Single Channel Sound in Mix

Hi All,

I’m a new user to Audacity and can’t seem to get a sound mix right.

I want to ONLY hear the Right channel recording on the right speaker, and the Left channel recording on the left speaker.

No matter how I save the file as a Stereo, or a file with 2 channels, one labeled Left, the other labeled Right, both channels seem to play our of each speaker at the same time, i.e, I can’t seem to get the individual tracks to isolate so that a sound is only heard on one speaker, they seem to merge across the speakers with the actual channel slightly more pronounced than the unwanted channel.

Any suggestions as to how I can actually mix a file so that the channels are isolated ONLY to their respective speakers?

Thanks for all replies.

There must be sound common to both left and right (this is typically the case).
If you want to remove the sound common to both tracks you could try “centre pan removal” technique:
subtracting one track from the other by inverting one and mixing together.
The result of “centre pan removal” is a mono track though, which is not what you want.

how did you get these two channels originally ?

if they were pure channels they will play back in left and right
but if they were a miked recording you will hear it in both

if you play them back together it may seem like they are in both speakers anyway from room reflections etc

somewhere if you can find a pan option you need to pan each one full left right
if there is any setting closer to center they will always mix some

not sure but the default is likely to be about half left and right
so you can get stereo and not binaural

maybe we need a binaural option in audacity ??

i swear i saw one place here once with pan , but cant find the pan option now
and when i click through to the online manual it has no search

Hi Whomper,

Thanks for the quick reply.

Both channels were constructed individually in Audacity by by pasting smaller files into the individual channels. There is no common sound in either channel.

I tried leaving the channels split but assigned as Left and Right in a saved file, but I hear both channels in either side of the headphones at the same time.

I tried to save the channels as a Stereo file, but I get the same results.

I also tried using the Pan control attached to the side of the channel, but all that does is minimize the amount of cross channel information I hear, or lower the output level of the actual channel.

I still cannot find a way to hear only the Left channel info in the left headphone speaker, and the Right channel info in only the right headphone speaker.

I have constructed stereo files with seperate distinct sounds in each channel in Sound Forge on a different computer, and they played as expected, Left info in left headphone only, Right info in right headphone only.

The files look similar, but play differently.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks for your reply,


Here’s a test file for you.
Left channel = pulsating drone
Right channel = tone + clicking

This is definitely stereo.

i do not fully understand all of the windoze audio set up

there seem to be at least 7 places that could diddle your data
hopefully only 3 or 4 at a given time
no clue whether it is majority vote logical OR function or some hierarchy of priority or other way they interact

could your driver options be doing somethign
could the main windows audio controls be set to do it
this seems to be beyond audacity if what you said is what you got
then it should not be audacity (but could be) doing it

Hi Steve,

I downloaded your test file. It looks similar to mine in audacity.

I get both sounds out of each speaker at the same time in Audacity, Windows Media Player, WinAmp,etc.

Seems like everything I listen to on this HP Windows7 computer gets mixed somewhere.

Is this how Stereo is supposed to sound?

What do I have to do to get Left only and Right only sounds?

Is it the sound card? Should I contact HP? Should I contact Microsoft?

What to do???

Thanks for your reply,


P.S. After writing this post, I copied your test file to my old computer and I get Left channel sounds seperate of Right channel sounds. Looks like I need to dig around in the settings of the sound card or contact HP or Microsoft.

Thanks for taking an intrest is resolving my problem, I would have never thought is was the computer hardware causing the the problem!

A short circuit in headphone cable can permit crossover, so try a different pair of headphones before delving into your computer’s innards.

I joined the band a little late.

This is another sound test with the left and right performances identified.


stereo normally comes out of both speakers but to different extents

to get just sound out of each and none from the other for the same content you need to have two pure mono recordings and mix them with a device with pan capability to send each one to 100% L or R
anything less will cause some of each to come from both speakers

however that is not stereo and not even binaural
it was used in the 50s to demonstrate stereo with a ping pong game
but is never used for real recordings of stereo sound

studios will pan different instruments/performers by various amounts to spread them out across the virtual stage and provide spatial separation of the performances

that said, if you can provide two completely uncorrelated mono tracks that play into the L & R channels you can get what you want

not sure if converting to stereo will do that as there is no pan function that i can find in audacity and it may just make a normal stereo image out of them with an assumed pan that is not at the extreme far L/R