Significance of having ‘R’ and ‘L’ signs on headsets

By Deepak Tiwari Dec 07, 2021
If you use in-earphones or large headphones on a regular basis, you've probably noticed the 'L' and 'R' signs on each earbud and ear cup. This signifies left and right and is an instruction for which one goes in each ear. But why do headsets have left and right on them, and is it crucial to have them the proper way around? If you're listening to stereo sound, it's important to place the ear cup on the correct ear. This is due to the fact that stereo sound is frequently captured with two or more microphones, each of which captures a different segment of the audio.

The left and right separation aims to make your listening experience more like live sound (or action if you are using your earphones for watching a movie). Your listening experience at a live music event will be influenced by where you sit in respect to the audio source. If you sit closer to the guitar, that will certainly shine out more than the instruments that are further away. When music is recorded, sound professionals blend the various sounds to one channel or the other (Left or Right) so your ears hear different parts and you get closer to a "live" listening experience.

Is it really that essential? Audiophiles will almost certainly say yes, and they'll give you a fantastic explanation why. However, for many people, there may not be as much. If you use headphones for gaming, you'll already be aware of this. Stereo image is one of the reasons why many gamers choose open-back headphones. Through the headphones, stereo imaging allows you to hear the direction a sound is coming from. You might hear footsteps behind you, gunshots on your left, or an explosion to your right, for example. This is how the audio has been designed to make the game more immersive while also allowing you to react to the environment accurately.

If you have your headphones on the opposite ear, you may hear an enemy approaching from the right, but they will be approaching from the left. For most players, this isn't an ideal situation. If you're watching a TV show or a movie with headphones on, it's the same premise. You'll note that some of the sounds don't correspond to the action's direction. In an automobile chase, for example, the car may skid to the right, but the sound will be heard to the left.


Even if you put your headphones on the wrong side, you can still listen to them. T o highlight some of the more obvious changes that may help if you're experiencing difficulties getting sound from your right and left earbuds or cups, read below:

So one of the steps is to determine whether the problem is with your headphones or the device you're plugging them into. Try using a spare pair of earphones or headphones in the jack if you have any. If the problem is with the jack, use a penlight to look for any dust that is preventing a connection. Dust can be removed with a cotton bud, but you must be careful not to cause any extra damage.

Sweat damage could be the cause of your headphones not working. Sweat can damage the headphones' cushions, causing them to flake and peel, but it can also go inside and disrupt the drivers and other components.

One of the things we frequently do is re-pair the smartphone with the headphones. Sometimes one forgets about the other, and you'll have to re-add your headphones to get them to work again.

If sound is only coming from one side of a wired headset, there could be a problem with the cable. It may have been twisted or it may have shorted out. This is especially true with in-ear headphones, where the wiring is extremely fragile.

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