So, you’ve decided to stream your game. Congratulations! Whatever your goals, whether that’s streaming just for friends or big plans to take over the gaming world and become a celeb player, you’ve gone this far, so don’t let bad audio stand in the way. If you’re looking for a thorough resource on what gear you’ll need to stream like a pro, check out this post. If you’re ready to sound like a pro, read on.
Start with the mic
Just a decade ago, having great recording equipment was expensive and mostly relegated to studios. Nowadays, anyone can buy equipment that evens the audio playing field. And when we mean equipment, we mean quality equipment. Here’s what you’ll need to get your studio up and running, in a nutshell: a mic, streaming software, and a platform to stream on. You can also add: a mixer, a webcam, and a second (or third+) monitor, though none of these are required.
When you were thinking of streaming, the first thing you probably researched (or should have, if you didn’t) was a top-notch mic, like the ModMic. The ModMic requires a small investment for a huge reward. Your voice sounds clear and your audience won’t be distracted by background noises in your home studio (AKA garage/broom closet/kitchen counter).
Once you have the mic, there are a few other pieces of tech that will help improve your sound. For more tech tips, check out our post, “Taking Your Stream to the Next Level.”
Once you have the basic set-up, you’re going to need to configure a platform like Twitch, then software, like StreamLabs OBS, to capture your masterpiece and optimize quality presentations. If you need help setting that up, here’s a solid resource to get started on setting up both.
Bring your ‘A’ game: How to ooze confidence
You need to project confidence, candidness, and camaraderie when you stream (buying the tech it turns out might be the easiest step). Here’s a simple rule: relax. If you’re tense, you’re going to slip up, stutter, and say “um” a lot (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Know your game (literally), know what you want to say (creating an outline before you hit the Go Live button is super helpful), and don’t be afraid to mess up. Of course, having a great mic will make you sound sharper and clearer, but the confidence you bring is all you.
Speak it like you mean it
Taking the confidence tip a step further, it’s important to have some simple speaking skills down -- advice that hasn’t changed in decades. Of course you know how to speak, but here are some tips to help you connect with your viewers. First off, speak slowly. It may sound in your head like you’re speaking in slow motion, but you’re not, you’re probably being extremely articulate and easy to understand. Secondly, never read from a script. Sure, have an outline to follow but don’t bore your audience to death with the blah blah. Thirdly, be entertaining. It’s OK to joke, drop some off-topic info or even current news, or mention a movie you just watched. It sounds more natural and less plodding.
Don’t forget that your voice is a reflection of your body, not your brain. Just like you would prepare to run a 10k, prep for your stream by getting your body and voice warmed up. Drink water or hot tea with honey. Bring focus to your breathing. You might even try some vocal warm ups. Sit up straight so you can speak from your diaphragm. And remember to breathe.
Make mistakes early
A couple of years into streaming, you’ll think back on your early stuff and cringe. That’s totally normal and necessary. In order to find your voice, you have to test out topics and thoughts. You’re going to bomb in those early days. Bombing is part of the process. In fact, it’s a necessary part of the process. So have confidence that despite some bad streams, you’re improving in the long run.
Don’t Go Silent
Your best ideas for streaming will never occur mid-stream. Those ideas will always happen during the least opportune time: during a shower, a run, halfway through making a left across oncoming traffic. Prepare yourself for those ideas and keep a notebook and pen with you. And yes, your phone’s notes app also works. Take thirty seconds to write that idea down. And then, once you’re back at your mic, try it out. Some ideas won’t be great, and some will be surprisingly good. The important part is to keep the ideas coming. Successful streaming is for the long haul. It may be hard to imagine running out of ideas now, but everyone reaches a point where they’re at the mic and...nothing. When you’re at a loss for words, refer back to those random ideas to kickstart your brain. Once you’ve got a few under your belt, watch them and take notes on what bothers you (e.g. moving your hands, staring off into space, saying um, or speaking too fast) and work on improving. Most important of all, literally never be silent. Always be talking, even if there’s nobody watching. Once you start to gain an audience check out our conversation with @Ashnichrist and her tips on managing a community!