Balance audio reset on startup

I had this issue since 2.1.2 ( but used 2.0.2 years because of that… Got a fresh W10 installation and reinstalled it but forgot about the issue, I could re-use the older version but I would miss bugs fixes and new features… is there a solution or still not ?


The “solution” remains as before. If you want to set the balance over to one side, you need to do that in the Windows sound controls after launching Audacity. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

You could make a Desktop shortcut to the Windows Sound settings to make it a little less inconvenient (see:

I explained myself poorly I think, I checked more threads and you stated about this issue
“The short answer is no. Audacity does not control the sound balance of the sound card. If, as you state, the sound card is resetting its balance when Audacity connects, then that’s something that your sound card is doing,” (

The thing is that it happens on my motherboard integrated sound card AND my pci-e soundcard… And yes, replacing headphones are a solution but an expensive one…

I am using Audacity 2.3.3.

-When I run the Audacity app it resets my audio playback of LEFT and RIGHT channels to 100% in the Windows/Sounds in the Control Panel. I have the settings I want set in the Windows Sounds section. Each time I run Audacity it resets the playback levels to 100% for all playback channels. I do NOT want this. I have 4 speakers at my desk and have the balances set to how I want them. BTW: This occurs regardless if I am using the mobo speakers or my Sound Blaster X -AE5 (a great PCI sound card).

HOW do I prevent Audacity from resetting Windows Sounds balance settings to 100% ? I’ve looked all through the preferences and tools and extras to no avail…

My system:
New(er) CPU (last two years)
Windows 10 SP1 (or equivalent)
32 Gb RAM
Soundblaster X-AE5
10Tb of total storage

Anybody who knows how to stop this please let me know. Thank you in advance.

Neal Schultz

Balance is not adjustable in Audacity.
When Audacity opens a port to connect to the computer sound system, most sound systems respond by creating an initialized connection to that port (though it works a bit differently on Linux when using Jack). Audacity does not control exactly how the sound system does that, it just requests the connection and then looks to see if the connection was successful or not (and throws an error if it fails).

Audacity can send level control adjustments if the sound system supports that (usually supported on Windows but not Linux), but Audacity does not have a control for pan, so that has to be adjusted in the system sound controls.

Perhaps you don’t understand my dilemma.

Look at my attachments.
-The BEFORE file shows the balance settings in Windows/Sounds. The left channel is set to 61.
The AFTER file shows the balance settings in Windows/Sounds. The left channel is now set to 100.

The only change is that Audacity started. When I loaded the app, I watched the balance change as I opened Audacity. I want to prevent Audacity from doing this…

How do I stop Audacity from doing this?
Before Audacity Starts.JPG
After Audacity Starts.JPG

I don’t think that you can. For Audacity to be able to use an audio device, it has to request an initialized connection to the sound system. If the sound system resets the balance in response to that request, there’s nothing that Audacity can do about that. I’m not sure if the behavior that you describe is common on Windows, or if if it’s specific to just some sound cards. Have you tested to see if the same occurs with the built-in Relatek sound card?

For what it’s worth, on my (Linux) laptop the problem does not occur - When I launch Audacity the output device settings are not affected.

I’ve noticed that if I launch other software, VLC, to play an audio file, the Windows volume left/right balance is not reset.

I understand that a player such as VLC is very different from Audacity, but I don’t have any detailed understanding of their respective limitations.

If a launch of VLC can keep the system volume balance unchanged, I wonder why Audacity cannot do likewise.

I can confirm that for Windows 10, Audacity, on startup, seems to be resetting the system pan controls for the built-in Realtek High Definition Audio Speaker/Headphone Default Device.

It seems that age is catching up to me, and I now have noticeable hearing loss on my left ear.
I need to run windows with a 20% boost on the left channel so that I can hear centered sound.

I use a plethora of audio applications an none of them have the behavior that Audacity has on Windows: it resets the sound balance to default.
Is there no other work around? Is it really necessary for Audacity to establish a new initialized sound connection when it starts?
I use many other high-end audio editing and composing software, and none of them do this to me.

It saddens me to say this, but understand that I would rather stop using Audacity and replace it with some other app from the industry, if that is the most pragmatic solution to this situation, from an end-user point of view. I’ve used and appreciated Audacity for many years and I really don’t want it to come to that.
With hearing loss, buying a new set of headphones is not an option, as you can imagine.

Probably not.

I would like to suggest that you take up this issue directly with the developers by opening a new issue on github here:

For those who still have this problem, there’s a quick work-around - try using the SoundVolumeView application:

It’s a simple executable that you can launch with a shortcut from your desktop and it sets the volume levels to whatever you want.
All you need is to run it with the arguments:

SoundVolumeView.exe /SetVolumeChannels "Your Default Sound Device Here" 50 40

to set the left channel to 50% and the right channel to 40% volume, for example.

With a desktop shortcut this is a double-click away, which is much faster than opening the Control Panel menus each time.

Side note - the github issue is being discussed here: