If you’re new to live streaming on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook, then you might be wondering what equipment/ essentials are necessary to get you started.
Building a full-stream set-up might seem like a simple task at first – but with so many different tools and peripherals to choose from, selecting the right essentials for your needs can become an even greater challenge.
In this post, we will cover all of the latest hardware, ranging from switchers to stream decks, and mixers to microphones that will enable you to advance your channel.
So, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned full-time streamer, you’ll love this useful list.
What essentials do I need for streaming?
A crisp sounding microphone is extremely important for a streamer. You will often find that the majority of viewers are more interested in the commentary of a stream than the actual gameplay – which is what sets channels apart.
When it comes to microphones there are two different types you can buy: Condenser mics and Dynamic mics. Both have their pros and cons, however, condenser mics are generally considered more sensitive (giving better sound quality over-all frequencies), whereas dynamic mics are renowned for cutting out background noise.
The input connections may also vary. Condenser mics often come with a USB connection, whereas most dynamic mics usually come with an XLR input. So if do decide to go with a dynamic mic you may also need an additional USB interface such as a Mixer and a Cloudlifter to be able to use it.
Your choice of mic should depend on how serious you want to get with your setup. If you’re new to streaming (and have a quiet background), then a USB condenser mic like a Blue Yeti should be more than sufficient for your needs. With that said, the most popular podcasters and top-tier broadcasters will be seen using a dynamic mic.
The Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone is a cheaper alternative.
2. Pop filter
Pop filters are the black shields/ windscreens you see in front of microphones. They will simply block any fast-moving air that is caused when breathing to reduce or eliminate popping sounds. Pop filters can be applied to both condenser and dynamic mics. If set up correctly, they should help to alleviate any unwanted noises from your stream.
3. Mic Stand / Boom Arm
A mic stand and boom arm will help allow you to position your mic in front of your mouth at all times. This can be particularly useful if your mic is struggling to pick up sound from a distance, and you get in the habit of learning forward every time you go to speak.
A suspension “boom arm” simply attaches to the top of the microphone stand so it can move in a horizontal plane. When you’ve finally got one, you might be pleasantly surprised at how many problems they can solve. It will help to create a more comfortable streaming experience.
A reliable HD webcam is another streaming essential for the list. All of the top Twitch streamers have high-quality image resolutions on their streams, which is pretty much expected now that the technology is available.
It is possible to stream without a camera but we don’t recommend this. Your audience will remember you from what you look like, so if you don’t have an image fresh in their minds you will have to compensate with even more personality.
The majority of streamers use the Logitech C922 that comes with a max resolution of 1080p at 30fps. This is beyond adequate for 95% of people who are just looking to stream games. The next step up is a Brio, having 4K capabilities and a much crisper image due to the improved sensor quality
A top-tier headset will help to provide you with an accurate sense of your surroundings so you can identify enemy movement. Fortunately, there’s a large selection to choose from in the market right now, as many of the leading audio brands are also producing their own gaming headsets.
To meet the needs of a streamer, the headset should be lightweight and comfortable to wear for many hours, produce crisp audio when speaking into the microphone, and feature surround sound.
Other qualities may also include detachable cords with wireless capabilities, allowing you the freedom to move around seamlessly. If you are planning to use a standalone mic then you might even want to look for a headset with a detachable mic.
6. Stream Deck
The Elgato Stream Deck is another extremely useful tool that makes using OBS and other streaming programs a pleasure to work with. The idea behind it is to simply eliminate the need for keyboard short keys, for a more interactive approach to studio control.
The main proactive features of the stream deck are designed to allow you to easily switch between scenes, launch media with a quick tap of a key, and level up your onscreen antics using GIFs, images, videos, and audio clips.
Each LCD key is completely customizable giving you immediate access to your most-used icons on your desktop, you are even able to turn each key into folders to amass as many actions as you want. This is especially useful if you wish to neatly organize multiple variations of the same command.
Stream Decks can also save unique key configurations as dedicated profiles for the different games and apps you use. What this means is that you can automatically switch between “key profiles” on the fly, or whenever you change the browsing window.
7. Voice Mixer
A voice mixer can transform your voice using different vocal effects. It works by simply adding distortion or by changing the tone or pitch of your voice, which is a pretty cool way to add some style/ flair to your stream.
If you watch a lot of channels online, then you’ve probably noticed that Twitch streamers often do this whenever they get a new sub/ follower. Depending on the approach of your stream these effects are another valuable asset at your disposal if used correctly.
If you have decided to go down the route of using a dynamic mic that has an XLR input, then you will be able to plug this into a voice mixer before connecting it to your PC via USB.
Voice mixers can range greatly in price and size. For steaming games, there’s no need to go overkill. A small compact mixer that works for straightforward applications with minimal input needs is all that is required.
Click here for a list of GoXLR alternatives.
8. Capture Card
Capture cards convert gameplay signals from external devices (such as your Xbox or PS5) to digital data so that it can be uploaded to the internet. It does this via a HDMI connection.
Many streamers use capture cards in a second PC to help with the heavy CPU-intensive task of encoding video. However, this will not increase the performance of a “single-PC setup” as the “In-game capture” out-performs that of a capture card.
For this reason, if you’re planning to stream from your console, or have a spare laptop lying around that you could dedicate for video-encoding, then you’re going to want to invest in a capture card!
Click here for more information on how to use a capture card.
Click here for the best Budget Capture Cards in 2021.
9. HDMI Display Adapter Converter
An HDML adapter-converter is a USB input device that makes it possible to record from an HDMI input (such as your DSLR camera). The HD signal from your DSLR or Mirrorless camera can then be captured, recorded, and encoded ready to be uploaded to any site.
Most of the newer products provide high-speed transmissions of up to 5Gbps. They are small in size making them portable and easy to carry. All in all, they’re a very useful essential that assists in high-quality data streaming from external sources.
Click here for the best Elgato Cam Link alternatives.
The correct lighting can improve the visual appearance of your stream, and increase the functionality of your game space. In contrast, bad lighting can ruin your overall gaming experience.
When using a camera/ webcam you will need to keep your room well lit at all times. This is required so enough light can reach the camera-sensor, creating a sharp video image. Green screens also require a perfect spread of natural lighting to function properly.
If you have a green screen then you will have to light it up independently. Use big, soft natural light sources, and a minimum of two lights to illuminate the backdrop.
Most gaming setups also use color smart lights, letting you choose from thousands of colors to meet your steaming preference.
Click here for a guide on the best Lighting for Streaming.
Click here for the best Elgato Key light alternatives.
To find out the remaining 10 Streaming Essentials..