Transmit audio interfaces sound

Live streaming equipment for musicians

Instructions for high quality live streams

Live streaming made easy

(Image: © Shutterstock, Photo by TZIDO SUN)

In times of social media and online advertising, live streams are proving to be an effective means of reaching a large audience without always having to be on tour. Artists stream their performance from the rehearsal room directly into the living rooms of the world and create virtual snapshots for their fans. But such a live stream quickly becomes a complex technical matter as soon as it goes beyond a simple Instagram live action with the internal smartphone camera. As long as it is not about an elaborate live broadcast, you are uncomplicated, inexpensive and quickly prepared for the essentials. In this article, we have summarized how and with what you can achieve stable and high-quality streams.

What do I need?

1st picture

A conventional webcam such as the Razer Kiyo or the Logitech C920 HD Pro sufficient. However, if you want a higher quality picture, any other video-capable camera with an HDMI / monitor output is also suitable, such as the Sony HDR-CX 240 EB or the Panasonic Lumix GH-2.

While a webcam can usually be easily connected directly to the computer via USB, you usually need additional hardware for other devices, as very few computers have a dedicated HDMI / SDI connection.

For Mac devices, for example, the Ultra Studio Mini Recorder by Black Magic Design, to which you can connect the SDI / HDMI signal of your camera like an interface. It then goes straight to the Mac via Thunderbolt and your camera is ready to stream.

If you work with Windows computers, you would still need a Thunderbolt / USB adapter. A good all-round solution would be the multi-track production mixer Breath mini, also by Black Magic Design, which is specially tailored for medium-sized live streaming applications.

Here you can connect up to four cameras, manage, edit and transfer them directly to your streaming computer via USB / HDMI. An audio interface with two microphone connections and internal effects is also on board. Last but not least, you can of course also implement a live stream with your internal webcam or smartphone / tablet camera. More on that later.

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2nd tone

If you don't plan complex band recordings, the sound of the live stream is similar to yours Home studio. Depending on the streaming setup, you can usually integrate your audio interface and use the microphones of your choice, which you may have already used often for home recordings anyway.

If there is no interface available, there would also be USB microphones like that T.Bone SC 420 or that M-Audio via Mic in question. If you want to mix your sound even more precisely and refine it with reverb, for example, it is advisable to do this before plugging it into the interface.

For example, you can have a compact mixer with built-in effects like this Soundcraft Notepad 12FX, an acoustic amp like that Schertler Jam or use a second computer. The pre-mixed signal then goes into the audio interface - done!

If you want to implement your stream exclusively on your smartphone or tablet, there are various clip-on microphones such as this Zoom iQ6 or that Rode i-XY Lightningthat automatically replace the internal microphone and significantly improve your audio quality.

Where do I stream?

As already said above: As long as it is not about an elaborate live broadcast involving several computers, cameras and mixing consoles, there is a proven streaming concept that you can fall back on. You need the following equipment for this:

1. Stream provider / distributor

First of all, you need a server on which your stream can run. There are various providers such as DaCast or Restreamwho provide you with a so-called "Stream Key" and an RTMP URL. You enter this information in your broadcast / encoder software and thus broadcast your live material in real time on the Internet. Depending on the provider, you can then broadcast your stream directly on different social media platforms at the same time, but there is always a direct link to the website of the streaming provider.

2. Screen recorder / broadcast software

In addition to a server, a screen recorder / broadcast software is required in which you can prepare your stream. Open source software is currently the most widespread OBSwhich also offers a detailed FAQ for questions that arise. But there are also other providers such as XSplit. In the program you can select your audio and video source, edit the image with effects and prepare it optimally for the stream. In OBS you can even use your smartphone or tablet camera as a video source via USB and mix it with external audio.

3. Direct streaming social media

If it has to be quick and video and audio quality are of secondary importance, social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram also offer direct live streaming via the internal smartphone or tablet camera and the internal microphone or a clip-on microphone. With help of a iRig-Interfaces you can also replace the internal microphone with external, possibly premixed signals and thus come closer to the audio quality of a more complex stream. Attention: Instagram automatically closes live streams after one hour, Facebook closes after four hours at the latest.

Workshop

Quick start: live streaming

You think that all sounds interesting, but you don't even know how or what to start with? Step by step, we will introduce you to two simple setups with which you can easily set up solid live streams.

Setup 1: Direct streaming via smartphone / tablet

The use of the direct live transmission within social media platforms is probably the most straightforward streaming option. While you use a streaming provider for YouTube like DaCast Facebook and Instagram offer direct streams from your tablet or smartphone.

Instagram

Fortunately, in just three clicks: Live streaming works on Instagram via the story function. Instead of posting a photo or video in your story as usual, go to "Live" in the lower selection and then click on the send button. You are already online! The subscribers who are currently online receive an automatic notification and can watch your live streaming like a normal story. In this case, previous image processing is only possible to a limited extent, but as I said, you can use clip-on microphones or a iRig interface freshen up.

Instagram Live

Facebook

Facebook is a bit more advanced when it comes to live streaming. You can access live video mode via the post options that appear when you want to publish a normal post.

Facebook post options

This will open a portal where you can choose whether you want to stream directly on Facebook or via Stream provider. In the latter case, Facebook works like OBS and is the control center for your stream, which ultimately runs on your provider's server and is only "shared" on Facebook. With a direct stream on Facebook, as in OBS, you can select the audio and video sources separately. If you are technically ready, you can start.

Facebook portal

Setup 2: Flexible streaming with OBS

The open source software OBS proves to be a good control center for organizing, preparing and sending your audio and video signals to the stream provider of your choice. You can download the basic software for free on the OBS homepage download.
The first thing to do now is to select the right audio and video sources. To do this, go to the bottom menu swell on the + button and select Audio input recording or. Video capture device. To embed your camera or audio interface in OBS, select in the window that now appears Create new, click on OK and you can choose the devices you want. In terms of audio, it still applies afterwards, in the global one Settings (bottom right) the corresponding device again as Microphone / audio device to select. Once you have selected the camera, you can, among other things, scale the image and add effects.

Once all the presets have been made, it is time to start OBS with your previously selected Stream provider to connect what is under the global Settings is working. In the "Stream" tab, select your provider under "Platform" and enter the stream key that you received from your streaming platform beforehand. Now just click on "Start Streaming" and you're online! On which platforms (Facebook, Twitch, YouTube etc.) your stream is now visible, you do not set in OBS, but on the website of your streaming provider.

What starts with Instagram Live and is taken to the next level with OBS, of course, knows hardly any technical limits. For example, when gaming events are broadcast live, much more complex and costly concepts are brought up. For domestic rehearsal room needs, however, you are well advised with the setups presented and can offer your fans a high-quality live stream experience. Well then, let's go!