How to Perfect the Audio of Your First Game Stream



Quick and easy audio setup can be a boon to new streamers otherwise bogged down in the intimidating world of digital mixing, cardioid microphones, and VOIP solutions. While high-end solutions offer granularity, they can also add a level of complexity that could completely prevent a newbie from a future streaming career. Fortunately, a simple and painless audio solution is at your fingertips.

Most professional streamers swear by their low-key all-sing-and-dance microphone and XFR audio mixer setup. These become particularly useful if a secondary streaming PC – independent of a gaming PC – is used for optimal video quality and control. But not all of this material is really needed to just get up and stream.

Some microphones don’t live up to expectations and will likely turn an audience away – most mainstream webcams have microphones that are far too muffled and shoddy for a streamer to use properly, for example. But a quality gaming headset with an adjustable mic will be more than enough to see you through a successful stream.

We’ve already preached the good word about great gaming headsets in length – there’s a lot to cover – but in short, an immersive gaming experience isn’t complete without a quality gaming headset. A good noise-canceling microphone not only plays a central role in the gaming experience, sometimes providing a valuable competitive advantage, but is also important for the quality of streaming.

Get the right mic

Turtle Beach is a company that recognizes the importance of a clear voice, and its Elite Atlas headphones – with TruSpeak technology – are more than capable of replacing super-expensive audio mixing equipment in a pinch. This gaming headset has a unidirectional microphone – an important choice to make when choosing the right headset for streaming use.

Not all microphones are designed for the same tasks. Manufacturers use polar diagrams to tailor their material to the task at hand. There are four to seven main models that are widely used, depending on the industry. Bidirectional, for example, provides clear audio for interviews and omnidirectional for environmental audio recording.

But it’s the cardioid that matters most to streamers due to its exclusion pattern which is less receptive to audio coming from anywhere else than directly in front of the mic. Everything from a low-profile desktop microphone to the Elite Atlas will feature this pattern – often referred to as ‘unidirectional’. Some microphones, such as the Turtle Beach Stream Mic, will offer multiple polar patterns, so be aware that you may need to make sure your mic is set up correctly for cardioid if it has specific settings.

With a unidirectional mic – like the one on the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas – environmental noise, within reason, will no longer be a problem for you or your attentive audience. So, with the right gear at your fingertips, it’s now a matter of setting it up correctly and customizing it to perfection.

Streamlabs OBS

So take the right microphone

The setup is pretty straightforward… as promised. With your headphones plugged into your PC – whether the USB or 3.5mm sockets depend entirely on the headphones you have on hand – you want to open the best bud of the modern streamer: Streamlabs OBS. This app will do the heavy lifting for you on the workflow front and allow for the same audio granularity as its ancestor, OBS Studio.

In Streamlabs, open Settings, go to the audio tab and set your headset as “Desktop audio device 1” and “Mic / Auxiliary device 1”. This will ensure that OBS always knows that this device will be exactly from which to capture game and mic audio. You also want to make sure that this same device is set by default for recording and playback devices in the Windows Sounds panel. This is easily accessed by right clicking on the speaker icon in the taskbar at the bottom right of the desktop.

OBS Streamlabs mixer

From the Streamlabs OBS live preview panel (the main tab) you should now see both desktop audio and mic / aux audio reacting to any desktop audio played through the PC , and any noise close enough to the microphone to be recorded.

But while you are now technically ready to stream, there are a few extracurricular steps you can take to make your simple gaming headset setup even better.

Streamlabs OBS Filters

Audio filtering

OBS and by extension Streamlabs OBS offer incredibly powerful features right from the audio mixer tab in the app itself: filters. There are all kinds of filters available, ranging from gain and noise gates to VST filters. These can produce great results when configured correctly and are accessed by clicking on the settings cog for your mic input in the mixer panel.

Gain is a simple filter with a simple purpose: it makes your microphone sound louder than it actually is. Raising this too far can be very detrimental to audio quality and clarity, so beware of excessive settings. However, with a few subtle adjustments, any quiet mic can be heard loud and clear.

Noise Cancellation is a fantastic tool for removing minor and constant background noise that might otherwise spoil the audience’s audio experience. The Noise Gate is similar in that it also aims to rid the audio of unwanted background noise. Both prevent sound below a certain threshold from seeping into your stream. The latter may be a bit more difficult to obtain the first time around and will need to be adapted to your own environment.

The compressor filter is an incredibly useful tool if you are prone to raging a little too hard. This essentially keeps your mic from spiking and blowing your viewers’ eardrums during ‘hot’ times. Again, this filter will require a personal touch to get just right, but it can be worth it if you don’t limit your emotions well in the middle of the game. This filter is extremely powerful and is worth digging into if you want to bring a professional touch to your audio stream.

Last, but not least, is VST. It stands for Virtual Studio Technology and is used by amateurs and experts to achieve the best possible sound. There is a litany of free VST plugins available online for anyone to try out, all capable of supercharging your audio no matter what your hardware.

Turtle Beach audio stream

Intensify and diffuse

If you want to take your gaming a step further, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro TAC offers mic monitoring and background noise limiting right on the device itself. Designed for professional gamers, this audio controller is a simple way to amplify your audio stream, with various EQ presets, superhuman hearing, DTS 7.1 surround sound, and easy-to-access controls for on-the-fly setup.

Your gaming headset is a powerful tool, and it shouldn’t be underestimated because your favorite streamer uses a professional studio-grade platform. You don’t need professional gear to get started in streaming, or get great results, and a high-quality gaming headset – like the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas – has everything you need to get started. your streaming career.

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