Klipsch AWR-650-SM Outdoor Rock Speaker Review

Klipsch is one of the most well known HiFi speaker producers in the world, and they make some the best, most powerful outdoor/all-weather speakers currently on the market. The AWR-650-SM, released circa ~2005, is still their flagship environmental “rock” speaker, which is designed to sit on the floor/ground of a backyard.

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Shown above in the “granite” and “sandstone” variants

AWR-650-SM Specs

Speaker type: Passive, on-ground, wired
Nominal power handling: 50 watts
Peak power handling: 200 watts
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 94 dB/W/m
Frequency response range:66 – 20,000 Hz (+/- 3dB)
Unit weight: 13 lbs
Unit dimensions: 11 x 15 17 inches (depth x width x height)
Warranty: 5 years

Review and Discussion

Klipsch is one of our favorite producers of outdoor speakers because of the unmatched power, quality, and support – they’re the only company (at least to our knowledge) that offers lifetime warranties on their outdoor/all weather speakers. In fact, if your covered unit fails and has been discontinued, they may even replace it with a newer and better next-gen speaker. Pretty cool.

With 50 watts of power per unit, a pair of these will be plenty loud to fill just about any residential outdoor enclosure. Couple that with the fact that these speakers have – as all Klipsch speakers tend to – an excellent sensitivity rating. While most outdoor speakers hover around the 85 – 90 range, Klipsch’s AW-650s (the traditional wall mount version) and the AWR-650-SMs boast 95 and 94 figures respectively. To give you an idea of how significant that is, a powered speaker with a 10dB higher sensitivity rating will likely be around twice as loud as a competitor that has the same continuous power handling. The difference between 80dB and 90dB is about that between a running truck and a jackhammer.

They also look quite good for aesthetic environmental speakers. A lot of on-floor outdoor speakers look straight up bad, and a lot of alternative rock speakers look blatantly fake in a cheesy way. But, the AWR-650-SMs have a smoother style that looks more like how actual granite or sandstone boulders look. Or maybe you don’t care about how the speakers look.

These speakers are on the bigger and bulkier side, but that’s pretty par for the course as speakers get louder and more powerful. But they shouldn’t be too hard to place. The major consideration with on-ground outdoor speakers is that you’ll likely have to run wire underground to them. In addition to that being more of a hassle, you’ll need direct-burial grade wire, which can be more expensive. That said, if you’re willing to going to go through with this kind of project, it might as well be to hook up a pair of speakers like these that will last for several years or more.

Speaking of which – do note these are sold as singles, so you’ll have to buy two if you want a pair. You can likely infer here that the other potential downside is the price of these speakers. Are they overpriced in our opinion? No, not for what you get. But, the other truth is that a lot of people simply won’t need so much power. We’ll cite some lesser powered and less expensive alternatives shortly if you’re interested.

Our Take

You really can’t go wrong with a pair of Klipsch speakers, and if you’re willing to pay a premium, and you want whatever you get to last for a long, long time, either these or the traditional wall mount 650s are an excellent choice.

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But we also concede that many people might not need quite so much power. If being thrifty is more of a priority, you can definitely find viable alternatives for a fraction of the price. They won’t be as loud, but they might be loud enough for you.

If you’re looking for a less expensive on ground speaker, and you don’t care too much about aesthetics, then we recommend considering the TIC GS3s.

Relevant Links and Resources

Curious as to what our favorite overall outdoor speakers are? Check out our evergreen article here.

Curious as to what our favorite budget/inexpensive outdoor speakers are? Check out our evergreen article here.

The AWR-650-SMs require separately sold speaker wire, and most likely that which is direct-burial rated. Need some? Check out our outdoor speaker wire guide here.