When you think of live streaming, you can imagine tons of viewers, fun experiences, hours of engagement and communication with people, and “easy” money in the form of donations and subscriptions. And although this can eventually become a reality, every streamer starts with some expenses. A live streaming career is a startup, in a nutshell, which requires you to invest in the beginning and gives you a chance to start earning with time.
As a matter of fact, you will spend most of the money on the initial streaming equipment. We want to help you make your investments wise and efficient. Therefore, depending on your needs and budget, we’ve got three sets of equipment for you to consider. But first, let's start with the typical components of basic streaming equipment.
What is a basic streaming setup?
First of all, you need a device to stream from. The most popular choice is a PC or Mac. However, you can also stream from your console or smartphone. It depends on the type of content you produce, as well as the desired quality. Secondly, you also need a stable and fast internet connection to transmit your live videos to streaming platforms.
Now, let’s talk about some additional components of live streaming equipment. These include a video source, an audio source, and some accessories to improve your stream quality, like tripods, LED rings, video switchers, etc. When choosing the right piece of gear, it is important to understand at least some basic characteristics.
🎙 Audio source
When we talk about audio sources, we primarily mean microphones. All you need to know is that there are three tiers of microphones based on their connection type and sound quality. Multiple studies have already proven that audio is even more important than picture. That’s why we recommend investments in sound to be your number-one priority.
The most popular choice for live streaming is a USB microphone, as it connects directly to your computer and produces a relatively great sound. A USB microphone is also moderately cheap and doesn’t require you to have any additional devices. On the contrary, to be able to use an XLR microphone, you would need to buy an audio mixer. However, if you are an audio devotee, this purchase is definitely worth it.
- Bronze tier: built-in microphones (the lowest sound quality)
- Silver tier: 3.5 mm and USB microphones, and built-in microphones on pro video cameras (easy-to-use, relatively cheap)
- Gold tier: XLR microphones (the highest sound quality, durable, require an audio mixer)
📹 Video source
As for video sources, a solid video camera represents your commitment and attracts more people to your streams. Mainly, there are four types of video cameras for live streaming:
- Webcams. When you think of a simple and affordable video setup for streaming, a webcam is certainly the first thing that comes to mind. Webcams directly connect to your computer, have built-in microphones, and are perfect for live chats, gaming streams, etc. Modern webcams offer at least a 720p video resolution and are often the most reasonable option for live streams.
- DSLR cameras. If you want to invest a bit more in video quality, a DSLR camera might be a good choice. As a more compact version, a mirrorless camera offers the same excellent video quality and ultra-high image resolution. Unfortunately, both DSLR and mirrorless cameras require a video encoder to send your live videos to streaming platforms.
- Camcorders. If your budget allows you to fully commit to live streaming, a camcorder is simply the best option. These cameras are built for professional video recording. Camcorders offer a 4K resolution, produce crystal-clear HDMI outputs, and guarantee the smoothest video you’ll ever be able to produce.
- Action cameras. These small yet extremely powerful video cameras are designed to film action-packed scenes. Action cams are great at recording sports or any other immersive videos.
Tip: A video encoder is a device that converts your live videos into a streamable format. This is a necessary tool if you are using any professional video camera, except for webcams.
Last but not least, regardless of your streaming budget, you still may be needing some additional streaming equipment. Such equipment includes a tripod for your video camera and an arm for your microphone, all sorts of cables to connect audio and video sources, light stands and LED rings to further improve your video quality, a green screen (chroma key) to change your backgrounds and make your streams more entertaining, and many more.
Streaming equipment sets depending on your budget
As promised, we have picked out several sets of streaming gear to help you better understand the pricing and, perhaps, choose something for yourself. Without further ado, here are three great streaming sets for every budget.
🤓 Starter pack
Our starter pack includes some basic audio and video components that offer moderate quality and are cheap. This streaming set is great for beginners who want to try out live streaming.
- Lavalier microphone 3.5 mm by Mosotech. This small guy is a wonderful option for starters, as it costs just about $15. The microphone is omnidirectional, meaning it picks up sound from all angles. The Mosotech lavalier microphone comes with a lapel clip, which means you don’t need any additional equipment to install it.
- Behringer XM8500 is a cardioid microphone, which means it picks up sounds in the front and ignores (mostly) other background noises. The microphone costs around $20 to $25, but also requires you to buy an arm to set it up properly. The Behringer XM8500 sounds great for its price.
- Your smartphone or built-in camera. Surely, nowadays, many smartphones come with powerful video cameras. But let’s face the truth: the image quality still sucks when it comes to live streaming.
- Razer Kiyo. For a webcam that costs just $60, this little fella provides way too much quality. The Razer Kiyo even has a built-in, professional-like LED ring that definitely makes a huge difference for budget video quality.
- Logitech StreamCam. Share your content with the world in great quality thanks to Logitech StreamCam. The USB webcam supports versatile mounting options, has two built-in microphones, and can record in Full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second. It costs only around $150. Furthermore, StreamCam owners can get the Restream Professional live streaming service for three months! You can learn more here.
- Canon VIXIA HF R800. One of the cheapest camcorders, the Canon VIXIA HF R800 is both portable and durable. It has a built-in microphone, which certainly can work for beginners. This video camera is overall great for recording and costs around $250.
- Live Gamer MINI - GC311. A console capture card allows you to live stream high-quality videos from your console. The Live Gamer MINI - GC311 by AVer Media is probably the most balanced option in terms of quality and price. However, it is possible to stream console games without a capture card. Learn how to do so on PS4 or Xbox in our support articles.
- Viltrox L132T. The cheapest way to set up your lighting is to have a lot of sunlight. However, we understand this is not always possible. The Viltrox L132T is an affordable, powerful, and portable panel light for your live videos. It supports different color temperatures — from cold 3300K to warm 5600K.
😎 Intermediate streaming set
You can lose all your money in the pursuit of quality. Hopefully, the following equipment will give you a good understanding of balance between price and quality.
- Blue Yeti USB. One of the most popular USB microphones for live streaming, the Blue Yeti is a perfect example of relatively good sound in an easy-to-use microphone. For $200 you will get a microphone with the ability to switch between polar patterns and an included pop filter to prevent any popping sounds.
- Audio-Technica AT2035. The cardioid AT2035 is a professional microphone designed for both home and studio applications. It has an XLR output, which means you will additionally need to purchase an audio mixer. AT2035 comes with a custom shock mount that provides more stability and less background noise.
- Panasonic Lumix G7. The cheap and well-balanced Lumix G7 is a portable, mirrorless video camera that produces high-quality content. It is possible to record in 4K, and it has a changeable lens to further improve your live streams. The Panasonic Lumix G7 costs around $500 and is a great choice if you are quite serious about live streaming.
- Sony a6300. Super small and sexy, the Sony a6300 is a wonderful choice for anyone who admires a combination of high-quality image and mobility. This portable video camera is amazing for live streaming basically anything — from outdoor events to video games at home. You will have to drop around $900 right from your wallet for this beauty.
- Elgato Key Light. Good lighting can sometimes be even more impactful than an expensive video camera. How come? You can’t get a consistently high-quality video without good lighting. The Elgato Key Light is a professional LED panel that guarantees you the best lighting in any conditions. It has an incredibly versatile color temperature range (2900K – 7000K) and can be adjusted remotely via an app. The price is around $400.
- BC Master Camera Tripod Dslr. A tripod’s main job is to prevent your camera from shaking. The BC Master does that and more for only around $80. The 75-inch-tall and portable tripod has a 360° rotation that can help record videos at virtually any angle.
🤩 All-star streaming setup
If your goal is to achieve top-notch, maximum, godlike quality, and you don’t mind spending a fortune, welcome to the all-star streaming setup. Here we’ve collected the most professional streaming gear that can both ensure the highest quality and show thy status and commitment to a live streaming career.
- Shure SM7B. When it comes to professional microphones, every audio creator (or musician, for that matter) knows Shure. The SM7B microphone is pretty much the all-time favorite and used by top streamers like Shroud, Tfue, and Sodapoppin. For its price, the microphone provides both durability and clear sound. The XLR connection type, however, means you will need to buy an audio mixer to be able to connect it to your computer. The Shure SM7B comes with a built-in pop filter and a detachable windscreen. The estimated price is around $400.
- Electro Voice RE20 is an exceptional alternative to the Shure SM7B. The cardioid microphone perfectly picks up your speech and blocks surrounding noises. Moreover, the internal elemental shock mount and pop filter make your speech crystal clear. The Electro Voice RE20 is XLR connection-based, thus requiring you to have an audio mixer. The microphone costs around $450.
- Epiphan LUMiO 12X Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) is the future of live streaming video cameras. It combines both simplicity and functionality. The camera offers a 12x zoom and allows you to record in Full HD at 60 frames per second. You can mount the Epiphan LUMiO to any flat surface, including a wall or even ceiling, rotate it as you like, and change your presents with a remote control. The price of this beauty is around $1,500.
- Panasonic AG-CX350. If you are looking for the best quality, the Panasonic AG-CX350 4K camcorder can definitely ensure you will stun your viewers with exquisite video quality. The camera has a 20x optical zoom lens, supports 60 fps in UHD and a whopping 120 fps in HD, and sounds great thanks to the built-in stereo microphone. Furthermore, it allows you to stream your videos directly to streaming platforms. You would have to pay around $3,700 for the Panasonic AG-CX350.
- Sony PXW-Z90. If the previous video beast is not enough for you, let us introduce you to the incredible Sony PXW-Z90. It feels like this camcorder has everything. The PXW-Z90 lets you film in a beautiful 4K with the widest color range. You can also stream directly to all major online platforms, and the Enhanced Fast Hybrid autofocus feature will leave your viewers speechless. The camera costs $3,000 and higher depending on the specifications.
- Roland V-1 HD Portable. High-quality video production requires you to use multiple cameras. This, in turn, forces you to have a prosumer switcher to have control over the production. The Roland V-1 is probably the most popular choice for that matter. It accommodates up to four HD inputs and can be controlled both manually or via your computer or even iPad. This amazing little companion costs around $1,000.
- Manfrotto 509 Fluid Head Tripod. This tripod provides incredibly smooth and stable video recording, while the fluid head allows for precise movements. The four-step counterbalance system ensures stability and quick setup. The leveling ball helps you adapt the head to the tripod. The Manfrotto 509 Fluid Head Tripod costs around $1,850.
Live streaming software for all budgets
When you are all set with the streaming equipment, the last step before going live is to choose your streaming software. Restream Studio is a perfect solution for any streamer who wants to produce quality live content and grow noticeably faster. With Restream Studio, you can broadcast your live videos on multiple top streaming platforms, like YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, etc., at the same time.
Furthermore, Restream Studio offers incredibly useful features to improve your stream and attract more audiences. For instance, the Guests feature allows you to invite people over to your stream and, for example, host an interview. With Restream Studio you can also add your own logo, personalize your stream with custom overlays, and broadcast directly from your browser without any additional applications!
One cannot underestimate the importance of video quality for live streaming. However, the choice of your streaming equipment depends mostly on your goals, not blind pursuit of quality. Go for the starter pack if you are simply willing to try out live streaming. Feeling serious about live streaming? Invest in the intermediate streaming set when you are ready to commit to your live streaming career and become a pro.
As for the all-star streaming setup, it proves that the sky's the limit. Yes, huge investments will surely bring you exceptional quality, but the latter doesn't necessarily mean more viewers. We hope you now have a better understanding of streaming equipment and can make the right choice for yourself!