I'm trying to edit a podcast, and in order to test whether the file sounded right, I tried listening to it on my phone. This podcast is an .mp3 file that was edited in Audacity, and it contains two audio tracks that I mixed together before I exported the file. When I listen to the .mp3 on my computer, whether it's in Audacity, VLC, or Firefox, both tracks can be heard perfectly fine. And if I listen to it on my phone with earbuds in, it still sounds normal. However, when listening to the file on my phone's onboard speakers, only one of the audio tracks is audible. In other words, when you listen to the exact same file hosted on the exact same website on the exact same phone with a different audio output, it sounds completely different.

I'm about to tear my hair out. I've used the exact same technique before to edit several other podcast episodes, with no problems on any device. The file can be found here, and the first part that becomes different starts about 23 seconds in. If you listen to it on a phone's onboard speakers, there will be a few seconds of silence. If you listen to it on a laptop or on a phone with earbuds, you'll hear an excerpt from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." I tried this link on two laptops (both running Windows 7) and three iPhones. I also had a friend try it on his Android phone and he ran into the same problem.

Does anyone know how to fix this or how it could even be possible?

  • Are you using headphones or the phone speaker? – music2myear Dec 13 '18 at 23:44
  • @music2myear The phone speaker – reschultzed Dec 14 '18 at 0:00
  • I just tried it with headphones and it worked fine. Tried again using the phone speaker and it was broken again. Exact same thing happened on another phone. On a Windows 7 laptop, a Windows 10 desktop and a Chromebook, it works with both the onboard speakers and the headphones. Could this be an Apple thing, rather than a mobile thing? I don't have a Mac or an Android phone to test it on – reschultzed Dec 14 '18 at 5:37
  • Had a friend test it on his Android and he had the same problem. – reschultzed Dec 14 '18 at 6:38

Okay, I figured out the cause of the problem. The second audio track (the one that wasn't showing up on mobile) was accidentally made so that the waveform of the right track was the exact inverse of the left track. When listening to this audio file with earbuds, or on any device where the left and right audio outputs are separate speakers, it sounds normal because the two channels don't interact. However, the onboard speaker of a smartphone is usually in mono, so when playing stereo audio, the two channels have to be mixed together and so they cancel each other out.

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