Good Equipment for Streaming Twitch

Good Equipment for Streaming Twitch

Is a fancy light-rig and 4k camera really necessary in your Twitch stream equipment budget? I’ve talked about the best equipment to start with in my How to Stream on Twitch series, but where should you expand from there?

I’m going to keep this article separated by each type of equipment so you can click through for easy reading.

  1. Camera
  2. Capture Card
  3. Microphone / Mics
  4. Boom Arm / Microphone Arm
  5. Wind Screen / Foam
  6. Pop Filter
  7. Lighting
  8. Monitors / Displays
  9. Headphones / Studio Monitors
  10. Art Board / Stylus / Drawing Tablets / Wacom / Etc

Each category I will list options for three types of streamers:

  • Retro: Streamers who will be using an older console that uses Composite or S-Video input.
  • Traditional Artist: Streamers who will be doing traditional art on camera.
  • Digital Artist: Similar to traditional, but has different needs that I feel warrant listing.
  • High-End Gamer: Streamers who have viewers expecting them to play the latest and greatest PC and console games at high resolution and high framerate.

Camera

Retro

Logitech C310: There is no reason to have a webcam that provides a high-end 4k feed when your stream’s main content is at 480p at best.

Go the cheap route here and put the money saved towards a better microphone.

Traditional Artist

Panasonic Lumix G85: Really any high-end mirrorless camera can benefit the traditional artist. Webcams, even my favorites from Logitech, really show their weakness when it comes to fine details, values, framerate, contrast, etc.

On the upside, a traditional artist can drop $700 on a camera and use it for their stream, 4k YouTube videos, Instagram time lapse, prints, etc.

Hell, if you know anyone with an Etsy shop you could make easy side money taking product pictures for them and probably have the camera pay for itself.

For a face-cam, grab either the 310 mentioned above or the C922x Pro below depending on if you feel you’ll need the detail or not.

Digital Artist

Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam: It’s an easy choice. It’s software isn’t too memory system intensive and it can handle 1080p.

High-End Gamer

Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam: For the same reasons as a digital artist, the high-end gamer will benefit from the C922x. Logitech cameras just work, so save yourself the headache and buy it.

Capture Card

Retro

Two options exist here:

StarTech Composite to USB Video Capture: There are many popular streamers and speedrunners who use this device. I don’t own it because I opted to grab the Dazzle as it was a popular choice at the time. I’d tentatively recommend the Startech over the Dazzle however as it seems to have more recent product support.

Dazzle DVD Recorder HD: Good ol’ Dazzle that everyone has had problems with but can eventually get to work. I went through hell getting mine to work, but when it did it did it great and I’ve never disconnected it since.

If you can find one, the Elgato HD (not the HD60 S) used to be able to take component input, which worked well for everyone, but I can’t seem to find it anymore and don’t think it’s longer supported. RIP the other capture device that everyone had problems with, I guess.

Traditional Artist

Guess what problem you don’t have to deal with?

Digital Artist

Samesies! Let those silly gamers spend hours troubleshooting why the Elgato audio won’t sync or why it cuts video randomly.

High-End Gamer

AVerMedia Live Gamer 4k: Is the best option here. It’s internal and takes a PCIe x4 port. Added bonus of having completely 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound support if you want to make some really high-end YouTube footage.

Microphone / Mics

Retro, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

Shure SM58-X2U: This is going to be one of the better dynamic mics you can find. The XLR-to-USB signal adapter is essentially a mini usb mixer and phantom power supply.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+: I use the XLR version of this and a mixer, but you can save yourself some learning and headache by buying the USB option here. This is a condenser mic.

If you are unfamiliar with the difference between a condenser mic and a dynamic mic, check out this video which will provide an audio examples and explain the difference.

Traditional Artist

It might not seem obvious, but a traditional artist will benefit from the increased range and sensitivity of a condenser microphone.

Namely, you don’t want a long stick microphone between you and whatever you’re working on.

Audio-Technica AT2020+USB is the good choice.

Also, if you are a musician a condenser microphone will produce a better sound for your instrument.

A vocalist may prefer a dynamic if they intend to perform with a backing band, as it won’t pick up others behind them.

Boom Arm / Microphone Arm

Retro, Traditional Artist, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

Unless you are using a thousand dollar lav mic, you’ll want a boom arm with a shock cage to prevent vibrations from your desk/room from being picked up on the mic.

There are plenty of cheap ones that can clamp to your desk or stand free in the room and the choice depends on how your personal set-up looks.

Clamp Arms: These are pretty cheap, but the only real important thing I’ve found to look for is making sure the shock mount will be large enough for your mic. For example, the Blue Yeti is really big and doesn’t fit most.

Mic Stands: Have a bit of variety but you want to look for stability and a solid counter-weight.

Wind Screen / Mic Foam

Retro, Traditional Artist, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

This extremely depends on your mic choice and its size. It also might not be entirely necessary. I’d recommend a pop filter, and if you really need a windscreen search for one specific to your mic model.

Pop Filter

Retro, Traditional Artist, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

Early pop filters were wooden cross-stitch holders with stockings stretched across them. It’s amazing how simple a device they really are and what a huge difference they make in audio quality.

Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter Mask Shield: This is both affordable, adjustable, and should clamp onto anything that’s holding your microphone.

Lighting

Retro, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

Neewer Ring Light Kit: This has just about everything you’ll need to flood yourself with light, throw a cheap lamp behind for a back-light and you’re ready for the silver screen.

Traditional Artist

Sorry, this is another where the traditional artist has to invest more than the others. But it doesn’t have to be a lot. In addition to the recommendation above for your face cam you’ll need something for your art.

Phive LED Desk Lamp: This is essentially a copycat of higher-end drafting table lamps, except $300 cheaper. The diffuser also helps with flickering that can picked up by some webcams.

Monitor / Displays

Retro

Find a CRT that has S-Video output (or SCART) along with its inputs and you are absolutely golden.

Good luck finding one on Amazon though! Your best bet is local pawn shops, flea markets, and garage sales.

If you want a PVM with SCART output you’re in rougher shape. These displays were particularly popular in hospitals many moons ago and it’s not like private hospitals have garage sales every weekend. You can find them on Ebay from time to time, but they are deceptively heavy for their size and shipping will be absurd.

Traditional Artist

Let’s be honest here, you can display Twitch chat on your phone and only really need a primary display to see what OBS is up to.

Use whatever you’ve got and put your display money toward a better camera.

Digital Artist

If you laughed at the traditional artist having to pay so much for a camera, then well, you dun goofed.

For starters, you’re going to want a large 4k IPS display. IPS is going to be way more important than 4k, because the higher resolution isn’t going to matter much if you can’t achieve color accuracy. Only do black and white inks? No escape for you, as IPS displays are going to provide truer black and more accurate values.

On the upside, refresh rate isn’t super important to you.

Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q: This is a 27-inch 4k display with the added bonus of having a VESA mount.

High-End Gamer

It’s pretty uncommon to see a high-refresh rate IPS display, but color-accuracy isn’t as important for a gamer so much as refresh rate is. For that we look at TN displays.

LG 32GK650F-B: This is a solid baseline gaming monitor. It’s 32 inches and a 4k display with 144Hz refresh rate. This particular display features Radeon FreeSync technology, which I’m sure is great but I wouldn’t base my display decision on the graphics card I currently have since a display can last years longer than your graphics card.

Headphones / Studio Monitors

Retro

AmazonBasics 3.5mm to Stereo RCA Cable: It’s going to save you a whole heck of a lot of headache to use this and plug it into the PC’s line-in jack.

Then just use your favorite headphones or the suggestion below connected to your PC.

Traditional Artist, Digital Artist, High-End Gamer

Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones: When I went to pull up the link it showed I have bought them three times already.

Not because they failed. Because my wife or kid kept stealing them to use!

These are truly the highest quality studio monitors you will find below the $250-300 range and it’s absolutely mind-blowing to me how this is possible.

Honestly I can’t recommend them enough. I’ve had others from Superlux in this range as well so if they ever sell out be confident purchasing something else by them.

Art Board / Stylus / Drawing Tablets / Wacom / Etc

Retro

Nope! Move along!

Traditional Artist

Keep a small one around to make digital touch-ups of your scans (or in reality, photos of your art) easier.

Wacom CTL4100: It’s affordable and the best part is it’s not a shitty knockoff.

The knockoffs are so f’ing frustrating to deal with you are better lighting the money on fire than purchasing a Huion/etc.

Digital Artist

Your time has come. This is it. This is where your money goes to die.

Wacom Intuos Pro: This has a 12.1 x 8.4 inch active area and the “pro” line is where you’ll get the pen recognize tilt and angle of attack.

That is your cheap option.

12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil: On the upside, Procreate is only like, $10.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24: You’re going to want to draw on a Cintiq’s screen directly with the pen. A regular pad you’ll need to train your hand to compensate for the different aspect ratio of your display vs your tablet’s drawing area. Not so when drawing on the screen directly, which will feel incredibly natural.

High-End Gamer

Hooray, nothing to buy!

Conclusion

There’s a whole heckovalotta shit out there to buy, right? Well, you don’t have to buy it all. Check out the Best Equipment to Start Streaming on Twitch guide to learn more about the bare essentials.

Any suggestions to add to the list or change? Or do you have questions about what would be best for a particular use case? Let me know in the comments!

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