Headset only gets sound on right side

By PCdummy2011 · 11 replies
Mar 20, 2011
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  1. Hi guys,

    Im new on the website and I would appreciate some help. Basically for some reason starting last night only one side (the right side) of my headset works with my PC. I have tested the same headset with my iPod and both sides work, even further I used my iPod earphones with the PC and the same results - only the right earphone works.

    I have tried google search to see if anyone had a similar problem but most of the replies are "Oh it must be your headset or check the audio/stereo settings"

    Before one side of the headset stopped working, literally 20 minute before it stopped I was listening to music on YouTube and everything was working. I did not pull any cables nor dropped the PC lol and I didnt even turn the PC off.

    Im not great with handling PC's so you tell me what information should I provide. To start with I am using a 32bit Windows XP and here is some info I got from EVEREST:

    • CPU Type AMD Athlon 64, 2000 MHz (10 x 200) 3200+
    • Motherboard Name ECS RX480-A (3 PCI, 2 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, LAN)
    • Motherboard Chipset ATI Radeon Xpress 200P, AMD Hammer

    • Audio Adapter ATI SB400 - AC'97 Audio Controller

    I presume I will have to buy a new motherboard or sound card; I am not sure if a have one or an inbuilt one, you tell me =] Thanks
  2. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 929   +31

    if you're settings are correct, i guess the onboard sound probably have been busted, considering the age of the AC97 itself.
  3. PCdummy2011

    PCdummy2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Then the best option for me is to buy a sound card? If so, would any work with my PC?

    From what I have visually observed is that I need a sound card that will fit into the 5V PCI Express slot... I have checked some online stores and all I see is what looks like the Universal 3.3V & 5V...

    http :// linuxtidbits.files.wordpress . com/2009/01/pci-pcix.jpg (The forum does not let me post decent links because I have yet not reached 5 posts)

    How do I identify a suitable sound card at an online shop?

    Just to illustrate what my MB looks like:
    http :// img815.imageshack . us/img815/8499/ecsrx480a.jpg
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    It's also possible that the fault is only the headphone stereo socket.
    On a stereo headphone plug, you have 3 sections to the plug. The end section is the left channel sound, the middle is the right channel sound and the back section is the ground (return) for both channels.
    Of course the socket is the same, with spring contacts that press onto the plug to make contact. It's possible the spring contact has lost it's 'return' action and just needs a tweak to get it back where it should be.
    If the headphone socket is on a separate panel on the front of your pc, you may be able to get it out to see what's happened.
    * Plug the headphones in, and with music playing, press the plug left, then right, then down then up. Does the sound come back in both sides? (It would prove it's a spring contact problem.)
    ** But.... it may well be the sound chip has lost output in one channel, so you will have to fit a new separate sound card in a PCI slot, won't cost much.
  5. PCdummy2011

    PCdummy2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi mike1959, I have noticed that the left channel works if I only insert the audio jack about halfway but if I insert it in fully then the right channel only. I will inspect it again later. Thank you for your input

    P.S I use the headphone socket at the back of the computer. I also have them on the front panel of the PC and both channels work when using that, but the quality of the sound is very different (deeper sound, more bass) to what I get when using the back socket
  6. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 929   +31

    don't forget there are also plenty of USB soundcards which can be considered if you are out of PCI slots.
  7. PCdummy2011

    PCdummy2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey nismo91,

    Could you give me some more details about such usb sound cards? What I am interested in is how they are installed?

    From the research I've done I think firstly I need to disable the onboard chip via BIOS, and what next? Would one of these external sound card operate as plug & play or is there a complex installation process involved?
  8. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 929   +31

    USB soundcards are plug and play. i used one before (creative x-fi 5.1 surround usb) and it works like a USB speakers (some of them can work without any driver installation).

    you can disable the onboard sound in BIOS but that is actually optional. that is because your system will detect both sound devices. and in control panel you can select the USB to be the default device hence all the sound coming will be sent to the USB soundcard. if the usb is disconnected, it will transfer the sound to the next available sound device.

    if you want the easiest solution, get a decent USB soundcard. not only they sound superior to your AC97 onboard, but they definitely packs more features that you may need in the future.
  9. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    If you find the sound quality is higher quality on the front panel socket, than the back,
    it's probably because the front panel is designed for headphones, the back one is a 'line out', and really designed to be an input to a separate amplified pair of speakers. The level on the back of the pc will be low, and the impedance will be high, so it doesn't match the low impedance headphones (about 16 to 32 ohms).
    The effect will be a lack of bass in the music playback.
    There is a good range of add-on sound cards at;
  10. PCdummy2011

    PCdummy2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay guys thanks for all the comments, before I go forward and purchase the sound card I have final question.. At the start I was confused about the PCI slots, as you see from the image I posted previously there are 3 slots on my MB and each slot is split into 2 sections I guess, the long (left) and shorter gap (right)... This led me thinking that the sound card I need has to be exact shape, but now I am starting to realize that 'universal' sound cards with 3 slots (http :// pan1.fotovista. com/dev/1/6/05321861/l_05321861.jpg) are created to function with both types? With this said, would one of these work with my PC? Correct me if I am wrong =]

    And also, when I use the front panel - for some unknown reason, when the sound should appear on the right side it comes out of the left and vice verse... Yet another mystery!
  11. Lokalaskurar

    Lokalaskurar TS Enthusiast Posts: 544

    Yes, universal sound cards are universal. But you need not to worry. (I've checked all of the pictures you've linked) Your "long" gap is on the left, and the shorter gap is on the right - so your PCI-slot is a 32-bit PCI slot, in other words the absolutely most common PCI slot.

    If the orientation would be reversed, it could have been a 64-bit PCI slot. Universal cards are designed to work with both 32 and 64 bit PCI-slots, so yes: a plain ordinary soundcard would have worked in that slot, and a universal card as well.
  12. PCdummy2011

    PCdummy2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Bought a new sound card, everything is working. Thanks to all =]

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