Complete Guide on How to Tell if Speakers Are Out of Phase

By speakers being out of phase, the speaker’s wiring is not appropriately done, and thus, the sound will not be transmitted well. With this, the sound waves will not be received correctly. Possibly, the right sound can be heard from the left sound or even the left to the right sound. This will not cause any damage to your speaker, though the sounds transmitted will be irritative.

If positive terminals are connected to the negative terminals, then the possibility of having speakers out of phase is high. It is usually not a tough task to tell whether the speaker is out of phase or not. This article will clearly outline the steps and the observations that need to be made to correct the speakers from being out of phase.

How to check the speaker wiring

Connecting the speakers to your system requires only a few cables. The cables might be two, or more, but you will not like the sound produced once you connect the cables in opposite terminals. So the connections should be keenly made to avoid some bad experiences with music.

Steps to help spot causes of speakers being out of phase

Step 1: keenly carry out the left test and the right testhow to tell if speakers are out of phase

Mixing up the right and the left cables is a common mistake, and thus it can not be a wonder if you happen to do so. The music from the speakers will still be perfect, only that what should come out of the right speaker will be projected towards the left speaker and vice versa.

  • Carry out the right speaker-test

Download the right mp3.  If it does not work for you, you have to follow the other steps, but if it does, then you are good to go. If it does not work, then it means that you have interchanged the wires. For example, you might have mixed the wires up incorrectly, or it could be the audio cabling has crossed over.

Audio signal cables are usually coloured red and white. Check your wiring, and if it is not correctly done, you need to rewire and repeat the test.

  • Carry out the left speaker-test

You have to download the left mp3 or power press the left speaker website for guidance.

Step 2: Test the balancing of the speakersTest the balancing of the speakers

Now that you have your right and left speakers sorted out, you now need to check on the speaker balancing. When carrying out this test, you need to listen keenly to capture the sounds from both speakers. For example, if you play the word John from your audio, you should get the same sound from both speakers at the same time, and the word should end at the same time also.

  • The Centre balance test

Power press the centre speaker website or download the Centre mp3. You need to refer to the example above on the John sound. If the sound comes from one speaker, you need to check whether your system has balance control. If it has, make sure that the balance always controls in the central position.

If you still find out that the sound is one-sided even after following all the steps, then there might be a greater problem, and you need to move to the next step. For example, it could be that the connection is not appropriate or even a more serious electronic problem or a speaker problem.

Step 3: Check on the speaker phase testCheck on the speaker phase test

This kind of problem is very easy to fix though it has its disadvantages. It can degrade the performance of your speaker. When this type of problem occurs, you tend to hear a very minimal bass sound and the sound is only maintained within the speakers, which makes one prefer disconnecting everything.

  • The speaker phase test

You need to download the out-of-phase mp3. If it works on you, you are set to go, but it is evident that the speakers are out of phase if it still does not work.

Step 4: Fix the problemFix the problem

This is done by picking one of the speakers and swapping the wires at the back of the speaker around. The wires are usually two. Most speakers have the negative connection labelled black, and the positive connection labelled red. They are also called the ‘– connector’ and the ‘+connectors’, respectively.

If your wires are not labelled or have the same colours, you need to be a bit creative and find a way out. The easiest way is to trace one cable from the speaker and place a tape at the end and label it accordingly. You can, in another way, use two different kinds of metals—one which is an insulator and the other one a conductor. Silver and copper work best.

Now you have successfully fixed the problem, and all you need is to listen to the sound considering all the above steps and make sure they are all fixed.

Outlined results of out-of-phase speakers

  • A loss in bass or a reduced bass production. It is solved by checking and correcting the speaker phase test.
  • Loss of a stereo image. Here, you will have some difficulties, and you will have to strain to hear the sound being projected. This is because the speakers tend to produce sounds that do not have a specific location on your speakers. For example, above and outside your speakers. Thus, you are unable to tell where the sound is coming from.


It is somehow tough to explain what out-of-phase is if you have not experienced such a problem from your speakers. A speaker being out-of-space can be explained in many ways depending on what problem you are facing with your speakers. In one way or another, all the problems are solved in a very easy way. All you need is to locate the exact problem with your speaker.

It would help if you were keen when wiring the speaker cables to avoid these speaker problems. Where the cables are labelled, plug them appropriately to their specific jacks, whether negative or positive. In circumstances where you have followed all the above steps and you are still unable to tell or locate the problem, you have no other option other than consulting a professional to avoid causing major damage to your speakers.

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