Stream setups come in all shapes and sizes. Some streamers work with multiple DSLR cameras, a high-end microphone, and a computer that could power a space station. Others make it happen by leveraging the built-in streaming functionality on their consoles. Some excel by broadcasting with only their phone.
Will be the first to admit that it’s a ton of fun talking about streaming tech and adding more tools to my setup. Even so, the value of one’s content isn’t defined by the equipment they have, but what they do with it. People make amazing things happen with lesser gear all the time.
As I continue to develop my streaming setup, I try to remind myself of this truth. My setup has gotten much better in the last year or so but none of this stuff matters if my content isn’t fulfilling to make and isn’t adding value to your life. Here’s what I use to create!
When it comes to streaming equipment, I strongly vouch for starting with whatever you’ve got. If you’ve only got the mic built into your laptop, use that first. If you have a gaming headset, that works as well. Upgrades can wait until you spend some time streaming with your current gear and figuring out
But when you’re ready to upgrade, would it be better to get a standalone microphone? Or would a nicer gaming headset do the trick? Using my own gear, I put these options to the test!
Ever since I started streaming years ago, I’ve struggled with an inability to hear my console game sound and streaming alerts at the same time. This is a relatively easy task if you have an audio mixer. Without one, it’s a bit more complicated.
I made the choice to only hear game sound, which means I’m oftentimes slow to respond when someone follows or subscribes. Some streamers will wear two sets of headphones to monitor both at the same time, but I didn’t want to deal with all of that extra headgear.
Recently, I found a way to split my monitor audio and output audio without a mixer. This solution may not work for everyone, as it does require specific hardware. However, if you do have something like this handy, this solution could dramatically improve your workflow!
So you’re in the market for a streaming microphone.
With so many options available, it’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed. Furthermore, microphones aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Even if you had the money to buy a top-of-the-line dynamic mic like the Shure SM7B, that one isn’t going to work for you if you don’t want a big microphone super close to your face and in view of your camera.
I’m not in a position to make specific microphone recommendations. However, I did want to provide you with some factors to consider before making a purchase.
[This post is part of a blogging collaboration by Later Levels and Hundstrasse called #BloggersWhoStream. Make sure to give them both credit and follow the hashtag on Twitter for more posts from the community!]
Having a good mic won’t help your stream if it isn’t configured properly. Particularly if you have a condenser mic, which you probably do if you own a USB mic. Condenser mics – such as the Blue Snowball, Blue Yeti, or the Audio-Technica AT2020 among many others – work best in a controlled studio environment.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t streaming in professional studios. Without any adjustments, your voice will probably distort when you get loud, be difficult to hear over your gameplay when you speak softly, and pick up weird ambient noises in-and-around your house.
It’s mission critical to address these issues, as your microphone is your primary method of communication and content creation on stream. You can address most of these issues in OBS, Streamlabs OBS, or whatever digital or analog mixer you may use. Follow along with this guide and it should get your microphone audio to a better place!
Does the old adage, “Good things come in small packages” hold true for the Blue Yeti Nano? This mini reboot of the wildly-popular original attempts to retain the overall sound quality of the original in a smaller package while removing a few features specifically designed for recording singing vocals or musical instruments. Blue’s hope is that the Nano will be your go-to mic for voice recording, podcasting, or streaming. Having bought one for myself, I put it through its paces.
I’m growing out of my Blue Snowball Ice. As an entry-level solution that provides decent sound and ease of use at a budget price, it’s a fantastic choice. By leveraging the built-in compressors, noise gates, and noise filters in OBS, I was able to address some of the mic’s issues while also improving its sound quality.
Even so, I’m at a point in my streaming career where I want a mic that sounds even better. However, I’m at a crossroads. Do I get a better USB mic? Or do I transition into an XLR setup?
During a recent Tetris 99 stream, we had a spirited discussion about how to improve as a streamer on Twitch. There was enough interesting conversation from that stream that I felt it was best to break out those clips into a separate post!
Looking to start streaming?
Having the right hardware is just a part of the overall experience, but it’s an important foundation to have. Without the right gear, your stream could suffer from lag, blurriness, your voice sounding scratchy through a crappy microphone, or any number of other problems that negatively impact your production quality. With so many good streams out there, it’s important to not let your hardware deter others from enjoying your show.
Compiling the lessons I’ve learned over the past two years, here’s a list of hardware upgrades to consider as you build the streaming rig of your dreams!