looks like stereo, but it's no

I am new to Audacity. I have been struggling to capture from reel-to-reel tape a two track recording. One track is narration, the other is “data”. Looking at the recording in Audacity (2.1.3), it appears just fine, but when I play it back, it seems like mono - both tracks have both narration AND data on them. What do I need to do to be able to capture and play this this back in actual stereo? The narration and the data have to be sent to two different places when played back. I tried making this recording going straight into the record jack on my laptop, and also with a simple USB input device - same result.

I cut a small 4 second clip from my “problem file” and am including it here.

Here’s a picture of the 4 second file in Audacity… https://www.dropbox.com/s/ieqih6v03id2uge/stereo_or_mono.jpg?dl=0
Here is the actual 4 second audio file… https://www.dropbox.com/s/75v5hre9yhthmvu/stereo_or_mono.mp3?dl=0


Audacity 2.3.3 has an MP3 Force Mix Down To Mono option.

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 18.07.16.png

In the recording everything looks perfect. If you save this and open it again… do you still have different channels (as you want)? Or do you now see two mixed channels?

Do you have two external speakers? Or is it a notebook?

For me it sound like your computer only has a playback problem, not a file problem. Maybe the sound card handles left and right channel the same.

Try this:

Separate the STEREO channels into two MONO channels: Klick in the channel info field on the name “Graham digi…”, then select “Split Stereo Track”. Now take care, that one channel’s panorama is set to L (left) and one is set to R (right). Now you can MUTE each channel independent to check, whether your speakers are really working one by one.


Thanks for that. Yes I have tried splitting the tracks and panning them L&R, then playing just one of them. That gave me one track or the other as expected. I tested the file on two other computers, and the file played in stereo, with the narration and data separate, as they should be! So it’s not an “Audacity problem” at all. Now I need to figure out why my everyday laptop (HP Envy 17-3200) is playing everything mono.

I also used this youtube video - a “fast audio test” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZrWHtvSog4, to further confirm that my computer was at fault. I get mono listening to it as well.

Thanks again.

Here’s a test track I made earlier.

Guaranteed it’s in stereo and my voice swaps left and right.