Unbalanced channels

Newbie here and going through a steep learning curve hoping to find some help/advise here. Apologies in advance for not having the proper lingo/terms down.

I am transferring a bunch of old DAT tapes with live music. I have been able to transfer my DAT source to my harddrive using a Behringer UCA202 audio interface. All is going well except that I have unbalanced channels with the Left channel showing clipping.The Right channel looks better, ie no clipping. See attached screen shot
-Q1- Can I just delete the Left channel and replace it with a copy of the Right channel?

Please give your version of Audacity and Windows (see the pink panel at the top of this page).

Yes although it is hardly a good solution you can use the Audio Track Dropdown Menu to Split Stereo Track then delete the left channel’s track. There is Effect > Clip Fix… which may help with reconstruction of mild distortion.

What output of the DAT are you connecting to?

Does the audio sound mono? If so and you are on Vista or later, please see How can I record in stereo?.


Thanks Gale.

Using Windows 7
Audacity 2.1.0

Audacity settings are set to 2 channel Stereo.

The DAT player is a Sony PCM-R300 connected through RCA Audio L/R to the Beheringer UCA202 input that connects to the laptop via USB. I cant recall the mic I used some 20 years ago but it was the standard mic that came with the Sony portable DAT player D7.

The audio sounds good but I just see the clipping on the left channel. To me it looks like the L channel is a copy of the R channel except that L is ‘louder’ and shows some clipping.

What output of the DAT player are you connecting from? If the DAT player has a headphones output you can control the level of that output (and rebalance it if the player has a balance knob).

Yes it looked like that to me too. So please check in Windows Sound as I suggested to see if you have the Behringer set to mono recording: Audacity Manual. Look in the green box in that FAQ. Windows usually sets USB recording devices to mono by default. If you set Audacity to record in stereo and Windows is sending mono then you get one of the channels duplicated in left and right of Audacity.


For the DAT output I am not using the headphone but the dedicated RCA L/R outputs.

I’ll fiddle around some more with the settings to see if that is the cause of the unbalanced channels

Thanks for the feedback so far.

That should be a higher quality output than headphones as a rule, but it could be too “hot” and probably there is no way to control its level or balance.


Some DAT recorders have a setting to record the same signal to two channels, with one channel 10 or 20 dB lower.

Could it be that’s how you recorded them 20 years ago?

I recorded these shows on a Sony D7 portable DAT recorder. The mic I used (cant recall model) was a small one that looked like a little mouse. Very rudimentary.

In some cases I would plug the DAT straight into the soundboard and for those tapes as well I can see that the L channel is louder than the R channel.

My question is regarding the wave maxing out at a specific constant level (looks like 0.7). Is this because I had a crappy recorder, or because the soundboard was too hot/loud or is it because I have a setting messed up?

We can’t see your equipment. Many suggestions have been made what you can do about it. What happens if you reverse left and right into the Behringer?


If I switch the L/R from Behringer the channels output balance switches around accordingly.

Since the L/R channels look identical I am going to experiment to see if deleting the louder L channel and then split the R channel into a duplicate.

I guess the dumb noob question from me is if the max 0.7 level indicates that the stereo mic I used 15 years ago was just a crappy mic

So it is then the right channel that is clipped at 0.7? That would rather rule out a problem with the Behringer.

And you have checked Windows is set to record in stereo, I assume?

No need to duplicate. Split Stereo to Mono and delete the upper track. A mono track plays identically out of both stereo channels.