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Using VSTs for Live Streaming

Luis VigilLuis VigilJune 08, 20223 mins read

VSTs are a great tool for improving the overall production quality of your stream. I mean, the people need to hear you! So today we’re going to discuss how you can use VSTs for live streaming! VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology and enables you to create a digital studio with various options. We’re going to take a look at EQ, a compressor, and a limiter which can all be used in XSplit Broadcaster to make your microphone sound better.

How to Set Up VSTs for Live Streaming

Using VSTs with XSplit Broadcaster is easy. Go into your audio mixer, and click on the settings for your microphone to open the audio DSP effects. You’ll need to set the location where your VSTs are located. Usually, they’re in program files, common files, and then in the VST3 folder.

Refresh the list then add your VSTs. The settings icon will open the interface for each VST. From there you can start diving deeper and making some tweaks so let’s have a look at each in turn!

A digital mix desk showing you the sort of interface you can expect using VSTs for live streaming
Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash


The first VST you should use is an Equalizer or EQ. Basically, the EQ will be used to add or subtract certain frequencies that will improve the overall sound of your voice. This is of course, very subjective as everyone’s voice is different. However, here are some general suggestions that should get you started and you can change things from there.

First, apply a high pass filter around 70hz to remove any unwanted low frequencies like air conditioning. Then do the same for a low pass filter around 15khz. Then you’ll want to find the frequencies to remove. This differs from person to person, but you can start around the 1khz range and use a boosted bell curve until you find the frequency you want to remove.

Then you want to boost the frequencies you like, such as the 100-200 range to add more bass to your voice or the 4000-5000 and 9-10k range to add more clarity to your voice.

I’m using the Fabfilter Pro-Q3 eq which is paid but has a free trial. There are a ton of free EQ plugins that you can find. They really do make a bunch of great VSTs for live streaming that we’re going to be checking out.

A person using VSTs for live streaming at a large Digital audio computer with two screens, a mic and a large musical keyboard.
Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash


Compressors are always a tricky one to explain, but if you like to shout or whisper, they essentially help your viewers hear you clearly. Basically, any compressor will have you set a threshold, this is the level your audio will need to hit to trigger the compressor. This will be the highs lower and the lows higher.

You then set a compression ratio, safe ratios to start with are 2:1 or 3:1 for vocals. Then you’ll set an attack and release. You’ll want a fast attack and slightly slow release to start, you can adjust these over time. Finally, you’ll need to set the makeup gain. This is to make up for the overall loudness you’ve lost from compressing your audio. I wouldn’t set this too high, as this is something you can adjust with the next tool we’ll discuss.

That’ll get you started, but tweet the settings to your liking over time. There is a great compressor built into XSplit Broadcaster which should cover everything you need but you can, again, add different ones. There really are a lot of great VSTs for live streaming!

Limiter VSTs for Live Streaming

We all have hype moments when gaming, I mean that’s the whole fun of streaming right? However, nothing ruins the moment more than distorted, clipped audio. You can minimize this with a limiter. Unlike a compressor, a limiter is specifically focused on the higher audio levels.

So you basically set a threshold, something right before the audio will clip, like -2 or -3 DB. The limiter will then reduce the level anytime the audio hits that threshold, saving you from clipping.

More advanced limiters will also allow you to raise your overall audio level, so you make sure you’re hitting levels where you are just barely triggering the limiter from time to time. This really can be an essential VST for live streaming as you’ll have clear audio without worrying about clipping.

So those are the main VSTs you’ll want to get started with for live streaming.  They’ll greatly enhance your audio and if you look around you can find high-quality free versions. If you have any questions about how to use these VSTs be sure to let us know in the comments.

Luis Vigil
Luis VigilLouis Vigil has been working on live stream productions for a variety of gaming events for over 10 years! When not broadcasting an event somewhere in the world, Louis also produces educational content for people looking to get into broadcasting on his Offcast YouTube channel.More from this Author