How To Troubleshoot & Fix Unbalanced Headphones

How to fix unbalanced headphones

High-quality headphones allow you to enjoy music while giving you absolute control over your audio environment. Besides killing the boredom and anxiety, there’s nothing better than listening to your favorite playlist on your headphones. But if the left side is louder than the right, the disruptive sound can be quite exasperating.

What Is Headphone Imbalance?

Imbalanced headphones can tire your auditory nerves if you listen to blasting music on one ear bud and a faint tune on the other. The audio transfer process requires a pair of wires to create a loop. A pair of headphones has two wires connected to each channel left and right.

To prevent impedance or distortion, there is a need for a ground wire. In an unbalanced setup, the cable consists of three wires; left, right, and shared ground. Adding a separate ground wire for each terminal leads to better signal-to-noise ratio, minimal distortion, and reduced impedance signals.

What Causes Headphone Imbalance?

A problem might occur in one of your audio channels that transfer the signal from the audio sources to the speakers. The signal should be split equally to convey the same amount of sound to both speakers.

In unbalanced connections, the noise signal is added disproportionately, leading to impedance. Balanced connections cancel the noise out and only the signal remains.

How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones

In order to fix the problem when one side is louder than the other, you need to identify the cause. Start by swapping sides to pinpoint the problem.

It’s the best way to ascertain you don’t have hearing problems. Your headphone’s speakers may not always hold up against dust and debris.

One of the simplest ways to fix headphones is to remove the dirt that accumulates in the mesh and disrupts the sound.

Before you discard the entire set, inspect the earphones for grime that could cause one side to be quieter.

If the problem still persists, then try troubleshooting your headphones and address the imbalance.

Inspect Your Speakers

If you experience uneven sound, the first things you need to check are the speakers and their cables. The volume depends on the amp’s power output and the speaker’s efficiency. Speakers are quite delicate and that’s why you need to inspect them for any signs of damage.

If the diaphragm is damaged, one side will give you less power and more distortion. In addition, an app or software glitch in the phone may also result in subdued sound output. In some cases, speakers may stop working completely. Distortion can also come from the audio source if overloaded, so ensure you’re using fused cables at all times.

Is the imbalance coming from the inbuilt sound equalizer? It means that your headphones are working alright but the sound on one speaker is too low. Just turn up the volume and normalize things.

Check Sound Effects That May Cause Playback

Playback occurs when sounds repeat and overlap to create an unpleasant listening experience. If you’ve inadvertently tampered on the audio settings, it’s possible for multiple sounds to collide with each other.

Playback not only reduces the output capability but also alters the amplification, leading to gritty tones.

If your computer doesn’t update these apps automatically, they may cause playback and alter the sound perception. In most cases, users will turn off the sound completely if annoyed by poor-quality sounds.

You need to disable the sound effects and restore audio settings to normal. Open the Control panel and select Sound. Then go to the headphone settings and click on the Enhancements tab.

Check If Headphones Are Plugged to a Mono Jack

Poor-quality sound doesn’t necessarily mean that your headphones have a problem. Your headphone jack makes a huge impact on the overall sound quality. Whenever you connect your headphones to the output through a mono jack, the distorted music often echoes.

Some sounds are either muffled or muted altogether. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll only hear audio from one side of the headphones. A mono jack has two prongs, one for each side, and another for the ground.

But a single ground wire is not sufficient to prevent distortion. Instead of using mono jacks, connect your headphones to stereo jacks for the best sound output capability. Stereo jacks have a ground loop that prevents interference on both sides of your headphones.

Inspect Your Wiring

If the wiring is damaged, your headphones won’t work when you plug them into the output. If the sound issue shifts once you swap the earphones, then you need to check the wiring. Depending on the extent of damage, you might realize that only one side works as it should.

Don’t ditch your pair of headphones just yet as you can repair them quite easily. If the warranty has already expired, you can fix them with soldering iron and a wire stripper.

Pull the wires with a wire stripper and separate them by color. Ensure that wires don’t touch each other to avoid causing a short circuit. Sand the wires down, twist, and solder. Then cover the soldering with electrical tape.

Headphone wires transmit electricity at very low voltages. Frayed and broken wires can increase the impedance and result in uneven sound. While such wires cannot cause electrocution, they can damage your electronic devices once they overheat.

Change Settings on Android

Restoring audio balance on android devices is quite easy since you only need to adjust the settings. Go to Settings, Device tab, and click on Accessibility. The tap the Hearing Header and click on Sound Balance.

Adjust the right and left volume balance accordingly.

You still need to synchronize your headphones with the smartphone to update these changes. Turn your headphones on and click on Adapt Sound under the Sound section. Once you identify the root cause of the problem and find the right solution, you can save time and money.

Restore Balance in Your Headphones

Headphones can be annoying if the ear buds differ in volume. Before you toss your earphones out of frustration, try these easy hacks to fix them. By understanding how the built-in features alter the sound balance, you can get your headphones back in sync and enjoy the best experience without having to find a replacement.

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