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I've got a MacBook Pro (mid 2014) and Bluetooth earphones (TaoTronics TT-BH07). I'm usually good with noticing changes with audio in general. A few days ago, I've realized that sound was a bit like balanced to the right. I've thought it was just me or my ear, or the song that I was listening. Then it kept, and I went to the audio settings just to be sure. Here is (approximately) what it looked like:

enter image description here

I've changed the slider to center, and the problem went away. I've thought I've accidentally changed it somehow.

Today, I've started listening music and immediately realized that sound was again off to the right. Went to settings and it was again biased right like the screenshot. This time I'm 100% sure that I haven't messed with it accidentally.

I've fixed it again and currently I'm having no issues. But why would this keep happening? I'm on macOS 10.12.2.

UPDATE: Yes, I've seen Audio balance is being changed randomly in a MBP retina 15'' mid 2012 but my case seems to be isolated to Bluetooth Audio in particular. Never had (or at least realized) that this is the case with wired earphones or internal speakers. In addition, I use the same Bluetooth earphones with my iPhone and Apple Watch, and I'm not having any problems with them.

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    I can reproduce this bug. MBP from 2015, El Capitan, Bose QuietComfort 35 bluetooth headphones. – zaus Nov 1 '17 at 9:34
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    I can also reproduce it with my Bose QuietComfort 35 (firmware 1.3.4) on macOS High Sierra (10.13.2). Very annoying. – Fredrik Eder Jan 11 '18 at 7:15
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    I can also reproduce it with Sony WH-1000XM2 and MacBook Pro 15" mid-2015 with Sierra 10.12.6. One way that it happens is when I start an android emulator (bluetooth switches to telephony profile with terrible quality. When I switch it back I have the Balance problem). – Stan Jan 16 '18 at 9:50
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    Wow... there is an app to fix this problem for $5... I know it's ridiculous on the side of Apple, but if you find yourself helpless give it a try (I am not promoting it specifically) Balance Lock - Audio Tool - By Tunabelly Software Inc. I might give it a try, though I hate the idea. – Stan Jan 16 '18 at 9:53
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    In case anyone was curious - this bug still exists on a 2019 MBP. Connecting Apple's own Airpods randomly changes the balance. – Windmill Sep 3 at 15:50
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This is not the solution to the bug, however, there is an open source MacOS app that is a workaround. It watches for balance changes and centres immediately.

Disclaimer: I made the application. I had similar problems with both Bluetooth headphones and normal headphones.

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  • Really really, thank you ! This is a crazy thing and you save my mind – Rémi Becheras Nov 17 '18 at 23:55
  • This issue is also happening to me on MBP 2017, Catalina, bluetooth headphones - super annoying and somewhat randomly occurring. Does seem to be bluetooth-related as using wired headset previously as well as internal speakers and never witnessed this behavior. Bug in the bluetooth stack... – SliverNinja - MSFT Jan 30 at 12:56
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    "Tunabelly Software are now releasing their software for free (Previously paid app). They have a more polished and reliable app than [Ballast]. You may want to use their great work." tunabellysoftware.com/balance_lock – incandescentman Mar 4 at 5:10
  • I have the same issue. Seems to start when I switch from headphone jack to usb audio. I saw you mention a free app in github, but I still prefer open source app. – John Siu Apr 30 at 3:57
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This free app also solves the problem:

https://www.tunabellysoftware.com/balance_lock/

Headphones a little off? Noticing your audio isn't quite centred? Enter Balance Lock - it will keep your audio centred and prevent left/right drift.

It's the perfect utility for making sure when plugging and unplugging headphones that the audio stays centred. It was designed out of frustration of the long standing OS X bug where the audio balance can randomly move away from the center.

It's simple to use and runs in the background un-intrusively.

Download it now, completely for free to enjoy perfect audio that is no longer slightly off balance!

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