How To Set Up a Hangout On Air Concert

by Phil Aston

How To Set Up a Hangout On Air Concert

by Phil Aston

by Phil Aston

Hangouts On Air are one of the best features on the Google Plus platform.  The holy grail for musicians is the option to broadcast their own concerts.

The Sue Aston Show, was the first real Hangout Concert broadcast from the UK at this level of quality. We had a lot of comments from around the world about how we set this up.  The Violin is a very unforgiving instrument if not set up correctly.  For standard Hangouts On Air you can get away with a external webcam and mic but for music you do need an external mixer for the additional control.

This first show was broadcast on March 2nd and was watched in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Africa.

Since then we have produced many successful online shows
Up until January 2015 this was our set up.

Equipment – Settings

(Based on 17mbs upload speed)

The Aston Family Show – Music Hangout On in HD

This HOA has caused quite a stir in the world of Hangouts and for a music / talk show HOA it is the most complex but successful one I have produced.
We had over 230 people in the live feed and also had guests on the panel. The show was broadcast live in the USA and viewed in Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Africa and the UK.

It was the first one where we decided to broadcast in HD Video.
We decided to start simple with one instrument and then slowly added more as the show progressed. Towards the end where all four of us are playing I had to leave the production element to it’s own devices.

The set up

  • Violin – Beyer 360 ribbon mic (direct to behringer mixer)
  • Acoustic Guitar – Marshall amp – Shure SM57 –
  • Classical Guitar – Marshall amp (input 2) Shure SM57
  • Electric Guitar – Vox Amp – Shure SM57
  • Vocals / Harmonica / Introductions (direct to mixer) – Shure SM58

All the above inputs were EQ’d at the mixer stage.
Settings were changed from voice to studio throughout.

The live HOA mix was monitored via Pro Logic X which gave me a good idea of what people were hearing. The sound was tested on earbuds and large Tannoy floor standing speakers before we went live.
The live mix from Pro Logic was also fed into the headphone streams so we could all hear each other!

On this HOA we needed at least two more inputs so we upgraded our mixing interface for the next event.

The show was broadcast from our living room so microphone bleed across channels was a huge issue. To combat this we placed each of the amps in different parts of the house. This gave me more control over the mix.
A lot of the mix was live so different settings were needed for harmonica and spoken voice as was reverbs effects etc.

The show was hosted by My Music Hangout in the USA and broadcast from Cornwall. We had a great panel of guests and the comment tracker was doing over time. At one point I had to remind myself we were broadcasting live around the world from our house!


This is great! The sound rocks, the video quality is good for the medium, oh yea. and the music is beautiful.. Had to stop for a sec and realize I’m listening to a mom and her son, playing local tunes from their house 1/2 way around the world. Wow. 🙂 John Ellis (USA)

Another History-Making event here on YouTube as Sue Aston and her talented son Dan present a live concert performance over Hangouts-On-Air. This is testing the waters with the new “Studio mode” audio codec recently offered up to us by Google. While typically too shrill sounding for instruments such as cymbals and violins, it was masterfully controlled in this recording with EQ. Three MARVELOUS songs with very good production values are the result. Enjoy! Terry Leigh Britton (USA)

Phil Aston is a partner at Genius Loci a Digital Marketing & Media agency based in Cornwall. Phil has over 26 years experience in SEO, Marketing & Photography and works primarily in the Tourism & Retail sector. He is also a yoga teacher and musician.

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