First thing’s first: Don’t use Safari. Just don’t. Really. Don’t.
Problem: My audio and video are both pretty fuzzy. My signal freezes up occassionally.
How is the quality of your internet connection? If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, try plugging your computer in directly and see if that helps.
The major considerations are upload speed and packet loss. If your internet plan only has 1Mbps or thereabouts, you should consider upgrading. 5Mbps or better is what you should shoot for.
Packet loss, as shown by Pingtest, is a big red flag that your ISP isn’t providing good service. If you are experiencing packet loss, contact your ISP for support.
Problem: What if my vocals are in the left channel and my guitar is on the right? (or vice versa)
You’re probably using a multichannel audio interface. Here’s the problem with that: Most audio interfaces don’t put out a stereo mix. They put each input on an individual audio channel.
When you select your audio device in the Hangout settings, it’s grabbing those individual channels, but it isn’t mixing them together so you get both out of both speakers.
Check out the “Software Routing Alternatives” section for info on how to fix this.
Problem: What if I see signals on all of my channels, but only one is going into the Hangout?
A similar problem to the one above, but the Hangout is probably only grabbing one of your channels instead of two.
See the “Software Routing Alternatives” section for info on how to fix this.
Problem: No one can hear my sound at all!
Check the Hangout settings to make sure you have the right devices selected. Sometimes the settings will reset to defaults since the last time you joined a Hangout.
Secondly, check the gain settings on your channels to make sure they’re at an appropriate level.
Third, check to make sure neither the Hangout nor any software you’re using are muted.
If you’re using the method outlined under “Software Routing Alternatives” and using a DAW other than GarageBand, make sure you have the channels in your DAW armed for recording and set for record monitoring.
Problem: I have a lot of background noise in my signal.
If you’re running an analog cable into the 3.5mm mic/line jack on your computer, noise sort of comes with the territory. A bit of his is to be expected, but there are other sources of noise that can be injected into your signal.
There are some things that will make the noise worse. Like ground noise.
Plugging all of your devices into the same outlet may alleviate some of the noise. Make sure you’re not plugging into a circuit that noisy appliances may be on. Of course, try not to overload the outlet.
Do a Google search for “Alleviating ground noise” or similar for more info.
Problem: My sound is VERY distorted.
A few things may be causing this:
- Gain too high on mixer channels
- Gain too high on audio interface channels
- Master input into computer too high
- Output from software into Hangout is too high.
The rule of thumb here is, watch your meters. All signals in moderation. Don’t try to push anything to the bleeding edge. Leave yourself a bit of headroom on all fronts.
…or it could just be a Hangout glitch. That happens sometimes too. In that case, restart your browser and give it another try. Google Chrome usually works best for Hangouts.
Problem: Other users are hearing their own mics echoing through mine.
You may have heard that this is a glitch in Studio Mode, but this is absolutely not true. Voice Mode has echo cancellation built-in, which is why echo may only appear after switching to Studio Mode. It is, assuming the echo is coming from you, a problem with your setup and not the codec.
There are two possible causes for this:
- You have speakers on which are being picked up by a microphone.
- You’re inadvertently running the Hangout output back in through the input.
The first is easy to fix. Turn off your speakers and use headphones.
The second is a bit more tricky. For monitoring reasons you might be running the Hangout output, or your computer output in general, back out to your mixing board. Or you might have a switch on your interface that sends the computer audio to the master output of the interface.
You have to make absolutely certain that your signal chain is not routing the Hangout output back in through the feed you’re sending into the Hangout.
The best advice I can give you here is to try to visualize the route your audio takes from microphone/instrument to Hangout, and Hangout to your monitoring solution. Take it apart piece by piece, try muting certain things, and you’ll track down where that echo is coming from.
I need your help to finish this section!
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please post them in the comments section.