ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / DANTE SRILAPA – SENIOR EDITOR / JANUARY 25TH, 2021 /
Hey y’all, welcome back to my new series, Let’s Talk Streaming. This time, I’ve gone and done some research for you guys, to help begin to or further optimize your streaming equipment. Hopefully you’ve read the two articles proceeded this. If not, you can get acquainted with pros and cons of streaming as well as different streaming platforms. If you’ve read both and are still keeping up with the series, I guess you’re really committed to this. Or you’re bored as hell and are reading my writing to pass some time.
Fair game either way.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Do you need a specific computer to start streaming? The answer is no. You don’t need a specific, likely to be $5,000 computer to be able to stream. To be completely honest, you could stream from any crappy computer than can run Skyrim on medium settings without crashing. Does that mean you should? No, not if you desire quality. And let’s face it, if you’re willingly running Skyrim on medium settings when you’re fiscally able to upgrade, maybe quality isn’t your highest priority. But I digress.
The point is, don’t worry about spending 10 bands on a streaming setup. Not all professional streamers started with a half a Bitcoin’s worth of shit. Most had to come from somewhere, right? But I will admit, the base computer is never cheap. If you already own a computer, you know this. It’ll always cost you hundreds, even if you build it yourself. I’m not going to breakdown costs entirely here, but I will do so in upcoming articles. For now, I’ll give a little insight into both sides of the coin: building and buying.
As you can see in the table up above, The Cost Guys had been kind enough to show average costs of PC building in every financial situation. To start streaming, I would recommend starting with an entry level build at the very least. Anything less will likely not have the strength to handle streaming, let alone some CPU intensive video games.
HOWEVER: This may not apply to you depending on what type of stream you are doing. This article will mainly apply to video game streams. If you are doing lifestyle streams or anything mobile, you may not gain much from this section of the article. Scroll further down for camera and microphone breakdowns, which may benefit you more.
Continuing on, let’s talk about the relative cost of buying PC’s instead of building them. To be perfectly candid, there is nothing wrong with buying a prebuilt computer. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s a safe purchase, especially if you’re afraid you’ll screw up in the middle of building one. In any case, below I’m listing the cost of different pre-built PC’s at different price points:
- iBUYPOWER – Gaming Desktop – Intel i5-10400F – 8GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB – 240GB SSD + 1TB HDD – $699.99
- Lenovo – Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop – Intel Core i7-10700 – 16GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super – 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD – Phantom Black – $1,169.99
- MSI – Aegis R Gaming Desktop – 16GB – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB – 1TB HHD – 512GB SSD – $1,499.99
- CLX SET Gaming Desktop – Intel Core i7 10700 – 32GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 – 480GB SSD + 3TB HDD – Black -$2,219.99
- CORSAIR – ONE Gaming Desktop – Intel Core i9-9900K – 32GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti – 960GB SSD + 2TB HDD – $3,499.99
- CybertronPC – BLU-Print Desktop – AMD Ryzen ThreadRipper 2990WX – 128GB Memory – 1TB Solid State Drive + 4 x 1TB Solid State Drives – Black/RGB – $14,699.99
I agree, that last price can make a grown man cry. Unless you were recently inducted into FaZe or adopted by Pewdiepie and Marzia, I don’t think you’re gonna cough that up anytime soon. Truthfully, I threw that last one in for dramatic effect. That computer better give you the ability to email God, otherwise that’s a no for me dawg.
To sum it up: Everything above is there to offer a visual, monetary difference between building and buying PC’s. Which option you pick is up to you, but definitely take your financial ability into consideration. If you don’t have much money stockpiled, remember that you can buy parts as you go and hold onto them until you’ve got the all the required materials for a PC.
If you watch any streamer of average popularity or higher, you’ll notice how they sound. They sound nothing like your overseas relative on the phone or the 13-year old squeakers in your CoD lobby. They sound good. They sound like they’re actually speaking in the same room as you. This is due entirely to the quality of their mics. Different types of microphones have different recording qualities, and knowing how each will sound is very important. Essentially, don’t expect to sound like a news anchor through your headset.
Below are my Top 3 pics for microphone purchases in 2021. I’ll describe my decision on each, and then list some more microphones at different price points.
- Blue Microphones- Yeti X – $169.99+: I’ve done my research. The Blue Yeti X is the undisputed champion of microphones so far in 2021. The voice quality the Yeti X provides is amazing. It’s extremely high quality and super sensitive as well. It’ll pick up every individual keystroke and mouse-click. However, it also has a function for toggling noise-reduction for when you’ve got some unreasonable background noise, like an obnoxiously loud snoring dog. It’s also got a built-in LED display that shows off your volume levels. Perhaps the coolest thing is that you can customize your sound with preset filters. The ability to modify your voice is a pretty unique feature.
- HyperX Quadcast and Quadcast S – $139.99+: This microphone is a great quality microphone for a cheaper price than others. Perhaps the most important features are the touch-sensitive mute button and the built in shock mount. The importance of the sensitive mute button is the streaming quality booster. Mute buttons usually make noise, like a click. However, this mute button doesn’t make a peep, making it a more valuable asset. The shock mount is also important due to price. Most shock mounts are NOT included and will run you extra. Having it built in will save you some dough, which you can spend elsewhere in your setup. The microphone is also pretty simple to prep and it’s really cool looking. We love ourselves some RGB, amirite?
- JLab Talk Microphone – $99.99+: Essentially, this is the most affordable microphone in my top 3 without compromising too much in terms of quality. Not much here to say: you’re going to have good quality, you’re going to be able to optimize your sound depending on what you’re streaming, and you’re going to save some money. It’s a good mic, and you can funnel that extra money elsewhere.
Below are some runner-ups with their prices. Links are included if you wanna go check them out:
- Elgato Wave 3 – $139.99+
- HyperX Solocast – $59.99+
- Razer Seiren Elite – $199.99+
- Blue Microphones- Yeti Nano – $99.99+
All-in-all, it’s worth it to invest in your microphone. They’ll make you sound good, and a good third of streaming revolves around your auditory presence.
If you were only interested in what video capture devices to buy, congratulations on making it all this way. Let’s dive right in.
Video capture is an essential part of streaming, if you’re going to feature your face. Not every streamer will, but it adds a sense of personality. Being able to see your facial expressions and your whole body reactions will have an effect on your audience, and it proves to be more useful than you might think. With that in mind, you’re not going to achieve that effect with an Android camera.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to suggest a few webcams and a few handheld cameras. Remember that camcorders and other video capture devices are also options, but cost-wise I think you’ll be partial to webcams and cameras instead.
Webcams are a very viable option for video capture. If you’re going to be streaming video games or tabletop content, Webcams easily mount onto your monitor and remain fixated. Webcams won’t have the same pristine quality that a handheld camera might have, but they aren’t by any means bad.
- Logitech – C922 Pro Stream Webcam – $129.99+: The C922 is a pretty good investment. It’s not cheap, but it’s a really good upgrade from your run-of-the-mill webcam. It mounts easily to any monitor or television screen, and it streams 1080p at 30FPS. You can also stream 720p at 60FPS with the “hyperfast” mode.
- Logitech StreamCam – $169.99+: The StreamCam is a little more expensive than the C922, but for a good reason. It has everything the C922 has, but also has auto-focusing, facial tracking, and it has a USB-C which allows faster video transferring. Maybe not a great first webcam if you’re unsure of the whole business, but it’s definitely a worthy investment.
Cameras are a lot of versatile than webcams. If you’re going to take your streaming outdoors or if you’re going to take your streaming on-the-go around your house, you may want a camera instead. Plus, a camera has more utility than webcams. You can use them for genuine photography and video recording, which webcams are only capable of when attached to a computer or laptop. Just remember that cameras will, on average, cost more than webcams. The cost will be a LOT higher Below are my favorites for 2021.
- Canon EOS M200 – $549.99+: The beauty of this baby is that it’s around the same price point as other cameras, but it’s got 4K capabilities. It’s a really good quality camera overall. 1080p 60FPS streaming, good video quality, and it’s mirrorless to boot. The only drawback is that there’s no external microphone port. You’ll have to arrange your sound input, but that’s easy.
- Panasonic Lumix G7 – $500+: Another 4K capable camera. It’s got great video quality, optimizes audio routing, and is super easy to use and set up. The downside of this camera is that it isn’t built for blurry backgrounds. You may have to edit that yourself, or forgo the notion. entirely
Whether you pick a webcam or a camera, or a different video capture device, is completely up to you. However, take into consideration what your setup is going to look like and pick your weapon of choice after. Thank me later, or don’t. You probably won’t
This one will be brief. This is just a courteous reminder that there are a few other things to look into as well. You can do your own research into what you need or want for your streaming set up, but I’ll list a few ideas below.
- A Tripod
- A Ring Light
- A Gimbal For On-The-Go Recording
- A Headset (article coming up)
- Mice and Keyboards (for gaming)
- Gaming Chairs
- Backdrops or Green Screens
Streaming is no joke. When you start up streaming, you’re absolutely going to front a semi-substantial cost of equipment. Whether that is worth it or not is completely up to you, but I’m here to help you make that decision. Clearly you shouldn’t quit your day job to start streaming, mostly due to the start-up purchases, but by no means am I trying to talk anyone out of it. Even if streaming doesn’t pan out as a career, it can be fulfilling for people who love to share their everyday activities. To be a streamer who has a dedicated streamer base is nothing to sneeze at. Stay determined, and good luck if you decide to proceed.
Be on the look out for the next part of the “Let’s Talk Streaming” series.
- Epiphan Video
- Digital Camera World
- Best Buy
- PC Gamer
- JBL Audio
- The Cost Guys
- Tech Siting
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