Best OBS Studio Settings for Broadcasting Live Streams [Updated for 2022]
As live video streaming becomes more popular in our day-to-day lives, many businesses are experimenting with broadcasting. For those who are new to live streaming, this involves learning to deal with the many technicalities involved in streaming live video.
It’s pretty easy to create high-quality live streams today, but successful live broadcasts require a little know-how and technical experience or understanding.
One key technical topic related to broadcasting is live stream encoding software and the encoding process. Encoding is essential to professional live streaming for several reasons.
This guide walks you through the best OBS studio settings for professional broadcasting. We’ve put together our top tips for optimizing OBS settings for live streaming. First, we’ll review what OBS Studio is and what it does.
Once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll outline the ideal OBS Studio settings for your broadcasts.
This tutorial was updated in January 2022 to reflect the best OBS Studio settings for the latest version.
Table of Contents
- What is Encoding?
- What is OBS Studio?
- How to Configure Your OBS Studio Settings
- Best OBS Studio Settings for Streaming Audio and Video
- OBS Studio vs. Streamlabs OBS
What is Encoding?
Simply put, encoders allow you to convert your video files from RAW to digital in order to prepare them for transmission from your camera to your live streaming platform host. Along with a recording device and reliable internet, a functional encoder is a must for broadcasters.
Encoders come in the form of both software and hardware. Software encoders are typically free or low-cost, but hardware encoders can get quite expensive.
In fact, research shows that 67% of viewers rank quality as the most important factor in a live stream. As a broadcaster, you can ensure high-quality content for your viewers by choosing the best OBS Studio settings before you go live.
What is OBS Studio?
OBS Studio is a free, open-source RTMP-enabled encoder software that is perfect for new and experienced broadcasters. This open-source live streaming software allows users to capture and stream live video from any Mac, Windows, or Linux computer.
RTMP stands for “Real-Time Messaging Protocol,” and it is part of the technology that makes live streaming possible. RTMP’s primary role is to deliver content from an encoder to an online video host. This RTMP function is referred to as “RTMP ingest.” For OBS, the RTMP protocol serves as the bridge of the gap between its encoding and streaming functions.
As we mentioned, professional live streaming requires either a software or hardware encoder. This equipment works to encode a live video feed into the correct format for streaming through your online video platform (OVP).
OBS Studio offers many great features for new broadcasters who are just getting the hang of live streaming. The software has a set of OBS-specific system requirements to ensure the most optimal live broadcasting experience. These settings include the ability to mix multiple sources with custom transitions, use audio/video filters and correction tools, and more.
The latest version of OBS is OBS Studio 27.1.3 was released on October 4th, 2021. It is available for free download for macOS 10.13 or newer, Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 operating systems. For the Linux version, FFmpeg is required.
OBS Studio is especially easy to use for Dacast users since we’ve created a custom OBS Studio portal that is free for our users.
How to Configure Your OBS Studio Settings
First, open the OBS Studio settings by clicking the “Settings” button in the bottom-right area of the application window.
The first tab, labeled “General,” doesn’t have anything too critical to review. However, here, you can choose your language and select a light or dark theme.
Although the language and theme may seem insignificant, it is important to have your bases covered to avoid any issues in your stream. Check both boxes to avoid accidentally starting or stopping your stream before you’re ready.
Once you’ve reviewed these settings, click on the next tab labeled “Stream” in the OBS Studio settings window.
For “Stream Type,” you should see “Custom…” by default. If not, please select it.
Next, you need to enter the streaming credentials provided by your online video platform, including the stream URL (server), stream key, username, and password. You can find these credentials on the streaming encoder setup page of your OVP.
On Dacast, fetching these credentials looks something like this:
- Go to your Dacast account, and open or create the channel you want to live stream with OBS. Open your “Encoder Setup.”
- You will choose “Stream Name,” click on copy and go back to OBS to paste the key in the Stream Key field.
- Then, you have to do the same for “Server,” which is copied in the Stream URL. Repeat this for the username and password.
Option with iFrame Embed Code:
<iframe src=”https://iframe.dacast.com/vod/3b67c4a9-3886-4eb1-d0eb-39b23b14bef3/08cebf46-2960-07df-89bf-4479e6b4be0e” width=”590″ height=”431″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” allow=”autoplay” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>
Option with JS Embed Code:
<script id=”3b67c4a9-3886-4eb1-d0eb-39b23b14bef3-vod-08cebf46-2960-07df-89bf-4479e6b4be0e” width=”590″ height=”431″ src=”https://player.dacast.com/js/player.js?contentId=3b67c4a9-3886-4eb1-d0eb-39b23b14bef3-vod-08cebf46-2960-07df-89bf-4479e6b4be0e” class=”dacast-video”></script>
Option with Share link:
Best OBS Studio Settings for Streaming Audio and Video
In order to stream with the best quality possible, it is important to choose the best encoder settings.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best OBS Studio settings for streaming audio and video content.
1. OVP-Specific Setting Requirements
Different online video platforms come with different encoder setting requirements. This is because each video or multistream platform uses different technology to bring streams to life.
Dacast, for example, has a few required OBS settings that apply to this and any other encoding software you may use.
These required live encoder settings include:
|VIDEO CODEC||H.264 (x264 may work)|
|FRAME RATE||25 or 30|
|KEYFRAME INTERVAL||2 secs (or 2x frame rate)|
|ENCODING BITRATE||Constant (CBR)|
|AUDIO BITRATE||128 kbps|
|AUDIO CHANNELS||2 (Stereo)|
|AUDIO SAMPLE RATE||48 kHz (48,000 Hz)|
2. OBS Output Settings
To change your OBS Studio settings, you will have to open the “Output “settings in your OBS Studio account.
By default, the selected output mode is “Simple.” To ensure your live stream is stable and fully functional we recommend you follow the configuration settings shared in the “Encoder Setup” window, pictured below:
By default, the OBS audio bitrate and the video bitrate settings will be in low definition. Of course, you can select a higher video quality if you choose.
Our suggested video bitrate settings for different resolutions include:
|Name||Ultra-Low Definition||Low Definition||Standard Definition||High Definition||Full High Definition|
|Video Bitrate (kbps)||350||350 – 800||800 – 1200||1200 – 1900||1900 – 4500|
|Resolution Width (px)||426||640||854||1280||1920|
|Resolution Height (px)||240||360||480||720||1080|
|Audio Bitrate (kbps)||64||64||128||256||256|
If you are only streaming audio, you can get away with bitrate settings as low as 64 kbps. However, for better quality, you should up your audio bitrate settings to 192-320 kbps.
We recommend downloading OBS Lua, which is an OBS-specific bitrate calculator. This will help you find the best settings for your streaming needs.
3. Bitrate and Internet Speed
As you manipulate your bitrate settings, it is important to consider your internet connection.
Your internet speed must be at least double your bitrate if you want to produce a high-quality stream. Otherwise, you’ll run into buffering issues.
For example, if your internet upload speed is 2000 Mbps, then your audio and video bitrates should not be higher than 1000 Mbps.
You can search “internet speed test” on Google, and click “RUN SPEED TEST” to test how fast your internet is.
Additionally, you can test your internet connection speed by going to the website testmy.net.
4. Advanced Output Mode
If you opt to select the “Advanced” output mode, you’ll get access to more options for the best OBS Studio setting. To ensure a quality stream, you should use the following settings:
Pay close attention to ensure that your output mode is set to “Advanced,” the rate control is set as “CBR,” and the keyframe interval is equal to 2.
The other setting found on the Output OBS Studio settings page relates to recording your broadcast. This feature enables you to record the live stream to a local drive as you stream.
If you haven’t set up an auto-archiving feature with your live streaming platform, we recommend enabling this setting. Use “Same as Stream” or “Indistinguishable Quality” for recording quality, “mp4” for recording format, and “x.264” for the encoder.
Hotkeys allow you to set up different scenes within your live stream encoding software. That way, you can switch between the scenes during your live broadcast.
How you configure your hotkeys will depend on your specific needs. For example, you could set up hotkeys for specific overlays and inputs.
There are several default hotkeys on OBS Studio, but they are turned off by default. You can check out the documentation for using hotkeys for streaming with OBS Studio on GitHub.
6. Video Sources
To add a video source, click on the “+” button in the “Sources” widget. From there, you can select a display capture, video capture device, image, recorded video, etc. When you’re ready to stream live, you can click on “Start Streaming.”
7. OBS Recording Settings
Stream recording is a very important feature of OBS Studio. Accessing this tool is very easy. Users must simply click “Start Recording” in the control panel in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
To access your stream recordings, click “File” on the top left-hand side of the screen, and choose “Show Recordings.” If you are using Windows, the stream recording will be sent directly to your computer’s “Video” folder.
OBS Studio vs. Streamlabs OBS
While we’re on the topic of streaming software, let’s quickly discuss Streamlabs OBS, which is software that is similar to OBS Studio.
Streamlabs OBS is a free and open-source streaming software that is designed for stream layout editing, replay buffer, selective recording, and remote streaming control.
Users can upload to Streamlabs Prime to access premium features. This upgrade costs $19/month or $149/year.
Streamlabs OBS is a better option for beginners or broadcasters with little technical know-how since it has a graphical user interface (GUI). OBS Studio, on the other hand, has a command-line interface (CLI) that requires users to use coded commands to execute functions.
Although Streamlabs is easier to use and provides the option to upgrade for access to premium features, many broadcasters prefer OBS Studio since it is more extensible.
Choosing the right encoder settings can be confusing at first. Luckily, OBS Studio is free software that will allow you to test out the features without investing any money.
We believe that you’ll have a smooth experience if you follow these recommendations on the best OBS studio settings to get started. After a little experimenting, you’ll have no problem navigating the platform.
With these recommended settings as your starting point, getting comfortable doing live streams should be straightforward and enjoyable.
We encourage you to take advantage of our risk-free trial, and test out all of our features free for 14 days (no credit card required)!
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Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your live broadcasts.