Enclave Audio CineHome II – CineHub Edition - 5.1 WiSA Wireless Speaker System - Full Review

Manufacturer & Model
Enclave Audio - CineHome II - CineHub Edition
MSRP
$1,099.98
Link
https://www.enclaveaudio.com/products/enclave-cinehome-ii-wireless-home-theater-system
Highlights
WiSA Wireless Technology
5.1 Surround – Dolby and DTS Audio
Custom Drivers
Class D Bi-Amp in each speaker cabinet tailored to the specific drivers
Bi-Polar Rear Speakers
8” Powered Subwoofer
CineHub Remote App for phone or tablet (free)
Up to three additional subwoofers can be accommodated using the CineHub/WiSA technology for larger spaces
Summary
Surround speaker system in a box that dispenses with the need for traditional speaker wires through the use of WiSA wireless technology. Setup is simple and intuitive and is basically “Plug and Play”. Simple connection using the eARC/ARC HDMI connections on your TV to the CineHub box and then wirelessly to the speakers. Optical and Stereo Aux in are also provided for older TVs without ARC connections and other devices. More subwoofers can be paired for effective operation in larger spaces.
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The Review

Enclave Audio builds and sells two different WiSA enabled surround speaker systems. The CineHome II - CineHub Edition reviewed here and the larger THX Certified CineHome PRO - CineHub Edition that features larger, more robust speakers in all positions with a 10” powered subwoofer instead of the 8” in the smaller CineHome II system.

The idea of the WiSA wireless standard has interested me for some time. WiSA is an international trade association/consortium that currently has over 60 participating member companies, of which Enclave Audio is one, who have established standards and design criteria for wireless audio. High-Resolution, Multi-Channel Wireless Audio to be more specific. If you want more information on what WiSA is and does check it out at http://www.wisaassociation.org/ .

So, happy with the idea of getting my hands on this technology I gladly said yes!


Delivery Day

The CineHome II system arrived in a single, easy to manage largish box (30”x16”x21”) weighing in at 48 lbs. Delivery was via UPS Ground. The box had nice handles built into the sides to facilitate moving it around. I toted it to the garage spot that I have been exiled to for all packing and unpacking duties and opened the top of the carton.

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The box is a single layer of heavy cardboard with formed Styrofoam inserts that firmly and safely hold the individual soft foam wrapped speakers in place. The Styrofoam lid held two smaller boxes. One was for the CineHub device, a download app card, power supply for the CineHub, and one HDMI cable. The second held all 6 power cords for the speakers, a QuickStart Guide (actually two of them), and the more detailed owner’s manual.

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Lifting off the top Styrofoam piece revealed the speaker components of the system snuggled into the individual niches in the bottom Styrofoam piece.

The packaging was well designed and held and protected the system components very well.


Setup


I set the system up in the Master Bedroom with my 5-year-old Samsung TV.

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Setup was easily accomplished with a minimum of fuss. The Quickstart Guide is short and to the point with only 4 steps needed to get you going. If you are using the TV’s eARC/ARC HDMI port this is the simplest and best solution.

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  1. Plug in all speakers and the CineHub into AC
  2. Wait for 15-30 seconds to allow the CineHub to “Pair” with the speakers
  3. Check the blue light on the back of each speaker… Solid Blue = paired – Flashing Blue = Not Paired
  4. Turn on your TV, make sure the CEC is enabled. If CEC is on then chances are your TV will be turning the Cinehub on and off as well. You should also download the Enclave App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Run the search function on the App and it should immediately pair with the active system.
  5. Ensure that you have gone to your TV settings and select HDMI eARC/ARC if needed
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The instructions, whether using one of the two Quickstart Guides, or the Instruction manual are concise and to the point and should get you going with a minimum of hassle. If the speakers don’t pair or there is another issue the instruction manual does contain a troubleshooting guide and a link to a “Setup Video” via QR Code or web address. They also include a phone number and the support email address right up front on the inside cover as well.

You can also connect via an Optical Digital Audio out on the TV if you have an older TV with Digital Optical Out but no ARC.

The App when installed has several useful features other than a volume control. You can select the sound mode, and you can place the system in “all channel stereo” for your next party :-) There is also a way to pump some “White Noise” either sequentially or simply by touch selecting the desired speaker on a graphic.

Adjustment is limited to speaker distance to listening position, and individual volume control for each speaker. There is no type of room adjustment program or EQ in the app but if you have access to a SPL Meter (you can get an SPL Meter App for your “Smart” Phone for little or nothing) just cycle though the speakers using the Enclave App and adjust for level as required.


Build Notes


There are no detailed specifications to be found on either the Enclave website or in the manual. That is by plan, is to be expected and is certainly appropriate for this type of product. This system is designed to be basically “Plug and Play” and installed with a minimum of fuss. It is definitely designed for consumers not wanting to be, or needing to be, overwhelmed by confusing specifications or jargon.

Fit and finish of every speaker and the CineHub was impeccable. Corners were carefully radiused and smooth. The shapes of the grilles and speaker body was soft, rounded, and free flowing.

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The Right and Left speakers both include a 3” full range driver and a small dome tweeter mounted in a waveguide. The cabinets are ported, and it looks like there’s between 80 to 100 cubic inches of internal volume in the cabinets.

The Center channel speaker has about the same cabinet volume but has one more 3” full range driver and the same dome tweeter in the same shallow waveguide.

The rear speakers are in a Bi-Polar configuration and each sport two – 2” full range drivers. The small ported cabinet is about 70 to 90 cubic inches of internal volume by my reckoning.

The subwoofer is a downward-firing ported sub with an 8” driver and about 1 cubic foot or so of internal volume.

All of the LCR and surround cabinets contain two Class D amplifiers in each cabinet. The LCR are Bi-Amped and the rears have one small amp per driver. The subwoofer contains two Class D amp modules in a bridged configuration for an additional bump in power. There is a total of 11 discrete amps across all 6 speakers in the system.

Because of the amps and internal power supplies my calculations of internal volume may be somewhat off…. Give or take….

The cabinets are constructed of High-Density Molded Plastic and are very sturdy. Tapping them with the knuckles feels like tapping a brick. A good solid rap produced no ringing or spurious noises of any kind.

The permanently fastened grilles are perforated metal screens.

The only wires or terminals on the speakers are the detachable AC power cords trailing from each cabinet.

The CineHub is a plastic box and all of the joinery and fit around the posts on the rear is perfect. The CineHub is the transmitter for the system. Audio goes in from the eARC/ARC via HDMI, Optical Digital port, or 3.5mm TRS Stereo “Aux” in and is transmitted to up to eight speakers using the WiSA protocols and technology in 24bit, 96kHz resolution. In the case of the “Aux” input it is stereo, but the Enclave App can route it to all speakers using the “All Speaker Stereo” toggle.

The hub outputs 5.1 surround in the various formats supported but you can purchase and add up to three more subs to the system for bigger bottom end or bigger spaces.


Measurements

I struggled with the idea of providing a measurement for this system but in the end decided, “why not?” I very simply measured frequency response vs SPL (10Hz to 20kHz) at the listening position.

The curve was actually pretty impressive for such tiny speakers. The speakers returned a good curve showing a good extended high end with plenty of usable energy beyond what most can hear, and a nice solid, well integrated, low end with a good bump between 30 and 40Hz. I looked at the phase relationship on the low end and it was tightly controlled as you might expect from a system where each speaker component is custom designed to work together in synergy with the matched amplifiers.

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This is a good example of a total system approach where the amplifiers/crossovers are electrically tuned to the specific drivers used. This design results in good tight control over the frequency response, phase and other parameters.


Listening Tests

Video listening tests were performed using streaming material from Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. All of this was done through the HDMI ARC connection on my Samsung Smart TV.

Music listening was streamed directly through the TV via the ARC connection from Pandora Premium and Amazon Music HD. I connected my iPhone via the “Auxiliary” input and the Bluetooth CineHub connections to pipe in some stereo MP3 tunes using my iPhone as well.


Video Sound Impressions
I started out with just some regular TV with the local News. I get my local channels through HULU these days. Sound was very good. The discrete center channel speaker increased the clarity and focus of the newscast elevating it significantly over the TV only speakers in every instance. The subwoofer added a subtle weight and bottom on the nothing fancy newscast sound that worked very well. I tuned past some other shows on several channels and in each case the CineHome II brought increased definition and clarity to the dialog and more space to the soundstage even on naturally bass shy content or content in stereo. On shows with 5.1 Dolby the soundstage opened even further. Center channel dialog remained well focused and intelligible across all programming.

Switching to HULU I watched an episode of The Runaways. Presentation was very good in every respect. Dialog remained well connected and focused while effects were well defined and passed around the channels appropriately. Low Frequency Effects, and the low-end bass in general, was there when the programming called for it. The small subwoofer responded by calmly delivering tight, concise bass when needed.

From HULU I went to Amazon Prime Video for some more testing. I watched an episode of the decidedly bizarre series, Carnival Row. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m really OK with bizarre…. I’m just saying! :-)

There is a lot of action in this strange but very interesting series and the CineHome II reproduced the 5.1 soundtrack in a fun, lively, and thoroughly enjoyable way. Dialog was crisp and well delivered along with any center channel content. Action was impactful and well connected to the screen. This episode was awash in ambiance and surround cues and the Enclave system delivered with a big open and diffuse soundstage with the occasional surround location cues coming through with precision.

From Amazon Prime Video I jumped to Disney+ for more action. In this case I watched a couple of scenes from the 2013 release of The Wolverine, specifically the funeral and Bullet Train fight scenes. All of the sound was “Marvel-ous” and the CineHome II connected the sound to screen in such a good way I found myself really getting into and emotionally connecting to the action on the screen.

Sticking with Disney+ I queued up the 2015 Star Wars – The Force Awakens. As with the previous selection the CineHome II delivered big time. The sound was good enough that I just sat there watching a movie I had just sat through last week in its entirety. I was half-way into this two hour+ movie before calling it quits. The dialog throughout was focused and clear and the action scenes impactful and dynamic.

The surrounds were highly active in the movie and the ambiance provided through the surround channels was a bit overblown. I had to quickly dial it back a dB or two to prevent the over-active side channels from detracting from the front channel information. This was easily done with the Enclave App and then “on with the show”.

Music

I bounced back and forth between Pandora Premium and Amazon Music HD listening to a few tracks from diverse artists ranging from Ambrosia, to Michael McDonald, to Keiko Matsui, to Peter Gabriel, and others.

I noticed that the music was coming from every speaker initially. Expecting a stereo source to be a stereo output I took a look at the Enclave App setting. In the Auto Mode the App/CineHub device was outputting some sort of quasi-surround with the stereo source. I found that to assure that a stereo input is treated like a stereo signal you have to manually turn the Dolby Pro Logic Mode to OFF. When I did that only the right and left speakers began outputting sound, and all was again right in the world of stereo. There is also a Whole Room Stereo selection that sends the stereo signal out of every speaker… “Party Mode” if you will. More carefully reading the website information reveals that stereo information is normally “Upmixed” using a Dolby algorithm to surround sound. Some may like the sound, some may not… I didn’t and preferred stereo as stereo. However, using the “Whole Room Stereo” was actually pleasant with a lot of the material after dialing the surrounds back by a couple of dB and delivered a bigger more listenable soundstage.

In every case the music was well rendered and full sounding. The highs were crisp, and no overt distortion was noted. The midrange seemed a little “tubby” in the surround modes, but while clearing up a bit when the surround mode was turned off, it never completely delivered what I would consider a clear, clean musical soundstage. There was another Enclave App setting that helped a bit more and that was the Dynamic Range selector. Set it at “Maximum” and it will add a touch more clarity to the musical presentation.

The subwoofer blends very well with the small system speakers in a seamless fashion.

As said previously I tried the other inputs and found they worked as needed. Playing tunes from the 2001 release of Sanctuary by Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone using my iPhone output directly into the “Aux” input on the CineHub box. This worked fine and the sound quality remained very good. I paired my phone via Bluetooth with the CineHub box and playing the same music I found it a bit more compressed and soft sounding but still perfectly listenable and enjoyable.


Summary and Final Thoughts

After hearing what this modest system can do my thinking about wireless technology has changed a bit. The WiSA technology as used here definitely has a place in the audio and home theater world. How does the wireless work? Perfectly! I never experienced a loss of signal or even a momentary dropout. Never a perception of latency…. No noise, no distortion, no nonsense whatsoever.

This little system performed far above expectations in fidelity and dynamics. The CineHome II, with the accompanying CineHub transmitter, worked great with movies and with music. Providing legitimate big movie sound for a very reasonable price this is a fine little system.

On my last day with this system I moved it from the bedroom space and into the MUCH LARGER space of the Family Room. I have an older Samsung plasma display there paired with a Sony receiver and BG Radia speakers in-wall and in-ceiling. Connecting the CineHub using the Optical Digital Port the CineHome II system more than held its own in the large open space. Was it as good as the installed system? No! But if I had not had that as a reference point prior to listening to the Enclave system it would have been more than acceptable in that spot.

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Let’s talk volume levels for just a moment…. Some of my research into this system lead to some reviews complaining of insufficient volume levels. I never found the volume capabilities of the system to be lacking in either room with any of the material I threw at it. I can only think that the folks complaining about lack of usable volume levels were trying to either pair this system with a humongous concert hall space, or just wanted to listen at certifiably dangerous levels.

At no time, especially in the Bedroom space, did I think this system didn’t deliver big. I played it LOUD in this space and there was never a sign of stress or strain.

Yes, in the larger Family Room space the system did noticeably start to sound a bit shrill and harsh at higher volumes. But note, that was at a sustained volume that I (yes, even me!), or any sensible person, would ever want to listen at!

This is a composed and great sounding system that would be equally at home in the Bedroom, Kid’s Room, Family Room, Rec Room, Mother-in-law Suite, Vacation Home and on and on. This system could function as a very nice secondary, or even primary sound source, anywhere. It has the fidelity and the volume necessary to provide plenty of excitement and believable cinema sound in all but the largest of spaces.

And, yes Martha…. Ah’ know that “Wireless” ain’t really “Wireless” because every one of the speakers must be plugged into AC. But every modern house should have an abundance of AC outlets at the locations where you would place the speakers so that is a usually a non-issue. The fact that you can really install surround sound in a room that was never pre-wired for it is a real winner in the terms of time, effort and expense saved in my book!

All in all, I loved this little marvel and the way it transformed mundane “TV speaker sound” into a real and enjoyable cinema surround experience. A good performer at its price point, ease of installation… and factoring in the WiSA wireless technology benefits, this system will tick a lot of boxes for many shoppers.



Specifications/Features – Enclave CineHome II with CineHub 5.1 Surround System
  • Custom Drivers
  • 4 full-range drivers with 3 tweeters in the front to give you a wide sound stage with crisp clear dialogue and full mid-range audio.
  • 11 Class-D Digital Amplifiers - Perfectly tuned by our acoustic engineers to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture.
  • Bi-pole Rears - 2 x 2” full-range drivers in each of the rear surrounds speaker provide widespread enveloping sound.
  • 8” Subwoofer - Feel deep, rich bass with our downward firing subwoofer that will bring your movies and shows to life. Upgradeable to 4 subs.
  • Speaker Level Setup
  • Want more bass? Turn up or down each of our speakers using our CineHub remote app.
  • Room Setup - Use our CineHub remote app to customize your room setup based on your favorite TV spot.
  • Whole Room Stereo - Turn up your music when friends are over or just to hear the news and sports casters clearer with the Whole Room Stereo mode.
  • Dolby and DTS Audio - Dolby Digital Plus - Dolby Digital - DTS Digital Surround - PCM
 

Sonnie

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Very impressive response ... never would have imagined it being that good.

So this is something that would be perfect for our cabin so that we would not have to run speaker wires, although I don't think we have AC outlets where the speakers would need to be located.

These mini systems have come a long way over the years, that is for sure.
 

Todd Anderson

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That's the conundrum with wireless systems...they're wireless until you go to plug them in!

Assuming you have adequate access to power, it definitely sounds interesting!
 

Tom L.

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Very impressive response ... never would have imagined it being that good.

So this is something that would be perfect for our cabin so that we would not have to run speaker wires, although I don't think we have AC outlets where the speakers would need to be located.

These mini systems have come a long way over the years, that is for sure.
The response curve... I believe is a careful tuning of amplifier/electronic crossover to the drivers. Although I would never consider this a first line system I think it would hit the mark as a "cabin" type system.... or a system in a bedroom or less used room. One of the bigger benefits to me was the increased clarity of dialog because of the separate center channel speaker.

A huge step-up from the internal TV speakers

T
 

Tom L.

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That's the conundrum with wireless systems...they're wireless until you go to plug them in!

Assuming you have adequate access to power, it definitely sounds interesting!
I think the WiSA technology is good engineering and a solid platform. There are some major brands that share this technology platform and the WiSA wireless is available in some much higher end speakers!

With the news that WiSA will soon be supporting ATMOS the idea of installing a full blown home theater in a difficult install, or less than adequately prepared room an interesting option.

T
 
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