Understanding Advanced Audio Properties, a powerful feature in OBS Studio

What is the Advanced Audio Properties in OBS Studio?

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Hey there, welcome in! In this article, I’ll be covering the various components and features within one of OBS Studio’s most powerful audio tools: The Advanced Audio properties.

The Advanced Audio Properties are a collection of tools that make it easy to manage your audio in various ways. With it, you can

  • Adjust the balance of your audio to favor one side more than the other
  • Adjust the audio sync
  • Monitor devices
  • Define the audio tracks for recording
  • and Downmix sources to Mono (for single microphone users)

How to Access the Advanced Audio Properties in OBS Studio

To access the Advanced Audio Properties:

  1. Left-click on a gear icon next to an audio source in OBS Studio
    • Alternatively, you can right click on a source within the Audio Mixer
  2. Select “Advanced Audio Properties” within the list that appears.
How to Access the Advanced Audio Properties in OBS

Advanced Audio Properties Features

The Advanced Audio Properties Window

Every single audio source that you add will be in here, including webcam mics and other things. Your list will likely look different from this one, as this has been customized for my needs.

Volume(%)shares functionality with the Mixer window in OBS, in that it turns down audio that the stream hears while preserving the volume that you yourself hear. This feature is especially important for you because you are able to maintain an ideal volume for stream digestion while allowing you to listen to it at whatever volume you desire(Or not at all!)
StatusAn indicator of whether or not a source is enabled, and is being sent to an audio track.
Down-mix to monoEnabling this simply sends the first track to all tracks within the source. In newer versions of OBS, this is simply “Mono”.
BalanceA setting to define the stereo panning of the audio signal. What it does, is cause the signal to become louder in one ear and quieter in another. In most cases, you want this to be directly in the center.

One use case where you will want a signal panned, is if you have a multiple-person stream. Panning one microphone a little bit to the left, and the other microphone right will make the content seem more natural to our senses and gives your audience subtle cues of who is speaking.
Sync OffsetThis setting will add an artificial delay to your audio signal to help match the audio up to a video that has a delay to it. Typically, it is utilized in capture card-based webcams that have naturally high latency.

In most cases, you do not need to deal with Sync offset
Audio MonitoringAudio Monitoring is the main reason I recommend you guys to be familiar with the Advanced Audio Properties. It is an especially important feature, in that you can use it to monitor in near-real time any audio source you have into your designated “Audio Monitoring Device” in your audio settings. It used to be under the Advanced tab in earlier versions but was moved to Settings – Audio in a fairly recent update.
TracksTracks are used primarily for recorded content. They determine what audio source is output to a specified audio track. Up to 6 tracks are currently available. It is my hope that streaming platforms and OBS Studio add support for multiple audio tracks support.

Audio Monitoring – The Most Powerful Feature in This Tool

“Audio Monitoring” is easily the most powerful feature available in OBS for Audio. The only other feature that comes close to this in power is OBS’s support for VST plugins.

The Advanced Section of OBS. To Access this panel, Click on "Settings, Advanced" And then Assign your Audio Monitoring device. Usually your headphones.
The location of the Audio Monitoring Device before the recent change.

To utilize this feature, you must navigate to settings, Audio, and designate an Audio monitoring device. I use my audio interface in the above image, but you should use whatever device that your headphones are attached to.

The new location of the Audio monitoring Device setting.

A Word of Caution Regarding OBS Audio Monitoring

There are certain situations where the audio monitor might cause some seriously undesirable effects.

For example, if you monitor a device that is being output as a source:

  • You’ll end up getting a serious feedback loop
  • This can potentially damage, or destroy your speakers or headphones
  • Can cause permanent hearing damage too (It gets really REALLY loud, regardless of the volume of the device)

It is for this reason that, should you ever decide to use audio monitoring in the advanced audio properties in OBS, you should never use the same source within your scenes or audio settings.

Properly used, it is a super useful tool to those of us who don’t have access to near-real-time monitoring from an audio interface.

Having Issues Getting Audio Monitoring to Work in OBS?

Some people have reported that audio monitoring isn’t working for them – Most of the time it is due to user error. If this is the case for you, make sure that you have your headphones or speakers source directly declared in the Audio monitoring device assignment in the settings, and that you have “Monitor and Output” selected for the other device you wish to hear.

Again, be careful not to use the speakers’ source as an audio source in OBS itself, or you’ll get that positive feedback loop that will destroy your hardware.

If this does not solve your problem, try updating all of your drivers and your operating system.

Tracks Are Also a Powerful Tool at Your Disposal

Finally, We have “Tracks.” Tracks are only important for recording purposes. If you only stream, you are free to ignore this section, However, if you record, It is advised to separate each device onto its own track, except track 1, Which is passed to your stream by default.

The tracks within OBS Studio's Advanced Audio Properties

This may change in the future if the streaming services like Twitch or Glimesh offer multi-track support, a feature I really wish they had. Doing so will allow streamers to mute out music tracks, or replace them in case of copyright changes to any audio used in stream vods without losing game audio or voice commentary should portions be muted due to automated systems. It would make the DMCA process a much simpler beast to manage, I’ll tell you that.

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