recording volume discrepancy between LR

I’ve been having an issue with recording volume discrepancy between left and right recording tracks in stereo. See the screen shot. Oddly, with each update, the L/R discrepancy has been getting wider. I can not independently adjust the left from the right. My only fix is a pain in the ass, which is to split into two separate tracks, amplify the left track to match the right, then merge back again.

Has anyone else experienced this? Or know of a doable permanent fix where I don’t have to keep editing each recording?

That looks like some kind of hardware problem.

What are you recording from? How are you recording?

my sound card. When I checked the functionality of my sound card properties, they appear to be balanced correctly LR

Why can’t I / we adjust the slider independently?

PS: if you mean what is the audio source, it doesn’t matter, it’s the same whether it’s my own MP3 I want to edit, YouTube, Spotify… stream. It’s the same issue.

If you’re seeing that with MP3s (or WAV files, etc.). then I’d say there’s something wrong with the MP3. I’m pretty sure it’s not a bug in Audacity.

Is the balance off when you listen to a stream? You should capture/record what you’re hearing.

There might be a messed-up Windows setting.

How are you checking that you sound card is balanced LR. Are you listening to the output speakers when playing via some other software.??
OR are you checking that the input is balanced by recording via some other software and watching level meters.
What you are looking at on the Audacity screen is what has been detected as input or import to Audacity.
Moving the slider on the track does not change the screen amplitude. It pans the output from Left to Right.
How are you doing your recording. ?? Are you simply plugging in a mic or linein to the PC and recording to a track then exporting.
If you PC has 3.5mm audio jack or similar can you join L and R together to make sure same input goes to both

Here is a stereo reference track. It’s 44100, 16-bit Stereo MP3. See if you can play it and if it appears OK. It says what it is.


Hi Audy,

A lot of good questions, and I’m getting frustrated here. The thing is, I’ve had this set up. ASUS Essence STX 2 sound card for a few years, and I’m not sure if it’s coincidental but the problem seemed to happen after a Audacity update.

I’ll attempt to answer your questions as clearly as I can, AND, upon several “processes of eliminations” I’m suspecting my very expensive plug/play sound card. I even swapped out my receiver thinking there might have been a malfunction internally that was causing some kind of feedback loop, or ground deadening issue. When I bring up the sound card display, it shows balanced out put. HOWEVER, I’ve noticed the actual floor mounted speakers have a varying output sound. When I put on my headphones (I have to select a different out from the options), it sounds fine.

The other issue is… I was going to continue with the “process of elimination” and switch my recording device to my PC board default sound card, after making the changes in Audacity, and Windows… it doesn’t work at all. ???

Hey Koz, please read the post below. I don’t have clear LR as mentioned on my floor mounted speakers, that comes out of my Onkyo receiver. I swapped it out for another “old-school” receiver (Pioneer), same issue.

The weird thing is, even though I synced up my Windows audio settings, with Audacity recording settings to my mother-board audio, Audacity won’t pick up anything. The only source Audacity will pick up (with original issue) is: “Stereo Mix” & Wave mix, both being my plug/play sound card ???

Don’t blame everything all at the one time. Try to simplify your testing into individual bits and steps.
Is all your other audio software working properly.
You posted the mp3 audio file, but you didn’t say how you recorded it. Was it using Audacity or other software. What were your settings in Audacity when recording and exporting this file…
The file plays for me OK in Audacity and L and R are same volume. and I hear it pan from L to R.
You say you have switched your “recording device” to your PC “default Sound Card” and it doesn’t work at all. What does that mean… Audacity…??, Is this a different sound card from before, Is windows sound setting setup and working.
If the above don’t fix it, Try reset configuration menu option and if that does not fix it re-install Audacity.

I’m not a Windows elf, so the best I can do is recommend global tests and changes and see what happens.

If you open that stereo test file in Audacity, do you get two tracks, one above the other with roughly equal size blue waves? Left is on top.

If you have good success with an older Audacity you can totally go back to that one—if you wrote down which one it was.


Ok, Audy, you gave me a lot to do. It’s interesting that short clip played ok on your system. Not sure what that means other than I can’t take face value what I see on the wave-form pattern. I’m really burnt out on this now, and my dog is looking at me, as if to say, “What about me?” So, I’m going to walk her now, and give it a rest for now.

Please monitor my post, as I’ll probably pick it back up tomorrow.

Thanks again for your assistance in this matter,

Sincerely, Kevin P. (a grateful veteran)

See: AndyMusik, Above.

Break the system down into pieces and troubleshoot each piece.

Audacity doesn’t get its sound from devices, drivers, or software. It comes from Windows. Count the number of times we tell people to make sure Windows Enhancements are turned off to cure a sound problem.

Do Not Run Any Other Software at the same time as Audacity. Zoom, Skype, Meetings, Games, etc., all affect the sound.

Do a Clean Windows Shutdown. Shift+Shutdown > OK > Wait > Start.

Open up Windows Control Panels > Sound and look for a Balance Slider or Control. Make sure it’s in the middle.

As you do these tricks, look for changes, not just whether or not it cured your problem.


That may be the only thing you can take at face value. Did my sound file look OK when you opened it? If it did, now you have two things that work OK. My file and the Audacity file management.

Put on your headphones and listen to that file. Is my voice the same volume left and right and does the Mono (third track) sound like it’s coming from the middle? I would try to listen directly to the sound card behind the machine rather than depending on your music system and its connections.


I think you’re right Koz. I’ll try that tomorrow, too burnt out now to deal with it. I need a beer.

I experienced something similar with an early version of Audacity 3 on Windows.
The track gain-slider of a stereo pair would only act on the left channel, when it should act on both.
I think it stems from this bug … How to remove multi labels from stereo halves? - #6 by waxcylinder

Sorry, I think I read the earlier post wrongly.
I read it as Blaze had posted the audio file, but I see now it was Koz and I commented incorrectly.

But I think I am correct in assuming it is Blaze that has the problem…and…
even after all this posting we still do not know how Blaze created the unbalanced track…? what the settings were OR what the output file sounded like
Blaze…post screen dumps of your settings in windows and Audacity for the various pieces you are recording.

That’s me.

I found it handy to have test files and predictable samples available for tough problems.

Depending on how that display worked out, we resolved the problem of being able to depend on the meters. Always a good thing.


It’s also good to know that as a fuzzy rule, Audacity doesn’t apply effects, filters, or corrections during recording. So if the meters and blue waves look like that during recording, then it’s something upstream causing that problem.

it’s my own MP3 I want to edit, YouTube, Spotify… stream.

I think I just turned up another branch of this problem. You’re not recording a simple microphone. You’re capturing on-line/internet content and that’s far from simple. To do that, the computer has to run the playback and the recording sides at the same time and cross them. The error could be caused anywhere in either branch.

Lucky you.


So, now I am confused…??
I always try to get audio problems sorted within Windows first… them worry about Audacity.
Is Blazes’ problem fixed now…??
What was the real problem…??