Sometimes you might have realized that when your amplifier is performing, one channel might play somewhat louder than the other. This is a common problem, especially in analog amplifiers. One can decide to regulate the volume to check whether the issue can be resolved. The situation gets eliminated when the volume is turned high.
To fix an amplifier with one channel louder than the other, several tips need to be followed. Various causes of this problem could be dirty controls, boundary gain, balance issues, and faulty speakers. This article will help you get to understand each problem and how to get rid of it.
Rapid troubleshooting steps
To fix the problem effectively, various checks need to be performed before handling the issue.
- Ensure that there is an existing problem
It is always good to ensure that there is indeed a problem in your amplifier when audio plays. To ensure that whatever situation you heard existed, you can opt to use a wattmeter. It helps in testing the balance of the two channels. One can as well use a multimeter or a combination of both. If the sound system is exemplary, your audio will play centered between the two channels.
- Check for any balance problem.
Sometimes your channels might produce uneven sounds, which might be a result of a balance issue. Thus, balance your sound until you get a satisfying output. Using an SPL meter, introduce pink noise to both your channels and measure the balance. From here, you can adjust the balance to ensure that the channels perform equally.
More complex troubleshooting steps
1. Defective speakers
When one speaker is playing louder than the other, then the other speaker must be defective. Ensure that you measure the speaker’s impedance using a multimeter to confirm its faultiness. If by measuring, the speaker has a lower impedance, then the speaker is faulty. Thus, look for an identical speaker and swap it out with the defective one.
The amplifier powers passive speakers since they are connected to it. Problems thus may result due to this connection. The current drawn from the amplifier is determined by impedance. Cables channeling to the speaker should as well be swapped out. In case the problem persists, then it could maybe be a signal problem.
2. Adjust the balance and speaker level
When you hear uneven sound from your speakers, it is good to adjust performance levels for an excellent performance. If, for instance, your left speaker is playing low, then from your right speaker, turn the level down. The sound should at least play evenly.
Adjusting the balance will not, however, solve the problem but will help make the sound even. It ensures that the better-performing speaker lowers its performance level to equalize with the other speaker.
3. Speaker boundary interference response (SBIR) and speaker placement.
SBIR defines how speakers placed close to a border interferes with the quality of the sound produced. The closeness often affects the speaker’s bass response making one of the speakers seem louder. Speakers placed close to a wall should be positioned so that they are at equal distances from the wall.
One can try directing both speakers to the direction of the listener by a toe-in process. It equalizes the boundary, and the listener can comfortably enjoy the performance. In cases where the walls are differently constructed, both in structure and material, the problem might persist.
4. Faulty switches or controls
Sometimes when you adjust your amplifier knobs or controls, you might not notice any reaction in your speakers. It thus means that the controls are faulty. Old devices will have their components as well age, degrading their pots. They all of a sudden stop working, hence the need for replacement.
5. Dirty controls and knobs
There are cases where when a slight resistance variation between your speakers, a little or no difference at all is noticeable. Thus, controls operate exponentially. Dirt in knobs and controls can, however, increase resistance. The controls should therefore be cleaned.
- Cleaning dirty knobs and controls
Many controls and knobs like input selectors, speaker buttons, volume pot, and stereo selectors can affect balance. Ensure you clean each knob by spraying your cleaner into the gaps and thoroughly rubbing them.
Clean the openings in between the switches. Make use of the best cleaner such as Deoxit D5 to get rid of the dirt particles present. Tilt the amplifier upside down to ensure that the spray gets into the gaps and work them carefully to avoid damages.
6. Faulty cables
Defective cables result in the production of poor audio, which irritates the listener. For a case where the speakers are in a good state, but still, one channel is louder than the other, there must be an issue with the amplifier.
Ensure that all your connections are well done and swap RCA cables with new quality ones. Use a multimeter to check for any available issues in the head unit. Different readings from that of the head unit show that there is a problem.
A low amplifier AC voltage when the amplifier is tested is an indication of faulty capacitors.
7. Defective capacitors
Electromagnetic appliances are fixed with capacitors. Faulty capacitors lead to unbalanced amplifier channels. Capacitors may dry up, increasing the capacitance hence lowering the total power output at the speakers.
One can use a multimeter to measure for any defects in the amplifier capacitors. It requires you to disassemble the entire amplifier to take the measurements.
Acquiring a sound system whose channels perform differently creates a bad feeling when playing audios. It is thus vital to fix the problem, which a slight interference could cause. Good audio is all that a listener will want to hear. However, when the channel’s performance is imbalanced, one might get mad or annoyed.
The above-discussed ways will help you troubleshoot and fix an amplifier with one speaker louder than the other. The speaker might be any, whether the left or the one on the right. Ensure you follow the steps and be sure you will have your problem resolved.