I just used my laptop to connect to a tv via a 3.5mm to RCA cable, then later plugged my headphones into my laptop to watch a video and discovered that I could hear the instrumental parts of tracks, but not the voiceover/vocals. Checked the headphones with a different device, no problem, checked another pair of headphones with my laptop, same issue. It seems my speakers have got confused and are now trying to output sound in a different format, but I can't figure out to stop this. If I play sound through the laptop speakers then that seemed to be playing fine, but if I plug headphones in I get this issue. Both headphones are playing exactly the same thing, if I look up a left/right headphone test video, I hear both the left and right from both earpieces. I'm on windows 8 if that's relevant. Any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Have you tried restarting your computer? Sounds like soundcard software's gotten temporarily confused to me. If it is hardware, it's a pretty weird hardware problem. Like, what--you've got mono that's made up of right minus left (or vice versa)? That would account for losing the vocals--they're usually distributed identically in the right and left channels, I believe, so cancelling them out this way would give you right instruments minus left instruments (right vocals minus left vocals equals zero). – Mathieu K. Apr 28 '16 at 23:58
  • Yeah I've tried restarting several times, I did find a half fix in that if I change the balance of my headphones, turn the left down to 0 and right up to 100 I can hear the vocals again, but I lose all sound that would come through the left, and just get the right played through both, which is fairly unpleasant to listen to, and if I try to play a video game, becomes really offputting. I then went back to 50-50, but now it won't even let me change that again, if I try to edit one channel, both sliders move... – SamUS79 Apr 29 '16 at 0:02
  • Hmm. New stuff: I took some a headphone cord I had lying around and some alligator leads, and it turns out the tip is left, the sleeve is common ground, and the ring is right. When I disconnect the sleeve I get exactly what you're describing (and what I was speculating about above): one side minus the other, which is to say nothing that's exactly replicated in both channels. Trying it with a couple YouTube videos shows that for a typical song this means the vocals are either exceedingly muffled, or not there at all. – Mathieu K. Apr 29 '16 at 0:39
  • So your slider, when it worked, allowed you to listen to just left or right (including the vocals of that channel). I suspect the sleeve contact of your headphone jack's broken or the corresponding pin has come desoldered from the board. Shouldn't be too hard to fix for someone with the right tools, training, and parts. Definitely go through your laptop manufacturer's support first, if it's under warranty. Next, consider reinstalling the audio drivers, just because it's so much less involved than a hardware fix, and it could still be that. Somehow. Maybe. – Mathieu K. Apr 29 '16 at 0:40
  • By the way, one of my roommates tells me it's called OOPS—Out Of Phase Stereo—and that it can also happen when the headphone plug isn't plugged in all the way. – Mathieu K. Apr 29 '16 at 1:22

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