This is a problem that can happen with both old and brand new sets of speakers, which is what confuses many people.
Having sound only coming out of one speaker can be attributed to the usual wear and tear when it comes to an old sound system.
However, why does this happen even with new speakers, and what can you do to regain stereo audio output? Keep on reading to learn more.
Why is sound only coming out of one speaker?
Here are some of the most common reasons that could be causing the sound to only come out of one speaker.
1. Wrong output device
If you notice that the sound is only coming out of one of the speakers, it could be that you haven’t properly adjusted the output device settings – especially if more than one device is connected.
In case your headphones are connected, as well, you may have not prioritized your speakers in the audio settings, which may be creating this kind of problem.
2. Mono audio option
If you’re a Windows 10 user, you may have noticed that it is possible to change the stereo audio to mono, meaning that you could choose to have the sound playing through only one earbud or speaker.
Therefore, before proceeding with troubleshooting, make sure this option is turned off and you haven’t set up mono audio.
3. Connection or component issue
Often, the issue isn’t on the software side, but on the speaker itself. To check if this is the case, you will have to fully inspect the components of the speaker and make sure they’re all properly connected.
Also, it is necessary to check if all components are working properly and there are no defects. You will need a screwdriver and a utility knife to open up the speaker and possibly fix any issues.
4. Dust accumulation
While you’re at it, make sure to check for any built-up dirt and dust, as it may be clogging the speaker and compromising the sound quality.
To prevent this from happening in the future, it is recommended to clean your speakers frequently, including all the other computer components.
5. The audio channel is routed to the subwoofer
In case the sound is coming from only one of your speakers, this audio channel is probably routed to the subwoofer.
This kind of configuration tends to confuse Windows and jeopardize the stereo signal, which is why you can hear the sound coming from one speaker instead of two.
Luckily, these settings can easily be changed from the Speaker Setup menu.
How to fix sound only coming out of one speaker?
This audio problem could result from various situations, as you can see. However, most of them can be fixed in a few simple steps, especially if you’ve figured out exactly what seems to be the issue.
Let’s go over some of the best methods to fix your speakers or stereo system.
1. Make sure you chose the correct audio device
As we’ve explained, the issue you’re dealing with could result from choosing the wrong audio device in output device settings.
Of course, this is only possible if the speakers in question aren’t the only device connected to your computer.
Whether you have a set of headphones or a monitor connected via HDMI, it is necessary to assign a primary output device to control the audio settings.
All you need to do is click on the sound icon you’ll see in the right bottom corner of your screen, then go to the list of the available devices, find your speakers, then click on them to ensure you’ve selected them as the output device.
If you’re a Mac user, to access these settings you need to hold the Options button, then click on the sound icon and find the list of available connected devices.
When you open up the list of available devices, you can also right-click on any of them and choose to disable them. However, you should only do this with the devices you don’t intend on using.
2. Turn off the mono audio option
Since Windows 10 allows you to listen to your audio in mono mode, it could be that you’ve accidentally checked this box and this is why the sound is only coming out of one speaker.
To disable this option, press the Start button, then click on Settings (gear icon). In this menu, choose Ease of Access, then click on Other Options.
Under the Audio options tab, find the Mono audio option and make sure it is turned off.
3. Perform troubleshooting for any connection or component issues
The only way you can discover an internal issue with your speaker is to open it up and perform detailed troubleshooting. As we’ve mentioned, you should prepare a utility knife and a screwdriver.
The first thing you should do is make sure all the terminal connections and jack connections are secure and tightened.
You should also ensure that each jack is plugged into the adequate port and that all the wires are free of any defects.
The next step would be to check if the speakers are properly positioned on the subwoofer, and you can also try swapping the speakers are they may have been swapped.
Speaking of swapping the speakers, a great test that will show if there’s something wrong with a speaker or a channel is precisely to switch the speakers.
Do so by connecting the left speaker to the right channel, and the right speaker to the left channel and check if the speaker in question is working.
In case there is still no sound coming out of this speaker, it is quite certain that the speaker is defective.
However, if the other speaker that was working until the swap doesn’t seem to be working on this new channel – the problem is in the stereo system, probably the amplifier or the receiver.
You can check the state of your stereo system by connecting another set of speakers. In case they’re not working, it is clear that the problem is in the system itself, and not the speakers.
The following step in this troubleshooting process would be to check if the component cords are touching the power cords. If this is the case, make sure to separate them.
You should also inspect all the cords, jacks, and ports and look for any visible defects. Also, no loose wires should be in contact with any metal components, as this could result in system failure.
Finally, if none of the mentioned scenarios seem to be the case with your stereo system, you may need to reset or replace the circuit breaker.
Also, you may need to replace the fuses and ensure that you’ve installed the ones compatible with your system.
When it comes to dealing with both the circuit breaker and the fuses, we recommend relying on professional help.
What will make this process much easier is consulting the user manual and making sure the setup of your stereo system is adequate.
4. Remove any accumulated dirt and dust
If you haven’t cleaned your speakers before, you’ll be surprised to see the amount of dirt and particles accumulated inside of them.
Even though it may seem that these nooks and crevices are too small for these particles to enter, they accumulate over time, creating a blockage in your speakers.
When cleaning your speakers, remember to get all the ports and jacks, as they’re crucial for proper connection.
Also, when cleaning these components, handheld vacuums can be very helpful and efficient. It is also best to use lint-free cloths and rubbing alcohol to make sure they’re leaving no residue.
If you’re having trouble remembering the placement of all the components after cleaning the system, refer to the user manual to ensure that every jack and cable is properly connected.
5. Fix the connection of the audio channel
A common problem concerning the audio channel is its connection to the subwoofer. In case one of your speakers doesn’t seem to be working, it could be that the audio channel is connected to the subwoofer.
This kind of connection will surely mess up the stereo signal and Windows will not be able to recognize one of the speakers.
To properly connect this audio channel, go to the list of connected devices (see step 1), find your speakers, right-click on this option and choose Configure Speakers.
In the configuration menu, you should see an Audio channels tab, and there should be a Stereo option available.
Click on this option, then hit Next to complete the configuration. Test your speakers after changing these settings.