Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Wireless Home Theater System Review Page 2

Once the app is downloaded and active and the speakers situated, you just fire up each speaker with the switch on the back, connect the CineHub's HDMI port to the HDMI-ARC connection on your TV using the supplied HDMI cable, and turn on the CineHub to begin automatic pairing. Within a minute or so the CineHub wirelessly pairs with all the channels and communicates its role to the TV, which then knows to send it the audio stream from any connected source. After that, I spent a few minutes setting speaker distances and levels with an SPL meter. The printed system documentation mentions a helpful pink noise generator in the app for setting levels, though no instruction on where to find it; you can activate it for each speaker by tapping its graphic representation in the virtual speaker layout.

If you have multiple HDMI sources, it is assumed your TV will do the switching. One caveat is that the single ARC-enabled HDMI port on the CineHub required to connect with your display chews up your TV's HDMI-ARC port, leaving it unavailable for a source component. This left me with just two usable HDMIs for my cable box and UHD Blu-ray player. If I'd wanted to also hook up a game console, the workaround would be to feed the CineHub's optical digital input directly from the console or just default to the display's optical digital output for all sources. The optical connection will still carry the highest resolution bitstreams the system can decode, so this should not impact performance in any meaningful way.

I spent many hours watching TV and Blu-ray movies with the CineHome PRO and also played some stereo CDs (remember those?) with my Oppo disc player. It's helpful that the Enclave app will always show you what signal type the system is receiving and whether it's playing back in Dolby Pro Logic (which can be switched off for straight PCM stereo), Dolby Digital, or DTS.


I quickly noticed that the system is voiced to tame bright soundtracks, with a clean and smooth midrange mated with laid-back highs that make for easy, palatable listening with very loud action movies. True to its THX certification, the CineHome PRO played these without breaking a sweat. At a 10-foot distance in my nearly 3,000 cubic foot studio space (though with a low, 6.25-foot ceiling), the system hit 103 dB peaks on my SPL meter at max volume setting with barely any strain. This is one of the benefits of having on-board class-D amplification with its own power supply and (I assume) effective limiting circuitry in every satellite. And I should mention that the wireless connections to all the speakers were solid as a rock for my entire audition, and never suffered sync issues with the video.

Big action flicks like Aquaman were a great match for the Enclave system, and with the speaker distances and levels properly set it delivered a wide and tall soundstage up front and a coherent sound bubble. Even at high volume, when Arthur and King Orm dueled with their tritons in a giant underwater amphitheater, the clashing and scraping of the metal weapons against each other and the rocks, their groans and grunts, and the cheering crowd noises came through with detail intact but without any fatiguing, abrasive edge. The bass from the subwoofer wasn't as taut as from my own day-to-day ported 10-incher (a Revel B10 that costs almost as much as this whole system), but it had plenty of juice and provided a very present and solid foundation for effects. The Blu-ray for this title has both a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track (which defaults on the Enclave to Dolby Digital Plus), and a 5.1 DTS-HD track (which plays here as core DTS). Switching back and forth reminded me of how much fuller and dynamic DTS soundtracks typically sound.

The only weapons brandished in La La Land are musical instruments, but the CineHome PRO was just as impressive here. The movie's Dolby Digital soundtrack opens with car horns blaring all around on an LA highway ramp, which leads to dozens of dancers leaping from their stalled cars and performing "Another Day of Sun," a rousing number that begins with a lone voice and builds to a crescendo chorus featuring a calypso band in the back of a box truck. It was a delight on the Enclave, with a convincing surround envelope, well-delineated voices from the ensemble, natural timbre for the instruments, and the same super-effective dynamics. Even more striking was the emotional rendering of Mia (Emma Stone) singing "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," a gorgeously sparse ballad whose emotional effect counts on a subtle and slow dynamic build and smooth, detailed reproduction of Stone's delicate soprano.


I listened to a few reference CDs in straight two-channel stereo with the sub. It sounded great, but on familiar music tracks I could tell that the system's polite high end and smooth voicing made it less open in the midrange and noticeably less detailed up top than my reference speakers, a pair of very neutral Revel M16 bookshelf monitors. Still, the sound was pleasant and highly dimensional, delivering a wide and tall soundstage with just a bit less depth than the M16s in direct A/B comparisons. Here again, the sonics benefitted from the system's dynamic capabilities. "Moten Swing" from Count Basie and His Atomic Band: Complete Live at the Crescendo 1958 starts out kind of quiet and then wakes you up with a truly heart-stopping horn blast at about a minute in. I watched my SPL meter jump from 72 dB to 95 dB in an instant on this peak, with total authority and not a hint of compression from the system. But neither the Count's piano notes nor the tapped cymbal had the body or detailed shimmer I'm used to hearing. Big, close-miked vocals, such as John Mayer's on "Still Feel Like Your Man" from The Search for Everything, riveted my attention on the Enclave with their size and immediacy, but sounded a touch more veiled and didn't come alive as they do on a more open and extended system. I tried processing the stereo PCM audio through the system's Dolby Pro Logic decoder; it resulted in multichannel sound, but added some noticeable veiling, even with the DPL Music preset. Stereo playback was far more open and clean-sounding.

Enclave's CineHome PRO is designed to bring the experience of true surround sound to TV and movie watchers who want something better than a soundbar, but require simplified set-up, easy operation, and/or a WiSA-quality wireless connection to the rear speakers (at least). The system meets those goals with aplomb, and it constitutes a superb all-in-one 5.1 solution that delivers powerful THX-certified dynamics.


On the other hand, absent those needs, one has to ask what might be gained in either performance or utility with a conventional 5.1 speaker kit and AVR combo for the same $1,600 price. There are some very well-reviewed 5.1 speaker systems with 10-inch subs in the $1,000 to $1,200 range, to which one could mate a fairly powerful 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel receiver for $500 or less. That AVR will come with full HDMI switching for several 4K source components, support of the more advanced Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD soundtracks as well as hi-res music formats, various wireless audio options including built-in streaming apps, and maybe automatic room correction. The satellite speakers in that price range will be smaller than the CineHome PRO's and may not play quite as loud or be voiced quite as smoothly as a more neutral and potentially revealing system. But unless your room is very large, you're bound to get more than enough volume.

That said, you're now back to a discrete system with all the set-up and operational complexity—not to mention wires—that the CineHome PRO was built to avoid. So, your own value quotient here comes from a highly personal calculation. For those who abhor complexity or hate the aesthetics of a half-dozen cables snaking around the room, the benefits and high-level of performance of Enclave's CineHome PRO might just be the only alternative to the confined sonics of a soundbar. What's that worth to ya?

Enclave Audio