Tips for an Audio Setup


#1

Hey, folks!

I was just wondering if anyone here might have any tips for setting up audio for streaming at a high-casual level. I’m not looking to spend myself into the ground setting up a soundproofed studio, but I am wondering what the current guidance for that casual tier of streamer in terms of good & competent mics and minimising background noise and so on.

I’ve been realising a lot lately that the tips I was reading (which were 5-6 years ago) may have been fine for the time but the tide has definitely turned against them, especially with things like USB mics.

This is definitely an appeal for generalist guidance, so apologies if it is just too vague – am happy to help narrow it down a lil if it’s not good enough!


#2

My buddy and I casual-stream kingdom hearts on weekends with a blue yeti snowball USB mic and mic filter. Even with two people sharing a mic it sounds fine at the number 2 setting. Not much in the way of background noise even with two other people in my apartment going about their evening.


#3

Ye, the Blue (now a division of Logitech - I’ve not heard of any quality cliff or other issues since the acquisition) stuff gets a lot of thumbs up in the category of affordable, simple (just plug in and USB audio activates), and available everywhere. A lot of the stuff you listen to online will come from someone with a Yeti and even a decent amount that makes do with the Snowball (I think the advice is to stick with the original Snowball as they released an even more budget Snowball Ice and I’ve not heard much praise for that).

I’ve got a Snowball I’ve used for work (VoIP) and done some light streaming/recording with and it’s worked out ok (currently still working just as well as it was five years ago when I got it with a basic stand and pop filter).

The big tip on that stuff is that you should process it to get the same sound as you’re used to hearing online (the lower rung of the “professional” sound) and do that for streaming much the same way as you’d do it for standard recording. Have a noise profile to eat any slight hiss from the condenser mic and then use a compressor to get it all within the right output range. You can do stuff with Voicemeeter Banana plugins or use the in-built filters for your capture/streaming software.

I think most people can actually hear the settings when listening to a stream before even guessing at the hardware (unless you’re using a $5 mic - those probably can’t be saved by a nice profile and some filtering).


#4

You can do alright with a noise gate plugin and USB mic, I never was satisfied though but don’t be like me.

I have a small, noisy house. No place is more than 10 ft from an appliance that makes noise. In order to cut that noise I had to buy “high powered” mics (a second one because once upon a time my wife participated in content). I have a Shure SM7B and an ElectroVoice RE-20, they are expensive but only pick up sound 3-12" away. A also have a Behringer XR18 I run all audio through (Mics, PC, Discord, Consoles) so I can send a mix over my VoiP call that cuts out their voice when I need a co-commentator, sending an aux mix to OBS I can mix levels independently all while letting me record up to 18 tracks individually in Audition to master in the recording after.

I repeat, maybe don’t be like me. I don’t even get to stream or record anymore. But maybe my setup might give you ideas how to implement your own. I do recommend a mixer and a powered mic though, you might have better luck with analog gain control.


#5

All of the advice here is very sound! I’m not as logged in on the software side of things, as I’m not really using my audio equipment for streaming, but I do have a few pieces of advice for hardware!

The one thing I will say is I had lots of trouble with the Blue snowball because the usb-b connector was incredibly loose and made for an incredibly spotty connection after a year or so. The yeti is an incredibly solid mic though! Probably the usb mic I’d recommend to everyone.

If anyone’s looking for mics a step above the yeti, you’ll probably need to start looking at external sound interfaces, because you’ll most likely need an xlr connection. The Scarlett interfaces have broken a lot for me, so I’d recommend looking at steinberg’s lineup, I haven’t personally used them, but I’ve heard only good things. Just make sure it is able to provide phantom power, as most condensers need that.

As for the mics, there are a lot of condenser mic’s out there, so definitely do your research and figure out what you want from your mic. I personally own an AKG p420. It’s a nice clear mic, biased towards treble. It won’t be the best mic for providing low, dulcet tones for podcasting, but will help you stand out in a mix, great for songwriting! Again, if you’re looking to invest in something out of the ballpark of the Yeti, you should have an idea of why you need a better mic, and research what mic would accomplish what you need.

Another thing worth considering, for any general mic setup it’s worth getting a pop filter to filter out, well, popping sounds from pronouncing b’s and p’s. They should be widely available on any online retail site or music store, but you can also make your own with a wire hanger, pantyhose, and some tape which is what I had for years.


#6

Worth noting that if you have the space to go the XLR/phantom power/interface route, there’s a lot of very decent to good mic setups that can be purchased for altogether less than a Yeti or maybe even a Snowball.

That said, space is at a premium on my desk so I just have the Yeti connected to a shock mount connected to my mic stand, with a pop filter. I then bring in the sound through Voicemeeter Banana and use Reaper plugins to do processing in much the same way as Shivoa described! You def DO NOT want to use the built in Yeti stand if you can help it.

With some decent processing, you can get the Yeti to sound pretty much like any other mic out there, but it does have a specific tone quality to it. Going the XLR route if you have the space for it will allow you some more variance in the tone quality of the mic and get it more to your liking.