Best OBS Studio Settings for Broadcasting Live Streams [Updated for 2022]
As live video streaming becomes more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, many businesses are experimenting with broadcasting. For those new to live streaming, this involves learning to deal with the many technicalities involved in streaming live video. Some of them are calibrating live streaming settings according to optimal video bitrates and managing stream quality, sound quality, and CPU usage when you record videos.
OBS, or open broadcaster software, is one such tool that makes the technical side of streaming simpler to manage. Why do broadcasters need to learn OBS streaming settings? Because knowing the best OBS stream settings is how you can elevate your live streams to professional-grade broadcasts. Learning to play around with OBS settings for streaming also gives you greater control over the elements that make up your streaming content, such as video resolution, rather than relying on the default settings alone.
It’s pretty easy to create high-quality live streams today, but successful live broadcasts require a little know-how and technical experience or understanding. Learning quality settings and how they impact your video content enables you to create better live streams within the internet latency and set-up capabilities you have available.
One critical technical topic related to broadcasting is live stream encoding software and the encoding process. Encoding is essential to professional live streaming for several reasons.
This guide walks you through the best OBS studio settings for streaming and professional broadcasting. We’ve put together our top tips for optimizing OBS settings for live streaming. First, we’ll review what OBS Studio is and what it does.
Once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll outline the best stream settings for OBS Studio broadcasts.
We updated this tutorial in December 2022 to reflect the best OBS Studio settings for the latest version.
What is OBS Studio?
OBS Studio is a community-developed, open-source live streaming encoding software application.
OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Software, and it’s an invaluable resource for anyone looking to maintain exceptional video recording quality in the content they create. For broadcasters and content creators, regardless of their experience level in video-making, OBS studio is easy to use for multi-platform screen casting and streaming. The only investment required is the time to learn optimal OBS settings for streaming and video recording.
OBS Studio is a free, open-source RTMP-enabled encoder software perfect for new and experienced broadcasters. This open-source live streaming software allows users to capture and stream live video from any Mac, Windows, or Linux computer.
RTMP stands for “Real-Time Messaging Protocol,” and it is part of the technology that makes live streaming possible. RTMP’s primary role is to deliver content from an encoder to an online video host. This RTMP function is referred to as “RTMP ingest.” For OBS, the RTMP protocol bridges the gap between its encoding and streaming functions.
As we mentioned, professional live streaming requires either a software or hardware encoder. This equipment works to encode a live video feed into the correct format for streaming through your online video platform (OVP).
OBS Studio offers many great features for new broadcasters just getting the hang of live streaming. The software has a set of OBS-specific system requirements to ensure the most optimal live broadcasting experience. These settings include mixing multiple sources with custom transitions, using audio/video filters and correction tools, and more.
The latest version of OBS is OBS Studio 27.1.3 was released on October 4th, 2021. It is free to download for macOS 10.13 or newer, Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, and Ubuntu 18.04 operating systems. For the Linux version, FFmpeg is required.
OBS Studio is especially easy to use for Mslive users since we’ve created a custom OBS Studio portal that is free for our users. This article will help you configure the best OBS settings for your streaming content.
How to Configure Your OBS Studio Settings
There is a precise way to configure the OBS Studio settings for live streaming on an HTML5 live channel. Here’s a quick tutorial on optimizing OBS settings for streaming:
First, open the OBS Studio settings by clicking the “Settings” button in the bottom-right area of the application window.
The first tab, labeled “General”, doesn’t have anything too critical to review. However, you can choose your language and a light or dark theme here.
Although the language and theme may seem insignificant, it is important to have your bases covered to avoid any issues in your stream. Check both boxes to avoid accidentally starting or stopping your stream before you’re ready.
Next up is the “Streaming” tab, where the magic happens. To access the streaming tab, click on the next tab labeled “Stream” in the OBS Studio settings window. The streaming tab is where you can select your streaming service.
Best OBS Studio Settings for Streaming Audio and Video
To stream with the best quality possible, it is essential to choose the best settings for your video encoder. Changing quality settings to optimize streaming is easy with OBS Studio; just use the Video tab and Audio tab to configure these settings.
Your encoder is responsible for the audio quality recorded from your external microphone and audio track. It also ensures the video quality of your live streams is as high as possible, depending on the CPU usage preset.
Here are a few of the best OBS settings for streaming audio and video content.
1. OVP-Specific Setting Requirements
Different online video platforms have different encoder setting requirements. That’s because each video or multi stream platform uses different technology to bring streams to life. Another reason is differences in requirements such as stream quality, video resolution, and the built-in CPU usage preset in the broadcaster’s system. That’s why selecting your OVP according to your needs and desired output as a broadcaster is important.
Mslive, for example, has a few required OBS settings that apply to this and any other encoding software you may use.
These required live encoder settings include:
VIDEO CODEC H.264 (x264 may work)
FRAME RATE 25 or 30
KEYFRAME INTERVAL 3 secs (or 3x frame rate)
ENCODING BITRATE Constant Bitrate (CBR)
AUDIO CODEC AAC
AUDIO BITRATE 128 kbps
AUDIO CHANNELS 2 (Stereo)
AUDIO SAMPLE RATE 48 kHz (48,000 Hz)
2. OBS Output Settings
To change your OBS Studio settings, you must open the “Output Settings“ in your OBS Studio account.
In the default settings, the selected output settings tab is selected as “Simple”. To optimize your OBS settings for streaming and to ensure your live stream is stable and fully functional we recommend you follow the configuration settings shared in the “Encoder Setup” window, pictured below:
Customizing these settings through the video tab and audio tab will ensure higher video quality and audio quality for your stream. In this output mode, you only need to focus on the video bitrate and the audio bitrate to optimize output resolution.
By default, the OBS audio bitrate and video bitrate settings will be in low definition. Here, you can control your stream quality by selecting the optimal video bitrate to broadcast high-quality video.
Our suggested video OBS bitrate settings for different resolutions include:
ULD LD SD HD FHD
Name Ultra-Low Definition Low Definition Standard Definition High Definition Full High Definition
Video Bitrate (kbps) 350 350 – 800 800 – 1200 1200 – 1900 1900 – 4500
Resolution Width (px) 426 640 854 1280 1920
Resolution Height (px) 240 360 480 720 1080
H.264 Profile Main Main High High High
Audio Bitrate (kbps) 64 64 128 256 256
Let’s take a look at the audio settings now. You can easily customize these settings from the audio tab. You can add any audio device, such as desktop audio or external microphone. If you are only streaming audio, you can get away with OBS bitrate settings as low as 64 kbps. However, you should up your audio bitrate settings to 192-320 kbps for better audio quality.
We recommend downloading OBS Lua, which is an OBS-specific bitrate calculator. That’ll help you find the best OBS settings for your streaming needs.
3. Bitrate and Internet Speed
As you manipulate your bitrate settings, it is essential to consider your internet connection.
Your internet speed must be at least double your OBS bitrate if you want to produce a high-quality stream. Otherwise, you’ll run into buffering issues. Video quality isn’t the only element that defines the overall experience your content delivers to your viewers. Streaming with no buffering should be equally important as high video and audio quality.
For example, if your internet upload speed is 2000 Mbps, then your OBS setting for streaming, audio, and video bitrates should not exceed 1000 Mbps.
You can search “internet speed test” on Google and click “RUN SPEED TEST” to test how fast your internet is.
Additionally, you can test your internet connection speed by going to the website testmy.net.
4. OBS Recording Settings
Recording streaming video and audio is a handy feature that lets broadcasters re-use live-streamed content with OBS Studio. Accessing this tool is very easy. Users must simply click “Start Recording” in the screen’s control panel in the lower right-hand corner.
To access your stream recordings, click “File” on the top left-hand side of the screen and choose “Show Recordings”. If you’re using Windows, it’ll send the stream recording directly to your computer’s “Video” folder.
OBS Studio vs. Streamlabs OBS
While we’re on the streaming software and the best OBS settings, let’s quickly discuss Streamlabs OBS, which is software similar to OBS Studio.
Streamlabs OBS is a free and open-source streaming software designed for stream layout editing, replay buffer, selective recording, and remote streaming control.
Users can upload to Streamlabs Prime to access premium features. This upgrade costs $19/month or $149/year.
Streamlabs OBS is a better option for beginners or broadcasters with little technical know-how since it has a graphical user interface (GUI). On the other hand, OBS Studio has a command-line interface (CLI) that requires users to use coded commands to execute functions.
Although Streamlabs is easier to use and provides the option to upgrade for access to premium features, many broadcasters prefer OBS Studio since it is more extensible.
Hopefully, this blog will help you configure the best OBS settings for ideal streaming quality. Choosing the right encoder settings can be confusing at first. OBS Studio is free software that will allow you to test the features without investing any money.
We believe you’ll have a smooth experience if you follow these recommendations on the best OBS studio settings to get started. After a little experimenting, you’ll have no problem navigating the platform.
With these recommended video settings as your starting point, getting comfortable doing live streams should be straightforward and enjoyable. Do keep in mind that these are our recommended best stream settings. As you get comfortable with the platform, it will get easier to tweak settings until you truly learn the best settings for your needs and setup.
For additional details on streaming settings with OBS Studio, you can always check out our tutorials on how to stream using Mslive OBS for Mac or Mslive OBS for Windows.
Not yet using our streaming solutions, and ready to give our platform a try? Our video hosting and live streaming platform are both feature-rich and affordable.
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