cant get stereo output

Hi friends,

well, I goofed around all day long, trying to get an acoustic stereo picture of a sound using panning automation (tried to let a helicopter out of my Emu sampler fly from left to right :-)))) )

I understand the idea behind panning and I could find the controls managing it, but… I wasn’t able to hear the stereo movement .

Trying to analysize the situation I simply recorded a short stereo track, I saw the two meters in the track and in the master, but… moving the pan controls of both track and master did not deliver a hearable effect (I “recorded” the pan automation via “write” and switched to “play”, in the pan control of the mixer stripe you can clearly see the pan indicators moving.)

I took a stereo input signal from the Emu into a stereo track, for panning I linked the both channels (link button) and moved the pan indicators from left to right and back.

After that I had the idea to forget about the panning thing for now and to try to move the master signal completely from left to right. Nothing happended again.

And so I think that I’m only producing a mono signal…

As far as I can see all gear is set to stereo, so I’m a little bit out of ideas.

Does anyone maybe have a suggestion how I could turn my inaccurate mono music into inaccurate stereo music ? I’d be very happy about that.

Make sure everything is connected correctly, that the left and right outputs are connected to the corresponding inputs. I suspect you might have, say, master L connected to both L and R on the Lexicon or something.
The easiest way to check that is probably using the Connect button in QJackCtl (

Also make sure you haven’t pushed any mono button on the Lexicon (if it has any).

To make sure your system is set up for stereo, the easiest way is probably to import your favorite song to a stereo track and listen to it.

And if you want something to travel in the stereo field the easiest way is to use a mono track. After all a real helicopter isn’t a stereo generating object; it produces a sound that (at least from a distance) is mono and only when it moves do you experience a stereo effect.

OK, thanks for you reply peder

the question for me is exactly as you say… how can I figure out if the stuff is set up stereo or not. The helicopter thing was just an example to illustrate.

When I play directly from my gear, all stereo effects appear. As soon as the sound goes through my Lexicon to Ardour an back it seems to be mono. thats what I trying to find out, I hope maybe someone has a small simple hint how to continue error analyzing :slight_smile:

thanks peder for your suggestions, that were really good ideas

I checked them all, unfortunately… I still can’t get the gear to stereo output. Its all coming stereo in, Ardour shows correctly, but when playing back its just mono.

As you said… I did rip a stereo song, imported it to Ardour and when playing it back its… mono. Its clearly not an Ardour question, I think it’s a thing of Jack configuration and/or the Lexicon. I’m really out of ideas now, of course every musician knows how important a stereo picture of a song is.

Maybe I go investigating at Jack forums, don’t know what to do now. Lexicon itselfs offers just “Windows-answers”.

I fear that’s not the right place here to ask Jack questions, sorry for that, but that annoys a lot. I keep on investigating.

@scg62: there are no JACK “forums”. Its fine to ask questions about JACK here.

thats really good

what I did yesterday… I followed the idea of peder, imported a stereo wav as into a new track in Ardour and playing it back… it was mono.

Jack shows Master-out_1 connected with the System_playback_1 and Master-out_2 connected with the System_playback_2. So that looks good (but sounds bad :-))) )

I thought, maybe I must dig deeper, maybe it is a thing between alsa and Jack, but can someone tell how I could analyze this ?

The Messages of Jack show (when starting the demon) that he will use alsa -in4 -o2

Does somebody have an idea ?

Maybe the messages of Jack give a hint to someone ?

17:49:24.355 JACK is starting…
17:49:24.356 /usr/bin/jackd -dalsa -r44100 -p512 -n2 -D -Chw:1 -Phw:1 -i4 -o2
jackd 0.118.0
Copyright 2001-2009 Paul Davis, Stephane Letz, Jack O’Quinn, Torben Hohn and others.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; see the file COPYING for details
Memory locking is unlimited - this is dangerous. You should probably alter the line:
@audio - memlock unlimited
in your /etc/limits.conf to read:
@audio - memlock 1550463
17:49:24.385 JACK was started with PID=2499.
no message buffer overruns
JACK compiled with System V SHM support.
loading driver …
apparent rate = 44100
creating alsa driver … hw:1|hw:1|512|2|44100|4|2|nomon|swmeter|-|32bit
control device hw:1
configuring for 44100Hz, period = 512 frames (11.6 ms), buffer = 2 periods
ALSA: final selected sample format for capture: 24bit little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for capture
ALSA: final selected sample format for playback: 24bit little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for playback
17:49:26.459 Server configuration saved to “/home/scg/.jackdrc”.

And here is the output of aplay -l

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 1: Omega [Lexicon Omega], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
Subdevices: 0/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: Omega [Lexicon Omega], device 1: USB Audio [USB Audio #1]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 0: Intel ICH [Intel ICH5]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 4: Intel ICH - IEC958 [Intel ICH5 - IEC958]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

I see the Omega does have stereo/mono buttons. Please make sure they’re set to stereo.

How do you listen to it - through headphones or external speakers? If headphones, make sure they’re OK and if you’re using an adapter to go from 3.5mm to 6.35mm make sure it’s a stereo adapter and not a mono.

Try connecting the master_outs to some other system_playback and see if anything happens

Thank you very much peder, again you deliver good suggestions. I hope to approach more and more to a solution.

What I checked… the stereo buttons… they are set to stereo AND tha manual says:

“Monitor Assign
These buttons select whether a pair of analog audio sources will be heard in stereo or mono in the Direct Monitor Mix. In Stereo mode, the left inputs (Mic 1, Line 1, Line 3) are routed to the left monitor and even numbered inputs are routed to the right monitor.
In Mono mode, you’ll hear any inputs in the center of the Direct Monitor Mix through the Omega’s headphones or outputs.
When a Monitor switch is in Mono, it does not change the signal going to the computer via the USB bus in any way—they will still be separate and stereo in the computer.”

So I think they will have no influence on the problem.

Then… both headphones and external speakers show the same behaviour. Playing gear directly it is (on both) clearly stereo, playing it back from the DAW its mono (you can hear this on some echo flanger sounds). So I think the cabelling of extrenal speakers and/or headphone is OK. Addtininally I checked the internal cabelling diagram of the Lexicon and I could see that the headphone and line outs are parallel, so they MUST behave the same.

As you said, the master outs (of Ardour). I checked them in that graphic Jack thing, they are routed to the system_playback 1 and 2 each, that looks correct. I only have system_playback 1 and 2 , so I can’t connect the master outs to somewhere else.

What I also checked was the part of the manual saying
The Omega hardware is designed to interface directly with your Mac computer via USB using OS X’s
Core Audio drivers. This means no separate driver installation is needed as long as your Mac system
software is 10.2.8 or greater”

The Omega is listed in alsa as “supported” :
They use “snd_usb_audio” for it.

Thank you so much for your help so far, still ideas ? Maybe its an alsa question ?

Could be ALSA. See if you have an .asoundrc in your home directory. If so, do a “mv .asoundrc _asoundrc” before starting jack. And check any /etc/asound file.
Also start a teminal and run alsamixer to see if you have anything there set to mono.

BTW, which distro are you using?

One more thing to try is to disconnect one of the master_out->system_playback .
If the problem is in the jack-alsa signal chain you should hear sound from only one speaker, but if the problem exists in the Omega you should still hear sound from both speakers.

thank you so much peder, I will check that immediately saturday (when I am sober again :-)))) ) that sounds good. I tried this evening , really, its replaying mono (for a short moment I was enthusiastic, but I was wrong) I will report tomorrow.

I’m using AVLinux 4.0, a genious distro, everything worked out of the box- Very stable, really good work. No, PERFECT work.

I will (have to ) continue.

I was thinking, maybe I sell the Lexicon and get an interface that is SHURELY working, I hope that I can avoid this. The Lexicon has really good preamps, very good sound. It would be perfect. (if it was STEREO… :-)))) )

ok, there is no .asoundrc in the home directory and no asound file in /etc

when I start alsamixer (as toor or as a regular user) it reports the controls of the onboard Intel ICH5 (which is dectivated in BIOS), when I switch to the Lexicon, alsamixer says “This device does not have any controls” (so there is nothing that I can switch to stereo or unmute etc. Maybe thats the problem). The Intel seems to be the default.

I followed your advice an disconnected master/out_1 from system/playback_1, the sound was still on both speakers. The same when I did it with master/out_2 from system/playback_2. Disconnecting BOTH master/out’s resulted in total silence.

Well, that would indcate that the mono problem lies within the Omega, since if it was in fact playing in stereo but jack/alsa delivered the same signal to it’s left and right (thus sounding like mono) one speaker should go mute when you disconnect the jack connection.

Try connecting your sampler directly to the Omega and see if it’s mono as well. If my logic is correct it should be.

very good idea, peder, thank you, I will do that immediately tomorrow morning

what I did this afternoon (and what did support your idea)… I simply exported a stereo track with panning out of ardour… and played it back on another machine (my music server)

and … surprise… surprise… the panning was perfect

with the experiment you suggested (and which I will do tomorrow) all points to the direction that I will sell the Lexicon and get me an … whatever… now I have to investigate all that early stuff, which INTERFACE I will use… :-((((((( and I was really active in playing my music…

OK, that won’t stop me

peder… thank you so much for your kind help, your patience and letting me take part in your experience and knowledge. I learned a lot about searching errors , so the whole story was a good thing.

Thank you once more, I now how precious time is, and you gave me from yours.