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Audio in Hangouts
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Audio 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,"
When I speak, the receiver hears a high-pitched, fast-forward sounding version of my speech. Other people have reported this in Skype on this forum...
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Mark Perleberg's profile photoJB Leve's profile photo
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JB Leve
 
Can't figure that out either...  Any luck solving it?
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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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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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+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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Yup I definitely think a toggle button would rock and letting the host be able to toggle people on and off too like mute.

I also think on airs in the stream should say LIVE or previously recorded on them so people know as well as shorten the opening hangout intro , maybe let people know that the show is coming up because it can be long and people won't wait more than 3 seconds usually.

I'd also love to see a way for you to see easily when people and pages in your circle are Currently LIVE with an easy way to get to watch them with one click.

A player at the top of your stream too showing current and past on airs along with videos posted in your stream with a way to search the player and respond to posts from the top of your stream would rock!

Also something in gtalk that means "on air" so people know that you maybe shouldn't be gtalked cause you're not just busy but LIVE!

Can't wait for CONCERT MODE in which the host pushes it on for the entire hangout to be set for multiple people to play at once and nobody has to mute :)
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+Nobilis Reed writes: 

"Sometimes a user in a hangout will have a source of noise (air conditioning, fan, other nearby equipment) that causes a constant hum or whine in the audio feed.  Sometimes it's loud enough to cause that person's face to dominate the screen even when they're not talking, and someone else is.

I'd love to have a way to turn on a tool that would identify that hum and filter it out of their audio stream.  That would be awesome."

Yes it would. This is a subject of continued research in the audio processing community. You will find that many experts are working on identifying and removing unwanted noises, including experts at Google.
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Audio in Hangouts

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Ronnie Bincer's profile photoPágina Web Ahora's profile photoJaana Nyström's profile photo
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Thank you for this guide, for a basic setup as well as an advanced. Excellent that you included routing software. Nowadays, do you think that Jackpilot would work better than Soundflower for Mac?  /Arnaldo
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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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I just got a Logitech H760 Cordless behind the ear headset that works very well: http://vuc.li/H760cordless
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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.
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David Freeman's profile photoJessica Obermayer's profile photoMark Williams's profile photoAndrew M's profile photo
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I've always experienced issues with 2 echo-canceler's fighting each other (In these applications) but after I connected all of this for my application they didn't seem to affect one another at all.  It's as if the software AEC had nothing to do so it just did nothing.  
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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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Audio in Hangouts's profile photoTodd Hartley's profile photoDenis Nurmela's profile photoMike Downes's profile photo
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We run a radio show from our studio and have recently added video of our show using Hangout. We are really enjoying the interface and have been working on making the equipment work better with the hangout system. We have run a direct line off the output from our control board into a USB port adapter and have been having gain/volume issues. It has been peaking way too high. We think we may have it fixed now by changing the settings for the device. We are afraid that they will auto reset any time the computer reboots. Does anyone have an idea on an inexpensive inline volume control device we can add to manually control the input? We are using a line that connects to a 3.5 audio jack. 
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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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Matt Hale's profile photoTim Behrens's profile photoDon Browne's profile photoTrinket Narhi's profile photo
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Is there a way to share just sound from the PC but no mic.... like say you only wanted a games sound....
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+Ileane Smith asks: 

"+Audio in Hangouts will you do any mic show downs? I'd like to see the mic I use (Samson C03U) in a show down against some others. "

Showdowns are always fun, but our (serge and tina's) goals for this page is to gather your feedback, help troubleshoot and foremost: re-share your great tips and hints!

If you see any good comparisons, please share!
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Ileane Smith's profile photo
 
+Audio in Hangouts Thanks. Will do. :)
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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.