This journey to streaming has been an interesting one so far. I am by far a “Streamer” having only been doing this for about a week. Every day I am learning so much and I truly am getting progressively better at my streams.
I have conquered the first two of my hurdles. The first was video. I solved that early on with a simple, and small, webcam. It’s basically a potato but I had to start with something and it was what I had laying around. The second was sound and this one was a little more complicated.
At first I was looking online for a DAC to connect to my computer. Then I remembered that I had something that should work setup in my garage. Since its about 32 degrees outside during this time of year, I won’t be hanging out in the garage any time soon so I removed the setup from there and installed it at my desk.
That’s when my first problem started. This was a simple one; I had to get the levels right between my mic, music, and the game sounds. With a live stream it is hard to monitor what you are broadcasting and what the person on the other end of the stream watching is seeing/hearing. I first started to tackle this problem by having my laptop logged into the stream and watching as if I was just another person. Lesson: Be sure to mute the sound or your microphone or else you will get an echo feedback.
The other solution I came up with was to have my wife log into the stream while she was working in the other room and have her listen and give me feedback if things sound strange. I found that this works quite nicely but it requires that you have another person, preferably within close physical proximity, that you can communicate with.
Then I discovered various tools that you can use (the twitch dashboard for instance) that allow you to monitor your stream. These tools and sites mostly let you monitor your bit rate (which is very important) to make sure that you are not lagging on upload during the stream. Unless you have headphones, it is difficult to listen to the live stream while you are actually broadcasting because there is about a 15-20 second lag between you doing something and the stream actually reaching that point.
Using the monitoring sites you can at least be sure that once you have everything dialed in and working, your broadcast is actually running smoothly. The next issue that I ran into may be caused by the cheap DAC that I am using. It came with my mixer and seemed to be working fine in the garage, but now it started to give me problems; the main being a buzzing feedback it generated. If you have ever heard a mechanical hard drive working that is what it sounded like.
This sound was easily heard in some of the streams that I was doing and that’s not good. No one wants to listed to a channel that has bad sound. Keep in mind that no one HAS to watch your channel. By disconnecting the USB DAC, the buzzing sound would stop so that is definitely where the problem was.
I was able to alleviate the buzzing but still be able to use my microphone through the mixer by removing the “input” to the DAC and instead having OBS stream the sound directly from the application of the game I was playing. So even though I was not running the sound through my mixer, and lost some of the controls that afforded me, I produced a very good sounding podcast that was free of the dreaded buzzing.
Those two issues took at least a week for me to completely figure out. Today was the first day that I streamed a decent stream that sounded and looked good. It was also the first day that I streamed the game Rimworld! I have not played the game for a VERY long time and apparently they have added a LOT to the game. I am finding myself having to re-learn almost the entire thing. It is a lot more energetic to play than DF, and I think more entertaining to watch. I may have to switch my focus to that game or even something else that is similar.
Tomorrow I hope to stream even more. I am really shooting for a “full day” stream and would be interested to see how many views I can get doing such a long stream. I think that Rimworld is much better suited to this type of play so I will be sticking with that game for the rest of the week.