Learning how to manage your audio in OBS is one of the most important aspects of being a media-oriented content creator. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of audio device management, which will ensure greater control over your audio for all future projects.
There are a few steps involved in this, so take it slow, and without further ado, let’s begin!
The First Steps to managing OBS audio properly
The first step to this process is actually kind of counter-intuitive. You are actually disabling all of your audio devices added in the traditional means. Don’t worry though, This is a necessary first step to achieving a greater control over your audio.
- Click settings
- Click Audio
- Set all devices to “Disabled”
Confused yet? That’s okay, I’ll explain why I had you do this.
In OBS, we have what is known as a Scene and Source manager. A scene is essentially a “template of sources”, which is used to create different preset layouts for your content. These can be a live stream, YouTube Video, or other forms of media content creation. These pre-defined templates serve to allow what sources show up where…including your audio sources!
There is a special type of source, which you will be utilizing to make adding your audio to various scenes extremely simple. This feature is exceptionally powerful and gives you a new level of control over your scenes. But we first need to create the scene we will be adding.
Create an Audio Devices Scene for your audio sources
For this next part, I want you to create a dedicated scene that will carry all of your commonly used audio sources.
Let’s name it “Common Audio Devices”.
You can change the name of that to whatever you prefer, I just like to call it that.
Within this scene, you will be adding five separate sources, with one of them being an Audio input Capture source. The remaining sources will all be Audio Output Capture sources.
- Your Microphone Source as the only Audio Input Device. The rest will be Audio Output Device sources.
- A Headphone dedicated source if you use them. Otherwise, “Speakers” will work
- Game Sounds, Which should be set as your System Default Device
- Discord, if you plan on including this separate from your Headphones source
- Music, if you plan to include music in your stream
Ensure that each of these sources have a unique audio device assigned to them.
Of course, you don’t need to include all of these sources, I simply mentioned the ones in use by most streamers. Additionally, separating these devices out into their own sources gives you individual control over each of them. This allows you to implement VST EQ on each of these sources individually.
Not enough Sources available?
In most cases, you actually won’t have enough outputs to latch onto. In this situation, there are actually a few tools out there that can help with this.
Before you install them though, check to see if your monitor or monitors have speakers. If they do, you can latch on to them, and physically mute these devices using the physical volume control buttons on them. Still don’t have enough? You will need to download Virtual Audio Cable and/or Virtual Hi-fi Cable.
Just be aware that the Hi-Fi cable needs to be set to 44.1KHz or 48KHz. The one you choose will be based on what you set in OBS. See “Sample Rate”. Since we’re on the subject…
Understanding Sample Rate
The Sample rate you choose will be the “Lowest common denominator”. This will ultimately be different for everyone and based on the capabilities of your physical devices attached to your PC.
To figure the Sample Rate capabilities out:
- Open up the Control Panel by searching “Control panel” in the search bar within the taskbar on Windows 10.
- Click “Hardware and Sound”
- Under Sound, click “Manage Audio Devices”
- Right Click a Device in your “Playback Tab” and Select Properties
- Click the “Advanced” tab.
You should now see something similar to this:
That drop down will show all of the supported sample rates and bit depth of the device.
The trick here is to set every single device in this list to the same sample rate. If even a single device has a max of 44100, then ALL devices will need to match this, and adjusted in OBS to match as well. If you fail to match the sample rate, then you may experience audio desync among your sources in your stream, among other strange issues.
The final step: Adding the OBS audio scene to other scenes
No, that title isn’t a typo. The final step involves including your “Common Audio Devices” scene as a source within other scenes. (I challenge you to say that aloud ten times fast.)
You may have noticed when you were adding the audio sources to the Common Audio devices scene, but there is actually a “Scene Source” that you can choose. This is what we are going to be adding to most of our scenes.
Once you do, you will see something like this:
Click Ok, and repeat the process for every scene you want to include.
Why I recommend to set your audio up like this
There are a number of benefits to not implementing your audio in the global audio sources. The first is that you gain the individual control over each source, which can allow you to modify them as you see fit using filters. Secondly, you are able to implement scene-specific control over your audio. For example, If you had an AFK scene, you do not need to implement the common audio devices scene source. Merely include each source you want to include separately as an existing source.
Swap to the AFK scene, and your mic is muted. No additional input is necessary. No accidental “forgot to mute” situations.
Need to hear the sources yourself? You can learn how in my Advanced Audio Properties post.
A little bonus:
Using this Scene source technique, you can do the same for common overlay elements, such as alert boxes, tip jars, or whatever really. It can save you a ton of time from having to recreate the overlay again and again. I’ll be covering this particular use case in the future, so look forward to that, and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter if you want to be notified when it launches.