Stereo microphone: right channel = left channel?

Hey there,

I’m a complete newbie in terms of recording and I recently got this new stereo mic (click for picture), and whenever I record something (in Audacity or any other program) the right channel is exactly the same as the left one. So even when I cover the right mic with my hand, the recorded ‘right channel’, just like the left channel, sounds perfectly clear – but when I cover the left mic, both channels sound muffled.

In short, the right channel just ‘mirrors’ the left channel.

Could this be a software issue or is it more likely to be some kind of hardware defect?

If you look at the instructions for this microphone, I bet it says to use it with a Sony DAT machine, Sony camcorder, or other Sony product. It’s not a “generic” microphone.

The generic Mic-In on your Windows Laptop is mono. The connection is the second illustration – scroll down.

The sleeve is to shield the system from hum and buzz, the ring in the middle is to power the microphone and the tip carries the single channel (mono) audio.

It’s remotely possible that it’s a line-level microphone in which case plug it into the Stereo Line-In which your Windows Laptop probably does not have.

So I don’t think anything is broken. You need a trip to your instruction book.


No, it actually doesn’t say so… anywhere. It’s this mic:

And it’s not plugged in to a laptop, it’s plugged to the Creative X-Fi sound card in my PC…

Okay, forget this; it’s Creative’s fault. Everything works fine when I plug it into my onboard microphone jack. Just the X-Fi is making trouble.

I guess I’ll try out a different driver or something…

When you do get it running, blow up the blue waves and make sure you’re actually in stereo.
There are microphones that have internal batteries and they don’t use the middle ring of the connector. Like this one.

Does your mic connector look like the one in the illustration, or does it have extra rings? I can’t tell from the web hits.

The B&H Pro web site doesn’t say anything about stereo.

The Sony ECM-CS3 Tie Clip Microphone is a small, discreet omni-directional mic that can be used to pick up voices from all angles. It features a 360° rotating clip that attaches to a tie or clothing and remains nearly out-of-sight. Use it in combination with a digital voice recorder to capture business meetings, lectures and interviews. It can also work with your PC to make VoIP calls and for online gaming.

That I can believe. Any PC will do that.


This gets fascinatinger. There’s a YouTube presentation where he plugs in an ECM-CS3 instead of a standard mono tie-tack microphone and the sound snaps into stereo (clothing noise only on one side and I can tell how big the room is), but he never says anywhere what he plugged it into.

Pictures of the higher-end Sony Stereo microphones are clearly labeled for use in Sony MD and DAT recorders. They also have an “L” and a “R” printed on the mic. Does yours?

I found multiple hits that claim this microphone is onmidirectional but not stereo. I suspect the other ad postings are just parroting each other.


According to the User’s Manual it is stereo.
But it needs Plug-In Power, i.e. a small DC voltage that is overlaid on the signal connectors - tip and ring. Yes, it’s meant for MD and DAT recorders.


If by Plug-In Power they mean 5v on the ring, then most computers provide that at the pink Mic-In socket. What many computers don’t have is the ability to manage sound on the ring in addition to the Power. That’s unusual. Those sound cards are celebrities. It’s possible you can load drivers to get around that, but i have my doubts. Either the socket is wired with an extra microphone amplifier for stereo or it’s not.


Plug-In power is similar to phantom power in that the DC (typically 2.3 - 5V) is carried on the same connector the audio goes through.