Only one side of headphone/speaker is working

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dwservingHim, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. dwservingHim macrumors newbie


    Oct 24, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey guys,
    So I have a 15" Macbook Pro and the other day while trying out a subwoofer I got, it started playing only out one side of the headphones or speakers. I know it's not the headphones cause I've tried it on other devices and no matter what is plugged in to it, on only comes out one side.
    From the forums I've read it doesn't seem to be a sound card or the logic board, otherwise it wouldn't be working at all. The most logical explanation is that the connection inside the jack is messed up.

    Does anyone know how to fix this without having to take it in? Even a diagram of inside the headphone jack would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. derickdub macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2011
    Are you sure it's a hardware problem? Have you checked the balance in your sound settings? You could also get some compressed air blow it in the jack with the opening facing down, something could have gotten in there and is keeping you from getting a good connection.

    If all else fails you would probably need a logic board replacement since the connectors are built into it. At least on the newer unibody models.
  3. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    Be sure to make sure that your balance is set in the middle on system preferences.

    Screen Shot 2011-10-25 at 8.23.34 PM.png
  4. derickdub macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2011
    Also note that balance is independent of output, so just because it was working fine with the internal speakers doesn't mean it still can't be the balance with external speakers. OS X will remember the setting for each and automatically adjust them based on what output is selected.

    You could also try a PRAM reset, but I doubt it will do anything.
  5. dwservingHim thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 24, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, checking the balance was one of the first things I did and that's not the issue. Also, from every forum I've read, it seemed like when the logic board went out it affected both side of the speakers, but this is only one. I may need to do that in the end though. Furthermore I already tried the PRAM reset and that didn't do that magic either. I've taken a cue tip with some rubbing alcohol on it and cleaned out the jack, but again no luck. Any other ideas or a diagram? Thanks for your responses though.
  6. dandanapple macrumors newbie


    Jun 14, 2012
    I found this thread when searching for my problem, and for me it was a simple balance issue. Thanks for the input!
  7. messedup macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2012
    hey did u get any solution
    even my macbook pro is giving same problem
  8. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    I got my Macbook a few months and just using the headphone jack for the first time.

    It's only working in the right earphone Balance is correct. Also it's not the headphones

    I'm fairly pissed
  9. BalzacFlaubert macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2013
    I had this issue with my new 15" Rmbp (speaker balance was fine, however any headphones would play back on right channel only), and it seems I've fixed it.

    I went into the Sound settings, in System Preferences. With the headphones plugged into the phone jack, I checked the balance settings, and to my dismay they balance knob seemed fine and centered. I played with the knob and re-centered it, and this mysteriously seems to have fixed it. Now the audio is playing balanced through headphones.
  10. mishkinn, Sep 17, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014

    mishkinn macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2014
    Check audio/MIDI settings

    This same thing just happened to me (even though my mac is less than a year old), but it was an easy fix in the end.

    Go to your Applications folder and choose the Utilities folder. Inside Utilities, choose Audio/MIDI setup.

    Make sure your output is set to 2-channel at 44100.0 Hz. If it got reset to 1-channel for some reason, then your computer would play the sound as mono, so just select 2-ch in the drop down. But in my case, the value of my 2nd channel was marked all the way down, while the 1st channel was at it's highest volume. So I just dragged the 2nd channel bar to match.

    Sometimes an update to your Mac operating system can throw off your audio settings. But mine did it apparently for no reason, so maybe something happened when I installed a software. Beats me... but glad it's working properly now.

    Hope this helps!
  11. weberthompson macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2015
    Only one side of headphone/speaker is working - fixed!

    Thanks mishkinn,

    I also had the same problem, and like johnnnw, I too, was pissed, as my macbook is only 8 months or so old. Anyway, Mishkinn's suggestion worked. Had to go into utilities/Audio MIDI Setup.exe, and had to play around the the levels. It actually was set to 2 channel but for some reason when I started sliding the slider around, selecting other options, and then finally, unplugging and replugging in my headphones, it started to work just fine. Very relieved to know it wasn't a hardware problem.
  12. vanhill macrumors newbie


    Jan 24, 2016
    Thanks Mishkinn and Weberthompson!

    I realize this is a pretty old thread, but the same thing just started happening to me a couple weeks ago.
    My audio MIDI settings were already set up just like Mishkinn suggested, so I just flipped the options around a few times. Nothing changed while I was doing that, but when I unplugged and replugged in my headphones, it worked like a charm.

    Thanks again.
  13. VMGL macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2016
    my balance had changed on the computer i don't have any memory changing it, just wanted to say thx for mentioning it because i never thought of it!
  14. mimries, Jul 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017

    mimries macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2017
    Oh my GOD this thread is old but if anyone could help I would appreciate it! I've tried everything you guys have suggested and still, for some reason, my headphones will only emit sound out of the left ear. When I unplug my headphones, the sound is fine, but if I plug them back in I still only get sound out of that ear. I've tried restarting my computer, Tweaking dials and sliders in Audio MIDI Setup on my MacBook, and I've gone to settings to make sure the audio was balanced evenly in both ears.

    I'm afraid to say it's a hardware problem, but it might be. I've tried using a different pair of headphones for this same computer, but, it had the same results. If anyone even remembers this post I wanted to ask if they would suggest anything? Thank you!
  15. tomsta1488 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2018
    Just wanted to share!: I was scr*wing around with all the mentioned settings I could find, based on all the stories about this problem you can find on the internet. For years now, only my left speaker worked. I had already concluded my speaker was probably damaged (hardware defect) Yesterday though, I connected my macbook to the TV via HDMI and I set the audio OUT device to HDMI. I wanted to hear the sound on my TV. Later I disconnected the macbook pro and today, suddenly my right speaker appears to be working again!!! For some reason, at some point, something went wrong with a software setting I guess. It might have some to do with plugging/unplugging headphones aswel. Try to do this HDMI audio OUT and unplug again, if you can't get any further on this.

    This fixed my problem with only the left speaker working on Macbook Pro late 2013
  16. tomsta1488 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2018

    UPDATE: Too bad! Problem is BACK.
  17. Snaify macrumors newbie


    Jun 12, 2018
    Wow that was so simple, I feel pretty foolish! Thank you! To be fair, I think a recent update screwed with the former balance, because my headphones worked fine prior. Nonetheless, this was very helpful!

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