One of the most common questions asked by new streamers is, “How do I improve the quality of my stream?” Some people go for a second streaming machine to offload the encoding process off your gaming rig. Others run out and buy a green screen and lights, or even an expensive camera. While there’s nothing wrong with making these types of upgrades, they are expensive and can be complicated to set up.
A Better Option
There is another option that is often overlooked yet can have a huge impact on your stream, especially for your viewers. Upgrading your audio can go a long way toward making your stream a place where people want to hang out. It’s also one of the most affordable things you can do to get to the next level.
Let’s assume you read our first two blogs on getting your stream started (Streaming Basics and Going Live with Streamlabs). In those articles, you learned how to get the initial gear you need (Like a ModMic) and the basic settings for Streamlabs. Let’s assume you took our advice and already have a ModMic. The advantage is that you already have a mic capable to capturing your voice in a clean, crisp way, while giving you the flexibility to use a good pair of studio headphones, in short, a better option than gaming headsets and a great incremental way to start off with your streaming and podcasting. The next step for better audio is to find a good USB mixer or audio interface device. We’ve had good results with the Xenyx Q502 by Behringer, but any USB mixer will do as long as it fits your needs, is compatible with your OS, and provides 48v phantom power to an XLR port.
The world of mixers
Mixers Can Be a Bit Confusing
Don't get bogged down in features you may not need. First and probably the easiest questions are how many channels you need, specifically, if you want to use multiple microphones to separate your voice chat from your stream commentary. In this case, look for a mixer that has multiple inputs for the types of mics you want to use. The next and slightly more technical is to figure out what filters and equalizer you may want. Picking a mixer that gives you the ability to do some low pass and high pass filtering before the audio reaches the PC can go along way to helping you find your perfect radio voice. However, you don’t need to get every bell and whistle for your first mixer. Start with the features you know you need and maybe add one or two new things you want to learn.
The Correct Adapters
Next, you will want to grab the Antlion Audio XLR Power Converter, sorry you can't use one of those basic XLR adapters you see on Amazon for $8. The ModMic is a powered condenser mic that is attached to your headphones, so there is a bit of magic that must happen when plugging it into a mixer. First, the power has to be stepped down to a voltage that won't damage the microphone, second, it has a proximity compensator that was designed with the ModMic in mind to help provide the cleanest audio possible from a boom mic.
So What Exactly Does This Setup Do For You?
Well, it’s going to give a new level of control over all your audio, it will allow you to apply filters and dial in levels to perfectly match the sound you are after for your stream. Best of all, no matter how large you grow, all of this hardware will continue to be useful!
The Key to Real Growth
When you are looking to take your stream to the next level it is important to remember there is no magic hardware that is going to make you the next Shroud or SodaPoppin. Everyone that tunes in is there because of what you bring to the table. This is why your ability to communicate with your audience is so important. Always be looking for ways to not only improve the hardware you use to stream but the content you provide on your stream! So don't break the bank by rushing out and going crazy on a new pc builds or video setups. Focus first on what will improve your interactions with the people that matter most, your viewers!