Why won't one of my speakers work?
March 18, 2008 2:43 PM   Subscribe

When I plug my speakers into my laptop, one of them doesn't work; when I plug my speakers into my mp3 player, they both work fine. What would cause this?

I little while ago I noticed that one of my speakers wasn't working. As in, when I listen to music, sound only comes out of one speaker. I used multiple programs (WMP, itunes, etc) and it made no difference. I plugged the speakers into an mp3 player, and they both work fine. Also, when I use headphones I hear a strange (quiet) buzzing sound in the background. My computer had two sound jacks and the problem persists when I use either one.


I'm running windows vista on a dell, if that makes a difference.
posted by Autarky to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
i think you would benefit from answers to my previous question.
posted by yonation at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2008

Don't want to overlook the obvious, check the balance fader in the volume control panel
posted by handybitesize at 3:10 PM on March 18, 2008

When you use headphones do you get sound out of both of them?

If so, the plug on the speaker cable might not be sitting properly in the jack. Try pushing it up, down or in to see if that makes a difference (gently).
posted by ODiV at 4:02 PM on March 18, 2008

I agree and think it's likely that your headphone socket is broken.. Sound out of only one channel is a VERY common problem when this happens...

I also agree with ODiV, a good way to check this is to jiggle the cable a little (and spin it around) to see if you can get sound out of two speakers... Depending on your needs, sometimes you can find a position that works most of the time (I do this with my internet tablet, which needs the headphone plug to be bend back at a particular angle to work)...

Otherwise, not much you can do, unless you are the type that can replace it!
posted by ranglin at 4:24 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: When I use headphones I get sound in both ears, so I don't quite see how this could be an issue with the headphone socket...
posted by Autarky at 5:05 PM on March 18, 2008

Also make sure you're plugging into the headphone/speaker port and not the line out - it might be mono output.
posted by attercoppe at 5:32 PM on March 18, 2008

my first thought was that your speakers are stereo and your headphones aren't, which would be weird. It would just mean that you've cooked a channel on your port. Look at the jack---two little colored (maybe black) bands means stereo, one means mono. Have you tried the speakers in another jack?
posted by TomMelee at 5:38 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, the speakers work fine when I plug them in elsewhere.
posted by Autarky at 5:59 PM on March 18, 2008

Sounds like the modular plug for the speakers isnt seating all the way into the jack.

Hold up the jack for the headphones that work and the speaker jack and compare them - are they the same length all the way to the plastic housing around the jack? Any size differences?
It may be the plastic portion the jack itself comes out of, of something on the edge of the laptop or at the port itself gets in the way, it wont seat in all the way and you will only get sound out of one, you can try it with the headphones by plugging them only partway into the laptop jack and see if you get the same effect, if it is the plastic blocking it from seating, you may want to trim the plastic a little with an x-acto knife to see if it fits better.

If your speakers have the mod jack cord as a removable part and not built in, try reversing it or get a male-male replacement somewhere and see if it helps.

here's another thread with pic and some suggestions after the pic.
posted by clanger at 6:33 PM on March 18, 2008

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