Advance your audio for a next level stream and better income on webcam
Audio is very important for webcam shows because good and clear audio adds next level sensory stimulation to a live show. Check out these tips to make your audio jaw dropping and keep fans coming back!
Invest in a microphone that is good quality
Definitely invest in a good quality microphone if you’re taking streaming seriously. A good microphone can take your audio to the next level and you can get some really nice UBS mics for $200. My viewers constantly ask me to whisper into the mic, or do ASMR for them which was impossible with the built-in mic of my c920.
Stream clearer music so your customers can connect with you
Almost all models stream music when going live. And why wouldn’t you? It makes your room so much more alive. You can dance around to the music, your members can be inspired to interact with you, they are going to tell you they love that song, etc. But how you set up your stream for your music can make a big difference.
Using your mic to stream music:
This is the most common way models stream music. You log onto your cam site of choice, hit the broadcast button and in a different window/application you fire up your hot playlist and set your PC / Laptop / TV speakers loud enough for your microphone to pick the music up. There are a couple of problems with this approach though.
You need to be heard and understood clearly whenever you speak, so the music can’t be too loud. But if it’s not loud, doesn’t matter how good your microphone is, the quality loss will be horrible.
To make things even worse, most models don’t have $200+ microphones, and the built in microphone of your c920 or laptop is everything but studio quality. This is why the music on a lot of the streams sounds like you dropped an old pocket radio into a metal bucket (not good).
The main advantage of the methods below is that they mix your music into your stream digitally. So it’ll be the same quality on your member’s end as if they themselves were listening to it on your streaming site of choice.
OBS/XSplit (doesn’t work everywhere eg. Streamate):
OBS and XSplit provide you great audio mixing capabilities! You can mix your microphone with your system sounds, set up levels for all the media you mix in (video effects and such) separately, and basically that’s all you need to have great audio on your stream.
If the site(s) you work on can be used with OBS/Xsplit you’re all set! But if you work on a site that doesn’t let you use and external encoder (like the new SM broadcast on Streamate), LiveJasmin and a couple of other sites, you’re in no luck. If you use XSplit or OBS Virtual Cam you can still spice up your video, but you can only set your microphone as your audio input, so we’re back to square one with the metal bucket.
GoXLR / GoXLR Mini:
There are some pretty awesome USB audio mixers out there that you can invest in to up your audio game. Ones like the GoXLR and GoXLR Mini. These provide you multiple channels of audio input and amazing controls over basic EQ settings, channel based muting and all that fancy-schmancy stuff.
Also they look ridiculously good! And they cost you somewhere around $500-$700. There is a use case for them (especially when you’re streaming gameplay, but just to have a nice sounding music on your stream they are definitely an overkill.
Voicemeeter Banana to the rescue:
The good news is, you can get all this for free. Voicemeeter is donationware, which means you pay for it as much as you think is fair and affordable for you, or nothing at all. I highly recommend you donating at least a couple of dollars if you find it useful to help the amazing people developing it keep up the great work!
It can look pretty complicated at first, but I’ll give you the very basic few steps to get started, and you can play around with the rest after.
Step 1: set your Hardware Input 1 to your microphone. You’ll see most devices 3 times in the list prefixed with WDM, KS, MME. These are different audio drivers which based on your system can provide different CPU load and audio quality. You’ll need to play around with them to see which is best for your specific system.
For now, just use the WDM one. It’s important that whichever you use, use the same driver for ALL your audio devices.
Step 2: set your Hardware Out A1. A1 should be your speakers/headphones.
Step 3: In your Windows sound settings set your default speakers to VoiceMeeter Input.
Step 4: On the site/application when you go online, select VoiceMeeter Output as your microphone.
So to explain what we just did here. Whatever sound your computer would play normally on your speakers/headphones now goes INTO VoiceMeeter (this was step 3).
VoiceMeeter does it’s magic, mixes this sound with your microphone (Step 1) and sends it to your Hardware Out (Step 2) and also to the VoiceMeeter Output virtual device that you selected as your mic in your application/website (Step 4).
Make sure your output audio sounds good
The next thing for you to do is set up the volumes and levels to sound nice. You’ll need to play around with this to get it right. If you look at the VoiceMeeter application, all inputs have an A and B buttons in their columns.
If you enable ‘A’ it means you’ll be able to hear it on your hardware out (speakers / headphones). If you enable B, that means it’ll be sent to the Virtual Out (your cam site). You can of course enable both or none at any time. The most important steps to get everything sound nice are the following.
Step 1: set your Microphone level to somewhere around -0.2dB to have you as loud as possible. Don’t set it above 0 because that’ll distort your sound!
Step 2: set your Virtual Input to some lower level because you don’t want your music blasting too loud on your stream. For my setup somewhere between -26dB and -20dB is good.
Step 3: set your Hardware out level to low enough so you can hear what music you’re playing, but not loud enough that your mic will pick it up, we don’t need that. This will make your on-line experience a bit less like a party as you won’t hear loud music in your room.
You can turn it up carefully and experiment how loud you can listen to it before it starts interfering with your stream. For my setup somewhere between -19dB (I can barely hear the music) and -13dB (I can hear it perfectly and it still won’t do double audio or reverb on my stream) works best.
Step 4: set your virtual out to around -0.2dB.
One more really good thing about this is that you can see the voice levels for your virtual out in the application, so as a general rule your stream sounds good if your music stays in the grey/blueish area, and when you speak it goes up into the green, but nothing reaches red ever. Think of red as making your viewers scream in pain if they wear headphones. Mid to high green is more than enough!
It can sound complicated, but once you get used to it setting it up before you stream and managing your stream is a piece of cake!
A couple of use cases to help you:
If someone takes you private and asks you to turn the music down a bit, you just pull the Virtual Input slider down a bit.
If they want you to mute the music you just disable “B” on your Virtual Input.
If you need to quickly mute yourself you just disable “B” on your Hardware input.
Most complicated case:
If you’re doing cam2cam or two-way audio you’ll need to stop your music or turn it’s volume down in your spotify app or your youtube player and turn the Virtual Input and Hardware Out A1 UP and disable B on your Virtual Input! To explain: The voice of your member will play the same way as your music on your system. So it’ll be directed INTO VoiceMeeter.
If you change nothing, it’ll get lowered to around -23dB (your Virtual Input level), and sent out to your Hardware Out (speaker) in a very low volume, and also sent out to your Virtual Out much louder. What this means is that you’ll basically hear nothing, and the member will hear himself very loudly with a couple seconds delay.
Disabling B on your Virtual Input means you will not send his voice back to him, and turning up the levels means you want to hear him louder. This might sound very complicated but after you get the hang of what does what it’s pretty straightforward and you’ll adjust everything quickly!