Storage of other speakers in the room, shorting them while not in use? Myth or true?

Hi ,I am about to bring another set of speakers to my audio room, I want to leave the unused ones I,m using right now  in the same room..  Is it true that to have them not interact with the acoustics of the room and with the speakers in use I should put them in short ( positive and negative connected ) the unused ones.  I have received that advice from two different audiophiles, one of them with experience in a pro recording studio. Is it real? or is it just a urban legend (aka BS)?


This might reduce the tendency of the cones of the unused speaker to vibrate from the sound put out by the active speakers.  You are not "shorting" the speaker, but, rather, completing the circuit.  When the circuit is complete, the movement of the voice coil in the magnetic field of the permanent magnet induces a current (but only if the circuit is complete), and that current, in turn creates its own magnetic field in opposition to the field of the permanent magnet.  In effect, this stiffens the cone's resistance to being moved by the vibrations in the room.  How much this actually matters to the sound in the room is debatable, but, there would be no harm in doing this

Back in the day, Ivor Tiefenbrun (Linn Systems), was very adamant that there be NO other speakers in the same room as his speakers being auditioned.

Even the speaker in a landline telephone could cause interference.


I can see sympathetic vibrations from the cones messing with your sound, like passive radiators, but not the pos. and neg. terminals. 

All the best,

Here is the experiment--take an unconnected speaker and push on the woofer cone to feel how much resistance to movement there is.  Now, connect a wire between the positive and negative terminal and push on the cone.  You will feel resistance increase (the now completed circuit will create a magnetic field  that resists movement).  I have my doubts that this will make any real difference in the sound in the room, but, this at least explains the theoretical basis for the practice.

A bunch of active speakers are not going to suddenly start producing notes because another pair of speakers are playing near them. Now if you stick a bunch of passive radiators in there it could be quite different.

Seems that just the speaker itself would affect SS especially if grill is on 

It is true! I used to be an audio gear salesman in a small room with 16 pair of speakers. When any set of speakers was playing all the other cones moved (just like your eardrums) and absorbed energy. I designed a switching arrangement that shorted out any speaker that wasn't selected. Of couse, it wasn't as good as shorting  at the actual speaker ternimals (the cable was still in the circuit). But it helped! Think about it. Every speaker is also a microphone. the cones vibrate with the air pressure changes in the room. Shorting the reduces their motion. Don't fail to notice that as their cones move, they also are producing  new vibrations! It's a nightmare! It's not a "dead" short since there are usually crossover networks between the terminals at the drivers and the connectors on the back of the box. But it's the best practical thing we can do.

Happy Listening!

I see no reason to leave any speakers in the same room if not-being used

just more static object reflections.nothing more ,

Wait…now?  Haven’t we all been doing this already?  Now I’m embarrassed.

@nonoise ...not around me, you won't.

I do have some standards, and nude 'philes is just weird.  And only makes sense if one is a bass addict of preposterous proportions.....and not in just sheer girth.

" line phones..."  What about my cell?  The flat screens, wall & 'puters?

Any surface subject to sympathetic vibration....where to draw the line?!

What about windows, and I'm not talking 8, 10, or 11?!

How paranoid should I be?

Crazed 'n confused, J  😏

Connect electricity to a motor, it spins

Spin a motor, it becomes a generator and produces electricity

Put a load on the generator, it makes it difficult to spin

A speaker is a motor

Short the terminals, makes it difficult for the cone to move

And a dynamic driver, can be used as a passive radiator - albeit an inefficient one

But you really shouldn’t have any speakers in your room other than the ones your listening to…

Herb Reichert connects terminals on unused speakers in his review room. Also places them face to face when stored.

There is absolutly no question that all other speakers in the room should be "shorted" to limit bass absorbing cone movement. I built over 200 HiFi stores with high end soundrooms  during my 40 year carrer in HiFi. When we designed and implimented a "shorting" speaker switching system, the measurable and audiable improvement was simply amazing. Now, having one or two pairs of "unshorted" speakers in the same room might not have the same effect as twenty or thirty pairs....but it can't hurt to just make up a couple short cables to short out your speakers in waiting.

I can’t say that I have first hand knowledge of cones moving when other speakers are playing.  But, I can say that I’ve noticed that my wife’s lips start moving when she objects to the music I am playing.

Given how many discussions on the forum deteriorate and get testy, this one had been very entertaining and fun to read thanks...!

You don't want anything passively vibrating in response to music signals, whether that's musical instruments or unconnnected speakers. If other speakers have to be in the room, the simplest thing is just to put them face down on the floor or put them with the drive units face to face and off axis to the main speakers.

On the subject of a speaker being a microphone in reverse, lots of studios have Yamaha NS10 or similar woofers converted to act a kickdrum mics.

So taking this one step further, What if you have other speakers in your listening room that you use for other purposes? Like having separate components for your AV system and your Audiophile stereo in the same room. The only way around this is to have separate rooms for every use. Some people can afford that, but not the Common man. If you demand the ultimate in sound yes spend a Million makers on a specialized ROOM built onto your home just for listening to music and get over it. The amount of room resonance that will be affected by a speaker is so negligible that you would be much better off doing more with another Room tuning.

Listen naked.... flab might jiggle. Leave the robe on. Although if you listen at night, you neighbors will start a fund me to buy you heavy acoustic curtains. 

Make sure to cover your sink drains, too, or else you might get some inadvertent Helmholtz resonator action.

Haven't had any problems since I've started duck taping over my television speakers when using my stereo.  Kind of thought everyone was doing this.

Thanks to all for your comments, some of them are really funny, keep the coming! While there is a possibility of an improvement by shorting or completing the circuit of unused speakers in a same room, I ask, how much it cost to do it? , it probably cost cents to put a wire or speaker jumper to do so, if we compare it to how much we spend on footers, exotic cables, NOS tubes, acoustic diffusers etc...Might as well try it when the new speakers come.

Never heard of the "shorting" solution....but Ivor - the founder of Linn --  would not allow any other speakers in a room that his speakers were being demo'd in.  He claimed that you couldn't get an accurate representation of his speakers with others resonating in the same room.

I'm sure they no longer have that requirement -- but that was the case in the "old days". 


Better to remove the speakers altogether - you get two effects from the presence of another speaker. One is the drivers will act as passive radiators to one degree or another - depends on the size and proximity as well as the volume of the driver cavity. The other effect is from the enclosure - think of a Helmholtz resonator. This can especially affect the bass depending on your speaker design (ported, folded line, etc.). 

There are of course lots of variables to the degree and type of effects - speaker design, proximity, and room placement to name the main ones.

I got a real chuckle out of the aforementioned article by Bill Sommerwerck in the Stereophile magazine in which he mentions a reviewer's  "One Speaker Room" devoid of any other speaker including a telephone.  When he pointed out that the reviewer had a low coffee table directly in front of the listening position which would act as a reflective surface, it reminded me of another typical listening error.  Listening while wearing eyeglasses is the same as placing a reflective surface just inches from your ears.  I noticed it when I switched from eyeglasses to contact lenses.  What a crazy, but interesting, hobby !

Rather than wondering or trying to sort conflicting opinions why not simply try playing music first with the added speakers in room and the current ones playing. If you notice no difference than the question is answered for you. 

Taking it a step further, switch speakers and listen again. What you can overlook is not there. Actual experience is the most reliable measure.

In multi purpose rooms like mine I leave my amps on that power my other speakers for hometheater to serve as a dynamic brake for the drivers while not in use.


A second set of speakers in the room, well placed, may serve as bass traps.

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