devices to the same ground point on the metal chassis of the car. Do not connect one unit to another unit's negative ground terminal and rely on the second unit's ground wire to ground both units (daisy-chaining). This configuration can cause a ground loop, which can introduce noise into the system.

Power connections

Your TC Series amplifier requires a positive 12V battery connection and a negative 12V ground. Use 10-gauge or larger wire for these connections.


12V Positive (B+) connection

Remember-:Connecting your. amplifier to the positi,te terminal of your battery is the

last thing you do, afrer all other-connections in your system have been conzpleted.

The TC600 requires two individual wires connected to the two battery (+) terminals

on the amplifier. Make sure you route these

leads separately from the preamp output cables to avoid the possibility of noise in

the system. There are two methods you can use to complete this connection:

e r connections



TC3OO or T C 3 0 4

12V Positive (B+) connection

Remember: Connecting your amplifier to the positive terminal of your battery is the last thing you do, after all other connections in your system have been completed.

Connect a 10-gauge or larger wire to the positive terminal on the battery. Within 18"

of the battery terminal, insert a 45-amp fuse, fuseable link, or circuit breaker in the lead. Connect the lead to the battery (+) terminal on the TC300or TC304. Make sure you route this lead separately from the preamp output cables to avoid the possibility of noise in the system.

12V Ground (B-) connection

Connect a single 10-gauge or larger wire to the ground (-) connector on the amp, then run the lead to the metal chassis of the car. Make sure you scrape down to bare metal, and make sure that the metal is directly part of the main vehicle chassis. Keep the ground lead as short as possible.

T C 3 0 4 power connections





( ~ l u s a a n ~ i s l s e d



Many head units provide a remote-on lead, which connects directly to the Remote connector on your TC Series amplifier. Turning on your head unit will. in turn, automatically turn on the amplifier. If your head unit does not have a remote-on lead. you can still wire your system for remote turn-on by using one of these options:

Option I : Connect the antenna power lead to the Remote terminal on the TC Series amplifier. Note: This configuration may require that you have the power to the radio on when you play a tape or CD.

Option 2: Wire a switch in the passenger compartment to switch the positive terminal on the battery (+12V) to the Remote terminal on the amplifier. Alternatively, you can use the accessory position on the ignition switch to switch +12V to the Remote terminal.

Audio input connections

There are two types of input signals that your TC Series amplifier may receive: lowlevel (preamp-level) output or high-level (speaker-level) output.

Low-level (preamp-level) connections

Connect the left and right preamp output cables from your head unit, electronic crossover, low-level equalizer (commonly referred to as a passive equalizer), or preamplifier to the left and right INPUT RCA connectors on your TC Series amplifier. (See the "Controls and operations" section for information about adjusting input level.)

You may want to use high-quality preamp cables (although noise at this point should not be a factor because the differential INPUT connectors on the TC Series amplifiers are capable of rejecting radiated noise induced in cables). If you decide to use higher-quality preamp cables. use the type with a shielded, twisted pair of signal wires, if possible. The separate shield should not be grounded at the amplifier end.





+ - + -

R @

T C 6 0 0 or TC3OO simultaneous bridged-mono/stereo operation


Right satellite speakers (>80Hz) 2-ohm minimum

TC304 two-channel (dual bridged-mono) operation














Min Max



OdB +20dB







(one set shown)


Troubleshooting checklist

Most of the problems experienced by customers are due to installation or operational problems. If your amplifier does not operate as expected. first check the items in this checklist. Also check other related components, such as head units, equalizers. crossovers, speakers, and other electrical equipment used with your amplifier. If you still have difficulties in normal operation, please contact an authorized Harman Kardon service center.




No sound. Power LED does not light.

No 12V (positive) at B+ terminal.

Check power connections and fuses.


Remote-on terminal not receiving +12V

Check remote-on connections.


from head unit.



Power ground connection(s) (negative) is

Check power grounds.





Car battery voltage is below 9V or above

Check condition of car battery and



charging system.

No sound. Power and Protect LEDs are lit

Speaker or speaker wire shorted.

Check speaker wiring and speakers.

immediately upon turn-on.



Amplifier plays for a short time, then no

Fan openings restricted or in "dead air."

Ensure clear air paths in and out of fan

sound. Power and Protect LEDs are on.




Combined minimum speaker impedance

Reconfigure speakers and crossovers for


is too low.

minimum impedance load (see "Series-



Parallel and minimum impedance speaker






Amp plays clearly but not loud enough at high head unit volume control settings.

Amp plays clearly at low to moderate head unit volume control settings, but sound distorts at high volumes.



Input control adjusted too low.

Speakers are not rated for higher power and cannot handle the amplifier's output.

Input control is adjusted too high and amplifier is clipping.

Readjust input control (see "Controls and operation").

Upgrade speakers to a model that can handle higher power and/or readjust INPUT control counterclockwise.

Readjust input level control counterclockwise to eliminate clipping (see "Controls and operation").

Fan reversal for multiple amplifier installations

In some installations, it may be desirable to mount two or more TC Series amplifiers one after another in a line. You can reverse the fan in any amplifier to reverse the direction of air flow through the tunnel; this enables you to prevent the warm air from the first amp from being vented into the tunnel of the second amp. and so on.

From the factory, the fan pulls air through the tunnel and exhausts the warm air at the fan end when music is playing. This direction of air circulation provides the best cooling for a TC Series amplifier. Leave

ITC304 screw locations

the amplifier(s) that will be driven the hardest (usually the bass frequencies) in the factory configuration, and only reverse the cooling direction on the amplifiers with the lighter load. Note: In the factory configuration, the fan hub label is positioned toward the outside of the amplifier.

To reverse the direction of the air flow, the fan itself must be reversed in its mounting (the fan is electrically controlled, and simply reversing power to the fan will not change its direction). Contact any authorized Harman Kardon installer or service

TC600 and TC300:

5 large, 1 small RCA


5 large, 2 small RCA

center to perform the fan reversal, and take this manual with you.

To reverse the direction of air flow through the tunnel:

I . Carefully remove the screws attaching the fan end cap of the amplifier (see illustration for location of screws).

2.Gently remove the end cap just far enough to allow removal of the fan from its mounting pins in the end cap. DO NOT REMOVE THE WIRES.

3.Flip the fan assembly 180° so that it faces in the opposite direction. Make sure the rubber insulation pads are still in place on both sides of the fan. The wires are attached to the circuit board, and the fan stays with the end cap, so be careful not to stretch or damage the wires.

4.Replace the end cap assembly and screws. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE SCREWS.


Power output. RMS

60 watts conlinuous power


2OOW X 2 channels @ 4ohms


3OOW X 2 channels @ 2ohms


600W X I channel @ 4ohms

HCC (High Instantaneous


Current Capability)


THD (4ohmsT)?ohms)

No more than 0.1%10.2%

Negative Feedback


Frequency response

lOHz to I00.OoHz +O. -3dB

Signal-to-noise ratio (referred to rated power)


lnput sensitivity


Continuously variable (line-level


to high-level)


lnput impedance


Center pin conneclor (+)


Outside shield (-)


Power supply

DC +14.4V (9-16V usable), negative ground

T v ~ i c acurrentl reauiremenls




At idle


Full-power music signal


Full-power sine wave


Dimensions (LX W X H)



All specifications and features subject to change wiChout notice.

300 watts continuous power IOOW X 2 channels @ 4ohms 150W X 2 channels @ 2ohms 3OOW X I channel @ 4ohms

f 5 0 A

No more than 0.1 %/0.2%


lOHz to IOO.OoHz +O. -3dB


0.25V to 2.5V

DC +14.4V (9-16V usable). negative ground


IOA (4ohms/channel) 15A (2ohmslchannel) 30A (4ohmslchannel) 45A (2ohmslchannel)

300 wans continuous power

50W X 4 channels @ 4 ohms

75W X 4 channels @ 2ohms

50W X 2 channels @ 4ohms

+150W X 1 channel @ 4ohms

75W X 2 channels @ 2ohms

+150W X I channel @ 4ohms

150W X 2 channels @ 4ohms

No more than 0.1%/0.2% 25dB

l OHz to I 00,OOOHz +0. -3dB loodB

DC +14.4V (9-16V usable), negative ground