Software Routing Alternatives
Since Hangouts can not output a proper stereo mix from mutlitrack input, sometimes a bit of creative routing in software is necessary. If you’re having a problem where your microphone comes in one channel and instrument in another (or only one track comes in at all) there may be a solution here for you.
Mac OS X: Soundflower
On Mac OS X you can use a piece of software called Soundflower (Click to visit download site).
What Soundflower allows you to do is route audio from one piece of software to another, and output to any device you’d like.
Here’s the basic signal routing for using Soundflower with Hangouts:
- Multitrack Input
- Digital Audio Workstation
- Soundflower (which sends to)
- Audio interface output (and)
What you’ll be doing here is running the multitrack audio input into DAW software. I recommend using GarageBand for this purpose, as some DAWs have trouble with virtual audio devices.
After you’ve installed Soundflower, go to Finder, type in “Soundflowerbed” and open. A small flower icon will appear on the top bar. Click on it. Next…
- Hover over “Buffer Size” and set it to 128 or lower
- Select your audio interface as the output (see picture)*
The buffer size is important because you’ll have delay in your monitoring if left at the default.
*This is so you can monitor the final mix that is coming out of GarageBand. If your audio interface allows you to directly monitor the inputs you will have to turn that off.
Open GarageBand and create a new file. Name it “Hangouts” or similar.
Now, go into GarageBand’s settings (Preferences –> Audio/Midi). Set the input as your audio interface, and the output to “Soundflower 2ch” (as pictured).
- Create channels for your mics/instruments
- Set them to the appropriate inputs
- Arm each track for recording (Multitrack recording must be enabled)
- Turn on Monitoring (select “On without feedback protection”)
Note: The last step is very inportant because if Monitoring is not turned on, you won’t be able to hear yourself or get sound into the Hangout. Look for the Monitoring option on the right-hand side panel in Garageband, near the bottom. Other DAWs may have the option on the track itself.
All of your inputs should now be coming out of the master output of GarageBand, which is going to act as your mixer. You can also add effects to taste here.
Now go into the Hangout settings and set “Soundflower 2ch” as the input and the output to your audio interface (as pictured). GarageBand is sending the audio out to Soundflower which then sends it to your audio interface (so you can hear yourself) and into the Hangout.
Now all you have to do is set your levels.
Download the VB-Cable virtual audio driver .zip file and unzip its contents. Anywhere is fine.
VB-Cable comes in 32-bit (VBCABLE_Setup.exe) and 64-bit (VBCABLE_Setup_x64.exe) versions. Right-click on the version that is appropriate for your operating system and select “Run as administrator”.
After finishing the installation you may need to restart your computer.
VB-Cable Control Panel
In the directory where you unzipped the VB-Cable zip file, locate and open the program called VBCABLE_ControlPanel.exe
Click Options and select “Set max latency: 1024 smp”
It will then prompt you to restart your computer.
Now go into the audio settings in your DAW and set the output device to “CABLE Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable)”. VB-Cable isn’t an ASIO driver so you’ll have to use either DirectSound or WaveOut. It may also work with WASAPI. Mind the buffer and sample rate as lower means less latency but higher means more stability. Depends on how powerful your system is. Here’s what this looks like in Cockos’ Reaper:
After setting the appropriate inputs on your interface to individual channels (vocals, guitar etc) you then need to turn on record/softare monitoring. This is so the DAW will output the live signal.
Set the hardware output of the master section to “Output 1/Output 2”. Make sure no individual channels have hardware outputs enabled.
Then switch to Studio Mode.
Currently there is no easy option for low latency monitoring of VB-Cable’s output. This means you’ll have to use the direct hardware monitoring of your audio interface. If your interface has gain knobs for each channel, you can set your mix that way and watch your meters in the DAW software to make sure you’re not peaking.
Next: Microphone Selection and Placement