Microphone Only Recording To One Side? Here’s How To Fix It!

Written By Kyle Mathias  |  Audio Basics, Recording 

So the sound from your microphone is only playing out of one speaker? Well, you’re not alone. When I first started recording music, I had the same issue.

In fact, this is a very common problem and in this post, I’ll show you how to fix it whether you’re using your microphone for recording or streaming.

Why Your Recording Only Plays Through The Left Speaker

The most likely reason that you’re only hearing sound out of one speaker is because you’re using a two-channel audio interface and your recording or streaming software is expecting the left signal on input one and the right signal on input two. If you only have one microphone and it’s connected to Input 1 on your audio interface, you’ll only record to the left channel and the right channel will be empty.

Here’s how you can fix the problem if you’ve already recorded and how you can prevent the problem from happening in the future.

How To Prevent The Problem Before Recording or Streaming

If you need to fix an existing recording, go ahead and skip to the next section. In this section I’ll show you how to prevent this issue before recording.

In order to prevent this from happening, you just need to make sure to set up your software correctly before recording. This will be a bit different depending on which software you’re using, but the general steps are the same.

Setting Up a Mono Recording in a DAW

When adding a new track in some DAWs like Pro Tools and Audacity you get the option to choose between a stereo track and a mono track. If this is the case with your software, just make sure to create a mono track if you’re only using one input. This goes for recording a microphone, a line input, or a direct input from an instrument.

In other DAWs, like Reaper, there is only one kind of track, but you get to choose the type of input. In this case, make sure to select a mono input instead of a stereo input.

Configuring a 2-channel Audio Interface in OBS

For the streamers out there, let me show you how to fix this problem in OBS.

You can see that I’m only seeing level on the first meter. To fix this, click the gear icon and then click ‘Advanced Audio Properties’.

All you need to do is check this box that says ‘Mono’.

You can also uncheck the boxes of the inputs you aren’t using, but it isn’t necessary – it will just get rid of any additional noise coming from the other inputs.

How To Fix The Problem With An Existing Recording

If you’re having this problem with something you’ve already recorded, don’t worry – you can still fix the issue. Again, it’s a little different in each DAW, but the general principle is the same.

In some DAWs, like Audacity, you can fix this problem by clicking the dropdown arrow at the top of your track and select ‘Split Stereo to Mono’.

In other DAWs, you’ll right click on the audio region to fix the problem.

In Reaper, I right click the region and hover over ‘Item Settings’. It gives me a few options… If I selected ‘Take channel mode: Mono (downmix)’, it would mix the left channel and the right channel together. This wouldn’t be terrible, but it would add any noise that came from input 2 while recording. To avoid this, I’ll select ‘Take channel mode: Mono (left)’, instead.


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