Guide: Hardware Basics For Musicians
Streaming music doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some simple hardware tips to help you create your first music streaming setup.
There are a few basic things you’ll need to get started.
You’ll need a computer with enough horsepower to handle streaming. You don’t need a monster PC, but a modern processor and graphics card will help with stream quality.
Most modern laptops include a built-in webcam and microphone, but if you use a desktop computer, you’ll likely need to buy them separately.
You’ll need a good internet connection with upload speeds of at least 5-10 Megabits per second (Mbps). We strongly recommend a wired connection to your router– WiFi is far less reliable for streaming.
If you’re going to add peripherals like external webcams, mics and mixers, you’ll need to make sure you have enough USB ports to hook everything up. Most desktops will have quite a few, but laptop users might need a USB hub. If you use a modern MacBook Pro (2015 or later), a USB-C to USB-A hub will get you compatibility with a wider range of gear.
Need more advice about picking the right hardware? Check out this guide in our Help Section.
Basic Setup: USB Microphone
If you’re a singer or instrumentalist who just needs a single microphone to get going, or if you just want to talk about music with your community, you can plug a USB microphone into your computer for a simple audio setup.
One example: The Yeti microphone by Blue can connect right to your computer’s USB port for a major quality boost over a built-in laptop mic, and has a built in headphone jack to monitor your audio.
A laptop and a mic is a great simple setup for a singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar, or just for chatting with your viewers.
Intermediate Setup: USB Mixer / Interface
You might already have gear you use for home recording or live shows. If you want to use an XLR mic along with instruments, a simple USB mixer can work well.
One example: The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is good for musicians who perform with vocals and a single instrument; it has a hookup for an XLR microphone, plus a quarter-inch jack to plug in your instrument of choice.
This would make a good setup for an electric guitarist or keyboard player; if you’ve got a single instrument with a line out, this will get you going quickly and easily.
As long as you’ve got a way to bring sound into your computer, the sky’s the limit. One mic could be all you need to get started, but every musician will have their own needs.
As you get deeper into streaming, you can always keep upgrading and customizing your audio equipment to make it work for you.
If you need advice, our Twitch Music Assist community on Discord will let you connect with experienced music streamers who can help you get your stream sounding great.