It’s bliss when your Hi-Fi is working perfectly. You can sit back, meditating on the gorgeously blended stereo, and feel like everything is in balance. Speakers and music working in unity; the ideal sonic state of being.

That feeling of musical nirvana can evaporate pretty quickly if one of the speakers isn’t doing its job properly. Listening to Gregorian chants isn’t so harmonious when the choir on the left is singing louder than the one on the right. It’s annoying; a little niggle that won’t let you fully relax.

There’s no need to fret; we bring you good news. Speaker problems can often be fixed without needing to resort to repairs and replacements. A little pilgrimage around your stereo system can often reveal the truth of the issue and give you the key to unlocking your music in all its fullness once more.

Hi-Fi speaker

The Knowhow

There are a number of possible reasons why one speaker sounds louder than the other:

Balance control:

  • Many stereo systems allow you to adjust the strength of the signal sent to each speaker
  • The balance control should be set to the central position, i.e. no adjustment towards either speaker

Speaker positioning:

  • Walls and furniture can affect the sound from your speakers
  • The soundwaves may be deadened, blocked or distorted by being too close to these objects; never place speakers right against other objects
  • Speakers placed by walls, behind units or in the corner of a room are most likely to be affected
  • Moving the speakers further from the walls or furniture can dramatically alter how it projects sound
  • Try positioning the speakers the same distance from the wall
  • Balance control can be used to "fine-tune" any minor differences in volume caused by room shape or furniture that can’t be moved

Speakers "out of phase":

  • Check the wires between the speakers and the stereo
  • Make sure both speakers are connected in the same way; i.e. the same coloured wire connects to the same type of input and output for each speaker
  • For example, if you have a red wire going to the plus output on one speaker but the minus output on the other, the speakers will be "out of phase". This will make them sound different

Speaker Wires:

  • Ensure the wires are connected properly to the Hi-Fi and the speakers
  • Check there is enough bare wire at the end of each cable to connect properly
  • Make sure the bare wire is not frayed and fits into the connectors without any loose strands sticking out
  • Try swapping the wires from the left speaker to the right one. Do this at both the speaker and Hi-Fi ends of the cable. If the problem now occurs on the right speaker the wires may be faulty and need to be replaced


  • If you know the cables are not faulty, check the speakers by swapping the left for the right
  • Should one speaker still sound wrong when connected to the other wires it may be faulty and need repairing

Hi-Fi outputs:

  • If you know the cables and speakers are fine, check the outputs by swapping the left output cables on the Hi-Fi to the right ones, leaving the speaker connections as they are
  • Should the fault now switch from the left to right speaker it may indicate there is a fault in the Hi-Fi that needs repairing

Most of the time these issues can be solved without the need for repairing or replacing parts. Once you’ve got all the components singing from the same hymn sheet again it’s a musical revelation.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.

Updated On:

Nov 22, 2013

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