Hangouts On Air Studio Mode Audio Analysis

Here are my results from a series of tests run on Studio Mode audio in Google+ Hangouts On Air. The results come from the archived video on Youtube, not from within the Hangout itself.

Update: August 2014

What is the sound like in HD Hangouts?

Google upgraded Hangouts On Air to HD video a while back, and with that upgrade have come some improvements to the audio. This test is a bit more in depth than the original from April 2013, including audio files for you to hear the difference.


Playback of a high quality audio file of one of my original songs (a demo from 2012), first at average around -10db, then at full volume with average level around -2db. Provided is the original 320kbps MP3 file as a reference. At -10db you’ll be able to compare and contrast early Studio Mode (archived test from August 2012) with current Studio Mode. Also provided is a a test of Voice mode with the high quality filed played at -10db.

As another point of comparison, I’ve included audio from the same song clip played through Youtube Live.

Then I ran a series of frequecy sweeps through Hangouts On Air, going from 20hz to 20khz, at various levels of loudness: -3db, -5db, and -8db.

Spek is used to analyse the audio files and generate spectrograph images.

David Santy Google Plus Hangouts On Air Studio Mode Setup Guide

Google Hangouts on Air: Audio Setup Guide for Studio Mode

Hangouts On Air has been discontinued and removed from Youtube Live. I’ll be leaving this guide up because most of the information on hardware is still useful even when using other streaming services.

Get your audio dialed in for Studio Mode Hangouts On Air!


Back in the autumn of 2012 I’d already spent dozens of hours remotely troubleshooting audio setups for artists all over the globe. I came to realize that many, many artists had the same or similar hurdles with their setup, which inspired me to write this guide.

This guide is the culmination of two years worth of performing, engineering, and producing music Hangouts On Air.

Some can spend hours trying to set up their gear with lackluster results. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be particularly expensive or complicated to arrive at a pleasant sounding setup.

Why You Need This Guide

If you’re reading this guide you’re probably already sold on how Hangouts will afford you a new way to connect with your audience.

That being said, what is more important to a musician than the sound quality of their broadcast? Without high quality audio, you can’t convey the full depth and power of your performance.

You may have already discovered that you can’t just “plug it all in” and have it work like a dream. Oftentimes what you’re hearing through your headphones isn’t what is coming through to the broadcast audience. Even more important than the equipment you use is taking the time to set everything up properly.

With this guide I hope to cover most everything you’ll need to work out your own setup for Hangouts On Air. The goal here is to give you a better idea of the capabilities, limitations and requirements of using Studio Mode for Hangouts On Air. Also, to provide some resources for further research.