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Windows 7: Stereo Output plays some sound in opposite ear

06 Jan 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
Stereo Output plays some sound in opposite ear


I'm having a problem with stereo sound on my laptop.

My laptop has a single stereo 3.5mm headphone jack and I have an ordinary pair of ear bud headphones and a pair of stereo speakers.

I work with sound (binaural beats) where it is important that sounds that are sent to the left speaker and right speaker are completely separate - i.e., proper stereo sound. However I noticed that my laptop leaking sound from either ear to the other ear.

For example when I create a mono track on the sound editing program Audacity, and have it panned completely to the left, I should hear nothing in my right speaker, and sound in the left speaker. this is not the case. Instead, I hear a soft sound in my right ear and a loud sound in my left ear. Stereo is working, but for some reason a reduced volume sound is being sent to the opposite ear. The opposite happens when I reverse this and pan completely to the right.

When I go to control panel/sound/speakers and headphones/configure - to get to "Speaker Setup" i see the option "Stereo" selected (I don't have any other options here). I click on the button to test the left speaker and I hear a loud noise in my left ear and a soft noise in my right ear (once again I would expect to hear noise in my left ear and nothing in my right ear). The opposite happens when I reverse this and click on the "right" speaker to test.

I have repeated all the above tests with stereo speakers and I still have the same problem

The jack of my headphones and speakers was definitely plugged in properly.

My headphones work properly with other devices (an mp3 player).

The levels are set properly in control panel/sound/speakers and headphones/properties/levels/balance. Left and right are set to the same level.

I'm stuck! Does anyone know how I can override this so I don't get any audio in my right ear if I have an audio track panned completely to the left?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2015   #2

win 7 64 bit

Hi go to hp support site and see if they have an updated driver if not just try re-installing the driver. see if that helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2015   #3

Windows 10 64 bit

Based on what you have posted it sounds like a hardware problem in the PC. If the PC is out of warranty, consider using a USB connected sound card instead of the internal sound card.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Jan 2015   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Thanks for your replies.

I tried updating the driver, no luck, it still does the same thing.

Fireberd, I have another HP computer of a different model, and it does the same thing. Surely both don't have a hardware problem? It seems like it's some sort of deliberate feature of the way HP laptops handle sound? Could that be possible?

If it is a deliberate feature from HP, would a USB sound card fix the problem? Is there possibly some program that can cause the computer to handle sound differently?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2015   #5

Windows 10 64 bit

Not ALL HP's do this.

I have a recording studio and have never experienced this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2015   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by callumboase View Post
For example when I create a mono track on the sound editing program Audacity, and have it panned completely to the left, I should hear nothing in my right speaker, and sound in the left speaker. this is not the case. Instead, I hear a soft sound in my right ear and a loud sound in my left ear. Stereo is working, but for some reason a reduced volume sound is being sent to the opposite ear. The opposite happens when I reverse this and pan completely to the right.
I believe your HP Pavillion DM4 laptop comes with Dolby Home Theater audio (running on top of the Realtek HD audio sound chip, to provide "audio enhancements").

It might be that you have some "effect" currently active from the Dolby Home Theater software, which is trying to produce a "virtual surround" or some other enhanced audio result. This might explain why you are observing what sounds like cross-feed from one channel to the other, which is a very typical technique used to accomplish "enhanced audio".

Can you simply disable Dolby Home theater, and see if that eliminates the cross-channel effect you are trying to get rid of?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2015   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Thanks so much, everyone, for your replies.

I have found two solutions to my problem thanks to your comments.

Fireberd, your suggestion of buying a USB sound card worked (although unfortunately I bought a $3 one off ebay which has TERRIBLE sound quality and makes my headphones get hot. It was unusable. It seems in this instance a better quality USB sound card will be in order). But the principle works and I don't get the cross channel effect between ears/speakers.

dsperber, my computer doesn't seem to have Dolby Home theater. I searched for it in program files, add remove programs, and start menu.

Your suggestion, however, lead me to look into the fact that my computer has Beats Audio. This does a similar thing: puts effects on the sound output, over the top of anything the normal windows controls do. I tried going to beats audio control panel and adjusting settings, but no matter what setting I tried, it still had the cross-channel effect. Then I tried turning off beats audio, but it seems to still put some effects onto the sound, and I still had the cross-channel effect.

Eventually I came across a youtube video: of a guy who has had similar problems with a HP beats audio notebook, which was causing him problems editing audio.

The video explains the following solution:
1. Go into control panel/device manager/sound, video and game controllers and double click on IDT High Definition Audio Codec
2. Click on the tab "Driver"
3. Click "update driver"
4. Click "browse my computer for driver software"
5. Click "let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer"
6. Find "high definition audio device" and double click
7. Click "yes"
And now you have loaded the default windows sound driver, rather than the IDT driver that seems to help drive Beats Audio. My beats audio control panel no longer worked. I tested my speakers, and my cross-channel problem was gone!

Despite what the guy says in the video, this doesn't seem to affect the sound quality of my computer - I get the same sound from the inbuilt speakers as I did before (which I wasn't expecting because when I turned off beats audio while the IDT driver was installed, the sound would sound tinny in comparison to when beats audio was on). It does, fix the cross-channel effect, however, which I am very please about.

If you need to reverse the change, you can just go and double click on the device which is now called "High Definition Audio Device" and press the "roll back driver" button, and it will go back to how it was.

The other HP computer that has the same problem that I mentioned above, does not have Beats Audio, but still has the IDT high Definition audio codec. I did the same process outlined above, it it fixed the problem on that one too. So perhaps its a problem with some HP computers, not necessarily with just Beats Audio editions.

Thanks again everyone for your help, and I hope anyone else who has this problem finds this post and finds their solution.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2015   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Interesting story. Good detective job. All the online specs I saw for the DM4 showed that it came with Dolby Home Theater software, but maybe those were old and out-of-date. I did now find that there were "Beats Edition" models as well, which I guess include the Beats software you discovered. You didn't provide any more specifics about your machine in your original post other than that it was a DM4, so I didn't know anything about this Beats story.

Turns out I have a friend who has an HP Pavillion DV7 laptop, which coincidentally was showing the Beats logo in the system tray, for the "Settings" app. This clearly suggested it might have similar audio hardware to your own DM4.

So I looked in Device Manager for sound, and sure enough "IDT High Definition Audio CODEC" appeared as one of the items. Looking at the Hardware ID for that device (via the DETAILS tab), it showed:


which turns out to be the ID for an IDT audio chip, not a Realtek audio chip as I thought might actually be present with just the IDT audio driver as you found in your own DM4.

Anyway, it's probably that HP made a deal with Dr. Dre and Beats, and replaced their old Realtek audio chips and supporting Dolby Home Theater software, with this IDT audio chip and with the IDT audio driver. I played around a little with that Beats Settings program, to see if there was a way to adjust things. I am "remote" from that laptop, so I can't hear what's going on or what it sounds like through headphones, but I did see that there was an EQ (with what clearly was some default non-zero settings for its frequency band sliders, which I'd never touched previously but which clearly were adjusted there by default).

I was actually unable to "disable" this Beats whole thing. There was another ATI High Definition Audio Device shown in Device Manager -> Sound, but this is unrelated to your headphones and speakers. This is simply available through the HDMI output on the DV7 laptop, in case you use an external monitor connected with an HDMI cable, or perhaps feed an external sound system through digital audio coming via the HDMI output of the DV7. Anyway, this is unrelated to the IDT chip and Beats driver/software.

Note that in Device Manager -> Sound -> IDT sound chip, clicking on the DRIVER tab showed a driver provided by IDT. You say you've now reverted back to the MS vanilla generic audio driver to handle this same IDT chip, which eliminated the "effects" inserted by this whole Beats driver/software enhancement installed by HP. What shows as the driver on your DRIVER tab... Microsoft? Or still IDT? And what is the driver version and date?

Anyway, if things are now working for you then great. Mission accomplished.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2015   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Hi again dsperber. Thanks for that information.

Hopefully that helps anyone else trying to do a similar thing.

I think I know what you mean in your last paragraph. In Device manager/Sound/ the device is now called High Definition Audio Device (not IDT sound chip). When I double click on that and go to the DRIVER tab, I see that the driver is now by Microsoft.

Yep, Mission accomplished, thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Stereo Output plays some sound in opposite ear

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