A few people have asked about my streaming setup. Here’s the equipment I use to stream my programming projects at https://twitch.tv/codingwithscott.
There are a lot of things here that you probably don’t need if you want to stream. I’m just a “gear geek” and like to experiment with different equipment.
In general, you can start streaming with “good enough” equipment that doesn’t cost a lot (or is sometimes free). Try that first. Find out if you like streaming. If you don’t, think of all the money you saved by not buying a pile of streaming gear.
If you do like streaming, focus on the biggest quality problem first, and try to solve it as affordably as possible. Then, work on the next biggest problem.
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Fractal Design Define R5 Mid Tower Computer Case – I’ve used Fractal cases for the last few computers I’ve built. They’re solid and quiet. Since my computer is three or four feet away from my microphone, I need it to be quiet – and the Fractal case does that perfectly.
MSI Z590-A PRO ProSeries Motherboard – Not much to say about this board. I picked the CPU I wanted then found a highly rated motherboard for it. It’s always worked for me, and that’s all I expect from a motherboard.
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz – This CPU seemed to have a good price/performance ratio, plus I wanted to have more cores in my CPU than my programming nemesis
128 GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB Series SDRAM DDR4 3600 – My bits are like puppies – they like to run around fast. This RAM lets bits zoom around as quickly as they want.
ASUS ROG Strix NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super Graphics Card – Fortunately, I built this computer early in the pandemic – before video card prices shot to the moon. I think I could sell this card for a few hundred dollars profit.
This card is probably more powerful than I need for streaming. However, I also use this computer for playing games, so I got a decent graphics card. As long as you aren’t doing a lot of video effects on your stream, you should be able to use a less-powerful graphics card than this.
SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2 500GB PCIe NVMe Internal SSD – This is my boot drive, and I want it as fast as possible – which it is.
Samsung Electronics 870 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD – This is where I store my application data and the virtual machine files I use for VMWare. It’s been fast and reliable for me, which is all I expect from a hard drive.
Durgod Taurus K320 TKL Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Silent Red Switches – Before I bought this keyboard, I thought, “a keyboard is a keyboard”. As long as I pressed the keys and letters showed up on the screen, I was happy. But my keyboard was a little loud when it was picked up by the microphone, so I looked for alternatives.
That’s when I fell into the world of specialized mechanical keyboards – although not too deeply.
I bought a Cherry MX switch tester to get the feel and sound of a dozen different Cherry MX switches. I liked the Cherry MX silent red and silent black switches. Sadly, it looks like every other computer user had the same idea. Good mechanical keyboards are frequently out of stock.
Since I like keyboards without the numeric keypad (called TKL – ten key less), this was the best option I found that was in stock and not hundreds of dollars.
Of course, I’ve ordered new key caps and o-rings, to see if I can be even happier with the keyboard. But, for now, this keyboard has been a surprising improvement to my work life.
VIVO Dual LCD LED 13 to 27 inch Desk Mount Monitor Stand – I use a wired mouse and keyboard. I’ve had too many problems with Bluetooth suddenly not working, or batteries running out. So, I prefer wired peripherals over wireless. Unfortunately, that makes my desk a mess of wires – especially when you add in the microphone, camera, and Stream Deck.
Those wires were frequently getting snagged on the monitor stands, so I recently bought this stand and eliminated that problem. My desktop also looks cleaner, which I feel reduces mental “noise” while I’m working.
Getting my monitors off my desk has been a huge “happiness” return on little money invested.
A piece of general advice for streaming gear: Try to plug them directly into your computer, and not through a USB hub. I’ve had problems running some of this gear through a USB hub.
Elgato Facecam – I upgraded again. I originally started with a Logitech C920, then moved to a Logitech C922.
However, after watching a video of a streamer who uses an Elgato Facecam, I quickly upgraded again. The Facecam a huge improvement over the C922. I’d say the C922 is 10% better than the C920. The Elgato Facecam is a 100% improvement over the C922.
The Facecam does not need as much light as the C922, in order to show details and work with my green screen. It also handles motion better. I don’t jump around while streaming, but if I move my hands in front of the camera, the Facecam is less blurry.
Having said all that, the biggest improvement for your camera is still to have good lighting. If you have a “good enough” camera (like the C920 and C922) and OK lighting, consider improving the lighting first. The Facecam is around $100 more than a C922.
Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone – Assuming you plan on speaking while streaming (which I highly recommend doing), you need a good microphone setup. From what I’ve seen, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money on your microphone. Your audio quality will be a combination of the microphone quality and the way you set it up in your recording software.
I’ve been using this microphone for several years and love it. It’s great at recording my voice and keep out much of the background noise.
This is a USB microphone, so I can plug it directly into my computer, without needing a mixing panel (which saves me money).
Elgato Stream Deck – 15 Keys – This is a fun little toy that I don’t use as often as I want – thanks to me not thinking about everything I have programmed on it while I’m actually streaming. I mainly use it to switch between OBS Studio scenes to display my stream or screens like “Starting”, “See you next time”, etc.
There are software-only alternatives, like StreamPuppy, which has free and paid versions.
GVM RGB LED 800D Studio Light – If you are going to stream your face, lighting is important. I had a few small, cheap ring LED lights that helped a little, but still left room for improvement.
One day, I decided to finally get a real solution to the problem and buy a proper light. This light made a huge improvement to the quality of my face cam. My only regret is not getting the two-pack of these lights, so I can setup the second one at another angle and reduce shadows on my face.
Neewer 148x180cm Portable Collapsible Chromakey Background – I just bought this and haven’t used it yet. If you use a green screen, you need to make sure it’s uniformly lit, so your camera software has a single color to remove.
I recently loaned a friend my extra lights, so I can’t use the green screen until I get the lights back.
If you want to stream, this is an optional item. Personally, I have ideas on how to make my stream more interactive, and some of those ideas require a green screen. That’s why I bought this green screen.
ATS Acoustic Panel 24x36x2 – These are another optional item. Don’t spend the money on acoustic panels unless you know you have a problem. I live across from a school and need everything I can to help with audio – although this are meant to prevent reflections of your voice, not external sounds.
By the way, before buying these, I spoke with an audio engineer who owns a professional recording studio. According to him, the thing foam acoustic panels don’t really help a lot. You can probably improve your audio more by using the free audio filters you can apply in your streaming software. Try that first, and make sure you want to continue streaming, before spending a lot of money on things like audio panels.
Windows 10/11 Pro – Not much to say about this. I usually program for Windows computers, so my main operating system is Windows.
VMWare Workstation 16 Pro – As a programmer, I’m frequently installing software and NuGet packages that could potentially do negative things to my computer. There was recently an NPM package that deleted files from your computer if it detected you were in Russia or Belarus. Regardless of your thoughts on the current Russia/Ukraine conflict, it’s concerning that this could happen with any NPM or NuGet package. So, I do all my development inside a virtual machine.
Displaying the VM on my screen also helps maintain privacy. The only bookmarks I have for the browser inside my VM are for programming websites. The browser in my base computer is the one with bookmarks to my banks, insurance company, etc.
OBS Studio – This is a free program to live-stream on Twitch, YouTube, and can be used to record screencasts. It runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s been easy to use and easy to customize for my needs.
There is an alternative named Streamlabs; however, the company behind it has done questionable things. Plus, many people report it uses more of their CPU than OBS does. So, I stick with OBS Studio.
StreamElements – I use StreamElements to display subscriber/follower/raid/etc. alerts on my stream. It’s free to use and fairly easy to set up.
StreamElements has a bot you can enable, to let you add chat commands and filter spam messages. You can use it to set up tips and a merchandise store. It makes it easier for companies to contact you about sponsorship opportunities. However, I’ve only received sponsorship offers for a game that I doubt anyone watching my stream would be interested in.
Camtasia – I don’t use this for my stream but wanted to add it because it’s what I use to record the programming guides and tutorials I create for my website and YouTube. I could use OBS Studio to record my videos, but Camtasia includes audio and video capabilities.
Some people mentioned using DaVinci Resolve for editing. I haven’t used it, but you might want to try it out. It has a free version for download.
Dual 4K 27-inch monitors – I currently have 27-inch 1080p monitors. They work well, but I’d like to have higher resolution. When programming, this will make the fonts on my screen look smoother. Since I spend hours looking at my monitors every day, improvements here should have a big impact.
New chair – I’ve had a DX Racer chair for years. It’s worked well, but this is something I can probably improve. Like my monitors, I’m using my chair 8+ hours per day. An improvement here would cost pennies per day but could make my life much more comfortable.