How to Fix It When Headphone Sound Isn’t Balanced on Mac

Yesterday I took the plug and upgraded my MacBook Pro to the latest version, finally!

I did face one annoying problem – when I plug my headphone into the Mac audio jack, there’s voice only on one side (I couldn’t tell which is right or left since the two sides on my headphone are exactly the same).

The unbalanced sound is oddly uncomfortable. Just imagine when Justin Bieber’s voice always comes from your right ear when he’s singing What Do You Mean, lol

I have never met such an issue when I upgraded my Mac last time, therefore I have no idea that the cause it.

Fortunately, I was able to fix the unbalanced sound issue in just a few steps. Here’s how:

Step 1: Click Apple logo on top left, then System Preferences

Step 2: in the Preferences pane, click Sound.

Step 3: in the new window, under Output tab (select this one if you are not here). See Balance? Move the pointer to the middle, and you are all set.

P.S. In my case, it pointed to “right”, that’s why there was only sound coming from one side on my headphone.

Thanks for reading. Hope you find this tip useful.

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  • Sareem

    I appreciate your post. It helped me save my time in finding out the real solution to this unbalancing problem.

    • Jerry Romero

      No problem! Glad to hear that it helped.

  • ln

    I just got the same problem.
    Find some explanation below. ..

    Jan 10, 2009 11:26 PM in response to fearofpudding
    Since you haven’t received a response I’ll throw out a couple of ideas.

    I’ve heard the same type of thing when headphones have gone bad and grounded a hot wire on one side, obviously not the problem with your setup. It’s possible the software involved is sensing the headphone impedance and changing output to something other than stereo.

    Things to check:

    -If you’re listening using iTunes, under Preferences/Playback, make sure “Sound Enhancer” is unchecked.

    -In the Utilities folder, open Audio/MIDI setup, check the Configure Speakers button and make sure the multichannel setup is set to stereo, and set to left-1, right-2, do this with the phones plugged in.

    WARNING- avoid clicking on the “left front/right front” buttons unless the sound is turned way down, you will get a blast of white noise.

    -Instead of inserting the jack all the way insert it partially while playing one side only, when that side comes on move the balance slider to the other side and see if you’re getting sound. (doubtful, no real reason it should work this way.)

    The jack for the external speaker and the jack for the headphones are identical, correct?