Enclave CineHome HD 5.1 Wire-Free Home Theater System

Enclave Audio CineHome 5.1 Wire-Free Home Theater System Package
Enclave Audio CineHome 5.1 Wire-Free Home Theater System Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Wireless Speakers For The Home Theater Environment

Home Theater and surround sound is great, but having to run all that speaker wire to 5 or more speakers and then finding ways to hide them from view can be frustrating. There have been some attempts in recent years to bring "wireless" speakers to market that are acceptable for home theater use (I am not talking about those portable Bluetooth or other compact/portable wireless speakers), but it has been slow going.

However, in 2011 WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) was formed to develop wireless audio transmission standards specifically for the home theater environment, and co-ordinate product development. As a result of their efforts, some Wireless Home Theater Speaker systems finally becoming available, such as the Bang & Olufsen Wireless BeoLab and Klipsch Reference Premiere, with more on the way.

Unfortunately, the Bang & Olufsen system is super-expensive, and the Klipsch Reference Premiere, although less so, it is still expensive for many mainstream consumers.

As a result, Enclave Audio saw an opening and developed its own wireless home theater speaker system, which was first shown at the 2015 CES.

Originally targeted for availability late in 2015, it was finally made available in 2016.

Introduction To The Enclave CineHome HD 5.1 Wire-Free Home Theater-in-a-Box

The Enclave CineHome HD outwardly looks like most home theater-in-a-box systems.

It comes with five speakers (center, left, right, left surround, right surround) and a powered subwoofer. However, there is something different.

First, all the speakers are powered. In other words, each speaker in the system not only houses the speaker drivers, but also houses its own built-in amplifier.

In addition, each speaker (with the exception of the center channel speaker - more on that in a minute) has a built-in wireless receiver (bye-bye speaker wire). However, although the speaker wire factor is eliminated, because of the power needed for the built-in amplifier and wireless receivers - each speaker comes with a detachable power power supply, which must plugged into an AC outlet.

In other words, you are trading speaker wire for AC power cords, which means that each speaker needs to close to an AC outlet.

The Smart Center

In addition to its role as a speaker, the center channel speaker is also the hub of the system. It provides, in addition to its own built-in amplifier, wireless transmitters that send audio signals to the other 4 speakers and the subwoofer.

The CineHome HD Smart Center uses is the 5.2-5.8GHz band for wireless transmission, but is not the same technology that is used for WiFi transmission.

In addition, the Center Channel also functions as a scaled-down version of a home theater receiver (Enclave Audio uses the term "Smart Center") by performing all audio decoding and processing tasks for the system, as well as providing needed physical connections.

Audio Decoding - DTS 5.1 Digital Surround, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus.

Audio Processing - Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Dynamic Range Control (Dynamic Compression), Bluetooth, Analog (via RCA-to-3.5mm adapter).

Connectivity - There are 3 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output - 3D and 4K pass-through are supported, and, for audio, ARC (Audio Return Channel) is supported.

Additional connections include: 1 Digital Optical audio input, and 1 analog stereo input (3.5mm). In addition, the Smart Center Speaker unit also incorporates Bluetooth - which allows direct wireless streaming from compatible portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

The Enclave Audio App and Internet Streaming

Via the Enclave Audio App for iOS or Android, users can stream locally stored music via Bluetooth, along with a choice of streaming music services such as TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal.

As an added bonus, Google Cast is accessible when a Chromecast device is plugged into one of the HDMI ports.

Speaker Design and Specifications

Center Speaker:

  •  Bass Reflex Design.
  • Speaker Drivers: 1 20mm tweeter, 2 80mm mid-range/woofers.
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz-20kHz.
  •  Cabinet Dimensions (HWD): 5.0 x 12.4 x 7.7-inches

Main L/R Speakers:

  • Bass Reflex Design.
  • Speaker Drivers: One 20mm tweeter, 2 80mm mid-range/woofers.
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz-20kHz.
  •  Cabinet Dimensions (HWD): 12.4 x 4.7 x 7.7 in.

Rear Speakers:

  •  Bipole Design.
  • Speaker Drivers: 2 50mm full-range drivers.
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz-20kHz
  • Dimensions (HWD): 5.0 x 8.1 x 4.3 inches

Subwoofer:

  • Bass Reflex Design.
  •  Frequency Response: 28Hz to 100Hz
  • Driver: 217mm (approximately 8-inches).
  •  Dimensions (HWD): 17.7 x 12 x 13 inches

NOTE: Enclave Audio did not provide power output specifications for the built-in amplifiers incorporated into the speaker cabinets.

Included Accessories

In addition to the speakers and subwoofer, other things that you get in the Enclave CineHome HD package include: 6 AC Power Supplies with cords, 1 HDMI Cable, Remote Control (provides basic functions, as well as access to the onscreen menu system), Owner's Manual, Quick Start Guide, and Warranty documentation.

System Setup

For easy setup, each speaker is identified on the back as to their placement requirements: SmartCenter (SC), Left Front (LF), Right Front (RF), Left Rear (LR), Right Rear (RR), and Subwoofer.

Once you have all of the speakers plugged in and placed where you want them (also make sure you connect the Smart Center Channel's HDMI output to your TV or video projector so you can access the onscreen menu) all you have to do is power up the Smart Center Speaker - and it will automatically search for each speaker and perform the pairing process. One that is done, you are set to go.

However, if you find that the sound balance needs further adjusting, you can access the system's built-in test tone generator, which enables you set the volume level for each speaker and subwoofer via a "hidden" menu - refer to user manual for details.

System Performance

Now that you have a rundown on the Enclave CineHome HD system's features and how to set it up - the remaining question is: "How does it sound"?

In my time using the Enclave CineHome HD, I found that it delivered clear sound for both movies and music. The center channel movie dialog and music vocals were distinct and natural, although, there is a steady drop-off at the higher frequencies above 12Khz.

For movies and other video programming, the system performs well. When playing two-channel material the front sound stage is wide and accurate. For surround sound content, directional sound and ambience cues project well into the room, thus really broadening both the front sound stage providing an immersive surround sound listening experience. Also, the blend of sound from front to rear was very seamless - there were no obvious sound dips as sound moved from font to back or around the room.

I found the subwoofer to be a good match for the rest of the speakers, both physically and audibly -  definitely not there to just provide a modest thump or overly boomy effect, as on some sound bar/subwoofer systems I have heard.

When I used the combination of the subwoofer phase and frequency sweep tests provided on the Digital Video Essentials Test Disc, I was able to hear a faint low frequency output starting at 30Hz increasing to normal listening levels beginning at 40Hz. The subwoofer crosses over to the rest of the speakers between 80Hz and 90Hz, all of which are good results for this type of system.

For music, the subwoofer also provided a strong bass output, although in the lowest frequencies,  subwoofer texture, particularly with acoustic bass, was somewhat subdued - but still tight. On the other hand, in the upper bass region (60-70Hz) the subwoofer was not overly boomy - providing clarity, as well as a smooth transition from the mid and upper bass region to the upper bass/lower midrange capability of the satellite speakers.

With Dolby and DTS-related movie soundtracks the system did a great job reproducing both main front channels and surround effects, as well as providing good overall bass.

NOTE: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding is not provided - system defaults to standard Dolby Digital or DTS.

Also, using an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone, I was able to take advantage of the CineHome HD's Bluetooth capability and stream music tracks to the system with acceptable sound quality.

I found it interesting that Enclave Audio did not provide a statement regarding power output specifications, but I did find the system delivers average listening levels for a small (12x13 ft) to medium (15x20 ft) size room.

What I Liked

  • Conforms to the WiSA wireless speaker standard.
  • Good overall sound quality - but a little subdued at higher frequencies.
  • No noticeable lip-synch problems, despite wireless connectivity.
  • Easy to set up - very well illustrated User Manual and Quick Start Guide.
  • All speakers (and subwoofer) are "wireless".
  • Built-in Test Tone Generator to aid in speaker setup.
  • System provides access to audio content stored on Bluetooth-enabled portable source devices.
  • Mobile app provides access to additional music streaming services, via Bluetooth and when a Chromecast Device in plugged into one of the HDMI ports.
  • HDMI video pass-through is provided (no extra video processing or upscaling) with HDMI-based onscreen menu system.
  •  Innovative idea of combining the center channel speaker with other "central hub" features, such as source input, control, and access to oncscreen menu operation.
  • Even though all the speakers and subwoofer are independently powered, they all turn on/shut off as a group when the Smart Center is activated.

What I Didn't Like

  • Although the need for speaker wire is eliminated - each speaker has to be connected to AC power via power cord.
  •  Although overall sound quality is good for a home theater-in-a-box system, high frequencies and transient sounds are a little subdued, compared to the mid-range and bass.
  • Subwoofer provides good low frequency bass response, but did exhibit a mild level dip at about 50Hz.
  • No Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.
  • Onscreen menu kind of skimpy - Access to individual speaker level settings not intuitive.
  • At about $1,000 the CineHome HD is higher-priced than an equivalent performing "wired" home theater-in-a-box system - but less expensive than other wireless home theater speaker systems using WiSA technology (as of 2016).

Final Take

The Enclave CineHome HD definitely advances the cause for wireless home theater audio system and speaker options. However, it is designed as a basic system, and although it does incorporate some interesting features, the "Smart Center" does not include everything you would find in a true home theater receiver. On the other hand, as with any new product concept, you have to start somewhere, and for mainstream consumers, I feel that the CineHome HD provides a good starting point - with the hope that will be a lot more to come in the wireless home theater speaker/system product category from Enclave and others.

Taking all into consideration, if you are looking for a home theater audio solution that is really easy to set up - and eliminates unsightly speaker wire, the Enclave Audio CineHome 5.1 Wire-Free Home Theater-in-a-box System is definitely worth checking out - it is certainly a step up from a sound bar or sound base, by providing a more effective surround sound listening experience, as well as being almost as easy to set up and use.

Official Product Page

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer, unless otherwise indicated. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy

Additional Components Used In This Review

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO BDP-103 and BDP-103D.

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

Video Projector: Optoma ML750ST (on review loan)

Projection Screens: SMX Cine-Weave 100² screen and Epson Accolade Duet ELPSC80 Portable Screen - Buy From Amazon.

Bluetooth-Enabled Android Smartphone: HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition

Original Publish Date: 05/04/2016

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