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OBS Streaming

OBS Design Fundamentals – Audio Capture

The Audio Input and Audio Output Capture Source allows you to include a specific audio source to a scene. Audio Input Capture are devices that accept input of your audio. Examples of Audio Input Capture sources are microphones, webcam microphones, and capture cards. Audio Output Capture are the sources that output audio for you hear. Examples of Audio Output Capture are speakers, monitors, and headsets/headphones. While Audio Input and Output Capture have no properties like other sources, for audio to be effective, you want to learn how to balance your audio sources.

The best practice that you should use for any input devices like microphones is to adjust the volume with your OS or mixer before adjusting the audio mixer in OBS. The audio levels in OBS will only determine the volume that your viewers will hear and not in other applications.

Audio Mixer

Balancing your audio input and output sources is the more important part of any stream or video and to balance Audio Input and Output, to achieve this, you will want to use the Audio Mixer window in OBS.

While I won’t be covering the advanced properties of the Audio Mixer, understanding how to read the Audio mixer is critical to achieve audio balance so that each source is properly set so that each source is audible but not so loud that it is peaking.

The levels of the volume meter are divided between three zones: Green, Yellow, and Red. For balanced audio, you want your audio sources in the green and yellow. When working with multiple audio sources, you should decide which audio source should be dominant and have that be in the yellow. A common example would be creating an Audio Input Capture and using your microphone to be the dominant audio heard over any other audio sources.

What you need to avoid is the red section of the audio mixer. If your audio is in the red, typically that will cause the audio to peak and not only be too loud but also cause distortion making the audio difficult to understand. While there are many advanced tools to prevent distortion, the first tool you should use is the fader.

The fader is the volume slider for each audio source. By default, all sources start at 0 decibels (DB) and you can decrease the volume using the fader slider to set each audio source to their desired level.

If you need to mute an audio source, clicking on the speaker icon will cause that audio source to mute. A good practice is to set a hotkey to any sources that you want to mute such as your microphone.

Finally, clicking the gear under any audio source will bring up the options showing the settings that you can adjust for that audio source.

Create an Audio Capture

The best method when deciding to use the Audio Capture source is if you want your input or output device exclusive to that scene. If you want an Audio Input or Audio Output Capture to apply to every scene then you will want to go into File > Settings > Audio and select the Audio Input and Output Capture under the Global Audio Devices section. If you want to ensure that your microphone won’t be heard during an intermission scene you should consider using Audio Input Capture. For this example, we’ll be making an Audio Input Capture source for a USB microphone.

1.      Click on the + sign in the Sources Window and select Audio Input Capture.

2.      Click the OK button from the pop-up window.

3.      From the drop-down list, select your microphone and click on the OK button.

After that, all it takes is to balance the audio using the Audio Mixer by adjusting the fader to make sure you aren’t clipping by making sure your voice doesn’t enter the red zone. While Audio Input and Output Capture are focused on your audio devices, knowing the fundamentals of the Audio Mixer window is essential to making any recording or stream an enjoyable listening experience.