Five years ago, all streamers needed to start was a computer, a webcam, and a headset to meet the audience's minimal requirements. A setup of devices with the barest of capabilities is no longer adequate to stand out in the face of the competition, which is increasing exponentially over time. If you really want to stand out from hundreds of other streamers, you will have to work on the streaming quality for a pretty long time, tirelessly and constantly improving your equipment and the quality of the stream.
Needless to say, not everything is as frightening as it appears. Considering that everything has already been thought of, all you have to do is listen to pieces of advice and choose the best options based on your capabilities.
With limited funds, putting together a simple streaming setup is a difficult process that necessitates clear prioritizing. If money is tight, you'll need to tackle the situation as carefully as you can.
The fundamental issue is there are components in even the most basic starter kit that are either extremely expensive or impossible to replace and reduce in price. Modern viewers are unlikely to watch a stream at 30 frames per second or listen to the streamer's voice being interrupted by the endless tapping of the keyboard. Determining our willingness to spend money and our ability to save money is therefore the key responsibility we have at this point. First and foremost, let’s get the priorities straight.
A video card is the first thing a game streamer will spend money on. Please wait if you are interested in streaming; if you have found your niche in real life or simply chatting, move on to the next step. Currently, the best performance and value come from buying a video card from the 20-series or higher, such as a 2070 SUPER. The performance of the standard 1080p cards is currently determined by the NVIDIA NVENC encoder's parameters, which offer full HD and high-quality streaming. A significant disadvantage of 10-series video cards is the lack of this feature.
Don't forget about the other components of your PC; for the system to function as a whole, the processor, motherboard, RAM, power supply, and cooling must all be compatible with the video card.
We have already supplied a picture of excellent quality; the next important step is to work with sound. Contrary to what some new streamers may believe, a good microphone is vastly more crucial for streaming than many other components. One of the biggest factors that may cause a viewer to stop watching your stream earlier than you had planned is poor sound quality and unnecessary noise.
Obviously, we are not even bringing up any headphones or built-in microphones. You can stream using both of these, however achieving even decent sound quality will be extremely challenging.
There are numerous affordable and high-quality microphones on the market, but the bulk of them are not produced by well-known manufacturers of gaming accessories. For a good and affordable micro, brands that specialize in working with sound should be contacted. You should be looking for inexpensive USB condenser microphones that deliver high-quality sound while being simple to use. Pay attention to the offers from Samson (even now the vintage C10UPRO and Meteor sound fantastic for its money), Audio-Technica (AT2040), Elgato (such as the Wave), FIFINE (T669), and numerous more manufacturers. The Razer Seiren Mini is suggested by certain streamers. The HyperX Quad Cast microphone is another preferred model. Despite the fact that it sounds and looks fantastic the price is already above the budget.
TIP #1: Since many professional condenser microphones can last for decades and the one Samson C10UPRO isn't currently in stock, you can still save money by purchasing it already used.
TIP #2: Don't forget to obtain the simplest pop filter for your microphone. They lessen noise interference and are relatively affordable.
When it comes to sound setup, don't overlook another crucial component: the microphone stand. Furthermore, a microphone should never be set down on a table and if it is mounted on a desk stand, it will not produce a good sound either. Any table shakes, mouse clicks, or keyboard clicks will be immediately transmitted to your stream, severely degrading the quality of your stream. Plan to purchase a pantograph that will be fastened to the table's edge and prevent your microphone from picking up extraneous sounds. You can find any rack to suit your taste and budget in online stores, so the choice is yours. Take note of its height and shape.
Experienced streamers and sound engineer experts agree that it's better to spend a little less on the microphone itself and invest in a pantograph instead.
TIP: You no longer need to use third-party software to improve the sound quality because the same OBS now offers all you require. Review the installation guidelines for the compressor, noise gate, equalizer, and limiter. If you really want to, you can seek for VCT plugins online, but setting them up takes some effort.
Anyone who has decided to stream will need sooner or later a second monitor. Reading a chat on your phone is a big hassle, so make sure to include this cost in your budget. In fact, it makes no difference which monitor you use because you need it primarily for reading the chat, managing alerts, and watching the stream. You can get the cheapest one and enjoy the experience. An added bonus would be if the monitor could be positioned upright, allowing you to better monitor the chat and see more messages.
TIP: It will be great if the second monitor repeats the main one's Hz frequency. By having one, you can avoid any awkward circumstances that might arise when playing particular games. Nevertheless, this is completely unnecessary.
Despite the fact there are numerous choices available on the webcam market, the selection is actually quite limited. The basic Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 has been fixed in the streamer environment for a very long period. Even after decade, many streamers continue to use this legend, which was launched in 2012. The camera stated earlier has faced stiff competition from the Razer Kiyo, a more modern competitor with excellent outcomes and a good image. Although it would be tough to describe the pricing range as being particularly affordable, these models provide the most value for the money.
Prices are lower for comparable devices from Lenovo, Canyon, A4 Tech, and Logitech. Pay particular attention to the focus, pixel density, and of course the viewing angle, which should be at least 75 degrees and have a minimum of 1280x720 resolution. It will be fantastic if there is a camera capable of streaming 60 frames per second.
TIP: The majority of cameras have drivers with settings accessible, and you can alter many aspects of the image as well as apply different LUT filters in the same OBS, which can be downloaded separately. You can also greatly improve the camera image directly on your computer.
A great camera is of little value if you're going to be lying on a bed or in front of an old wallpaper. It's in your best interest to work on the background a little since a cluttered and neglected background severely draws attention away from the overall streamer’s appearance. To achieve this goal without making a significant financial commitment, alter the angle, purchase a basic shelf, fill it with books, figurines, and even add some plants. Lighting will be your best ally when it comes to cheap upgrades. You can get cheap purple lamps from AliExpress and display them behind your back. Remember you can buy a lamp of any other color you like. Even ordinary garlands and light bulbs have the power to drastically alter the scene.
Make sure you take care of the additional lighting after responding to the video quality. If you are concerned about how you appear on camera, consider how to adjust the lighting appropriately since the blue glow of the screen does not help the viewer have quite a good perception of the face and background. It does have the power to drastically alter your appearance and image. The best and most cost-effective option would be a ring light purchase that fits in front of your face and ensures even light distribution. Many streamers have ditched complex devices with softboxes and reflectors in favor of this alternative. There are a number of ring lights on the market now, but still the differences between them are not as clear. You will not regret it if you buy the one that has the perfect size and pricing for you. The key characteristic is that it can expose cold light and contains a reflector.
TIP: Always keep in mind that cold light is almost always preferred over warm light when it comes to lighting. To ensure that the light cone equally illuminates the face and the space around it, the ring light should also always be centered in front of the face.
For those who aim for the ultimate goals. The stream doesn't actually need soundproofing, but it is cheap and has a right to exist especially if there is a lot to be desired concerning your background. Some streamers install specialized acoustic foam rubber soundproof panels to keep unwanted noise from interrupting the stream. Foam rubber is applied to the wall and absorbs sound; it is inexpensive, available from numerous internet retailers, and simple to use. The result is improved with more quantity.
The iconic green screen, which allows you to totally erase the background or generate any image behind you, such as a Caribbean beach or gaming frames. To be really frank, chromakey were big in streaming a few years ago, but now their influence is decreasing. Nevertheless, there are many inexpensive options available, and a green screen can enhance the graphics of your stream. Just remember that the chromakey requires a large amount of light to work effectively and prevent fusing with you and your clothing.
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