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OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS, Which one is the best for you?

As a new streamer or one that’s been in the game for a while now, you’ve more than likely asked yourself, “Which streaming software is the best?” on more than one occasion. If you’ve done any research, you may have found OBS Studio, and StreamLabs OBS (SLOBS) being two of the most popular and widely recommended options. This is spot-on, at least for the moment, but which one should you choose? The answer to this battle of OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS can be pretty complicated, while simultaneously being exceedingly simple.

Of course, between the two best options, you can’t really go wrong with either. Many streamers find success with both programs, as the technology used to transmit your content is secondary to the quality of the content itself.

In this article, we’ll go through the differences to help you decide which streaming software will be your source of creation; But first, let’s begin with a bit of a history lesson on the origin of OBS Studio.

A Brief History of OBS Studio – Where did it all start?

OBS ClassicOBS MultiplatformOBS Studio
2012-20142014-20162016-Today

It all started in 2012 with OBS Classic. This program is a far cry from the modern-day production-grade powerhouse software we know today as OBS Studio, but thanks to its simplicity, and robust feature-set for its time, it quickly became very popular. As they say, you have to learn to walk before you can run. Then, on May 21st, 2014, OBS Multiplatform was released, which would later be renamed to OBS Studio for version 0.13.1, setting in motion a series of upheavals that more or less cemented its position as the top streaming software today.

History is ever-evolving, with new additions and tweaks being made to the software on a daily basis. As these modifications build-up, a new version of OBS is released, with the most current version being 26.0.2 as of this article’s post date. The team working on the project has grown over time, and I personally can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

My personal preference is OBS Studio

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As hard as it is to be discovered these days, modern-day streamers have it pretty easy, technologically speaking. It has never been easier to go live on the internet, thanks to the conception and evolution of OBS. It also helps that there are substantially higher levels of documentation regarding these programs today than there has ever been in the past.

If I had to attribute one thing to OBS’s success, I’d say that it’s due to its ability to keep evolving. The program was designed under an “Open source” philosophy, allowing support for 3rd party plugins that have helped extend its functionality beyond the scope of the main development project. These plugins allow for interesting and powerful effects, such as:

  • An Audio spectrograph
  • Overlays for inputs
  • Support for fundamentally different kinds of scene transitions
  • and much more.

What makes OBS Studio so good?

WorkflowOBS Studio has a highly-intuitive interface that can be completely rearranged. It’s very easy to just drag and drop each of the small windows and create a unique project workspace in a matter of seconds. It is also ready to record out of the box.
Low Performance ImpactLow impact on system resources to ensure high performance gameplay while live streaming
Support for Multiple OS’s
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
Pre-configured support for
  • YouTube Live (RTMP & RTMPS [Beta])
  • Facebook Live
  • Twitch
  • Restream.IO
  • Twitter/Periscope
  • and Dozens of others
Completely FreeThere is no cost associated with any of the core features on OBS Studio. Only certain third-party plugins will cost you anything, and the core of OBS Studio is so feature-complete that only very few of you will ever need those plugins.

Reasons to not choose OBS Studio

The biggest reason against choosing OBS Studio is that it has evolved into something that isn’t super intuitive for a complete beginner to figure out. There is an astonishing number of features, and a novice is very likely to be overwhelmed when first opening up the software. I mean, there is a reason EposVox made The OBS Master Class that turned out to be over Five Hours long. There is a lot to unpack.

That said, you don’t have to learn everything about the program to get started. There are many things about the program I myself am still learning three years later. Still, it is a very valid reason nonetheless.

SLOBS – The “Beginner-friendly” Streaming software

OBS Studio’s growing complexity is easily SLOBS biggest factor to consider using it. It is substantially easier to use, and conveniently places things that a streamer would find handy a few clicks away. Having Overlays and other tools built into the software itself creates a level of trust for the users who don’t have to surf the web to try and find resources they can safely use.

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A Brief History of StreamLabs OBS

In January of 2018, StreamLabs released the very first iteration of their OBS Studio Fork. The design returned some level of simplicity to the program by introducing a far more intuitive design than what OBS Studio was working with. It was very quickly coined “SLOBS”, and yes, they didn’t like that it was referred to that, but the name stuck, and they eventually embraced it.

They should have seen that coming a mile away though.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When making the program, the developers made a decision to implement a third party store into the software itself. This allowed streamers access to dozens of pre-designed and professional-looking overlay templates, among other things that took a lot of the hard work out of the process. Accessibility is very important, and this decision made the software an instant hit with many streamers who just wanted to go live and present some level of professionalism without dumping dozens or even hundreds of hours tweaking overlays.

Their success eventually caught the eye of Logitech in 2019, and StreamLabs was bought for an eye-watering value of $89 Million dollars. Fret not, the program is still in active development and Logitech’s acquisition has only encouraged further innovations; Everybody wins!

Why you might want to consider Streamlabs OBS

Ease of UseStreamLabs OBS is known far and wide for its intuitive interface and the fact that the StreamLabs suite directly integrated into the source manager All of the features of StreamLabs are made available to you directly within the application;.
Pre-made LayoutsThere are a number of pre-defined layouts for you to quickly customize the layouts of the application.
Control it with your PhoneDid you know you can control StreamLabs OBS with your phone? You can! This can be useful to change scenes, among other things.
[Prime-Only] Multistreaming capabilities built into the programRestreaming is easily one of the most effective ways to improve your discoverability, assuming you aren’t a Twitch Affiliate. SLOBS has this built right into the program, Accessible from The “Settings cog” located on the bottom right of the app, and in the Stream tab.
[Prime-Only] Built-in Third-Party App StoreAdding on to the previous point; SLOBS integrates a feature-rich Third-Party App store. These applications expand the functionality of SLOBS, allowing easy access to things that are otherwise difficult to implement in OBS Studio.
[Prime-Only] Professional-Grade Overlay “Themes”If you’re a StreamLabs Prime user, there are assets within the store will get your stream going, at a level of professionalism once reserved for those of us with deep pockets or artistic expertise. All, without the hassle of actually implementing them source by source.

Some reasons to avoid using StreamLabs OBS

First up is a little pet peeve of mine; Support for certain VST Plugins is flakey at best. For example, Melda Productions Free FX bundle; Specifically the MEqualizer, doesn’t quite work with SLOBS, even though they work fine in OBS Studio You can’t choose any presets, and nothing is updating until you close the window and open it again. I suppose it is in a better state than it was; It used to just outright crash SLOBS the second I tried adding it.

Another reason to avoid StreamLabs OBS is that it isn’t quite as open as OBS Studio. Sure, they are both open-source programs, but the fact that there are features of the program locked behind a pay-wall subscription known as StreamLabs Prime, that is a point off from them. I fully understand that work done deserves to be rewarded, but it isn’t cool, in my opinion, to profit off of the backs of another team’s labor of love, even if they say it’s okay.

StreamLabs OBS is Windows only at this time

The final reason to avoid StreamLabs OBS is if you are a Mac or Linux user. Unfortunately, at this time, SLOBS is Windows only. This is pretty unfortunate considering OBS Studio has supported Linux & Mac OS since mid-2014. I’m sure the team had their reasons to omit SLOBS Linux/mac builds, but it is still saddening to see.

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But…is there a watermark on SLOBS or OBS Studio?

You’ll be relieved to hear that there isn’t a watermark on either software. This is definitely a big plus to anyone just getting started because age-old software like Fraps and other relics of the past did include a watermark.

OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS – The conclusion

Ultimately, my opinion on the ethics involved in this is moot; The StreamLabs team has done an excellent job retrofitting OBS studio into something that stands on its own as one of the two best-streaming programs. No matter what you end up going with, you can be assured that either choice is a solid choice in the battle of OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS.

If you’re more into the bleeding-edge of streaming technology, getting all the newest features earlier, and are willing to take the time to learn it, I recommend you check Out OBS Studio.

If you’re looking for a simpler experience, one that you can just hop on easily and go live, then StreamLabs OBS is for you.

And that’s all I have for you for this article; Let me know what you think down in the comments below, and be sure to put your channel in the “Website” Field so I can drop by your stream someday. I’ll be visiting under the name of “MrGoodhand”, so keep your eye out on chat the next time you go live! See you then!

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