Two years into working from home, a ton of people have moved from attending on-ground events and instead have started to join or produce their own via livestreaming. As someone who’s been dabbling in streaming and streamer gear since 2019, it’s such a fun way to hang out with my friends, but don’t think that you can just slap on a webcam, connect via wifi, use any crappy mic, and call it a day. Sure, some people may say that gear doesn’t matter – but using the worst possible gear and putting zero effort into production values is a surefire way to not win any viewers. You don’t even need top of the line gear – just anything that crosses an acceptable threshold of quality will do, and tons of budget gear can do that for you!
If you’re looking for a gift to give to the one streamer you know, check out this gift guide so you can pick out the perfect streamer gear for them!
While you’re at it, why don’t you drop by my Twitch page and hit follow? I’d love it if you can hang out with me during my streams!
Let’s get started with the webcam, of course. While not all streamers like to show their face on stream, it’s a massive disservice if we stick with crappy webcams that give out a splotchy, undersaturated video, making you look unrecognizable. You don’t need to splurge on a fancy camera. Again – acceptable threshold of quality. I’ve got three recommendations in three different price points, each with a very noticeable jump in quality from the last one!
The old reliable. The C920 has been around since 2012, and the number of streamers still using it to this day proves that it’s a workhorse. While its output may look a little dated nowadays, it’s still perfectly acceptable. It’s better than the webcam on your laptop, that’s for sure.
While this is Elgato’s first-ever webcam, their lack of experience in the product category isn’t noticeable here. It offers a significant jump in quality from the C920, and has all the controls needed to tweak its lighting and color options so you can have the best-looking video possible.
Okay, so this isn’t a webcam, and setting this up isn’t as straightforward as simply plugging in a webcam into a USB port. But this one is a real camera that can deliver amazing video to your stream and it can also automatically adjust its focus and aperture to produce that lovely bokeh that everyone wants. Finally, if a capture card is out of your budget just yet, the Sony ZV-1 also has USB support!
Don’t think that simply putting on a mic is enough – most people will drop off a video if the audio quality is bad, which is why I actually spend more time tweaking my mic levels and equalizer settings more than my video. And I may be a bit of an audio nerd. I don’t know. But look, don’t hurt your audience with bad scratchy audio. You’ve got a nice voice. Make ‘em hear you.
Again, another old reliable. I’ve written a review about the Samson Q2U, but this is the TL;DR – this is a great-sounding mic that has multiple connection options, and you can get it for under a hundred dollars.
If you want something that lets you control your stream’s audio a little more, the Elgato Wave:3 comes with amazing software that lets you handle audio routing like a pro.
If you want that big, chunky broadcaster look, you can’t go wrong with the Shure MV7. Designed around the same capsule that powers legendary mics such as the SM58 and the SM7b, the Shure MV7 is a relatively affordable way to get the SM7b look without spending a ton of money for it.
If you’re a console streamer or even if you’re running a dual-PC setup, a capture card definitely recommended. You can get away with those cheap EZCap ones for a while, but if you want to step up your game, you gotta go with Elgato or AVermedia. I personally use the AVermedia Live Gamer ULTRA – it’s a reliable card that captures my Nintendo Switch footage with no issue, at a constant 60 FPS. It can even handle 4K signals, just in case I manage to finally snag a PlayStation 5. Maybe never, I don’t know.
Elgato Stream Deck
I scoffed at the idea of getting a Stream Deck for the longest time. “You mean I need to get an overpriced macropad with fancy LED buttons instead of being a 1337 h@xx0r and bumbling through my stream with hotkeys?” said Ade. Then I finally gave in and got me one. I don’t regret it one bit.
If you want to hang out with me and ask me anything about streaming gear, feel free to follow me over on Twitch. I stream weekend evenings, Manila time!