The Enclave Audio CineHome PRO is a 5.1 speaker system, all contained in a single box shipped to your door. While you might balk at the idea of placing speakers at six different points around a room when you could get a single soundbar solution instead, there’s no real substitute for the immersion a discrete speaker system can achieve. Nonetheless, it’s a slightly pricey solution so I take a closer look in this review to see if the performance matches the price.
The idea of a home-theater-in-a-box is not a new one. I can remember when they started to gain steam at the beginning of my AV career a couple decades ago, with cheap color-coded speaker wire, cheap AVRs, and mildly confusing step-by-step setup instructions. But it still required you to run that speaker cable all over your room, which could be unsightly, or unsafe for the clumsy. But as the issue of wireless latency disappears with the continual development of the technology, those speaker wires no longer need to be a hazard or inconvenience.
Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Review: Price and Features
With an online price of $1,500 (UK and Australian availability to be confirmed), the Enclave Audio CineHome PRO isn’t aimed at someone just looking at getting a simple TV audio upgrade. But if you’ve never experienced a home surround sound system, you’ve been missing out. And the CineHome PRO is a fully wireless, THX-certified system.
Shipped in the box is almost everything you need, including power cables and an HDMI, in white cloth bags and with white gloves — a nice higher end touch. There’s a small plastic remote (but no batteries), which seems to be an addition from some earlier releases of the CineHome PRO, although it isn’t listed as being a part of the system on Enclave Audio’s website. In fact, a selling point on their website is that you don’t need an extra remote because there’s an app you can download for your device that has all of the setup, modification, and volume controls to work the system. I quickly opted to put it down and used the app for setup. Once setup is done, if you have CEC enabled on your TV you can use the TV’s remote to control the volume of the system.
There are five solidly built, sleek speakers with a black metal grille that comes out to a soft point and a rather substantial subwoofer (18.8 x 11.8 x 14.4 inches and 26.6 pounds) that mimics the same look. The center channel that lies horizontally flat in front of your TV or projection screen measures 3.4 x 24.1 x 5.3 inches and 7.3 pounds. The other four speakers (left and right fronts and surrounds) are positioned vertically, with the front speakers having the exact same dimensions as the center, and the surrounds being 16.4 inches tall as opposed to 24.1 and 4.6 pounds. Each front speaker has two 3-inch drivers and a tweeter, while the surrounds are one of each. The sub has a 10-inch front-firing woofer and a down-firing port. The Enclave Audio app recommends putting it in a corner for more bass response (which is a valid recommendation), but in my room that always causes too much bass, so I had it along the wall instead next to my home theater credenza.
All of the speakers have rubber feet that easily denotes in which orientation they should stand, as well as stickers that mark them with their position in the room. There are keyholes on the back of each speaker for wall mounting, and the surround speakers also have a screw mount if you want to put them on a tripod or compatible stands. Considering that they can be a little wobbly when standing vertically, wall mounting or the use of some museum putty should be strongly considered, especially if you have a rambunctious five year old, as I do.
The last thing in the box is the CineHub, a small box (1.6 x 5.1 x 7 inches and less than a pound) that’s the brain that connects the wireless speakers to your TV’s ARC/eARC HDMI port or an optical digital audio port. eARC isn’t supported as of this writing but is planned for an upcoming firmware update. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo aux input and the CineHome PRO support Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wirelessly to a device.
Other than running a power cable to each speaker and the CineHub box, and an HDMI (or optical) to your TV, there are no cables connecting the cables to the CineHub or each other. Instead, everything connects wirelessly via WiSA communication, which stands for Wireless Speaker and Audio Association. It’s a plug-and-play technology that is supported and used by a large group of manufacturers (including AV names like Harman, LG, Pioneer, and Denon) and the WiSA specification guarantees support of up to eight channels of uncompressed, 24-bit/96 kHz resolution sound. There’s also near-zero latency, which they claim is 1/10th the latency of Bluetooth audio devices and has no visible lip sync problems. At the beginning, this was the inherent issue using with wireless speakers for watching movies and TV, but that’s not a problem with the Enclave CineHome PRO. In order for the speakers to connect, the WiSA specification uses its own 5GHz band to connect all the speakers that won’t interfere with your Wi-Fi.
The CineHome PRO supports Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround and linear PCM. Absent are the lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio that are found on almost every Blu-ray. For many, this is of little consequence as not everyone can hear the difference. But it’s worth pointing out that, when watching Blu-rays, it won’t be the same capability and audio quality that you can expect from an AVR and surround sound speaker setup. Of course, that would necessitate a whole bunch of wires around the living room, so pick your poison.
Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Review: Sound Quality
I usually find there to be one of two audio problems with all-in-one solutions, be it a single speaker or a bunch of speakers together in a box — there’s either way too much bass or the high end can be really fatiguing and verges on painful at higher volumes. What I immediately noticed about the Enclave Audio CineHome PRO is that the highs were actually a little subdued, but without losing detail. So sounds that have a high frequency element, such as the whizzing of arrows or swords hitting armor during the Battle of Pelennor Fields in Return of the King, had definition without sharpness.
There was also plenty of mid-range presence that caused dialogue to be completely intelligible. The yells from Théoden to his Rohirrim, while the battle continued to rage around him, were easily heard but didn’t sound unnaturally forward in the mix. Lines that needed to be heard for their dramatic intent kept their weight, whether they be declamatory statements (“I am no man!”) or the quiet passing of Théoden King.
The size of the soundstage that the CineHome PRO produced was very good, and sounds were placed accurately throughout. The reverberant thumping of the Mûmakil as they stomp their way through the battle was suitably present (after I boosted the sub a little bit during calibration), but I didn’t feel it as much in my chest as I have with other systems, even with the volume turned up. And the volume can turn up pretty loud and still not distort or feel painful. Unless you’re in a cavernous room you’ll never need to even approach the upper limit of what the CineHome PRO is capable of.
Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Review: Design and Usability
Setup is an absolute breeze. Actually placing the speakers took longer than getting them connected and playing audio through the app. You can fine tune the audio (which I recommend) by going into the app settings and entering speaker distance and adjusting the level of each individual speaker. There isn’t an auto calibration system like Audyssey that can be found in many AVRs. Instead, there’s a white noise generator that can be turned on for each speaker in the app by selecting the speaker on the graphical display. With my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter, I made sure that all the speakers were level matched at my main sitting position before doing any critical listening.
Beyond that, there isn’t much more necessary to do. The app will show you what type of signal decoding is being used, which is nice to know, or allow you to turn on a full stereo mode that spreads the stereo signal to all speakers. I didn’t find much use for this, but I can see the benefit if you have friends over for a party and want your background playlist to play around the entire room and not just from the front left and right speakers. Overall, I didn’t find myself using the app very often when I was watching TV.
Unfortunately the only way to be aware of what the volume is, apart from hearing it, is to see the numerical value on the app. There isn’t any readout on the speakers or that’s put up as an overlay on the TV to indicate the volume. It isn’t a huge problem, but there were one or two times that I would pause what I was watching at a loud point (one time was a phone call and the other was my curious son wandering in to see what the commotion was all about) and by the time I returned, I had forgotten where the volume was set and nearly gave myself a heart attack when the action resumed.
Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Review: Verdict
The Enclave Audio CineHome PRO is designed for someone that wants to upgrade from their television speakers but doesn’t want to worry much about setting up a multi-speaker system. And in that situation it absolutely shines. It can appear a bit pricey, especially when looking at it against some inexpensive soundbar options that have wireless rear speakers. But those systems will not compare to the sound quality you can get out of the CineHome PRO.
Would it be nice if the system supported lossless audio codecs or the front speakers had Atmos modules on them for height channels? Sure. But those would just be icing on the top of an already delicious cake. The Enclave Audio CineHome PRO is a great and easy way to get a surround sound speaker system.
Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Review: Also Consider
If $1,600 is too much for you, Enclave Audio does offer the CineHome II, which is a slightly smaller system and costs $1,100. It doesn’t have the THX certification, the sub has an 8-inch woofer instead of 10, the front and center speakers are a bit smaller and have fewer drivers overall (they’re the same size as the surround speakers in the PRO system), and the rears are compact bi-pole speakers instead of full range. But based on the performance of the PRO, it’s a good value.
Sticking to fully wireless options, you can add surround speakers and a sub to the Sonos Arc soundbar for a system that costs $1,856. That will get you Atmos compatibility for an extra couple hundred dollars. The Sonos is also an easy system to expand on, as the whole ecosystem is designed to work together throughout an entire home. So if you’re not looking to spend that much on speakers now, you could just get the Arc and sub and add the surrounds later.