LiveStream: Audio & Video Setup Overview

The Basics

With this help article, we’ll help you understand how to set up the video and audio for your Live Stream. We will go through all of the “ins and outs” of setting up your equipment for the show. Essentially, you’re going to take your video output and audio output and send those into the device your streaming on, whether it be from a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or a Sling Studio Video unit. Then you’ll set up the correct audio and video source in the streaming software that you’re using.

If you already know which audio and video devices you plan to use, you can skip down to the “Putting it All Together” section.

Video Camera Options

The first thing to set up for your Live Stream or virtual event will be the video camera. This can sometimes be overwhelming for some as there are so many to choose from as seen HEREIt’s important that you test out the camera you’re going to use ahead of time.

Most Basic Setup: Using the built-in camera device from your computer or tablet. These days, the cameras within your Desktop or Laptop are often “good enough” quality to stream your whole show. This would be the cheapest option since most tablets and computers have a built-in camera. There are downsides to a built-in camera. For example, some iMac computers have a built-in camera that only supports 720p video instead of 1080p HD video. If your device doesn’t have a built-in camera, you can easily purchase a USB webcam online. These can range from $29.99 to about $150.00.

Entry-Level Video Cameras: This tends to be on the cheaper side but still more expensive than the above option. The only real downfall of this option and the webcam one are that you cannot as easily adjust the lighting on them. This means that you have to rely on the natural lighting within the room you are performing in which can be difficult to rely on.
Examples of this would be a smartphone camera, action cameras, or entry-level camcorders.

Prosumer Video Cameras: This is your mid-range type of camera which will have a higher image quality which will of course make your performance look better to fans. Most of the cameras in this range will have an HDMI hookup capability which means you will not lose much image quality from your camera to your computer. They can range from about $500 to $3,000.
Examples of this would be a DSLR and mirrorless cameras, or prosumer camcorders.

Professional Video Cameras: These types of cameras are going to be the most expensive option but can be the most rewarding for your fans to see you in action. They have the ability to use XLR and SDI connectors. This will help give you the highest resolution possible for your show. Usually, when you use these types of cameras you will be able to get interchangeable lenses. These can range from $1,500 to $20,000 plus! However, you can often find places to rent them which would be a lot cheaper.

Audio Equipment Options

The next step in your process would be to set up the audio. Even though this is second in the setup process, often the audio is more important to fans than the video when it comes to live streaming.

Most Basic Setup: This setup just consists of using the built-in microphone on your computer, laptop, or tablet. Because of how far technology has come, a lot of computers have a pretty good microphone already built-in (you should test yours out to see how it sounds). Or you can simply purchase an AUX microphone for a fairly cheap price. This can range from $0 to about $50.

Low-Medium Setup: This would be the built-in microphone within your camera or prosumer Video Camera. So the price would be dependent upon the type of camera that you purchased. Always test it out to ensure you are happy with the audio quality.

Medium-High Quality:  USB and 3.5mm microphones, or a built-in microphone on a professional live video camera.

Professional Quality: XLR microphone. Most musicians already own a high-quality mic.

Video Switcher Options if Using Multiple Cameras

The point of a video switcher is to allow you to capture multiple video sources, i.e. 3 different cameras so you have 3 camera angles, and then switch between the cameras to make your stream more interesting. Hardware video switchers are great for performers that use a lot of different camera angles. But ManyCam is a video switching software that allows you to switch different camera angles without any required hardware. A video switcher or video switcher software will make it so you can click a button and easily move between different shots from your camera.

Audio Mixer Options if Using Multiple Audio Inputs

If you plan to use more than 1 microphone or audio input for your stream, i.e. an acoustic guitar duo that needs 2 vocal mics and 2 DI boxes for the acoustic guitars, then you’ll need to use some sort of audio interface mixer with multiple input channels like theseRemember, you’re going to take the 1 master audio output cord and plug that into the device your streaming on (i.e. your desktop computer) but a mixer lets you mix multiple audio input channels so that your master audio output is sending the right levels into the stream.

Using a DAW for Backtracks

The DAW would be your digital audio workstation, i.e. Pro Tools, Abelton Live, Reaper, etc. This will help bring your performance to the next level because you can send the Master Output from your DAW project directly into the stream without audio quality loss. If you are a rapper that performs to beats, or a singer that performs to backtracks, you can use your DAW project to send that all into the stream. This is also useful because any live tracks that you are using can be EQ’d or effects can be added. Example: A lead singer wants to play guitar and sing live to her album. So she opens the song in REAPER, mutes the lead vocal and lead guitar tracks, and now she’ll play along live during the stream and all of the backtracks in the DAW project will go into the stream.

There is one extra step to complete in order to send your Master Output from your DAW into OBS or whichever stream software you are going to use. For Apple computers (Mac desktop or Macbook) we recommend using BlackHole and if you are using a Windows computer then we recommend using ReaStream plug-in. We will go over both of those programs later on in the help article.

Putting It All Together

Once you have figured out the equipment that you want to use for your live stream or virtual event, the final step would be to put it all together so that you will be ready for your stream.


1. Connect your master audio output and master video output to the device you’re streaming from.
2. Set those correctly as your audio and video sources in OBS or whichever stream software you are using.

Setting Up Your Camera

If you chose the basic camera setup for your show then you just need to make sure that when you connect it to your broadcasting software (OBS is what we recommend) that you tell the software what input you are using. This is easy if your computer has a built-in camera because when you go into OBS or your stream software it will have already selected your built-in camera.

If you chose one of the other options then you will most likely have to go into your computer preferences and change the video source from the built-in camera to your new camera (NOTE: in some cases, your computer will detect the newly connected camera and will ask if you want to change that to the default video source). No matter what kind of camera it is, as long as you get it plugged into your computer correctly, you should be able to choose that as the video source. If you click HERE you can see our full walkthrough about how to set up your video source within OBS.

Setting Up Your Microphone

If you chose the basic Microphone setup then just like the above option it should already be set as the default audio source within your computer so when you open up OBS (your broadcasting software) and test the sound it should already be picking up your sound from the built-in microphone.

If you chose one of the other options for audio then you will need to head to your computer preferences and change the audio source. But just like in the camera option you may be alerted by your computer that new hardware was detected and in that case, you tell the computer to use that as the new default audio. However, you still may need to adjust those setting within OBS in order for OBS to be using the correct video source. You can head HERE to check out our full help article on how to do that.

Setting Up Your Video Switcher

In order to get your performance setup to switch between multiple camera angles as mentioned early, we recommend using a program called ‘ManyCam‘. It gives the user a seamless experience of showing multiple camera angles during their set. We wrote a full help article on how to set that up with your performance HERE.

Setting Up Your DAW

If you are choosing to use a DAW for your performance (you have multiple audio inputs) then you will need to make sure that all of those inputs are running through your DAW software and also that you are pointing your DAW to your broadcasting software so that all of the inputs correctly play through to your LiveStream broadcast. If you are choosing to use this option for your show then you can check out this article for MAC USERS or you can check out this article for WINDOWS USERS.

If you have questions at any point, your dedicated Afton LiveStream Account Manager can help answer any questions!