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Recording Google Hangout Audio

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There have been times in the last few weeks where I needed to record the audio of conversations that were taking place via Google Hangouts. This isn’t a frequent or even common task but the nature of my research requires me to record interviews. Some of those interviews are taking place via video conference. Considering how easy and reliable Google Hangouts is with video conference it became my go to platform. Of course, I realize that using the On the Air feature will record this to my YouTube channel and I use that often for my workshops and seminars. However, in research maintaining confidences is critical. So, how to record the audio without compromising the confidence of the participants presented a challenge.

That was until I harkened back to my DS106 days and a post from Timmmyboy about using Ladiocast to stream music and voiceovers to DS106Radio. This got me thinking about a team radio show I produced back in the DS106 days and then it hit me like a ton of bricks…I could adjust the audio settings so that I could grab the output of the other participants, my audio input, and push it all to Audacity for recording. Certainly, I could have signed up for a demo of WebEx, GoToMeeting, or Adobe Connect but let’s face it these things cost more money than they’re worth for small projects like this and Google Hangouts is far more convenient (and doesn’t get the thank you for downloading your trial emails and phone calls). Now, I am using a MacBook, so these are the instructions for doing this on a Mac. I welcome anyone who can post the PC version of how to make this work and perhaps I’ll revisit this once I’m through this research and do it myself.

So here is how I did it:

  • Download Soundflower, Ladiocast, and Audacity if you don’t have them already.
  • Install them.
  • Start Audacity, Ladiocast, and a Google Hangout (You don’t need to invite anyone just yet).
  • Begin from Ladiocast and set up the options like the image below. I use a Blue Snowball for my Mic but you can set this to whatever primary input device you use. Input 2 is set to Soundflower (2ch) so it is able to pick up the audio corresponds to the Google Hangouts – later. The Aux Output 1 probably could be set off but this gives you a live listen.

Ladiocast Settings

  • Next it is time to setup Audacity for recording. Notice how the output is set to built-in and the input is set to Soundflower (2ch).

Audacity Settings

  • Finally, set up Google Hangouts for the right input and output so everything will be recorded including your voice.

Google Hangout Settings

  • Now it is time to get going with the video conference and recorded audio. In Google Hangouts invite your people and within Audacity hit the record button. Bingo! You’re recording!

When you’re done stop the recording and export it to whatever file type or destination you’d like and you’ll have a nice clean recording of the audio from the meeting. Set everything back to normal for the next time you need to use Google Hangouts without recording the audio. Again, On the Air will stream and record which is fine but in working with interview or focus group research we need to maintain confidences at the same time as record the dialogue. Incidentally, this also beats a complicated hardware solution with lots of cables on your desk (Yes, I tried that too without any success).

 

 

 

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