We all have moments where we get overly excited or angry but that shouldn’t mean that your viewers should go deaf because of yelling into your microphone. When your voice becomes too loud it will cause your microphone to peak which means your audio will become distorted. To prevent your audio from peaking, you’ll want to use the Compressor audio filter that when you start to yell, your audio will be lowered preventing your audio from peaking.
Put simply, the Compressor will take those loud sounds and make them quiet enough that they will be audible but without being distorted or make your audience deaf. A good example is from streamer JurassicJunkieLive as he was scared by his own daughter while playing a horror game. While loud, notice that his scream did not become distorted.
To understand how the Compressor filter works, you’ll need to understand the settings.
- Threshold – The threshold is the bar when you want the Compressor to activate. For example, if you set the threshold to -15db, any audio that surpasses -15db will have the audio reduced by the compressor.
- Ratio – The ratio is a multiplier of how much the audio that surpasses the threshold will be reduced by. For example, a ratio of 2:1 will make an audio source that is 6db in volume be reduced to 3db in volume. A ratio of 10:1 will make an audio source that is 6db in volume be reduced to 0.6db in volume. So, the greater the ratio, the stronger the compression of the audio.
- Attack – The attack is the time (in milliseconds) it takes for the compressor to reduce audio that surpasses the threshold set by the ratio.
- Release – The release is the time it takes for the compressor to stop reducing audio when the audio drops below the threshold.
- Output Gain – The output gain will boost the audio after the audio has been compressed. Best to use this as a final resort to fine tune your audio.
- Sidechain/Ducking Source – This option will allow you select an audio source from drop-down list and will cause the filter to make room for the audio source selected to become dominant. For example, creating a compression filter for your desktop audio and setting the Sidechain/Ducking Source to the microphone will result the desktop audio to lower in volume each time you talk allowing your voice to become dominant.
The goal of the compression is to find the right threshold level for your audio sources to be able to compress any spikes of audio. A good starting point is to use the default compressor settings and then use the audio mixer window to determine if you need to increase or lower the threshold or the ratio.
If you want the game audio to decrease whenever you speak into your microphone, you’ll want to do some testing and look at the audio mixer to see if the desktop audio is being lowered enough so that your voice is heard.
To setup the Compressor audio filter in OBS, just follow these steps.
- In the audio mixer window, click on the gear for the audio source you want to add the filter to and select Filters.
- In the filters window, click on the + sign and select Compressor.
- Adjust the ratio, threshold, and other settings as desired and then click the Close button.
Taking the time to set up filters to prevent your audio from peaking will make you and your content stand out. Having a compression filter will allow you to enjoy yourself and be excited when you stream. Where you can be loud and not think about if the audio in the stream was ruined because the audio peaked and was distorted.