Great Starter Hardware

Looking to get started and unsure of what to buy to get the best quality per dollar spent?

Webcams

Microphones

Softwares


Webcams

The Best of the Best

Logitech’s C92X series of webcams are undoubtedly the best webcam on the market without breaking the bank. You’re looking at about CAD $115 for the Logitech C920. You can probably grab one on sale around $100. They output 1080P video compressed with H.264 with some low-light setting available too.

The C92X series webcams come with Built-in Microphones as well; however, they pick up just about every sound in the room.

4K Option

If you want to take it the next step and output your webcam at 4K quality, the BRIO 4K HD is your beast running about twice the price of the C920. (CAD$208) I really wouldn’t consider this a starter webcam, but I figured I’d add it to the list for those who like to go big or go home.

Outputs 4K video HDR and next-generation RightLight3 low-light settings.

Under $100

As a hobby, $100 bucks for a webcam can seem a little steep, especially if you are going to buy an external microphone.

The Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 leaves a lot to be wanted, but it’s a great starting point. Outputs 720P quality with TrueColor technology, similar to Logitech’s RightLight technology.

Microphones

With microphones, there are many many setups possible. The below options will be all be USB based or 3.5mm

The Best of the Best

Honestly, this was a hard pick, but considering this is for starters, I think the best of the best is probably the Neewer NW-800. For a couple of reasons too.

Price – CAD$40 to get a Microphone, Stand, Foam Cap, Pop-filter, Shock Mount and XLR-to-3.5mm cable is absolutely mind-blowing. When I started with multimedia, an option like this would’ve allowed saved me so much money.

Future Compatibility – if you ever decide to go XLR in the future for professional-grade equipment and quality, this microphone will still be available to you as a spare.

It isn’t without its cons: it isn’t Mac compatible and won’t work with a phone. It might also not work with some Laptops due to its need for 5V from 3.5mm.

Other worthy mentions:

Floureon BM-800 Condenser microphone is about as competitively priced as you can get. Available with a stand and pop-filter as well. Just be sure not to get it confused with the XLR variant as you’ll need a couple more purchases for that to be useful.

CAD Audio U37 is a USB Condenser Microphone, for CAD$77 it’s definitely a noteworthy microphone. Providing that condenser quality at a competitive price. Also worth noting it comes with its own stand.

The Blue Snowflake is CAD$76 regular, but I have seen on sale for CAD$46 before. The bonus is that it is an extremely portable microphone and could be used for other projects after upgrading your hardware.

Softwares

The Best of the Best

Open Broadcaster Software, Free and Open Source option for both recording and live streaming. It supports out of box services like YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Facebook Live, Restream and Twitter.

While it is my top pick for software, partially due to the price and my love for open source projects, it can be a bit tricky to master. A lot of small settings to tweak and if you aren’t a master of all things video. I’ll be covering how to tweak it and master its features in another post.

On top of offering a tone of features available you find in paid software, as it is an open-source project, there are tones of community-created plugins.

Other worthy mentions:

NVIDIA Shadow Play is a straightforward option if you have NVIDIA hardware. You’re likely aware of NVIDIA Geforce Experience and probably use it to get your latest drivers for your GPU. This software also has a feature called Shadow Play which allows you to record and stream video. It doesn’t offer as many features as OBS, but it is a lot simpler to use.

For those of you who went the AMD Route, you have AMD Radeon ReLive, the AMD counterpart to NVIDIA Shadow play. Radeon ReLive exists within the settings and features of Radeon Settings for your Graphic Card. It supports both recording and streaming video. It doesn’t offer as many features as OBS, but it is a lot simpler to use.


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