I have no idea when this started as I wasn't using the headphones on the laptop for long time - so it might be since the latest minor upgrade.

After listening to music for a while, the sound starts shifting the balance to the right as if someone was slowly moving the balance bar. Rarey I can hear it moving the balance left and right for a couple of seconds.

Please note this is not the same issue recognised by Apple where opening the sound preferences you suddenly see that the balance is actually shifted to the right (or left). My sliders are always perfectly centered.

Sometimes when it happens and I go to the "Audio Midi Setup" and I move the left slider, the balance restores to the center, but other times it just mute completely the left channel. When this happens, also the test sound in the "Configure speakers..." section stops working, for both channels even if the right one is still playing music.

Sometimes plugging out the headphones and plugging them in again restores the balance, other times it doesn't.

This also happens if I use an external USB amp/dac so it's not the headphone itself nor the jack.

I tried rebooting without re-opening the apps, I've reset the SMC (actually I have no way to know if it worked as the green light in the power plug did not flash?) and NVRAM, several times. Killing coreaudiod too doesn't work.

I used Onyx to clear the system caches (including Kernel and such) and rebooted, still nothing.

I wouldn't like to upgrade to Sierra yet (assuming it would possibly fix it) as it seems there are too many bugs and I need the laptop to work.

Any idea, please?

1 Answer 1


In your question you state: I've reset the SMC (actually I have no way to know if it worked as the green light in the power plug did not flash?)

So, just to be sure you've used the correct procedure for your particular MacBook Pro (i.e. one with a built-in battery you can't remove), the steps for resetting the SMC are:

  1. Shut down your computer
  2. Keep the MagSafe adapter (power cable) plugged in.
  3. Press at the same time shiftoptioncontrol (on the left side of the keyboard) and the power button
  4. Let go
  5. Turn your computer back on with the power button.

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks Monomeeth, I've followed the procedure, yes, but someone (various sites) mentions that the light in the power connector might flash orange for a moment, and mine doesn't.
    – maraboshi
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:14

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