Record a Google+ Hangout with Garageband

Google+ Hangouts On Air

When we first started this podcasts, we used Skype to connect, and recorded everything on Garageband. Using a combination of Skype, Garageband, Soundflower, Nicecast and LineIn, we were able to record both Adam and Cory’s audio separately, which made editing the episodes much easier. However, the setup to get everything recorded properly was rather difficult to get right, and any small change would often result in frantic troubleshooting to get everything up and running again.

When Google+ Hangouts On Air opened to the public, we knew we had to give it a shot, even though it would require us to reconfigure the entire setup. So we made a few changes, fired up Google+, started a hangout, and… nothing. Despite our best efforts, we could not get both sides of the conversation to record properly. After more than an hour of testing and configuring and breaking things, we decided to revert back to Skype for the week, and give it another shot when we had more time to tinker with everything.

Thankfully, Kasey and Dave over at the ‘Flee The Scene‘ podcast have a setup that is very similar to ours, and managed to figure out the right combination of programs required to send a conversation from Google+ Hangouts into Garageband. Since there may be others out there looking for the same information, we thought we’d share what it takes to record a Google+ Hangout, so that you can do it too:

The Tools
Garageband – For multi-track recording
Soundflower – Moves audio between applications
LineIn – Moves audio from your microphone to an application
Google+ Hangouts – For the video/audio chat
Headphones/Microphone – A must if you want good, clean audio

The Setup
Line In:
Open 2 copies of LineIn. (To create a second copy, you can duplicate the application in Finder.) In Copy 1, set your microphone as the Input and “Soundflower (16ch)” as the Output. Under “Advanced…” set the Output Left channel to 3, and the Output Right channel to 4. Hit the “Pass Through” button.

In Copy 2, set Soundflower (2ch) as the Input, and “Soundflower (16ch)” as the Output. Under “Advanced…” set the Output Left channel to 1 and the Output Right channel to 2. Hit the “Pass Through” button. (This step is critical, and is what was giving us so much trouble the first time we attempted this process. For whatever reason, Google+ Hangouts will not output into “Soundflower (16ch)”, so this step takes the audio from the Hangout and makes it usable within Garageband.)

Google Hangouts:
Start a new hangout and go to the Settings. Set your microphone as the Input and “Soundflower (2ch)” as the Output.

SoundflowerBed:
In the menu bar, select “Built-In Output” under the Soundflower (2ch) section. This will let you hear the Google Hangout audio in your headphones.

Garageband:
Start a new audio recording. Under Preferences, set “Soundflower (16ch)” as the Input, and “Built-In Output” as the Output. Next, create two audio tracks, and click the red record button on both tracks to record to both at the same time. In the Info panel (the little “i” in the bottom right of the screen) select “Stereo 1/2 (Soundflower (16ch))” as the Input Source for one track (this will be the output from whoever is in the Google Hangout). On the other track, select “Stereo 3/4 (Soundflower (16ch))” as the Input source (this will be your audio from the microphone).

(Note: This setup is designed to work on a Mac, since that’s what we use to record. If you have a PC… you should probably just go buy a Mac.)

Hopefully that helps someone else out there as much as it helped us, since we know from firsthand experience just how frustrating this setup can be!

If these instructions worked for you, or if you have any questions, or if we missed anything that you want to add, be sure to let us know!

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