How to swap left and right speaker output in Mac OS X

My MacBook is set up as a desktop computer — it’s plugged into a Dell 22in LCD monitor (E228WFP) and sits on a fabulous Rain Design mStand so that I can use its screen as a second monitor. I have a pair of Logitech speakers plugged into the MacBook’s headphone socket, but since the MacBook sits on the left of my desk and the headphone socket is on the left of the MacBook, the (short) audio cable that runs to the right speaker is stretched rather tightly.

A simple 3.5mm male to 3.5mm female speaker cable would solve this, but I already have enough cables behind my desk, so I figured that it wold be easier to simply swap the speakers around so that the right one was nearer the MacBook. This would also reverse the speakers’ stereo image, of course, so I’d also need to swap the L-R speaker assignments in Mac OS X. Is such a thing possible? Fortunately, yes — here’s how.

All you need to do is Open Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup and look on the Audio Devices tab. Select Built-in Output from the Properties For drop-down list, then click the Configure Speakers button (it’s greyed out until you make that drop-down selection).

mac-speakers-1This opens a new dialogue box where you can switch the L-R assignments for stereo speakers — just select 2 from the left speaker’s drop-down and 1 from the right’s. You can click the icon for each speaker to test the changes, then click Done when you’re done.

mac-speakers-2

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  • Nicholas Trollope

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Todd Doyle

    Just had this exact problem, the Audio MIDI setup looks a little different now, but still got the jist of it, worked perfectly. Cheers

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.sa Adrian Sandmeier

    Thank you very much!

  • Tim Hunter

    Thank you!

  • Giorgos Giannoutsos

    Anything is possible with mac os :) Thanx for the tip :)

  • Marco Baldessari

    Thanks a lot!

  • Beni

    doesn’t this swap channels for MIDI only?

    • http://typingcat.blogspot.com/ Sin Jeong-hun (신정훈)

      No, I test with YouTube videos. Left and right were changed for videos.

  • Dooner P. Jenkins

    Awesome, thanks. Worked great. My PC’s hd pooped out on me, so I’m using an old mac pro tower from work’s obsolete pile. It’s too heavy for my desk and my speaker’s cables are short…. easier just to swap the speakers :D

  • Rick Schad

    Mis-mounted my speakers, thanks for the help!

  • http://www.CompleteUnityDeveloper.com Ben Tristem

    Awesome, really handy with my strange-ass setup.

  • http://typingcat.blogspot.com/ Sin Jeong-hun (신정훈)

    It is shocking that Windows has not this simple feature and OS X has.

  • Lindomar de Paula

    Thanks for help. In november 2015 the solution is the same.

  • Falux-Bkk

    7 years later, and another happy user who found this :)

  • coldcut

    Thanks! Never would have found this, been looking all over the system preferences.

  • Sebastián Sánchez

    Thanks a lot! <3

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