What has happened to the balance control on most stereos and music playing devices these days?

I still need this feature on occasion and am often frustrated that I cannot find it.

For instance, this morning I wanted to get a stereo to play only the left channel of a track. I have a radio in my class but it doesn’t have a balance control. I usually play music on my computer because I can use Window’s Media Player and adjust the balance on the graphic equalizer of that program.

I have some excellent music teaching resources and many of these programs come with records or CDs that have split tracks on them. These tracks will play normally on any stereo. You can hear the song with both the vocals and the instrumental track. This is a handy feature since you can learn to sing along with the song and then when you are ready to perform it yourself, you can pan the signal all the way to the left and you will only hear the instrumental track. The songs basically then become karaoke versions.

I absolutely love split track recordings. The best thing about them is that once you learn a song in class, you don’t need to find a piano and a player to accompany you. I find that the students really like having music to sing along with. It helps keep them on time and on beat, and it helps them from being shy and singing without any accompaniment.

The problem is that I wanted to have the choir sing a song in this morning’s assembly. I tried to find a stereo with a balance on it and I came up dry. I knew that a few classrooms have laptop computers so I tried to use of those but they all have a different version on Media Player on them and there is no balance control on it. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have this feature.

I also couldn’t figure out a way to adjust the balance on the computer’s main volume. I think there is probably a way to do that but I ran out of time. So the choir did not perform today. I will make sure that we have the proper gear and equipment so that next time we have an opportunity to perform, we will be able to.

Let me hear from you.

Check your stereo or MP3 player. Does it have a balance control? If not, does it bother you that you don’t have this option? Why do you think this isn’t a standard feature?

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