Best Live Streaming Equipment Setup (Free Guide For 2020)

Technology

by Navid Moazzez

Last Updated:
June 2, 2020

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Best Live Streaming Equipment Setup

This is the complete guide to the best live streaming equipment setup.

Since I get people in my audience asking me what live streaming video equipment I use very often, I decided to put together this super useful list.

In this ultimate guide you’ll learn exactly what equipment I use in my home studio for professional live streaming to YouTube and Facebook (and it can even work to record awesome looking videos a lot faster).

I’ll also share the best budget live streaming equipment needed for a pro setup, and much more.

Always remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money as you get started, and you can upgrade your equipment and setup over time (that’s what I did after all).

Let’s get started and dive right in.

Disclosure: If you click on one of the links to the live streaming equipment mentioned in the article and purchase via my link, it’s likely I’ll receive some sort of affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. With that being said, I ONLY promote stuff that I personally use, trust and stake my reputation on, and happily share with friends and family. View my full affiliate disclaimer here.

What Is The Best Live Streaming Equipment Setup?

Here’s what my current professional live streaming equipment and setup looks like in 2020.

You can check out my full Kit here for easy access.

I’ll also include a budget live streaming equipment setup option in this guide.

Now, let’s dive into some more details to go over every part of my professional live streaming setup.

Live Streaming Software

You may be wondering why I recommend that you use a “live streaming software” in the first place?

I mean you can actually use both Facebook live and YouTube live without any extra software natively. I still do that at times myself, for example going live using just my iPhone (and possibly an external microphone) on Facebook is pretty effective.

But whenever I want more flexibility and ensure my live streams look professional, a live streaming software (also called encoding software) is required. It can even streamline your workflow for recording videos for your courses, YouTube channel and much more.

There are many different live streaming platforms out there, and it can be a little confusing to know which one to get started with.

After years of testing and using different live streaming solutions, I’ve made it pretty simple for you by narrowing it down to just two (one for Mac and one for PC).

Plus I’ve also included a pretty good and super easy to use browser based live streaming software (but the video quality and flexibility can’t match the first two on the list, which you need to download to your computer).

Ecamm Live: I love Ecamm Live and it’s hands down the best live streaming software for Mac. I’ve used it for quite some time now consistently and it’s so easy to use… it’s basically a content creators dream!

Live Streaming Equipment - Ecamm Live

Ecamm Live allows you to easily run professional live streams as you can do screen sharing, picture-in-picture, add overlays, animations, countdowns, music, sound effects, play pre-recorded videos and much more.

You can live stream in up to 4K resolution to YouTube if you’re on the Pro plan (otherwise it’s up to 1080p if you’re on the Standard plan).

You can also use Ecamm live to record videos directly to your computer (and when you live stream to YouTube, Facebook etc, it also saves a high quality video file to your computer in the resolution you set in preferences).

You can bring in up to 5 guests via Skype for interviews and smaller panels. I was even surprised how well this integration works when I started using it (and Ecamm will come out with their native feature at some point soon as well). You can do full screen and split screen easily.

There’s a ton more useful features in Ecamm Live like comment overlays, live camera switching, virtual cameras (Pro plan only), realtime monitoring (Pro plan only), Newtek NDI and much more.

I will be coming out with a full review and demo of Ecamm live pretty soon, so stay tuned for that!

Here you can see a screenshot of Ecamm Live in action during a case study interview I did with VSM student Mitch Asser (I brought him in via Skype and worked without any issues):

Live Streaming Equipment Setup - Ecamm Live Interview

vMix: vMix is the best and most advanced live streaming software for PC, and I’ve use it since 2017. You can live stream or record in 1080p or even 4K resolution (as long as your computer can handle it).

Live Streaming Equipment - vMix

At first I used it with a custom built PC and these days I use it with my iMac Pro (you need to run Bootcamp and install Windows 10, then vMix works without any issues).

You can do pretty much anything with vMix and I’ve recorded online courses, virtual summits, YouTube videos and much more using it.

The only downside with vMix is that it definitely takes some time to get used to as there’s so many features and options. That said, I was able to figure it out and I’m not the most techy person in the world… if you decide to go with vMix, I’m sure you can make it work for you as well.

OBS Studio is a free alternative to Ecamm Live and vMix, but you’ll most likely encounter more issues as it’s a free open source software (and definitely not as easy to use as Ecamm Live). OBS works on both PC and Mac.

StreamYard: This is a super easy to use browser based live streaming software. The quality can’t compare with what you can achieve if you use Ecamm Live or vMix though.

StreamYard’s max resolution to both YouTube and Facebook is 720p (which is fine for Facebook, but for me it’s too low to stream to YouTube where you want at least 1080p).

Live Streaming Equipment - StreamYard

You can still do some cool things with StreamYard like bringing in guests for interviews, running panels, adding lower thirds and logos, playing videos and more.

If you’re interested to learn more, you can check out my complete guide to the best live streaming software review here.

Live Streaming Computer Setup

Since I do a lot of 4K live streaming and recording, I have invested in a pretty solid computer setup.

Here’s the computers I currently use in my live streaming setup (and I use this to do everything else to run my highly profitable online lifestyle business):

iMac Pro: This computer is a beast and I can push it to the max and it’s pretty much silent at all times (no noisy fans that will ruin your audio). I have the 3 GHz 10-core model with 64 GB Ram, Radeon Pro Vega 64 16 GB Graphics, and 2TB of SSD storage. I can connect several cameras via capture cards and live stream in 4K resolution without any problem using Ecamm Live or vMix.

MacBook Pro 16″ (Late 2019): Whenever I’m traveling I use my MacBook Pro 16″ to live stream with and it works really well in my portable live streaming equipment setup (at times the fans can turn on, so it’s not as silent as my iMac Pro, but overall it gets the job done well when I use Ecamm Live). I have the 2.4 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 model with 64 GB Ram, Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB Graphics, and 4TB of SSD storage.

I also use a really solid CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock so I can connect some more things to my iMac Pro or MacBook Pro.

iPad Pro 12.9″ (Early 2020): I just ordered the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, and I’m exited to use Sidecar and bring it in as a second monitor when I’m live streaming. I will also use my iPad to do some cool demos and writing on screen.

Budget Computer Option

I would recommend you buy the most powerful computer you can afford.

There are PC’s that provide a lot of value, just keep in mind that you will not be able to use Ecamm Live (which arguably is the easiest to use professional live streaming software).

A pretty solid spec’d up iMac or MacBook Pro would be the best option if you plan to use Ecamm Live for live streaming.

Focus on ram (preferably at least 32GB of ram), graphics card (preferably at least 8GB of ram), 6 to 8-core i7 or i9 processor (CPU) and having at least 1TB of SSD storage.

Here’s a brief list of system requirements for using Ecamm Live on a Mac.

Here’s a great list of system requirements if you plan to use vMix on a PC.

Live Streaming Camera Equipment Setup

My first more “professional” (read: prosumer) camera I ever bought was actually a Sony A6500 back in late 2016, but I didn’t really get a chance to test it properly for live streaming before I sold it.

When I first started creating a professional live streaming setup in 2017, I actually used a Panasonic GH5 camera, which worked really well for the most part.

Live Streaming Equipment Setup - Panasonic GH5

I still love and own my GH5 camera, but the only issue I found was that the autofocus wasn’t good enough for what I wanted for my live streams and videos.

I noticed a some items occasionally in my background “pulsating” here and there. It was also hard to get items to focus when I wanted to show something quickly on screen.

Live Streaming Equipment Setup - Background Example

So towards the end of 2019 I decided to move back to Sony mirrorless cameras as I’ve heard a lot of great things and I knew the autofocus would be top notch as well.

I also use these cameras to record my courses, YouTube videos, vlogging (as they both have in body image stablization), and of course to take more professional photos for my brand and while traveling.

Here’s the Sony mirrorless cameras I currently use for professional live streaming in 2020:

Sony A6600: This is the main camera I use in my live streaming equipment setup. I love the 4K quality, photos and the fact that I can also use it for vlogging (as it has in body image stablization). The A6600 has a great flip up screen so you can monitor yourself a bit too (not as good as a flip out screen, but it’s better than nothing which is what Sony used to do before). Overall I’ve never had any issues to use this camera for live streaming, and you can power it continuously with a micro USB to USB cable.

Lenses I use for Sony A6600:

I currently prefer two lenses for my Sony A6600. The first is Sigma 16mm F1.4 and the other one is Sony 16-55mm F2.8 G APS-C Lens.

Both these lenses allows me to keep my camera pretty close to me and still have enough of my background in the frame I want to show.

For most people I’d recommend you go with the Sigma lens as it’s a lot cheaper, but it depends a bit on your live streaming setup and what you prefer.

Sony a7R IV: This full-frame mirrorless Sony camera is definitely overkill for any live streaming setup, but I got it more than that. I use it to record videos for my courses, YouTube, live stream and take amazing photos. I also love that they removed the video recording limit. Overall I’m very impressed with the videos and photos from this camera.

Lenses I use for Sony a7R IV:

The lenses I currently use the most with the Sony a7R IV camera in my live streaming video setup are the Sony 24mm F1.4 GM wide-angle lens and Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM wide-angle zoom lens.

From time to time I also use the Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens, which is especially useful when I want to have the camera farther away from me.

Sony RX100 VII: This premium 4K compact camera by Sony is super powerful, and I mainly use it for vlogging and photos. I’ve also used it in my live streaming setup and it works really well. These days I would mainly use it as a third camera if I wanted to bring in an extra camera source.

iPhone 11 Pro: I use my iPhone 11 Pro mainly as a behind the scenes camera that I can easily bring in via NDI when I’m live streaming with Ecamm Live or vMix.

To set up my cameras I tend to use either Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Magic Arm (you need a super clam to attach it to your desk) or a super light weight Manfrotto Befree Live Carbon Fiber Tripod.

Best Budget Live Streaming Camera Setup

I’ve listed a few budget live streaming cameras from Sony you can consider below (at least 3 of them can really be considered budget, and the 4th is still quite affordable depending on what you’re looking for).

Note that none of these would be the best for vlogging as they lack in body image stablization (meaning you’d get quite shaky footage with these cameras).

If you’d like to use your camera for both live streaming and vlogging, I’d recommend you go with Sony A6600 I mentioned above instead.

Sony A5100: This is a great budget live streaming camera option, and it has a very fast autofocus system like higher-end Sony APS-C cameras. Worth noting is that there is no 4K on this mirrorless Sony camera. Video resolution tops out at 1080p at 50fps and 24fps.

Sony A6100: This is probably the best mirrorless camera in a budget live streaming setup. The A6100 offers 4K resolution in both 24fps and 30fps. I would personal go for this one over the A5100 if I was on a budget to have the option to live stream and record videos in 4K resolution (it’s a bit more future proof that way).

Sony A6400: I wouldn’t necessarily call the Sony A6400 a budget 4K live streaming camera as it get’s closer to the $1,000 price point. That said, it is quite a bit cheaper than the A6600 I use, and offers you more or less the same features (minus the in body image stablization, so if you want to do vlogging it’s not the best).

The lens I would recommend for a budget live streaming setup:

If you’re going to be sitting pretty close to your camera, I highly recommend the Sigma 16mm F1.4 lens.

If you’re going to be sitting further away from your camera, you can consider looking into the Sigma 56mm F1.4 lens. It’s also really good and a lot. of value for money.

Webcams For Live Streaming

If you have pretty good lighting the video quality from your live streams can look quite good, but you can’t compare it with any of the mirrorless camera options I listed above.

Here are a few solid webcams from Logitech to consider if you’re on a pretty tight budget:

Be sure to download Webcam Settings Software to get fine tuned adjustments to the quality of your video from the above webcams (available for both Mac and PC).

iGlasses by Ecamm is also a great, very affordable software that can help you fine tune webcam settings further.

HDMI Capture Device (From Camera to Computer)

In order to connect your DSLR or mirrorless camera to your computer, you need to use HDMI Capture Device.

There are tons of different options out there, but I’ve listed two great external capture devices that work really well for me.

Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus Device: This is the main 4K HDMI capture device I use to connect my computer to my Sony mirrorless camera to via a micro HDMI to HDMI cable. I haven’t had any issues with this one. The only downside is that it’s pretty expensive.

Elgato Cam Link 4K: This is probably the most popular 4K HDMI capture device on the market right now because it’s so affordable and works very well overall. I use it whenever I want to connect to bring in another Sony mirrorless camera into my live streaming setup.

You also need a Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable (Sony cameras use micro HDMI, make sure it is a 4K approved cable).

Live Streaming Audio Setup

While the video quality is really important, the audio is arguably as important, if not more.

I would watch a low quality video with good audio, but I wouldn’t watch a high quality video with bad audio.

Now, I would recommend that you do your best to have both great video and great audio, and fortunately it isn’t that hard to get it to a good level with the options that are available today.

I’ve upgraded my audio setup quite a bit over the years, and here’s what I currently use for live streaming and recording videos:

Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Mic: This is shotgun microphone by Sennheiser is amazing. It’s actually what top YouTuber MKBHD and many other online creators use to create their YouTube videos. It is an expensive mic for sure, but it’s well worth it in my opinion as I’ll have this forever. The mic sounds incredible, and it barely picks up any background noise (works well in any environment and my audio is pretty solid using this one).

I use either a simple Rode Podcast Arm, or a boom pole to attach this mic so it’s just out of frame pretty close to my mouth for the best possible audio quality. I usually get these XLR microphone cables.

Sound Devices MixPre-3 II: Just WOW… this is the best audio recorder/mixer I’ve ever used. I mainly use it as an audio interface connected to my computer when I’m live streaming or recording videos. Out of the box, it works perfectly and my MKH 416 mic sounds amazing with this audio setup. The only downside with MixPre-3 II is that it’s pretty expensive, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for. Pure quality and I’ll be using this one for years to come.

RODECaster Pro: I recently got this one, and it’s extremely useful for podcasting and doing cool sound effects during a show. I still mostly use my MixPre-3 II in my live streaming setup but when I start my video podcast show I will consider using the RODECaster Pro more as it has some amazing features. I can connect up to 4 XLR mics and overall it’s a really awesome product I love.

Other mics I use from time to time:

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone: This cardioid dynamic microphone is legendary in the podcast space, and sounds amazing (I use it mainly with the MixPre-3 II or RODECaster Pro). I don’t use it all that often in my live streaming setup as I prefer to have the mic out of frame, and to get the most out of the Shure SM7B you need to keep it super close to your mouth.

Wireless Audio / Mic setup:

Whenever I do in-person interviews or I need to something where I need to be a bit more far from the camera, I turn to my wireless mic setup instead.

I use Sennheiser AVX System together with the superb Sanken COS-11D Lav Mic (I recently upgraded to these and they are amazing, sounds a lot better than the mics that come with the AVX system).

I also like Rode Wireless Go, which is a lot more affordable, and sometimes even more useful than the Sennheiser AVX System. You can use an affordable Rode smartLav+ Lav Mic and connect it to the Rode Wireless Go for example.

Headphones: In most cases it’s a good idea that you wear headphones when you bring on guest for an interview to avoid echo and annoying audio feedback. I would highly recommend getting a pair of headphones that are almost invisible when you wear them.

I personally use a pair of super affordable ones from MEE audio and you have to really look closely to see that I’m using headphones (you can barely notice that at all). You can grab them here for $10-$20 (depending on the deal on Amazon).

Sound Panels: Right now I use two Auralex Acoustic Portable Sound Panels I place around my mic, which helps a bit with echo and reverb.

I plan to get some sound panels to put on my walls and ceiling from Audimute or GIK Acoustics, which will improve audio further.

That said, if you have your mic closer to your mouth that will make the audio better right away (I suggest that you test this, and let me know if you notice a difference).

You can also have a large rug on the floor where you record, hang some moving blankets or sound blankets on walls that will improve the audio.

There are also cheap acoustic foam panels you can get on Amazon (they work well, just not as good as professional sound panels and won’t look as nice).

Budget Audio Setup Option

What I use in my personal live streaming video setup now takes quite a bit of an investment.

The good news is that there are amazing mics to get started with even if you’re on a tight budget.

Here are the best ones I’ve found, including the audio interface I’d recommend if you want to improve the audio even more and upgrade from just a USB mic to XLR microphone:

Audio-Technica ATR2100 Mic: The ATR2100 is a legendary super affordable mic that delivers really good audio. I used it for several years to run my virtual conferences, webinars, record online courses and much more until I finally decided to upgrade to an even better setup (see above).

Audio-Technica AT875R Shotgun Mic: This is a really good and relatively affordable shotgun microphone, which provides outstanding audio quality for the money. I would recommend this one if you’d like a mic that you can have slightly out of frame when you live stream or record videos. It gives a cleaner setup than using the ATR2100 listed above. Keep in mind that the AT875R is an XLR mic and you need an audio interface to make it work.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen): By connecting an XLR microphone to this awesome (yet affordable) audio interface you’ll be able to take the audio quality to the next level (it’ll be quite a bit better than just using a USB mic connected to your computer, and you’ll get more control as well).

Lighting Setup

One of the biggest mistakes I made in the early days as I started doing some YouTube videos and interviews for my virtual events, was that I had a really bad lighting setup (my videos looked horrible as a result).

Fortunately I know better now and have improved a lot over the years.

Here’s the lighting setup I currently use in my live streaming equipment setup:

Aputure 120D Mark 2: This daylight LED light by Aputure is amazing and it’s one of the most popular “YouTuber” lights out there. When you combine it with the Aputure Light Dome II (or the Light Dome Mini II if I have less space), you get this awesome soft light that you want when filming yourself.

Corsair Elgato Key Light: I have two of these awesome LED lights, and attach them to my desk. I don’t use them all the time as I have the more powerful Aputure 120D Mark 2, but they are still very useful and I can control them via an app on my iPhone easily.

I also use some smaller RGB LED lights like the Aputure MC close to the background to give it a nice touch of color when I want a different mode.

Budget Lighting Option

The most budget option would be to use natural light from a window. Just make sure that the light source is in front of you.

You can also try to find some cheap LED lights on Amazon or your local store.

There are also relatively affordable LED ring lights and LED lights with a softbox you can purchase that will help you up level your video quality and look a lot better.

Stream Deck

Elgato Stream Deck is essential tool in my live streaming setup.

That’s how I can switch easily between different cameras, scenes, add lower thirds, play videos, add music, sound effects and much more.

I currently have the 15-button Stream Deck. There are Stream Deck options with 6 buttons ($80), 15 buttons ($150), or a massive 32 buttons ($240).

I think the 15-button Stream Deck is great to get started with, and will work well for most people.

I am considering to get the 32-button Stream Deck now so I can program even more buttons.

The Stream Deck is optional to use, and if it’s too much to invest right away you can still do fine without it.

Personally I highly recommend getting the Stream Deck if you can as it will make your workflow and switching between different scenes a lot easier.

You can do the same things directly in Ecamm live or any other live streaming software like vMix or OBS, but it it’s just more to think about when you are live and it’s easier to make mistakes.

I don’t know about you but I’d much rather focus on my audience when I’m live than trying to figure out where to click in a software.

It’s so much easier to just click some buttons on the Stream Deck. The buttons can also be used for other hotkeys on your computer, so it’s not just for live streaming purposes.

Best Royalty Free Music Service For Live Streaming

To make your live streams and videos more engaging and fun you may want to add some music and sound effects as well.

Just be sure to use music service that provides royalty free music and sound effects, so you don’t get into any issues with your content being flagged or removed (that would suck after all). You want to make sure you can use it on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc. without any problem.

There are many quite similar royalty free music services out there (some better than others obviously), but here’s what I personally use and recommend:

Epidemic Sound: I’ve tested a bunch of different royalty free music services, and I personally prefer the music on Epidemic Sound the best (and the company is from Sweden, so that makes it even better as I was born and raised there). It’s easy to search for what you’re looking for and a lot of the music sounds like any hit song that could easily play on radio nonstop.

Want To See My Live Streaming Setup In Action?

If you’re a Virtual Summit Mastery student, you’ve most likely already seen some of my live streaming video setup.

Throughout May 2020 I’m doing a challenge where I go live every single day in the private VSM community to add even more value to our customers.

Overall I keep things pretty simple and found a great routine that works for me every day.

I use Ecamm Live and schedule the sessions to go live inside my private Facebook group.

Live Streaming Equipment - Ecamm Live Interview
Live Streaming Equipment - Ecamm Live Screenshare

I’ve used Ecamm live for webinars, virtual conferences, case study interviews, YouTube videos and many other things before.

On my YouTube channel you can also find some great examples of what it can look like when you invest in a professional live streaming setup.

These particular videos below were recorded using vMix live streaming software (but you can accomplish the same result using Ecamm Live as well).

I’m going do a lot more live streaming and publish more valuable videos on my YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe below (or above) if you’d like to stay notified.

Click here to subscribe and watch.

Live Streaming Equipment Setup FAQs

I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about live streaming equipment that you may found useful (especially if you skimmed through some parts above).

What is the best live streaming software?

Ecamm Live is the best live streaming software for Mac. Hands down, not even any competition there.

vMix is the absolute best live streaming software for PC. You can use it with a Mac too but you need run Bootcamp so you can install Windows 10 first. That’s how I use vMix on my iMac pro, although I tend to use Ecamm live more frequently now as it’s a lot easier to use.

If you’d like to check out a complete guide on the best live streaming software, platforms and tools, you can do so here.

What is the best budget live streaming equipment setup?

I’ve covered the best budget live streaming equipment in this guide.

See the full budget setup here on Kit.co.

What is the best live streaming camera equipment?

I’ve covered the best live streaming camera equipment in this guide (both what I use and a solid budget option).

See my full live streaming equipment list on Kit.co here.

What is the best mobile live streaming equipment?

Below you can find my best mobile live streaming equipment setup.

What is the best live streaming equipment for churches?

I would recommend that you look at the live streaming equipment I’ve recommended throughout this guide as it will also work well for churches (especially if you prefer a pretty simple live streaming setup).

You can even get multi camera live streaming equipment if you want to show different angles.

What is the best live streaming equipment for gaming?

I would recommend the same live streaming equipment setup for gaming as I’ve covered already in this guide. See above for my best live streaming setup recommendations.

Of course you can also use Ecamm Live or vMix to stream to Twitch for example (which is pretty popular for gamers to do).

Conclusion: What Live Streaming Equipment Will You Start With?

I hope you found this guide to the best live streaming equipment setup helpful.

Now I’d like to turn things over to you:

What do you think of my professional live streaming setup?

What live streaming equipment will you get started with?

Or maybe you already use something to live stream that I didn’t cover in this guide.

Either way, let me know and leave a comment below right now.

I’m Navid Moazzez. I’m a full-time lifestyle entrepreneur, super affiliate, and creator of Virtual Summit Mastery, living my best life in Panama City, Panama and around the world. If you have any questions or comments for me, just send an email or leave a comment below!

  • A PDF of this page would have been nice.
    How is anyone supposed to remember all this?

    • I may create that in the future, thanks for the suggestion. I already have a full list of this on my Kit page which is linked in the post. Did you check that here? https://kit.co/navidmoazzez. Everything I talk about is linked there 🙂

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