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Review: Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless 5.1 Home Theater System

The center speaker has three HDMI inputs, a TOSLINK optical audio input, a 3.5 mm audio input and an HDMI output. Three HDMI inputs is a bit skimpy – most AVRs have at the very least five – but if you need more, you may finesse the difficulty with an HDMI switch. A wide range of switches can be found, including ~ $10 options with and without remotes, but these low-priced switches can sometimes be flaky. I’ve been happier with a somewhat more expensive J-Tech unit that includes a remote and audio extraction capability (a feature that’s not needed in conjunction with the CineHome, so do that J-Tech unit instead).
Note that there aren’t any composite, component or S-video inputs on the CineHome, so in case you have a legacy game system without HDMI you’ll have to get a converter. They’re generally not costly, but I haven’t checked into possible latency issues that would perturb a hardcore gamer.
You may mount the four left and right speakers to the wall using customary mounting brackets, because the speakers include a normal 1/4″-20 mounting hole, or just hang them on a hook or screwhead using the keyhole mounting hole. Surprisingly, though, the center speaker doesn’t include either of these, or some other mounting options. (You might wonder if there’d be room to plug in cabling if the speaker were mounted to a wall bracket, but HDMI cabling could easily be accommodated using these right angle connectors or these.)
In the absence of mounting holes, you can place the middle speaker on a shelf on top of the TV itself or on a shelf that attaches to the wall, but you may want to strap the speaker on the shelf (a must in earthquake country) and (wanting DIY) will have to accept little or no ability to angle the speaker up or down so that it points towards the listening position. There are a lot of wall shelves available but this one (not tested) is the only unit I found that’s in any respect adjustable up and down. It comes with a strap, but you may also want to make use of some Blu-Tack adhesive to secure the speaker.
Moving on to electronic setup, the provided options are limited, and are accessed using the small but functional remote or using buttons on the center speaker. You may set the delay independently for each of the two rear speakers, but can’t perform the setting in terms of distance, which might be more intuitive than arbitrary units. There isn’t a tone setting or other equalization, and setting the person volumes for the middle, rears and sub is completed using a rather obscure set of button presses on the remote rather than by accessing a simple menu. It is an ungainly user interface choice, but probably not a big deal, since setting the relative volumes is something you are prone to do only once, unless you wish to make tweaks for different content.
The middle and rear volume settings are in increments above or below a baseline that impliedly is the quantity of the front left and right speakers; in other words, you are determining whether (and by how much) you would like the middle volume (and, separately, the rear volume) to be louder or softer than the left / right volume. That baseline (i.e., overall volume) is adjusted in the same old way, with the remote’s up, down and mute buttons.
Sound is crisp and clear, without dropouts, static or lip synch issues (tested over many hours with a spread of source material – broadcast, Blu-ray, Roku and Chromecast). Those are hard engineering problems, they usually’ve been well-solved by Enclave. The utmost volume without distortion is pretty high, but the corporate would not disclose the variety of watts per channel. The unit supports ARC (Audio Return Channel – but enabling ARC on the CineHome and TV disables the 3.5 mm Aux input), CEC, HDMI pass-through, DTS 5.1 Digital Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II.
On the video side, the corporate says all common 3D formats are passed through properly and that the CineHome, as an HDMI 1.4 device, will pass through 4K with a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 @ 24Hz and 3840 x 2160 @ 24Hz / 25Hz / 30Hz.
Back in the audio world, bass was somewhat disappointing. Even though the subwoofer is 8″ and its cabinet amply sized, there simply wasn’t a lot of low frequency output even with the person volume for the sub set to its max (via the obscure procedure with the remote; there isn’t a physical volume control on the sub itself).
In a medium sized room (17′ x 18′ x 8′ to 12′ high) and listening at about 14 feet away, the lack of bass left the sound feeling somewhat thin, and on explosions and crescendos the subwoofer was unable to rattle the floor, furniture or my stomach. If you are searching for kicking bass, the CineHome will not be the only option. And coupling the CineHome with a BenQ HT1085ST projector and a Homegear 120 inch motorized screen, as I did, left the audio slightly outmatched. The sound, although perfectly serviceable, just wasn’t quite “big enough” to completely carry its weight with the large picture.
For a deeper dive, I did an A/B test, comparing the CineHome against a formerly-pricey, ten-year old wired configuration (Marantz SR7400 AVR, Energy Encore speakers, plus the J-Tech video-splitter / audio extractor) and the difference was noticeable. The wired speakers, which included an 8″ sub, rattled the room and whichever body parts I wanted, and had a greater sense of fullness and presence. Dialog was also a tad crisper than the wireless approach, but the primary difference was the bass.
The CineHome performed well, though, in a smaller room, my bedroom, where all speakers, including the sub, were within about 8 feet of the listening position. There, the CineHome was well matched to the 42 inch TV, and would no doubt have done fine with a larger one too. Other compact rooms, similar to a den or mancave, would also be a very good setting for the CineHome.
A 7.1 version is planned for next year, and might help to expand the CineHome’s horizons, especially if Enclave can squeeze more performance out of the subwoofer. No word on whether CineHome 5.1 owners might be able to purchase upgrade kits to buy into 7.1 functionality.
Is the CineHome HD worth the value? Contrast and compare: you can get a well-liked wired 5.1 home theater in a box (six speakers plus AVR) for under $400, so you’re paying a big premium for wireless, but you get much quicker setup (no wires to run and connect), a cleaner look (no speaker wires) and an easy install with no drilling and no handyman (or handy friend) needed. With Enclave, you are not paying Klipsch or Bang & Olufson prices, and if you’re comfortable with bass a bit on the light side, the CineHome HD is a superb system and a great alternative to speaker wires for the appropriate sized room.
Enclave provided review product.

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