How to center sound when recording

Audacity 2.0.6

I recorded a guitar track and when I play it back the sound is all on the right. I deleted the track and made sure to add a stereo track. I listened and strummed (without recording), and the sound is still all on the right. I can see the meter at the top showing all the sound on the right.

When I play it back the recorded track, it sounds all lopsided in the headphones. Am I doing something wrong or is it supposed to do all the recording on one side? And, if so, how do I get anything on the left?

I’m really new at this, so I suppose it’s something obvious, but I couldn’t find anything in the help files or the forums to help me. It’s probably there and I’m searching wrong, maybe?


How are you recording the guitar?
What sort of microphone?
How is it connected to your computer?

Best guess: you should be recording in mono. A mono recording will play through both left and right. Mono recording can be set in the device toolbar.

You can save the recording you’ve already made… Assuming you have a stereo recording with one silent side…

There is a little drop-down arrow to the left of the waveforms. Click that and then select Split Stereo To Mono.

Now, you should have two mono tracks (one silent) and each track should have a its’ own drop-down arrow, etc. To the left of the drop-down arrow, there is an X. Click the X for the silent track you want to delete.

Now when you export, you should get a mono file that plays from both speakers.

And again, not having any idea what you’re doing, you could have a sound device that insists on recording in Stereo. Many external soundcards do that. If you are stuck like that, then you’re only hope is to fix it in Post Production. See: DVDDoug.

That can get awkward if you wanted to do overdubbing and play to yourself. Then you’re stuck. You may have delay and echo problems in addition to only playing to one ear.


Okay, it looks like I should be able to figure something out from the comments so far.

To answer questions. I have the guitar plugged into an AudioBox 44VSL for recording. The AudioBox is connected to the computer via USB. The computer is running XP (it’s an old computer I resurrected for this purpose).

I haven’t actually recorded what I want yet; I’ve just been experimenting prior to doing the recording.

When I get done, I’ll report back.


The computer is running XP (it’s an old computer I resurrected for this purpose).

Perfect. Just so you don’t connect it to the internet. Ever. Since Microsoft stopped issuing security patches, it’s virus chum (in the fish sense).

Since this device is not a mixer, my bet is you’re stuck with your performance only appearing on one side. I’m also betting that you’re forced to use their software DAW to get the full 4X4 tools and advanced quality the interface offers. Typically, when an ad mentions all the magic tricks it can do, it will only do that with ASIO software and Audacity doesn’t directly support ASIO.

You can probably use the software it came with for recording and then move the work over to Audacity for filtering, effects, and post production.

Jury’s out on what you’re going to do if you need overdubbing. Audacity needs to interface directly to the device for that.


There’s nothing wrong with producing just one side of a stereo track. That’s not broken, it’s just inconvenient. You still need to conform to good recording practices: peak sound meters at about-6 (zoom the sound meters for live recording), Don’t overload any time, ever, etc. Make sure you have good cables and you don’t have hum or loud hiss.

You should monitor your work by listening to the Audiobox. The computer headphones will probably be late or echo and throw off your timing.