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!
Why should anyone watch your stream?
I know I might come off as a jerk for asking, but it’s a serious question all streamers with ambitions of growing have to answer. Myself included. Streaming is a highly-crowded, hyper-competitive, and top-heavy space where zero viewers is the norm for most.
Furthermore, there are inherent challenges that come with consuming live streaming content versus anything else online. Asking someone to carve out hours of their day to go to your channel and engage with you through the chat is way harder to do than to watch a much shorter YouTube video or view a social media posts that get propagated in other people’s feeds. All of this makes live streaming as a medium one of the most difficult forms of online content to consume.
If you want potential viewers to make that effort, you have to provide them with value equal to or exceeding the effort they put into watching you. Let’s talk about our value as live streamers and what we can do to make our streams more valuable.
“But Jett, didn’t you literally just get a new PC and gaming chair?”
Yes. So far, I’m loving both! But there’s always work to be done. Here are a few more items on my list to pick up!
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.
“What if viewers could blow up my stream?”
Yes, this is a question I have legitimately batted around for some time. In fact, I know exactly how I would do it.
Starting with a free green screen explosion from YouTube, I would chroma key out the green so that the explosion appeared as transparent. Once the smoke cleared, viewers would only see a black screen. Finally, the stream would shut itself off. All of this would be controlled by an expensive Channel Points redemption and automated through LioranBoard.
Blowing up the stream sounds cool and all. But exactly how does that effect actually improve my stream and help me achieve my goals on Twitch?
[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?
Due to disappointing sale prices on items I’m not in the market for, I generally ignore Amazon Prime Day. To their credit, Amazon has gotten better deals each year and their gaming deals this time around were particularly strong. However, its deals on streaming equipment were what really got me hot under the collar.