Summary:

Google+ Hangouts were designed as a group video chat application with voice conversations in mind — but numerous musicians have been using the platform for concerts and online jam sessions. Google has now tweaked the audio settings to make these gigs sound better.

daria musk

Live music sessions in Google+ Hangouts are going to sound a whole lot better from now on, thanks to some advanced audio settings rolled out Monday morning. Musicians now have the ability to switch their audio setting from “voice” to “studio mode” to improve the sound quality. The company didn’t provide any details on how exactly it has been tweaking the sound settings, which could include a higher bit rate or possibly even a different codec, but one of the more obvious improvements is the addition of stereo sound.

Hangouts On Air product manager Matthew Leske announced the changes with a Google+ post, which read in part:

Since we launched Google+ a little over a year ago, we’ve seen a thriving community of musicians connect with fans in really cool ways. In particular: singer/songwriters like +Daria Musk, bands like +Suite 709 and many others are using Hangouts On Air to perform live for global audiences, and jam with fans face-to-face. We wanted to make these live hangout concerts sound more like the stage.

Hangouts mastermind Chee Chew previously told me in an interview that his team was initially worried when people started to use Hangouts for music, because the group chat’s codec was heavily optimized for voice transmission. “It wasn’t wide-band, but people were really pushing the envelope,” he said. Check out my entire interview with Chew below:

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