How to Turn ON/OFF Mono Audio on Windows 11 PC or Laptop - Windows Basics


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

How to Turn ON/OFF Mono Audio on Windows 11 PC or Laptop

By default, your PC plays audio in stereo (stereo) using both speakers. However, if one of your speakers is not working properly or you are using the headset with one earbud, you may not hear some sounds if they play on the inactive speakers.

Fortunately, Windows allows you to change your sound from stereo to mono, playing all the sound through a single speaker. You can also use mono mode as the default setting for better accessibility if you hear better with one ear.

What is Mono Audio?

Mono stands for "monophonic", where "mono" means one and "phonic" means sound. When audio is played through a single channel, it is called mono. It's not the number of instruments in a recording, but the channels through which those sounds are transmitted.

Most consumer electronics, including computers and phones, are configured to use stereo sound. Unless you manually change the settings to play mono, you'll hear everything in stereo. If for some reason one of those audio channels doesn't transmit audio, the listening experience will be worse.

In most cases, the best solution is to buy some affordable PC speakers and get the stereo sound back. However, you can also fix the problem by enabling mono sound on Windows.

How to enable/disable Mono Audio via Windows Settings

Turning Mono Audio on or off isn't too complicated on Windows. 

1. Start by pressing Winown Key + I to launch the Settings app. 

2. Select Sound from the right pane. Find an option called Mono audio and enable the button on the right.

If some sounds weren't playing before, try playing them again and see if they play now.

If you want to go back to using stereo sound, just turn this button off again.

How to enable/disable Mono Audio via Accessibility Settings

Do it through Accessibility Settings in the same way as with regular Settings.

1. Press Win + I to launch the Settings app. 

2. Select Accessibility from the left sidebar and select Audio from the right pane. Look for the option called Mono audio and enable the button next to it.

Test the speaker by playing a sound to double check if it works. If you want to turn it off, just click the toggle switch again.

How to enable/disable Mono Audio in VLC Media Player

If you don't want to enable Mono Audio for the entire operating system, you can simply use the settings in your media player. This will ensure that any media you play outside of that particular media player still plays in stereo.

There are many media players that allow playing mono audio, the article will use VLC as an example here.

Start by playing a video or audio file on VLC. Select the Audio option from the top ribbon and select Stereo mode. Select Mono from the list.

Now you can listen to the audio in mono mode. When you want to revert back to stereo, go to Audio > Stereo again and select Stereo.

Hopefully you can hear all the sounds after switching to Mono Audio. Listening to audio through just one channel is generally not as enjoyable as two channels, but it does help when fixing audio equipment.

After you get your new audio device, you'll want to familiarize yourself with all the sound settings in Windows to get the best out of your new device.

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