Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My headset broke recently and now only left side of it works. In some songs, there are parts that are only played through the right side and since my right side doesn't work, I can't hear them. I want to set the sound so it only plays on the left side. I tried changing the balance settings in sound preferences, but it only mutes the right channel, doesn't make it play through the left channel. How can I do this?

share|improve this question
You should look at making the sound mono. Apparently with stereo music the tracks can super impose and ruin the music. I'm not sure it's so bad but I think that's the track you want to go down. – Joshua Siret Sep 10 '12 at 16:58
Hm... I know iOS has this as an accessibility feature, but I don't see it under ubuntu universal access. This should definitely be added! Voice your opinions here… – hnasarat Sep 10 '12 at 17:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I found the solution at, here's the link:

Basically you switch from pulseaudio to alsa, and you enable something called crosstalk, that allows you to hear both channels without 'super imposing' them.

share|improve this answer

Taken from

The mono profile is usually thrown away as most hardware does not support opening it in one-channel mode only.

You can configure pulseaudio to do what you suggest by modifying /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/profile-sets/default.conf and /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/profile-sets/extra-hdmi.conf

In both files, go to the [Mapping analog-mono] section and change channel-map = mono to channel-map = mono,mono

This will take effect the next time pulseaudio is restarted (e g by rebooting).

The major question is however, whether we should do this by default, and if we risk regressing other hardware by doing so.

-- David Henningsson (diwic)

share|improve this answer
I tried this approach, but I couldn't find an extra-hdmi.conf file (it no longer seems to exist), and when I just modified default.conf as described it broke my sound completely. YMMV. – machineghost 21 hours ago

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.