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How To Improve Your Twitch Stream Audio With VST Plugins



Twitch streamer with noisy microphones is pleased that OBS, the most popular live streaming program, supports audio plug-ins in the form of VSTs. It's a little-known feature hidden behind a series of menus, but it can greatly improve your audio quality.

Virtual Studio Technologies (VSTs) serve as an interface between an audio program and any other application that supports them, such as OBS. You can get VSTs that serve as instruments for music production software, but those that are important to OBS users are VSTfx plug-ins that act as audio effects.

For those of you who use Streamlabs OBS, you will also be able to use VSTs because it is based on regular OBS.

RELATED: How to Turn on Your Twitch Stream with Streamlabs

Installing Plugins

The process of installing plug-ins may vary, depending on which plug-ins you have. However, for most of them they go in C: / Applications / VSTPlugins / and will be sorted into separate folders by plugins or vendor names.

Many VST plugins cost a lot of money, but here we will set up the ReaPlugs VST Suite, which is completely free. It also comes with an installer, so you do not have to worry about copying it to the right folder. Just click through the installer and let it set up for you.

Setting up OBS

To begin, right-click the audio device you want to use, and then choose Filter.

OBS has some basic plugins, mostly for noise reduction, but we use the option "VST 2.x plug-in"

Here you can select the plugin you want to add. We first configure "reafir_standalone" as it is very useful for EQ and noise reduction.

You can also add multiple plugins that you need to run if you want to use other plugins called ReaPlugs. Once you've added them, that's all you need to do in OBS itself.

Customizing plug-in settings

After OBS is set up, you must configure the actual plugin settings. Each VST plugin has its own interface, which opens in a separate window. Click the "Open plug-in interface" button just below the drop-down menu to get there.

The first useful feature is the subtractive EQ, which can pick up a noise profile and adjust the EQ accordingly. Select "Subtract" as the mode and stay quiet while activating "Create noise profile automatically". The red EQ profile changes according to the room noise. However, you should turn off the recording after a few seconds or filter out the voice.

The ReaFir plug-in can perform a normal EQ and has a built-in compressor and noise gate. But the ReaComp plugin provides much better control over the compressor. Audio compression is not identical to file compression and may make the sound sound worse. It is used to make the tone more uniform, to amplify the quiet parts and to get louder.

You must add this as a second plugin to use with ReaFir. The main options that you want to configure are the two check boxes: the ratio (how much compression to add) and the threshold you want to set the loudest that you expect your audio to be. You're going to want to shout a little into your microphone for this part. The ratio you can have around two, but if you often shout at the games you play, you can increase them to four or more so you do not break your viewers' headphones.

Turn on audio monitoring for debugging

These special settings depend on which plug-ins you use. There are thousands of VST plugins, so we can not cover them all. However, you can listen to your audio as you adjust the settings, allowing you to find the right keys to enter an unknown plug-in.

You can enable it under Advanced Audio Properties. Set the "Audio Monitor". Your microphone should be "Monitor and Output". It may sound a bit strange, as the software monitoring is much slower than the hardware monitoring (which you can use if you have an external DAC), so it's probably not good to use it as normal. Also, make sure you hang up your headphones so the microphone will not pick up the output. Otherwise you might have a very loud feedback loop.

Image credit: VasiliyBudarin / Shutterstock


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