Is it possible to invert the audio output polarity to headphones on MBA M1? If so, how?

I have a music track which seems to have some issue with mastering on the left side of the sounds. I just want to verify that it is indeed a mastering issue & not my headphones going bad on me!


  • 1
    When you say poliarity - do you mean using a tool like Logic to switch what's in the stereo right channel with what's in the stereo left channel?
    – bmike
    Oct 21 at 12:19
  • 1
    Another pair of headphones/earbuds are the quickest way to test if it is the headphones. Then again, if other audio sounds OK on your headphones, then it is something else. This site has helped me in the past troubleshoot audio problems in AV installations big (theatres) and small (classrooms.)
    – IconDaemon
    Oct 21 at 12:22

It would be a lot less soldering to open the file in Audacity* [freeware] & reverse the phase of one side of the stereo image - https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/invert.html

Sonically, if both sides were phase-inverted you really wouldn't be able to tell. Ears cannot resolve absolute phase, only relative phase. If one side is out of phase, then sounds which should appear to be in the centre of the stereo field will appear to be 'somewhere outside your head' in a very odd way. Your brain cannot process such sounds, because they would have to be generated from actually inside your head whilst still being heard through your ears rather than by bone conduction, so the brain rejects it as impossible & instead you perceive the sound as being from a very strange kind of 'everywhere'.

*That's a direct download link, just so it doesn't surprise you. It's perfectly safe.

  • Thanks. Exactly what I'm looking for. Actually the issue is that left side can is giving some noise/buzzing on initial part of a track while right side isn't! Oct 21 at 12:57
  • That's probably an error in the file itself, not a phase issue.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 21 at 12:57
  • 1
    See apple.stackexchange.com/a/191511/85275 for how to flip which speaker [or headphone] the sound is sent to. It's a way to eliminate it being a hardware issue - again without soldering.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 21 at 12:59
  • Thanks. This is even better. Even with reverse polarity left can has that issue so I've verified that it is either left can of the headphones or my left ear which has, sadly, gone bad! Not sure which would be worse😂 Oct 21 at 13:08
  • 1
    hmmm… next stop, doctor's :/
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 21 at 13:13

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