One channel lower volume than the other


I used Audacity to successful scrape audio for about 8 hours. Everything as expected and exported files are excellent. All of a sudden Right Audio Channel is about 20% of left. Still stereo, but not balanced and I cannot figure out how to fix it.
I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what I broke / changed. Some pointers?

What does that mean?
Which version of Audacity are you using?

I am using Version 2.1.0

“Scraping Audio” Might be a bad term. Sorry, I’m a software engineer and that just seemed like a good description for what i’m doing. :laughing:
I am recording audio from a private video meeting software which does not have an audio / video export feature (always recorded together). I simply want a small MP3 of each meeting and Audacity seemed like a great tool for it.

As a test - maybe a more familiar scenario for other users: Youtube records with the same result. Another test, let’s try spotify. Same thing. L:R ratio I’d say is about 4:1 and I have no idea why. It wasn’t yesterday. Nothing has changed. haven’t even rebooted. I can listen to Youtube, Spotify (Or my meetings) over the same audio device and it is balanced. It’s just audacity.

I’m not sure what’s happening, but if want to record the sound coming out of your soundcard and if you have Windows 7 or later, use [u]WASAPI loopback[/u]. That should “capture” the digital audio stream without altering it.

I am recording audio from a private video meeting software which does not have an audio / video export feature (always recorded together).

If you have an audio/video file, what’s the format? If you install the optional [u]FFmpeg import/export library[/u], Audacity can open/extract the audio from most audio/video files.

I simply want a small MP3 of each meeting and Audacity seemed like a great tool for it.

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to install the [u]LAME MP3 Encoder[/u].


I actually do have the lame LAME MP3 Encoder installed. As I said, I was able to make it work for a good 8 hours of audio yesterday. It’s easier / nicer for me to listen / watch the meetings and extract what bits of the meetings I need skipping the convo’s about donuts in the break room. :laughing:

Whatever is wrong seems to have nothing to do with the source. What is the difference in the “Audio Host” options? I have MME, “Windows Direct Sound” and Windows WASAPI. I wonder if I accidental changed this. I have MME selected. My Rec Playback is the IDT High Def device and my PlayBack device I don’t think matters much, but it’s the default on the PC (Speakers / Headphones IDT High).

Even in Monitor Mode Audacity is showing a much lower R channel.

What format does the video meeting software save in?

If you have FFmpeg installed for Audacity, Audacity is able to directly import audio from many video formats. See:
If your video meeting software saves in a supported format, then you may be able to import the audio directly, which will be much quicker and better quality than recording.

I was able to resolve this but want to understand why - I have a theory. To answer your question: They are M4A, I can get the files from the admin but this is a pain and I have other reasons for using audacity this way in the future (live call recording on multiple apps - lync / skype / google etc).

This is what I did to “fix” the issue: I changed devices to the “Speaker” device:
This appears to be the same codec on both selections but one is “rec playback” and the other is labelled by Audacity as “Loopback” presumably because it is the sound card / speaker device. Note, how the device properties appear in the device manager:
And the rec playback device…
Notice how the rec is the default device on the PC and it has no L:R balance property I can adjust as the speaker device does. Both are showing volume meter activity while listening to anything. Bad driver on the Rec device maybe since the channel balance is off and I can’t seem to adjust it.

Now the reason this occurred I believe (will test later - misplaced my headset), is because when I hook up my Jabra Evolve (blue tooth headset), the default listening device on the PC is automatically swapped by Windows. My suspicion is that when this occurs, if you have the default device selected in Audacity it will change there as well. It appears it was selected as the speakers and swapped to the Evolve Recording device. I’ll test that theory when I can, and if it is the case I’d consider that a bug IMHOP since there is no “use default device” setting in Audacity, it should not function as if there is or ever switch on its own. But, it’s possible I did this by accident. I’ll respond later.

I’ll have to watch this as my PC likes to swap devices around depending on whether my blue tooth headset, beat headset or nothing is hooked up. I believe what happened was I hooked up my jabra evole headset to take a call and the default got automatically changed, then audacity picked that up. I can test this theory later, but if it is the case I’d submit that as a bug. The device selection shouldn’t change to the default windows device automagically like that IMHO.