Live streaming to websites like Twitch has exploded in popularity and the demand for better streaming equipment has followed. In developing a definitive guide to streaming equipment for every budget we set out to break down each tier into audio, video and accessories categories to better inform users of all budgets.
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Live Streaming Equipment Setup
All live streaming equipment setups can be broken down in three major categories. Audio Equipment, Video and Accessories. This will encapsulate the basics required to get a gaming and streaming setup and will not include some external equipment like a gaming desk, a voicemeeter banana setup guide, or a dual pc streaming setup guide.
This will focus primarily on hardware and if you’re so inclined you can also follow up this content with pieces such as how to stream on Twitch, which Discord bots streamers should use or which copyright free music for Twitch you should consider when streaming.
In addition, each of these hardware categories will be expanded into further detail and this helps us to better understand which streaming equipment is critical to your needs and your budget.
Audio is arguably the most important part of any live streaming setup and you’ll soon understand which audio equipment is right for your needs. Microphones, headphones, audio mixers and audio interfaces can all run the gamut from cheap garbage to studio quality products.
This will help to give you the knowledge and understanding which audio equipment to select and most importantly for each pertaining budget.
- Microphone – critical to any live streaming setup, allows you to interact with your audience
- Headphones – often underlooked part of live streaming equipment, you’ll be listening to music or in-game audio most of your day
- Audio Mixer – absolutely necessary with high-end gaming and streaming PCs if you’re using an XLR microphone or multiple inputs/dual PC streaming setup
- Audio Interface – best with a single XLR microphone and a single PC setup
This is another critical section that requires further attention as there are many options when it comes to webcams. Most commercial webcams are good enough for traditional use cases like Zoom or Discord calls, however for live streaming you would prefer a higher quality webcam to accommodate long duration streaming with the clarity and resolution to match.
While the gap in quality between webcams and DSLR cameras is quite noticeable. DSLR cameras are usually reserved for high-end gaming and streaming PCs as they’re considered an end-game option.
- Webcam – allows you to be seen while live streaming and helps to interact with your audience, quality can vary wildly here
- DSLR camera – highest precision, clarity and best image possible, 1080p 60fps or greater live streaming
All of which are critical to anyone streaming to platforms like Twitch, it’s important to understand who these accessories are for and which budget can best utilize them.
- Green Screen – a chroma key that allows you to replace your background with something more immersive, great with higher-end webcams and DSLR cameras
- Lighting – critical if you’re implementing a green screen along with a high-end webcam or DSLR camera
- Capture Card – necessary piece of kit if you’re live streaming from various gaming consoles, dual PC streaming setup or part of your high-end PC setup
- Streaming Software – the most important software you will ever use outside of your operating system
Let’s take a closer look at the definitive list of streaming equipment for beginners:
Streaming Equipment for Beginners
Arguably this is one of the most difficult sections to find high quality products for as online marketplaces are usually overwhelmed with hot garbage. Due to this phenomenon, we’ll be sticking to brand names that are known for quality or have a long standing positive reputation within the live streaming community.
In detailing the best streaming equipment for beginners, we will begin with what is most overlooked and ironically the most important section detailing audio equipment.
To find affordable and high quality microphones and headphones, look no further. For streaming equipment for beginners it would be difficult to find better than these selections.
Blue has been producing affordable, high quality microphones for years and it’s long been a staple among gamers and live streamers. Here we propose two solutions, both are desk mounted microphones and will work in any streaming setup.
The major differences come down to price and style.
Audio Technica produces great audio products and headphones are one of their most popular sellers. Affordable, high quality and incredibly durable, the m40x is a known quantity within studios and has been a popular headphone that live streamers have chosen for years.
- Cutting edge engineering and robust construction
- 40 millimeter drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
High quality, durable and affordable is the name of the game here. Sticking with brands that have good reputations and notable products that have stood the test of time.
Logitech has been producing high quality, reliable and durable webcams for a very long time. The C920x is an updated version of their old faithful C920 and retains all of the benefits of the original version while updating the core of the webcam itself.
- Webcam comes with a 3-month XSplit VCam license and no privacy shutter. XSplit VCam lets you remove, replace and blur your background without a Green Screen.
- Full HD 1080p video calling and recording at 30 fps - You’ll make a strong impression when it counts with crisp, clearly detailed and vibrantly colored video. Cable length: 1.5 m
- Stereo audio with dual mics - Capture natural sound on calls and recorded videos.
Although not equipment you cannot downplay the importance of streaming software. Streaming software is an absolute necessity for anyone streaming to platforms like Twitch and it will be the most critical piece of software outside of your operating system.
For those that are less technically inclined there are a handful of set it and forget it options, but one is far superior than the rest.
- Streaming Software
Designed by Twitch for Twitch streamers — simple and easy to use. Above all else it’s free and it will help you start live streaming in a matter of moments. One of the best streaming software solutions you will find for those less technically savvy.
Click here to download Twitch Studio.
Next, let’s take a look at the intermediate streaming PC setup and find out what improvements can be made.
Intermediate Streaming Equipment for PC
In this section we’ll explore an additional tier of hardware for the intermediate budget and we’ll cover some of the most popular and durable components that will meet the needs of the everyday live streaming setup.
Additionally, we will look into a robust solution to the best streaming software for Twitch in order to better exploit the benefits of the improved streaming equipment.
The Audio Technica AT2020 XLR is the gold standard for meeting the crossroads of quality and price. It’s been a fixture of recording studios and live streaming setups for ages and you cannot find a more reliable, reputable and solid microphone than the AT2020 XLR.
XLR stands for the XLR 3-pin design and as we’ll read further below, this will require additional audio equipment to harness the power and clarity of the Audio Technica AT2020 XLR microphone.
- The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
- Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
- High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
One of the most popular headphones for live streaming, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro has long been a staple among gamers. It’s widely known for it’s bass response, clear and present mid-range with crisp and detailed treble.
The wide soundstage provided by the DT 990 Pro’s help to pinpoint the action around you during games while creating an immersive and detail rich environment when listening to music. If you’ve been watching live streaming websites like Twitch, YouTube or Facebook, you have seen your favorite streamers wearing these.
- Open over-ear headphones, ideal for professional mixing, mastering and editing
- Perfect for studio applications thanks to their transparent, spacious, strong bass and treble sound
- The soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort
- Audio Mixer
The Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer is one of the most popular mixers for streaming and has garnered a longstanding reputation for its 10 input flexibility, durability and ease of use. This will allow you the freedom and the ability to adjust all volumes, mix, EQ and adjust any of the audio sources you have connected to the audio mixer.
An audio mixer is a fantastic addition to your live streaming setup, especially if you have an XLR microphone. Mixers are capable of delivering the 48V phantom power requirements that XLR microphones demand.
- 10 channel mixer with USB and SPX digital effects
- Featuring studio grade discrete class A D PRE amps with inverted Darlington circuit providing fat, natural sounding bass and smooth, soaring highs
- 3 band EQ and high pass filters give you maximum control and eliminate unwanted noise, resulting in a cleaner mix
- Audio Interface
A Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface is a great addition to your live streaming setup, especially if you are only concerned with 1 XLR input and you don’t require an 10+ input audio mixer. These are also designed to deliver the 48V phantom power that XLR microphones require and they are capable of doing so without breaking the bank or taking up a lot of desk real estate.
- Demo 2x2 Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface
In the intermediate budget for video we’ll be increasing our webcam capabilities greatly with another selection from Logitech.
The Logitech BRIO remains one of the most premium and feature rich webcams for live streaming. Logitech is mostly known for producing good, high quality consumer products, however they complement that product stack with premium selections like the BRIO.
The webcam is HDR capable with three recording options that include 4k 30fps, 1080p 60fps and 720p 90fps. Additionally it will automatically adjust exposure and contrast in order to compensate for glare and backlighting.
- SUPPORT WORK FROM ANYWHERE WITH SYNC: Whether employees are in the office, at home, or somewhere else, Sync device management software helps everyone stay connected by letting you ensure their Logitech video collaboration personal devices are being used and up to date.
- Ultra 4K HD resolution: 4 times the resolution of a typical HD webcam; look your best and enjoy professional video experience wherever you are with 5x HD zoom.
- Auto light adjustment: Logitech RightLight 3 uses HDR technology to show you in the best light, even in low-light and backlit situations.
Let’s take a look at a few new additions to the intermediate streaming equipment for PC accessories section. First we’ll cover one of the best green screens for streaming and follow that up with one of the best lighting kits for streaming.
- Green Screen
Affordable and effective, the Fancierstudio Green Screen Pop Up is a great basic green screen for those on a budget. This will cover a huge amount of space with a 5 feet wide by 7 feet tall green screen chroma key.
- Large 5ft by 7ft, perfect for headshots or 3/4 shots.
- Perfect for when you need to cut out the background.
- Folds up into a third of its size. Comes with carrying case
Great lighting is one of the most important and often underlooked parts of a live streaming setup.
The Elgato Key Light Air is a solution to the dark, poorly-lit, shadow enveloped gaming room setup and it does so with a high quality product at a budget price. If you’re looking to improve your lighting setup, the Elgato Key Light Air is a fantastic piece of kit.
- Wi-Fi Enabled: switch on/off and fine-tune light settings via the app on Mac/Windows/iPhone/Android.
- 1400 Lumens: effectively illuminate your workspace and dim to a subtle glow.
- 2900 – 7000 K: adjust color temperature from sunset amber to arctic blue.
- Capture Card
The Elgato HD60s has become the go-to capture card that mixes ease of use with high-end capabilities. An external capture card, it’s extremely versatile and able to be used with any modern gaming console, Windows/MAC laptop and any desktop.
This capture card is capable of 1080p 60fps and it sports a USB-C connector. Additionally, it remains one of the most popular plug n play capture cards that’s known for its reliability.
- 1080p60 Capture: share your gameplay in superb viewing quality.
- True Passthrough: play your console games with zero lag.
- Instant Gameview: power your workflow with ultra-low-latency technology.
- Streaming Software
OBS Studio is the most popular streaming software and meets at the crossroads of functionality and simplicity. Incredibly easy to install and use within minutes, OBS Studio has streamlined the entire process of setting up the software portion of a live streaming setup.
How to stream on Twitch is a good place to start for an in-depth look on how to use OBS Studio.
Click here to download OBS Studio.
Now that the intermediate streaming equipment for PC has been covered, let’s uncover the high-end streaming equipment for platforms like Twitch.
Must-Have Streaming Equipment for Twitch
In this section we’re going to cover the high-end, the must-have, end-game of streaming equipment for Twitch. If it warrants a hyphen then it’s probably part of the list.
The products and companies reflected here are long standing brand names with a reputation to match. The products showcased here are highly sought after within the live streaming community and are known for their quality and reliability.
The Shure SM7B is a legendary microphone widely regarded as one of the best for streaming, podcasting and use in recording studios. It presents a clean, crisp and realistic reproduction of vocal tones without sacrificing build quality or fit and finish.
More than capable of handling the daily rigors of live streaming, the Shure SM7B is the premier XLR microphone for streaming.
- ONE MICROPHONE FOR EVERYTHING - Studio Recording, Home Recording, Podcasting & Streaming. The SM7B Is Trusted By The Worlds Leading Vocalists, Podcasters & Streamers.
- STUDIO VOCAL RECORDING - The SM7B’s Dynamic Cartridge With Smooth, Flat, Wide-range Frequency Response Produces Exceptionally Clean & Natural Reproduction Of Both Music & Speech.
- PODCAST & BROADCAST - Found In The Top Podcasting Studios Around The World, The SM7B Air Suspension Shock Isolation & Pop Filter Eliminate Both Mechanical Noise And Breathiness. So Words Get Through And The Rest Stays Out Of The Mix.
Arguably the best headphone that Beyerdynamic has ever designed and produced, fast becoming the gold standard of headphones in recording studios. Impeccable craftsmanship, incredibly durable and built to meet the rigors of any live streaming or recording environment.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro improves upon every metric compared to the much older DT 990 Pro. Cleaner and deeper bass, impeccable midrange reproduction that sounds life-like and pinpoint accuracy with its treble. If you want to track where your enemies are on the map, the DT 1990 Pro is almost cheating with it’s sonar-like accuracy.
- Open studio reference class headphones for mixing and mastering, Made in Germany
- 250 ohms, 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers
- Single sided, detachable cable with mini-XLR connectors
- Audio Mixer
The GoXLR Mixer is a 4-channel, all-in-one solution for live streamers to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. It comes packed with studio quality MIDAS preamps and supports 48V phantom power for XLR microphones.
A fully featured USB mixer that accepts optical inputs for Xbox and PlayStation, in addition to a 3.5 mm jack for your headphones. It includes an EQ, compressor, gate, de-esser and limiter. A sleek and intuitive design, it’s fast becoming the most popular audio mixer for streaming.
- Multi-channel mixer: Motorized faders let you control mic, game, music, chat, and more for the perfect Broadcast mix
- Studio quality MIDAS preamp: Make your XLR mic sound great with 48V phantom power, equalizer, compressor, limiter, de-esser, and Gate
- Sampler: Record samples on-the-fly or load your own audio files to engage and entertain your community
Video and Camera
A DSLR camera is the high-end for live streaming and there is no comparable technology from a webcam. The image quality is unmatched and it’s great for those streaming at 1080p 60fps to live streaming platforms like Twitch.
- DSLR Camera
The Canon Rebel T7 DSLR camera is one of the most in demand DSLR cameras for streamers as it mixes unmatched clarity and precision with ease of use. It’s capable of 1080p 60fps with HDMI-C in addition to a 24 megapixel CMOS sensor and this allows it to capture the high quality picture even in low-light environments.
- 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor with is 100–6400 (H: 12800)
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology
- 9-Point AF system and AI Servo AF
For the accessories section of the must-have streaming equipment there will be a handful of upgrades to the green screen, lighting, capture card and a new addition, a stream deck. The streaming software subsection will remain the same with OBS Studio leading the way as the most customizable and yet an incredibly user friendly streaming solution.
- Green Screen
The Elgato Green Screen has specific advantages compared to most other comparable models. It has become one of the most popular green screens for a handful of reasons, mainly it’s a retractable kit that allows you to pull it out during use and tuck it away under a bed or in a closet when you no longer require it.
The chroma key screen itself is composed of Dacron therefore making it more durable than most cloth screens and yet it’s easier to clean.
- Instant Immersion: portable chroma key panel optimized for webcam background removal.
- Superior Screen: durable wrinkle-resistant fabric guarantees the cleanest key you can get.
- Pop-Up Tech: simply lift and let the pneumatic x-frame automatically lock the screen in place.
The Elgato Ring Light is one of the more premium lighting kits that’s designed with live streaming in mind. It includes an adjustable stand, OSRAM LEDs for a soft bright light, color adjustments and will connect with Elgato’s software suite for total control of its additional features.
- Total Control: adjust light settings via the onboard buttons or app on Mac/Windows/iPhone/Android.
- 2500 Lumens: ultra-bright and fully dimmable.
- 2900 – 7000 K: adjust color from sunset amber to arctic blue.
- Capture Card
The Avermedia Live Gamer 4k is currently the most premium, 4k 60fps capture card on the market, beating out the competition with similar specs with a durable, reliable and bug-free experience.
This is an internal capture card that requires a PCI-e slot on your gaming PC motherboard and accepts HDMI from any modern console. With a capability to stream video at 4k 60fps, 1440p 144fps or 1080p 240fps makes it easy to include as must-have streaming equipment for Twitch.
- Stream and record 4K60 HDR10 content with ultra-low latency, thanks to the AVerMedia GC573 Live Gamer 4K internal capture card
- Enjoy clean and crisp video formats with zero-lag pass-through for game capture and live streaming
- The LG4K features three preset modes of RGB lighting, bringing more than just awesome performance to your PC setup
- Stream Deck
With the addition of an Elgato Stream Deck, you can seamlessly swap between overlays and scenes along with controlling nearly every aspect of your live streaming environment through a set of tactile and responsive macros. If you’re interested in streamlining your live streaming experience, consider picking up a Stream Deck.
- 15 Customizable LCD Keys: instantly control your apps, tools and platforms.
- One-Touch Operation: trigger single or multiple actions, launch social posts, adjust audio, mute mic, turn on lights, and much more.
- Visual Feedback: know that your command has been executed.
- Streaming Software
Once again OBS Studio rules the roost of live streaming software solutions. It’s not only on the cutting edge of development, it remains one of the easiest software packages to install and maintain.
OBS Studio works on any major operating system and is the single most important piece of software you will interact with outside of your OS.
Click here to download OBS Studio.
Frequently Asked Questions about your Definitive Guide to Streaming Equipment for Every Budget
What streaming equipment do I need?
There are three major pieces of streaming equipment to consider and in addition to those three let’s consider some recommended basic streaming equipment that would benefit a beginning streamer.
A microphone – Blue Yeti
A webcam – Logitech C920x
Headphones – Audio Technica m40x
A microphone is necessary so you can interact with your live streaming audience and a webcam will be important so that the audience will have a face to match with your voice. The addition of headphones is often overlooked, but also important as you’ll be wearing them full-time during your live streaming sessions.
How do you stream for beginners?
This is a simple question to answer — download Twitch Studio and install the application onto your PC or laptop. Follow the step by step guide and let Twitch Studio handle the technical, live streaming aspect of it for you.
Start your favorite game and you’re all set, Twitch Studio will automatically detect the best settings, your gaming and streaming peripherals and have you up and running within moments.
What streaming equipment do I need for the PS4?
You will need a capture card as streaming equipment for the PS4, if you’re live streaming from a gaming PC or laptop.
If you choose to livestream from the PS4 directly to Twitch all you will need to do is install the Twitch app from the PlayStation Store.
How much RAM do I need for streaming?
32 gigabytes(GB) is the recommended amount of RAM for streaming. You can monitor your RAM usage within Windows and you will know when you’re running out of memory with OBS Studio and your favorite streaming game is running concurrently.
How much RAM does OBS require?
OBS Studio recommends 32 gigabytes(GB) of RAM for use while live streaming.
Ideal Video Game Streaming Equipment for Every Budget
From beginners to the professional live streamers on platforms like Twitch, the ideal video game streaming equipment budget can vary wildly. One should stick with name brands that have a long standing reputation for durable and reliable products that hold some merit within the live streaming community.
Upgrading your streaming equipment to include new tools like a green screen, a new lighting kit, or expanding your overlays and scenes with a stream deck. As your stream begins to grow, so too will your list of streaming equipment.
Finding the right capture card, webcam or DSLR camera for your particular setup is all as important as your streaming software. Learning which pieces of live streaming equipment go together helps to grow your setup at a reasonable pace without wasting any time or effort.