Six years ago I embarked on my streaming adventure, which eventually turned into my career! Over the years I have been repeatedly asked this question:
“How do I start streaming?”
Much time and effort goes into a successful stream, so let’s start with my recommendations for entry streaming equipment to launch you into the viral streaming stratosphere!
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My first stream was broadcasted from a stuffy little office. My equipment lineup was a high-powered laptop, a spare monitor, a basic mouse, the built in laptop camera and microphone, and a dilapidated office chair. It was just enough to get my gaming juices flowing! I creaked from side to side, rolling around in that stinky chair. I was so uncomfortable and had to sit on a pillow during my 8-hour streams (yes, I streamed 8+ hours a day back then). I worked with this setup until my first major upgrade, a few months later, which included a higher quality mouse, a webcam, and a microphone. These upgrades were affordable and boosted the quality of my presentation A TON! I didn’t upgrade my laptop to a desktop PC until a year later, as that laptop handled everything.
The following list is what I recommend NOW, if you are starting as a streamer and want to skip the intro level equipment and enter the fray a notch above your competition:
1) A gaming laptop or PC
The CUK ROG Strix G17 by ASUS is the newer version of the laptop I started on. This handled all the games I played on stream, even Grand Theft Auto, which is process intensive! I loved this laptop as it allowed me to have little to no bounds as a streamer – I could even play games that not all gaming rigs can handle, plus this laptop is easy to relocate in my house so I could stream from different rooms! I produced many cooking streams, and this laptop simplified the migration from streaming room to kitchen. Although it’s a tad expensive, it has these advantages! When you travel to conventions or go on vacation, a laptop is easier to pack than a bulky PC. I am further along in my career, so I now own BOTH a high-powered laptop and a PC. You can also check out a Cyberpower PC tower. It’s less pricey and will get the job done, streaming and gaming wise, but you won’t have the range the higher tech provides. That’s OK though; you can grow into the higher tech as you progress in your career! I recommend investing in a computer that handles BOTH your gaming and streaming needs. You don’t want viewers tuning into a janky stream that lags all over the place, as it is unwatchable. Make the investment early and get a head start on the others!
2) A quality microphone and arm stand
I recommend a Blue Yeti USB microphone, found HERE. This was my first microphone upgrade, and the quality was a day-and-night difference between the built-in microphone on my laptop and this Blue Yeti USB microphone. I still remember chat-joking that viewers could now hear my REAL voice on the Blue Yeti with the added clarity, and they weren’t used to that! This is definitely a great beginner streaming microphone. With a price tag of only $121 (as I write this), it’s not bad at all! In addition, I recommend a microphone arm stand. You can adjust your microphone to various positions to accommodate your stream. For example, you can place it above and out of sight. The arm stand keeps the microphone stable, and the pop filter helps minimize excess or harsh sound. Viewers will hear you loud and clear from day one!
3) A high-definition webcam
I still remember the day I debuted on the new webcam I upgraded to! Chat was used to seeing me pixelated on my built-in laptop webcam, so my viewers were shocked when they saw a clear version of ME on their screens! This Nexigo webcam is a great starter webcam. It delivers decent quality and won’t break the bank! It has great reviews and is similar to what I originally upgraded to. Another great option is the Angetube Streaming 1080p webcam. This one comes with a built-in ring light, and as I discuss in the next section, lighting is critical to delivering a quality professional appearance on stream. These webcams are easy to move around and adjust—you can pick them up and angle them to show your viewers things on your desk or in the room! This was my first jump up in quality, but I’d recommend it to start!
4) Soft light
You wouldn’t think lighting is a big deal, but it is a big deal! Get yourself some soft lighting to brighten YOU up and smooth your video appearance. Check out this Dazzne Desk Mount Dimmable Soft light. Pros use these, so why not start the race at the finish line? They can be mounted to your desk—in stark contrast to standing lights, which take up floor space in your office. These lights are adjustable, which is so convenient! With my old, standing lights, to increase or decrease lighting, I had to add or remove light bulbs to the setup – No Bueno! Having soft light brings up the smoothness and video quality of your appearance. People tuning in will think you’ve been streaming for years when they see you!
5) A gaming mouse
Gaming with a full featured mouse is pretty nice! It’s convenient to have additional buttons at your fingertips. One button on my mouse is push-to-talk, which makes it easy to communicate during gameplay! I recommend a mouse like a Logitech G502 or an Alienware AW610M. I used both and they are great for gaming! I haven’t needed a high-tech gaming mouse for streaming, but I know these are both reliable as they fulfilled my needs.
This next item is a BONUS, and not a streaming necessity, but it’s an item I wish I had as a starting streamer! Seriously, if this was around in 2015, and I knew what I know now, I’d have budgeted for one! IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! This is the second most expensive item on the list, right behind the gaming laptop or PC.
6) A TC-Helicon GoXLR
OMG! Audio issues are so annoying. As a streamer, you’ll be struggling with audio issues in your worst nightmares! I had multiple mixers during my career, but NOTHING compares to the GoXLR. Check it out HERE. I love love love my GoXLR as it makes my audio SIMPLE. I so wish I had this in the beginning; I would have avoided so many headaches—so many late nights trying to figure out why the audio was crackling or not working at all. I recommend this at the TOP of the list, but I understand it’s pricier and not completely necessary for starting your stream.
I hope you enjoy this blog! More streaming blogs on the way to answer your commonly asked questions!