You have your music equipment ready: instruments, audio-interface, cables, microphones, pre-amps, your camera - how do you get that now into a livestream?
This tutorial is made for musicians and bands who want to give a live streaming concert. Every musician has recording equipment - maybe not a complete high-end-home-studio but still enough to connect the instrument to the computer: thus an audio interface, cables and possibly microphones and pre-amps. And probably also a camera. So the typical set of equipment that most musicians have.
And that’s what this tutorial about: what more do You need to host a live-streaming concert? And how exactly does it work? Practically oriented, made by a musician for musicians or bands. In six minutes, I show my setup here: The whole signal path from the camera and the audio device, into the computer, through the streaming software into the finished stream.
I recently played a streaming concert for Dingwall Guitars. They are a Canadian high-end manufacturer for bass guitars and I am one of their brand ambassadors. So they booked me to stream live for an hour onto their Facebook page. It was really fun, straight out of the studio into the world. Since I also produce and mix music, I have quite some experience with studio equipment and music software. The stream went well and the sound was very good: the guys at Dingwall Guitars were very happy to hear their instrument like this. So they asked me to do this tutorial to help musicians and share my concept on this.
Of course, a streaming concert is a different energy than a live concert with an audience present in front of stage. But I think it's more than just a compromise and an attempt to get through the time of the corona crisis. It can also be an opportunity to present your music, independently from bookers and program makers in clubs. And that worldwide, not just in one city. When I stream, I get feedback from Europe, the USA, Russia ... Yes, you have to invest a little - but it’s actually not that much! And as you save fuel costs as you are not driving to your concert, it will soon pay for itself.
Now here is the additional equipment that I use: -
1. HDMI cable to connect the camera to the HDMI-USB-converter
If your camera has a mini- or micro-HDMI out, You might need an adapter cable to a standard HDMI-size.
2. an HDMI-USB-converter
I use the Elgato Cam Link 4K. There are also other ones and also multi switches to connect several cameras. But a lot of them are sold out – of course, more and more people do live streams these days…
3. a streaming software
OBS is one of the commonly used free streaming software with all the functions You need.
4. Your stream key
This is an individual code, something like an URL. It is the adress, where your stream will lead to. Every social network has individual stream keys: if You want to stream to Facebook, You use your Facebook-stream key, if you want to stream to Instagram or Twitch, You use Your stream keys from them… just log into your account and look up your stream key in the preferences. You can also google „stream key“ and the social network you want to stream to.
5. an audio routing software
Let’s say you want to use:
1. an instrument
2. a microphone
3. and 4. stereo signal of playbacks or live electronics, like Ableton Live
To route multitrack audio signals into the streaming software one has to take a closer look here (similar to the audio-input-situation in Skype, where only channel 1 of any audio interface is being detected). I have a 2-track-audio interface of Metric Halo. It has top-notch audio quality – but I want to also route additional channels for my electronics. If I just choose my audio interface as the input source in OBS, OBS does not recognize channel 3 or 4. So You have to use an additional audio routing software. There are different ones: Ladio Cast, Jack Pilot, Voicemeter Banana, or in my case: Loopback Audio. In there, you can wire different audio sources into on stereo sum. And that Loopback sum is the device I will choose as my audio input in the streaming software.