For those who want to get into streaming, getting set up with the right equipment can be daunting. There are countless options to choose from when it comes to gear! However, it’s important to remember that not everything on the market is reliable. As streaming has become a more popular creative medium, many companies are launching eye-catching yet low-quality products to profit off of new streamers looking to get set up. This guide will steer you through the most important parts of a streaming set up: the computer, camera, and audio peripherals.
The Streaming Rig
The most important part of the stream setup is the computer. Without it, you could stream (if your console supports direct streaming to Twitch/Mixer) but let’s be real – you want the chat bot. You want the custom alerts. You want the whole nine yards. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this guide.
Now, before you say “Hey Googie, that computer can’t do….” Look, I’m not here to give you the PC that can do everything. I’m here to give you the minimum requirements to stream, and to make sure you know the right areas to invest your money. Below are two general sets of specs to look for when deciding on a PC build, based on two stream setups, with the idea of “what is absolutely necessary” as the defining factor.
For both setups, some bare-minimum requirements are going to be assumed:
- OS: Windows 10
- SDD: Use for programs/OS
- HDD: Used for files
- Motherboard: USB 3.0, Ethernet
Streaming PC Games
In this scenario, a solid processor is important. Your computer is going to be doing a LOT of heavy lifting, so don’t skimp out on these. Go for the best you can afford, so you don’t have to shell out for any upgrades for a while.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-7700 (Compare your CPU)
- RAM: 16GB
- Graphics Card: GTX 1080 8GB
Streaming Console Games
When streaming console games from a PC, the capture card is going to do a lot of the work. You just need to ensure that your processor can handle running OBS, and having a solid graphics cards is going to let you enjoy fancy custom alerts and stream at high quality.
- Processor: Intel Core i5-4670 (Compare your CPU)
- Memory: 8GB
- Graphics Card: GTX 1060 6GB
- Capture Card: Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
If you want a specific build guide, I recommend checking out PCPartsPicker.com for a list of community submitted gaming and streaming builds. You can also check out my personal build if you want to use what I use for my streaming and gaming needs.
While some streamers have never shown their face on stream and still managed to make it big, the fact remains that most people watch streams to see the reaction of their favorite streamers. If you want to share your candid reactions with your audience, a webcam is a must. Finding a webcam can be tricky; there are a lot of options out there to pick from, but not many of them do a good job. Personally, I’m a fan of the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam. Not only does it deliver up to 1080p image quality (with 60fps support at 720p), but the built-in microphone is of a much higher quality compared to some of the other models I’ve used in the past. It requires little setup, so you can pretty much just plug it in and you’re good to go. It also features built-in green screen feature, which will cut the background out for you if you line yourself up with a plain-white wall – emulating a green screen effect.
Audio quality is one of the trickiest hurdles for new streamers. This is because audio quality is much more subjective, and finding the right balance between game audio, background music, alerts, and your voice can be difficult. Hopefully, the gear I’m recommending below will make it easier for you to get started off on the right foot.
A good set of headphones is key – you can’t have your audio coming through speakers, otherwise you’ll have an echo of game audio going into your mic. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the ASTRO Gaming A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro. ASTRO Gaming’s headset and included MixAmp allow to do adjust the balance chat and game audio on the fly (great for multiplayer streams), but the MixAmp allows you to plug in an additional audio device. If you want to stream music or Discord audio alongside your game, you can easily plug in your phone with an aux cable and seamlessly blend in that audio on your stream!
If you go with the A40 headset detailed above, there isn’t really a reason to get a separate microphone. However, some like the richer sound that a dedicated studio microphone can provide. To that end, I recommend the Blue Yeti USB Microphone. It is a widely recognized quality USB microphone used by many broadcasters. Simply plug into your computer, adjust the sound pattern to fit your setup (hint: Cardioid mode is almost always the right option), and boom: crisp, clean audio.
The gear I’ve mentioned so far is a starting point. Starting with a solid PC, and incorporating a good webcam and audio setup will be more than enough to get the ball rolling for your streaming career. When it comes to streaming, there will always be something to add that will improve your setup. Adding a green screen, incorporating studio lighting, or even spicing things up with the Elgato Stream Deck are just a few examples of ways to expand your streaming battle station.
Disclaimer on product links: Products featured in this article are linked via an Amazon Affiliate link. While I do receive revenue from products purchased via these links, I only promote products I genuinely trust. I have personally used all of the products mentioned in this article.