4 Ways to Adjust Windows 10 Left & Right Sound Balance

Adjusting the left/right audio balance on Windows 10 system-wide is fairly straightforward and can be done in a few steps.

At the end of the article, you can find a section that lets you change audio balance in Windows 10 on an app-by-app basis.

System-Wide Windows 10 sound balance adjuster

Method 1: Use System settings

Step 1: Go to Settings -> System.

Step 2: Click on the Sound tab, then choose your sound output device (headphones, speakers etc.), then click on the Device Properties link.

Step 3: In the Device Properties window, adjust the Left and Right audio balance so that it’s comfortable with you.

Step 4: Close settings.

Method 2: Use the Control Panel Device settings

Step 1: Open Control Panel, click on Hardware and Sound.

Step 2: click on Manage audio devices, in the Sound category.

Step 3: In the Playback tab, double click on the sound output device (headphones, speakers etc.), that you use.

Step 4: In the Sound Device properties, click on the Levels tab, then on Balance. In the new window, adjust left and right audio balance to your liking.

Step 5: Click Ok on all the Windows to apply these settings.

Method 3: Disable Windows Absolute Volume feature

For certain devices, it’s possible the left and right audio channels are locked together, meaning you can’t adjust them individually.

In this situation, changing the volume of the right channel will change the volume of the left channel as well, and vice versa.

This is caused by a Windows setting called Absolute volume. Fortunately, there is an easy way to disable it.

Step 1: Press Win + R to bring up a Run dialog.

Step 2: Type cmd and press Enter.

Step 3: In the Command Prompt window, copy and paste the following command:

reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Bluetooth\Audio\AVRCP\CT /v DisableAbsoluteVolume /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Step 4: Press Enter to run the command.

Step 5: Restart your computer to bring the change into the system.

In case you are worried, you can reverse this change anytime you want.

Simply go through steps 1 to 3, but at step 3 copy and paste this text command:

HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Bluetooth\Audio\AVRCP\CT /v DisableAbsoluteVolume /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Then press enter and restart your computer.

Method 4: Use a simple hardware audio mixer

Hardware audio mixers are specialized devices that give you greater control over your headphones, speakers and similar devices.

Purely as an example, a $25 audio mixer from Saramonic will allow you to manually adjust the left / right audio balance on your sound device.

Simply connect your headphones or speakers to the audio mixer, and then connect the audio mixer to your computer.

Once that is done, just turn the knobs for each audio channel until you find the right settings for your ear.

Solutions if you can’t change left right audio balance with the above methods

Fix 1: Update the drivers for your headphones

If you’re using headphones and still have issues balancing the left/right audio channels, then do a firmware update for your headphones.

As with most devices, some issues aren’t caused by the actual hardware, but by faulty drivers.

Just search for “[your headphone model] firmware update”, find the link provided by your headphone manufacturer and install the firmware and see if that fixes anything.

Note: Sometimes you might need to restart your system for the changes to take effect.

Fix 2: Check the wiring on your headphones

If you’re using wired headphones, it’s possible the left/right audio balance might be messed up because of faulty wires and connections.

To test this, try all of the following tests at least a few times while listening to a sound source:

  1. Connect your headphones to the PC using a different 3.5 millimeter jack or USB port.
  2. If your headphones use a 3.5 jack, try twisting and turning the jack and listen to any distortions.
  3. If your headphones have hardware controls, be sure you aren’t accidentally activating them.
Headphones such as HyperX Cloud 2 have lots of cables and settings that can go faulty

If you encounter any sort of distortions, then it’s possible your problems might be more hardware related.

Finally, double check you’re using the right headphone on the right ear, and left headphone on the left ear. Most headphones should have markings that indicate which ear piece is right and which is left.

This shouldn’t matter if you’re just listening to music, but movies and games usually have spatial audio to indicate where sound is coming from.

If your headphone orientation is flipped you might feel the need to change headphone orientation to compensate.

Fix 3: Disable Sound Enhancements in the Audio Devices Tab

In some cases, it’s possible your settings prevent adjusting the L/R audio balance individually.

For example, if you try to change the left balance, the right balance also changes to match the left balance.

In most cases, this should be an easy fix.

Step 1, 2 and 3: Here, follow the first three steps from Method 2 above until you reach the screen below:

Step 4: Click on Enhancements tab, and then activate Disable all enhancements.

Step 5: Click Apply, then go to Levels and try adjusting left / right sound balance again.

Fix 4: Change your audio quality settings

Step 1, 2 and 3: Here, follow the first three steps from Method 2 above until you reach the screen below:

Step 4: Click on Advanced tab, expand the Default Format tab and choose a different audio format. Be sure to also activate both options present in Exclusive mode.

Step 5: Click Apply, then go to Levels and try adjusting left / right sound balance again.

Fix 5: Run Windows Troubleshooter

Use Troubleshooter: Windows 10 has a built-in troubleshooter that can detect and fix issues with audio. Here’s how you can use it:

Step 1: Right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select “Troubleshoot sound problems“.

Step 2: Follow the prompts and apply any fixes recommended by the troubleshooter.

If this doesn’t work, then try checking with a different audio device. If you’re using headphones or external speakers, try using a different device to see if the issue persists. This can help you determine whether the problem is with your PC or the audio device you’re using.

Fix 6: Reinstall / Update drivers

Update Audio Drivers: Outdated drivers could cause issues with audio balance. You can update your audio drivers by:

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button and choose “Device Manager”.

Step 2: Expand “Sound, video and game controllers”, then right-click on your audio device and select “Update driver”.

Step 3: Follow the prompts to search for and install any available updates.

Reinstall Audio Drivers: If updating the drivers didn’t work, you could try reinstalling them. To do this:

Step 1: Go to “Device Manager” as before, right-click on your audio device, and select “Uninstall device”.

Step 2: Restart your PC. Windows should automatically reinstall the audio drivers on startup.

Adjust Windows 10 Sound balance on a per app basis

NirSoft SoundVolumeView

Download Link (scroll all the way to the bottom).

SoundVolumeView is a completely free program that gives you a huge amount of control over the sound settings of your computer.

For example, you can adjust your settings so that your sound volume is higher in Chrome, but lower in video game.

You can also use SoundVolumeView to adjust L/R balance in one program, but keep it different in another.

The interface is a bit clunky at first, but becomes easy to use once you understand the logic of it.

Here are the steps required to adjust sound balance on a per-app basis:

Step 1: Download SoundVolumeView and extract it into a folder.

Step 2: Open the SoundVolumeView.exe application.

Step 3: Click once on the app you want to change the L/R audio sound balance. Make sure the direction is Render (Capture usually means microphones).

Step 4: While the app is highlighted with the blue bar, click on Options -> Selected Channels. Channel 1 is left, while Channel 2 is right. Click on which channel you want to make louder/quieter.

Step 5: Move the bottom slider to the right until you can see the Channels Percent column. Notice how the sound balance is currently at 100% for each channel.

Step 5: Use the following commands to make certain channels louder/quieter:

  • Decrease volume 1% – Ctrl+1
  • Increase volume 1% – Ctrl+2
  • Decrease volume 5% – Ctrl+3
  • Increase volume 5% – Ctrl+4
  • Decrease volume 10% – Ctrl+5
  • Increase volume 10% – Ctrl+6

The image below shows how the left channel for the game Battlefield V is now at 70%, without affecting the sound balance for other programs.

Now follow the same steps above, but for the other channel.

That’s it. If you want to read more about SoundVolumeView and how it works, go to this link and scroll almost to the bottom. You should see a list of how-to and other guides for this program.

VB-CABLE- virtual audio cables

This software is much more technical and advanced than SoundVolumeView, but we’re putting it here just in case you’re a sound enthusiast.

In essence, VB-CABLE is a virtual audio device that works as a virtual audio cables. This gives you a ton of flexibility in how you can setup your sound systems.

Here is the download link in case you want to get crazy with this.

Paul Bonea
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