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How to read a 2-channel audio file in MATLAB

When I read an audio file with [y, Fs] = wavread(filename), it returns an Nx2 matrix. What are the meanings of these "channels"? Are they left & right? And if so, how should I combine them? I would have averaged them but an external code uses x(:,1) and I couldn't...

Matlab real time audio processing

I'm trying to record my microphone input and process it at the same time. I tried with a loop with this inside: recordblocking(recorder, 1); y = getaudiodata(recorder); % any processing on y But while I'm doing something with y, I'm losing information since not recording continuously. Is there something I...