Fixing Common Audio & Video Problems for New Streamers
So you’ve finally built your dream streaming setup. You’ve got your scenes set and you’re ready to kick off your streaming career. You hit the stream button and jump into your game. All of a sudden your game feels laggy. You look in chat and everyone is saying they can’t hear you and the video is stuttering. You feel a rush of disappointment as hours of preparation have seemingly been wasted.
No need to despair, we’re here to help you solve some of the most common live-streaming issues for upcoming Twitch, Mixer, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Live superstars!
The most common issue with audio is noisy audio or a buzz in your audio.
If the audio seems noisy, first be sure to check the levels you’ve set on your microphone device. The higher the gain level on your microphone, the higher its sensitivity to surrounding sounds like air conditioning noise or background noise. One great way to check your microphone levels is to use the audio mixer extension.
Go to extensions, add extensions, and click on find more extensions. Install the audio mixer extension and check your audio levels without speaking into the mic. If the levels seem too high, reduce the gain on your microphone. You can also try to move your microphone away from noisy items like a mechanical keyboard or your PC’s fans.
If you have a buzz in your audio this is likely due to the power source. This usually happens if you are using a mixer or capturing audio with your streaming PC via the line in port. The cheap and simple way to try to fix this is adding a group loop isolator between your audio source and your line input.
You can also use a power conditioner to remove electrical hum if the ground loop isolator does not work. These tend to be pricey and could add more bulk to your setup. I only recommend using these if you absolutely need to get rid of every bit of buzz in your audio.
For recent windows updates, especially one of the major fall updates, be sure to check your default audio devices. Windows has a nasty habit of changing your default audio devices after an update. Make sure to check that you aren’t using the wrong microphone device.
Finally, for complete peace and mind, keep an extra pair of headphones around to use with XSplit’s audio preview. The audio preview is the final mix that your viewers will hear and is great for fine-tuning audio levels.
Modern-day game streaming is all about keeping a minimum of 60fps for both the streamer and the viewer.
If you, the streamer, feel like your FPS is dropping too much or the game feels off; it is likely your CPU and GPU running out of resources. Many games will try to use the maximum amount of GPU resources possible, and it can leave your streaming software without anything to work with.
The best way to manage this is to limit the frame rate of your games. So if you are on a 60hz display, set the frame rate limit in-game to 60fps. If your game does not have this option, XSplit’s game source can limit the frame rate.
If you are on a high refresh rate monitor, try to limit the frame rate to a multiple of 60 like 120 or 180 or even 240hz.
Now if you see that your CPU is constantly at 100% while streaming, then you’ve likely set your encoding settings too high. If you are using an encoding preset like slow, try increasing it to medium or fast. To maintain 60fps, decrease your resolution, go for 1280×720 instead of 1920×1080. And, if your PC isn’t a multi-core monster, see if you have a GPU with a hardware encoder like NVENC, Quicksync, or VCE.
Check the stream if it’s choppy due to dropped frames, you need to adjust and drop your bitrate. If you know that your internet connection is unstable, then enable adaptive bitrate. Adaptive bitrate will increase or decrease the bitrate depending on the available bandwidth. If you notice the bitrate tends to stay consistently lower than your target, consider lower your resolution so that visual quality can be maintained.
Having issues with your webcam looking too grainy or having a low frame rate? Check your area if you have proper lighting, fixing the lighting can easily solve this issue.
Even a simple desk lamp or switching on a room light can be a huge improvement.
Once your lighting is settled, there are a couple of key settings for your webcam.
First, if your camera has a poor frame rate, reduce the exposure level. Go into your camera source settings and configure your video output.
If your camera looks too grainy, reduce the gain. If your camera looks too dark, then get some more lighting!
Once your camera settings are good, don’t enable automatic or you’ll lose all your settings!
When using a capture card and see a message that the device is not available, you can try these fixes:
First, make sure another video app isn’t using the device like skype or discord. If that doesn’t work try refreshing the device in the source menu. Finally, using the IT classic, unplug it and plug it back in.
If you are having issues with switching to scenes with videos, make sure you’ve tried saving the video in memory.
Finally, one last tip people overlook. Make sure to enable archives for your Twitch streams. This way, you can make clips or highlights to share on social media. You can find this option in your channel settings.
For Facebook and YouTube streamers, make sure your broadcasts are 4 hours or less to have a VOD automatically created. Hopefully, these tips are helpful to both novice and experienced streamers.
What are the common audio & video issues you’ve encountered in your streaming career and how have you solved them?