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Audio in Hangouts
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Completely unofficial page. Opinions here are NOT to be linked to our employer, google. We are a few enthusiastic audio geeks that work on some of the software that powers audio in Google. We are happy to help on a best effort basis with your audio issues in hangouts.
Completely unofficial page. Opinions here are NOT to be linked to our employer, google. We are a few enthusiastic audio geeks that work on some of the software that powers audio in Google. We are happy to help on a best effort basis with your audio issues in hangouts.

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Do you sound like a chipmunk and use a Logitech C310? Read on:

Reports for Windows ("C310 Sound Like a Chipmunk") can be found here: http://forums.logitech.com/t5/Video-Chat-Applications-Non/HD-Webcam-C310-Power-Light-Not-On-Sound-Like-a-Chipmunk/td-p/833194

See last input from +Logitech support:

"I see that you are having microphone issues with your C310 on your Windows 7 x64 OS.
You could try this:
Open the Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Sound.

 Once you are on the Sound window click on the Recording tab and highlight the Logitech Webcam Microphone and click on Properties.

On the Properties window click on the Advanced tab On the Default Format box you should have a drop down menu please select the 16k Hz. And make a test to see if there's a difference.

Hope you find this information useful,"
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This is how the experts do it.
Professional Audio for Hangouts On Air brought to you by +Scott Mills of the +Toronto Police Service .. The complete mobile solution ..

Here we have a recent event (http://goo.gl/5WzHf) with a Mac Book Pro connected to a USB Webcam (mounted on a stand), Sennheiser Audio Receiver plugged into the mic socket and a USB 3g stick for web connection. Mounted on the speaker's lectern is a Sennheiser Audio Transmitter.

The slide also shows a media TV Truck, a bunch of cameras on tripods and a shot of the Event Page. Remember, the Hangout On Air kit easily slips into a rucksack and runs on batteries. Welcome to the future of Broadcasting.  
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Another important tip about echo. As I wrote, audio enhancements in windows will hurt you. Other "theater" "3D" "churh" or equalizers can also hurt the way the echo canceller times the input and the output delay.

Again, you will never hear this, but others in the hangout will.

Share these tips with the echoers, it will give you good karma points :)
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Lighting is important and hard to get right. Having a nice little stand like this helps!
Tips and Tricks to Improve your Hangout Experience

Like many of you, I am still experimenting with various tools to improve my Google Hangout experiences.  One source of great information is The Frugal Filmmaker.  You can find it on the Web, Facebook and YouTube.  

One thing I learned from the many helpful videos is to use PVC pipes to make all kinds of contraptions like light and microphone stands.  PVC pipes and connectors are generally available cheaply at most hardware stores in the plumbing section.  The attached photo is of an adjustable camera stand that sits on my desk (what makes it better than just a regular desktop tripod is that you can easily change lengths of the PVC to give you access to different shots).  You can easily make light stands with clamp lights too. 

You can make good stands for $5.00 or less.

So if you want ideas on how you can make cost-effective, portable stands to position your mics, lights and camera(s), check out the Frugal Filmmaker at http://filmflap.blogspot.com.  Here is a good video to get you started.  
Make a PVC Light Stand for Under $5

(I am not affiliated with the Frugal Filmmaker, I just like what they produce) Happy to chat with anyone about this who has questions.  Good luck and let me know if you have designed any cool PVC stands.
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A few words on echo.

When sound is played out from your speakers, it will be picked up by your microphone. If that sound is someone else's voice, it will go back in the microphone and sound like echo to the others. It's annoying.

In Hangouts, we use a piece of software to remove this echo. We basically scrub it away live.

As you can imagine this is a very complex thing to do, I call it black magic :) The piece of software that does this is called the Acoustic Echo Canceller, or AEC. Removing echo is done through complex maths.

The trick to well performing AEC is that it needs to properly time the voice being played out from the speaker to the voice picked up by the microphone.

The AEC is designed for personal use. Larger rooms can make this timing fail, as voices can come back from a wall far away. An external echo canceller, as mentionned here: can help.

The problem with echo is that when you hear it, it's not your fault. It is usually someone else's microphone that is picking up your voice. And if this happens, the AEC failed for the person on the other end, not you.

Here are some tips on how to be a good hangout citizen to avoid echo on your end.

1. Try using a headset. Laptops often have a built in microphone placed right next to the speaker. This can make it very hard for the AEC to perform properly.

2. Check to see if your computer is too busy. On windows, doing CTRL-SHIFT-ESC will bring up the task manager. Check that your computer is not overloaded. Without the proper ressources, the AEC won't be able to do it's job.

3. Turn off Audio Enhancements. Several computer manufacturers ship with so-called Audio Enhancements that ruin AEC performance. Shut these off by doing

• Right click on the speaker icon in the bottom right.
• Choose Recording devices.
• Right click on Internal Microphone and then select Properties.
• Select the Advanced tab.
• Uncheck Enable audio enhancements.
• Press OK.

4. Keep it simple. Use the same audio device to record and playback. Using USB speakers and the built-in microphone should work, but it makes things more complex. 

5. Don't point the speakers at the microphone, and keep them at a distance if possible.

6. Update, update update. Make sure you have the latest audio drivers, service packs and updates. We have often seen how this solves issues.

Our work on the AEC will never be done, but you can help: 

If people constantly complain that you are echo-ing, ping us. We'll likely ask for detailed system information and ask for some recordings from your computer. These will help us in making the next versions even better.

Thanks.
#hangoutsaudio
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+Jaana Nyström asks:
"
Which mic would you recommend for HOA's done with 1-3 persons speaking in front of an audience? Not in a studio. Book launch, trade shows etc. 2-3 mics, hand held or?"

I would get a couple of directional microphones (that pick up audio in front of the microphone and not all around). Plug them into a mixing console that is then connected to your computer.

I would also have the people at the event use headphones to avoid echo.

I have not done this for a while so I cannot recommend brands and such.

These are trickier scenarios. When we develop Hangouts audio stack, we try to aim for the common scenario for things like echo removal, volume control, noise reduction etc...

When you move further away from the "one person talking in a hangout" scenario, you may need to look into things like mixers, echo cancellation equipment and so on.

If anyone would like to share their experiences and setups for these kinds of   events, I promise to reshare! /S
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+Robert Redl writes:
"The Audio is now perfect, thank you for that. Job done.
Now lets move on andget  the 480p Limit and record on YouTube without thumbnails (only main video) to make HOA useful for screencasts and live events like games that need high resolution video."

Wow, we'll take an early Friday :) Thanks for the compliment.

I can't speak for the video team, but I will relay your feedback!
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+Julie Schippnick asks: 

"This is something I've always want when it came to sound in Hangouts... 

Is it possible to link two audio sources to my feed? As in i want to be able to capture the sound of one thing, such as a video or game I'm playing plus be able to speak into my mic as an overlaying narration, ie do a screenshare of a game or audio project I am working on but also talk at the same time without having to resort to having the sound coming from my speakers and then being picked up by an external microphone. "

If you want to mix in audio from sources outside your computer, +Matt Hale recommends a Behringer Xenyx 502. 

If you want to mix in audio from software running on the same computer as your current hangout, that is trickier.

Anyone out there can recommend somekind of software mixer that works well in this scenario?
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+Daria Musk asks:

"One Little Ask From Me... I'm loving Studio Mode, but there's been a few times where I'm 4 chords into a song and realize I didn't switch over to it... It would be great if instead of going into Settings and toggling the switch in there... You could add a button right into the main UI of the Hangout :)

I'm imagining something like a little blue musical note button right next to the mute camera and microphone buttons. You could click it, it lights up bright blue and you know you're rockin' in studio mode. :)"

Again, great great feedback. Happy we started this page. Blue note rockin' sounds like a great idea.
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