Info and Answers
Evaluating Yama­ha’s Added Sound ‘Presence’
Exclusive to Yamaha receivers, Presence technology enhances the front sound field in your surround system.
yamaha rx-z11
Yamaha’s expert DSP can add ‘Presence’ to your surround soundfield
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February 20, 2009 by Marshal Rosenthal

Today’s home theaters owe as much to audio as they do video, and many people are adding additional speakers to take advantage of multichannel audio.

Aside from expanding your surround sound system from 5.1 to 6.1 or 7.1, there’s another option: Presence speakers. These additional front speakers work with Yamaha’s exclusive Cinema DSP technology. In other words, you need a Yamaha receiver.

According to the FAQ section on the Yamaha web site:

Presence speakers supplement the sound from the front speakers with extra ambient effects produced by CINEMA DSP. These effects include sounds that filmmakers intend to locate a little farther back behind the screen in order to create more theater-like ambiance.

“The idea of Presence speakers is to really open the front surround field while preserving the imaging and sound quality of the main channels,” says Gene DellaSala, President/Owner, Audioholics.com.

Yamaha has a long tradition of acoustic design. According to Philip Jones, National Product Trainer, Yamaha Electronics, where other DSP engineers made educated guesses to create sound fields in receivers, Yamaha has always based its off measurements taken from actual settings (audio captured at the Roxy Theater, for example). 

“We took this history and created Presence - the technology where these speakers are enhancing the sonic signature by providing acoustical information in the room that blends in with the main speakers,” says Jones. “Since these speakers are recreating a specific room’s acoustics through reverb and echo, so that they are producing limited frequency response, this means that the power is not demanding and small satellites can be used.”

The Setup
Get a pair of bookshelf or satellite speakers and place them behind and above the main front speakers (View diagram). The most sensible approach being to wall mount them (since they need to be about 3-4 feet above the mains). Matching these speakers to the mains will work well, but it’s not an absolute requirement - nor do they have to be rated for a great deal of power in order to function efficiently.

Audio channels have to be assigned to the Presence speakers just like any other. Those planning on doing this with a 5.1 surround system will need for their amplifier to have at least 7 channels available, since the signals normally assigned to the surround back channels will now be used to drive these two added front speakers.

Test Run
I’ve decided to try the Presence technology on my Yamaha RX-V1800. My rear surrounds are moved and mounted to the wall behind and above my two front tower speakers. Wiring connections are made as are the menu selections to activate their use. After calibrating and saving a setting for Presence, I’m ready to proceed.

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