OK, so you’ve decided that you want to be a Twitch streamer — great! The industry is skyrocketing in popularity and there’s never been a better time to get started. However, before you dive in and start garnering an audience, there are some streamer-specific hardware devices that you need to get your hands on.
These are not only important for creating a fun and professional-looking stream but also making things easier on the production side of things, whether that’s having plenty of Macros to control your stream or better lighting to make sure your audience can see you clearly. If this has pricked your ears, keep reading…
Hardware vs. Software For Streaming: Which is More Important?
Once they have OBS or X-Split set up on their PCs, many streamers often make the mistake of thinking that their setup is ready for streaming. Often, this is not the case. Here are the streaming-specific components we’re going to be discussing in this article:
- Microphone: Aside from the in-game sounds, your commentary and your communication with your teammates is very important, both for winning the game and for your audience. So, getting a good mic is an essential element of any streaming setup.
- Headphones: Being able to hear what’s going on in the game as well as talk to your teammates is a huge part of enjoying your game, so having a solid pair of headphones always helps.
- Mixer: Although not strictly necessary for streaming, having a mixer helps out a lot on the audio side of things, especially if you host multiple people on your stream.
- Webcam: Unless it’s a “No Facecam” stream, a plug-and-play webcam with a reasonable price tag is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your setup.
- Keyboard with Macros: As every gamer knows, a good keyboard is essential for PC gaming. However, when it comes to streaming, you also need one that has multiple programmable macro keys for making it easier for you to control your stream.
- Lighting Solution: Of course, having a webcam also means that you need to have good lighting in your setup so your audience can see your reactions clearly.
- Capture Card: A capture card is responsible for recording your live gameplay and converting it into digital data that can be streamed on Twitch. Getting the right one is essential for a high-quality stream.
Now that you know what we’re going to cover in this article, let’s dive into the list…
Top 7 Best Equipment for Twitch Streamers in 2022:
1. HyperX QuadCast S – Best Microphone
- Type: Condenser
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, and Stereo
- Connectivity: USB
As I said, your commentary and your communication with your teammates is very important, both for winning the game and for your audience. So, getting a good mic is an essential element of any streaming setup. With that in mind, my top recommendation is the HyperX QuadCast S.
It is a condenser-type microphone with four unique polar patterns which you can change based on your preferences. Its adapter is compatible with most mic stands and boom arms, so you shouldn’t have any trouble setting it up. On the software side of things, you can use HyperX Ngenuity to adjust different settings.
Adding on top of that, it also has vibrant RGB lighting, a built-in anti-vibration shock mount, and a pop filter too. All in all, it looks great but also captures crisp and high-quality sound for your stream, and it’s even certified by Discord and TeamSpeak!
- Features a mic sensitivity dial
- RGB customizable with HyperX Ngenuity software
- Convenient tap-to-mute sensor
- Lacks USB Type-C
2. Logitech G Pro X – Best Headphones
- Form Factor: Over Ear
- Drivers: PRO G 50mm
- Connectivity: Wired (detachable)
You’ve no doubt seen these headphones being used by Shroud, which is of course the best endorsement ever. However, what’s so special about them, and why are they so great for gaming and streaming?
First of all, if you’ve ever played an FPS game, you know how important it is to be able to hear footsteps and other environmental cues. With the dual Pro G 50mm drivers on these headphones, you’ll be able to hear everything clearly. Along with that, there’s also 7.1 object-based surround sound capability.
In terms of build quality, you get soft memory foam earpads along with an aluminum fork and steel headband, which is great for both comfort and durability. These headphones go beyond just plug-and-play too, there’s also the Logitech G Hub software to look forward to. With it, you can manage EQ profiles and even download some extra pro ones!
- Logitech G Hub software compatibility
- Detachable microphone with Blue Voice tech
- Carrying bag included
3. GoXLR – Best Mixer
- Type: Broadcast/Podcast Mixer
- Faders: Four (motorized)
- Connectivity: USB
- A/D Resolution: 24-bit/48kHz
When it comes to Twitch streaming, audio is often just as important as video. If you have several sources of audio in your stream, like chats, in-game, and your surroundings, you need an audio mixer to manage it all and make sure your stream doesn’t end up sounding like a mess. For that purpose, the GoXLR is one of the best pieces of equipment out there.
The main feature of the GoXLR is that it has four channels; the faders of each channel are motorized and let you control the microphone sound, game sounds, playlist music, and other sources to create a professional-sounding live stream.
You also get a host of effects you can choose from in real-time: reverb, echo, pitch shift, megaphone, robot, hardtune, compressor, and gate. On top of that, you can also record samples on the go or load your own audio files.
Of course, all of this can be controlled using the GO XLR Desktop App: you can control audio parameters, import samples, and sound effects, and expand your FX library. Overall, the GoXLR is the perfect mixer to start with if you haven’t worked with one before since it’s specially designed with streaming in mind.
- Specially designed for live streaming
- Wide range of effects to choose from
- RGB lighting
4. Logitech StreamCam Plus – Best Webcam
- Max Resolution and Framerate: 1080p 60FPS
- Image Sensor: 2.1MP
- Built-in Flash: No
- Connectivity: USB
Logitech makes some great products for streamers, from their keyboards, mice, and headphones. The Logitech StreamCam Plus webcam doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
As you can see, it’s a simple plug-and-play option. It comes with a clamp so you can easily attach it on top of your monitor. With a 2.1MP sensor, it’s capable of 1070p 60FPS recording, which is more than sufficient for live streaming. You also don’t need to worry about auto-focus and exposure since this camera comes with advanced facial-tracking AI too.
Everything considered, it’s a solid webcam to get started with. If aside from live streaming, you also attend meetings on Skype and Zoom often, its also suitable for that.
- Budget-friendly price tag
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Useful Logitech Capture software
- Can’t record in 4K
5. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum – Best Keyboard with Macros
- Layout: Full-Size
- Switch Type: Cherry MX Speed
- Keycap Material: ABS
- RGB Support: Yes (Corsair iCUE)
- Connectivity: USB
When you’re streaming, there are a lot of moving parts you have to control: your RGB lights, your mouse settings, the lighting. Doing all of that with the regular keystrokes can totally take you out of your vibe. So, for that purpose, getting a keyboard that has multiple macros can help a lot.
With that in mind, I highly recommend the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum. The keyboard of choice for GeorgeNotFound, This one packs a total of six programmable G keys. By using them, tasks that would usually take several keystrokes can be accomplished in just one push on a button, freeing up a lot of time for you to focus on your game.
In terms of the actual typing experience, there are Cherry MX Speed mechanical switches. With an action point of 1.2mm, they’re one of the fastest linear Cherry switches ever. Plus, there’s Corsair iCUE-controlled RGB lighting and a durable aluminum frame. Overall, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is a solid keyboard for any Twitch live streamer.
- Six programmable G keys for multitasking
- Vibrant RGB lighting (19 individual zones)
- Durable build quality
6. Elgato Key Light – Best Lighting Solution
- Lumens: 2800
- Color Temperature: 2900K to 7000K
- Smart App: Yes
As a streamer, it’s very important that you light your setup properly. Reading your expressions and quick reactions to the things happening in the game is a huge part of the fun for your viewers. For this purpose, one of the most highly-rated options available in 2022 is the Elgato Key Light.
At 2800 lumens, it’s more than capable of brightening up your setup and making your face clearer. In addition to that, it also has an impressive color temperature range so you can customize it based on your stream’s theme and the vibe you’re going for.
When it comes to setting it up, you can simply clamp it on your desk using the pole mount and extend it based on your height preferences. Using the Elgato Control Center, you can adjust the settings using your Android or iOS phone or directly from your PC or Mac.
In case 2800 lumens is a bit too much for your setup, there’s also a lighter option available, called the Elgato Key Light Air. It has a lower brightness level of 1400 lumens, but the same color temperature range and form factor.
- Quick and easy lighting solution
- Opal glass face guarantees glare-free and balanced lighting
- No USB needed; just plug it into the wall outlet and connect with WiFi
7. Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 – Best Capture Card
- Max Quality (Capture): 4K
- Max Quality (Passthrough): 4K
- Max Framerate: 60 FPS
- Connectivity: PCIe x4
As I said before, a capture card is responsible for recording your live gameplay and converting it into digital data that can be streamed on Twitch. So, it’s a given that getting the right one is essential for a high-quality and smooth stream. Plus, it also takes a lot of load off of your CPU when it comes to encoding.
In that regard, one of the best ones available right now is the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2. As the name suggests, it’s capable of 4K 60FPS recording. Being an internal card, it connects directly into the motherboard’s PCIe slot, giving you the fastest possible speed and zero lag without any need to fiddle around with HDMI and USB cables.
If you get one for yourself, you will need to open up your PC to install it. However, after that it’s easy to set it up once it is connected to the motherboard, and you’ll be ready to start streaming in 4K!
- 4K60 recording capability along with 4K passthrough
- Durable electrogalvanized steel casing
- No-RGB design
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a DSLR Camera Necessary for Beginner Streamers?
As you know, for the Best Webcam category in this article, I featured the Logitech StreamCam Plus. Now, you might be wondering, is a DSLR camera a better option to go for? Not only do they offer the highest resolution but also have a smooth refresh rate.
The truth is, DSLR cameras can be a great option for streaming. In fact, some like Panasonic Lumix GH4 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 are used by many professional streamers. However, they can get quite expensive and could be a bit tricky to set up compared to the plug-and-play webcam options available out there.
However, the uplift in quality is definitely noticeable, and if you’re willing to pay the premium then be sure to check out our post on the Best DSLR Cameras for Streamers.
What if the Keyboard Macro Keys aren’t Sufficient?
In the review for the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, I talked about how important macro keys are for a streamer. However, what if you need more keys to control your stream than the six that the keyboard offers? Fear not, there are some great solutions for that.
The best and most streamer-friendly one is the Stream Deck by Elgato. Available in variants with 6, 15, and 32 buttons, these act as additional macro pads for your system. Each button has a little display on it that indicates what it is programmed to do, freeing you of the responsibility of memorizing the keystrokes.
If even that’s not sufficient for you, you can look into other macro pads like the Razer Tartarus V2 or the Max Keyboard Falcon. Although they’re not as straightforward and user-friendly as the Stream Deck, they can be used to add some extra keystrokes if necessary.
These were the seven hardware devices a streamer needs when starting out. Although some of the items I mentioned carry a high price tag, they are more than worth it if you want to create a solid stream and grow your audience.