I figured enough people here stream their games or whatever and may want a place to talk about how to do it better. This is a thread for gear, software, tips to improve our own streaming, and general streaming industry news and events.

SL&ENT Streamers

What do I need to get started?
This is actually very simple nowadays. XB1 and PS4 both offer the ability to stream right from the console to a variety of services, with the most popular being Twitch.tv. You just need to create an account, link it to your console profile, and you are good to go!

For PC, Microsoft used to include a way to stream right within Windows 10. However, that was removed within the last year. Geforce Experience from Nvidia provides probably the easiest way to stream on PC with the least fuss. It works much like the console options but with a bit more customization in regards to quality and HUD options. XSplit Gamecaster is another option here, is currently free while it is in beta (and using it in beta gives you a lifetime free license for it on release) and, like Geforce Experience/ShadowPlay, has an in-game HUD to help you out if you are on a single monitor.

For more advanced users, OBS, Streamlabs, and XSplit Broadcaster (the only non-free option) are the most popular. I may write up a guide on how to best use some of these, but there are usually excellent guides for each on their respective websites.

What kind of gear do I need or want?
If you want to actually build an audience, you will need a mic at the minimum. When first getting started, any mic will do. But if you want better quality and more/easier adjustments, then you will want some special dedicated hardware.

Capture Card
If you are streaming from the same PC you are playing on, this is not needed. If you are streaming from a console or you want to use a second PC to encode your stream for you (so that your gaming PC doesn't take any performance hits while encoding the stream), this is an absolute must.

Elgato and AVerMedia are the two best budget brands and will meet the needs for most people. Magewell (and a small handful of others) can fit others' needs.

Audio Interface
An audio interface is a piece of hardware that you can plug one or more mics (or other audio input devices) into.

These are used because Windows only supports a single audio device at a time and when you use the software monitoring function, there is often significant delay, which can make it hard to hear yourself if you need it turned on to hear yourself while using sealed or noise-cancelling headphones. It is also often cumbersome and slow to adjust your mic settings through Windows.

Using an interface also expands the variety of mics and other audio inputs available to use.

Good budget interfaces:

Getting an interface with only a single input is cheaper, but I like to recommend ones with two, just in case you want to use different mics for different scenarios or if you are planning on streaming yourself playing an instrument and singing (a different mic for the voice and instrument). With that said, here are a couple single XLR input interfaces:

Scarlett Solo: https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-solo
Behringer UMC22 (careful: not the UM22): https://behringer.com/product.html?modelCode=P0AUX

A good microphone is invaluable. When it comes to mics, there are condenser mics and dynamic mics. For most people, a dynamic mic is best. The main difference when it comes to streaming is that dynamic mics minimize sounds further than 2-3 inches from the mic while condenser mics will pick up everything. Most streamers will not be streaming from a sound-proofed room so dynamic mics are usually best.

Mics also pick up sounds in different shapes from the mic input. The main two are cardioid (picks up sound in a heart-shaped pattern around the mic) and omnidirectional (picks up everything). You will usually want a mic with a cardioid pattern and make sure your keyboard is located behind the back of the mic so that the keyboard and mouse chatter is not picked up as strongly.

Mic Boom
Mic booms are usually scissor-arm stands that clamp to a desk and allow lots of movement to put it in the best place. Very important to make sure your mic is in the correct location so these are necessary.

Neewer makes some good budget options. This one also includes a pop filter: https://neewer.com/collections/microphones-accessories/products/microphones-accessories-90087662

Pop Filter
Pop filters are super cheap and reduce popping sounds or plosives (syllables that typically start or end with p, b, t, k, g, d sounds) when you talk or sing. Again, super cheap. Get one. They come in either a little sock like a clown nose you can put over the mic's head or a flat circle you put between the mic and your mouth.

need help filling this section out

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*let me know if more information about something is needed or if y'all want something more added and I'll try to fit it in*