Soundtracks in Google Meet
Earlier this year I had to switch from Zoom to Google Meet. Our kids were having major lag issues using Zoom and Meet seemed to just play nicer with their Chromebooks. I had become very comfortable using Zoom, especially it's fantastic video and audio sharing along with the beautiful virtual backgrounds. Meet, sadly, doesn't do any of those things very well. I've managed to figure out how to emulate the most difficult of the features of Zoom and I want to share how!
The biggest issue I ran into was the inability to play music cleanly. I love having music running before class as students are entering our virtual space. Silence is deafening but music sets a great tone for your class. You can play music through your speakers and Meet with play it back but it ends up sounding terrible and often cuts out. I'll make it simple - don't do it. It ruins your show. I've been in enough presentations where the presenters have tried and it simply doesn't work.
So, how do we clean up that audio? One option is to use the Share Tab option in Google Meet. This works great and the sound quality is good. The problem is it prevents you from sharing any other screen. I like to have my PreShow running as my shared screen and that just wouldn't be possible if I was also sharing a tab with my music.
The best option then is to find a way to directly pick up your PC audio like Zoom does. Luckily, there is a way! When you are in your Google Meet you can choose your microphone by clicking on the 3 dots in the bottom corner and choosing Settings.
In Settings, the Audio tab should be selected automatically. If not, click on it. You'll get a drop down menu there that lets you choose your Microphone. In the list you should have an option saying "Stereo Mix" possibly followed by the name of your soundcard. This is the option to choose to play PC audio directly through your Meet. That's it! Play your audio of your choice through Spotify, YouTube, etc. You'll hear it normally through your speakers and so will your audience members.
When you want to start talking you'll need to return to settings and select your usual Microphone (for me it's my webcam) in order to get it to pick up your external audio (your voice) again.
With just a couple quick clicks you will have a largely upgraded show that stands out from the rest your students will see throughout their day!