If you’re a Twitch streamer and having issues getting OBS to cooperate and send a quality video to your audience or even someone switching off another streaming software solution to OBS, this guide will help you identify your capabilities and get OBS setup properly.

Something to note for Twitch streamers that are not a partner: you should only broadcast at 2000-2500 bitrate maximum because the quality controls are not available for your stream. Mobile users and users with poor internet connections will constantly be buffering if you set it too high.

Determine Upload Speed

The first step to creating a quality broadcast is to see what you’re working with in terms of upload bandwidth. I recommend performing the following tests during the timeframe you want to stream and alter nothing in your internal network to ensure you have enough bandwidth to accommodate your stream. For example, if you have a roommate or sibling that watches online videos at this time, make sure they’re watching to account for that bandwidth loss. You will want to control your own bandwidth use however; before testing your upload speed, close down all applications that could negatively impact a speed test result (Steam, B.net, torrents, Netflix, etc).

  1. Go to testmy.net/upload
  2. Click the Select Test Size button and choose 50MB
    test_upload_size
  3. Wait for the test to complete, convert the Mbps value it returns to kbps (1Mb = 1024kb; 10.4Mbps = 10650kbps)
    upload_speed
  4. Go to OBS Estimator to calculate your bitrate & buffer values
  5. Fill out the form with your details, enter the upload kbps value you determined from the testmy.net upload results
    estimator
  6. Click Recommend Settings to get your results and broadcast resolution
    obs_recommendation

Setup OBS

This guide is for the software called Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), if you do not already have this you can download it from obsproject.com. Once downloaded and installed, open OBS 32-bit and click Settings in the top menu and select Settings.

General

All options are for personal preference and will have no impact to the quality of your broadcast

Encoding

obs_encoding

Video Encoding

  1. Encoder should be set to “x264”
    • Some nVidia cards have NVENC available but you’re risking framerate loss in both your games and the broadcast if the game taxes your graphics card.
  2. Use CBR and Enable CBR padding should both be checked
  3. Enter the value OBS Estimator gave for bitrate into Max Bitrate (kb/s)
    • Because I’m not Twitch Partnered, I entered a lower value than what is recommended, for most of you, this will also be the case
    • This value may need tweaking a bit depending on your specific hardware and internet reliability
  4. Generally, Buffer Size should never need to be changed
    • If you need to alter it, check the Use Custom Buffer Size box and enter the number from OBS Estimator into Buffer Size
    • This may need tweaking to accommodate for your internet reliability

 Audio Encoding

  1. Codec should be “AAC”
  2. Bitrate should be “128”
  3. Format should be “48kHz”
  4. Channel should be “stereo”

 Broadcast Settings

obs_broadcast

  1. Mode needs to be “Live Stream”
  2. Streaming Service needs to be “Twitch”
  3. FMS URL should be the closest Twitch server to where you live
  4. Play Path/Stream Key (if any) needs to be the Stream Key from Twitch
    • This is located at http://www.twitch.tv/(*YourTwitchName*)/dashboard/streamkey, click the Show Key link
  5. The rest of the settings are for personal preference and will not impact the quality of your broadcast if you chose to use them or not

Video

obs_video

Ensure the video adapter matches the video card you have installed in your PC

Base Resolution

  1. Select Custom and enter the your primary display’s recommended resolution
    • This will be downscaled below to ensure a quality broadcast    
  2. Set Resolution Downscale to what OBS Estimator recommended
    • It is not advised to broadcast higher than 720p or 30fps as most viewers do not have sufficient bandwidth to watch streaming video of that quality
  3. Make sure Disable Aero is unchecked, it has negative effects if you disable it

Audio

obs_audio

  1. Desktop Audio Device should be “Default”
  2. Microphone/Auxiliary Audio Device should be set to your headset or microphone
  3. All other options on are for personal preference and should only be set if you have a specific reason to set them

Hotkeys

Various commands for OBS can be assigned to hotkeys here. It’s recommended certain things like Mute/Unmute Mic and Start Stream be bound to hotkeys for convenience purposes.

Advanced

obs_advanced

General

  1. Use Multithreaded Optimizations should be checked
  2. Process Priority Class should be “Normal”
  3. Scene Buffering Time (milliseconds) should be “400”

Video

  1. x264 CPU Preset should be “very fast”
  2. Encoding Profile should be “main”
  3. All other options on this should not be changed unless for a very specific reason

Quick Sync Encoder

The options on this should only be set for a very specific reason, otherwise ignore these settings.

Microphone Noise Gate

You’ll need to adjust these by trial and error to ensure the mic only pics up when you’re speaking and not background noises like your keyboard and mouse or your own breathing. You may also have to adjust the Recording Device levels for your mic in the Windows Sound control panel.

CLR Browser Plugin

There’s an OBS plugin that adds a browser component to the OBS items which enable all manner of awesome additions to your stream overlays. You can embed things like Follower/Subscriber notifications, View Chat, and more. If this is something you’d like to do, the first step is to download and install the plugin. Go to obsproject.com to download the plugin and follow the instructions on that page to install. Once installed a quick Google search for things like “Twitch Follower Alert” or “Twitch Chat” will send you to various pages with custom applets you can load via the CLR Browser.

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DoctorFark
Long-time gamer turned streamer specializing in RPGs, 4X Strategy, and many more. I also work on Twitch-related art during the day on my channel, tune in if you want to learn something or need art yourself!

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