What are the best OBS studio settings for Twitch? Well the answer to the question might not be what works for you. What we really need to find out is what are the best settings for your stream. In this tutorial I’ll guide you through how to make the right choices for your Twitch channel.
Watch Video Tutorial (part 1)
Watch Video Tutorial (part 2)
Finding Your Best OBS Studio Settings
With OBS Studio open let’s hit the Settings button. The first thing we’re going to look at is the general tab. Here, we can choose our default language as well as pick a light or dark theme. I personally prefer the dark theme, but choose what you like. Next, the show confirmation dialog check boxes will give you a pop up box when you decide to hit start or stop stream. If you’re concerned about accidentally going live or stopping your stream prematurely, then select these boxes. Let’s hit apply and move on.
The Stream Tab
The stream tab is where we’ll need to make a few important decisions. First, we will notice the services selection is defaulted to Twitch. However, you can see a list of other platforms we can stream to with OBS studio. These include YouTube Gaming, Hitbox, Beam.IO and more. One of the more important options in the settings is selecting the proper Twitch server. If you’d like, you can select the server that is closest to you. But, I recommend downloading a tool that we can use to get the best results.
The Twitch Bandwidth Test Tool is extremely useful. The best option is not always the closest server to you, which is why I use this program. We will use this to determine our best server, as well as what bitrate to use in a little bit. If you’re uncomfortable downloading any tools, I’ll describe another way to determine bitrate later in this post. Once the tool is downloaded, you’ll need to extract it with a program like WinRar. I actually leave mine on my desktop, but you can put it wherever you’d like.
Once we run the test tool we’ll see a couple of options. First, we need to acquire our stream key. Click the “Get Key” link and it will open your Twitch Dashboard if you’re already logged in, if not log in. Make sure you’re on the Stream Key tab and click “Show Key”. You’ll get a warning that tells you to not share this key with anyone. Read through it and click “I Understand”. After that you’ll see your key, as well as a link that allows us to reset our key if we accidentally show ours somehow. Copy your key and go back to the Test Tool and paste it into the Stream Key box.
Next, the test duration option will allow us to choose a time to test for. You can leave it on its default setting, which does about 10 seconds of testing per server. If you have the time it’s better to let it run longer to give you more accurate results. Finally, select the region you’d like to test – I’m going to only check the United States.
Now, just hit start and go grab a snack or maybe even take a nap. But, once the test is done you’ll see some numbers for each server. We want to choose the server with the highest bandwidth with a quality above 80. The RTT time represents the latency to the server, but isn’t the most important factor. The test caps the speed at 10,000 Kbps – which is fine since we don’t have to worry about speeds any higher. Make sure to leave this tool open after the tests are complete. Based on my results, I’m going to tab back to OBS and choose the Dallas, TX server.
If you’re not using the test tool, then it’s typically best to choose the server closest to you. However, the tool will give you the best results. I’m also going to paste my stream key into OBS since I still have it copied to my clipboard. But if you don’t have yours copied anymore, go back to your Twitch Dashboard to get your key and enter it here. Hit apply and let’s check out the next tab.
The Output Tab
The output settings are also very important. We’re only going to cover the basics here, but OBS does include a good amount of advanced settings for those that are interested. The first setting we want to change is the Video Bitrate. This is an extremely important option to set, and can be sometimes be confusing to some. Let me take a moment and explain what this setting does. Vide Bitrate will tell OBS Studio the rate at which it will send your video data to the Twitch servers. The Twitch servers will then send this data to your viewers. This number will also help us determine what resolution to stream at as well. This is one of the reasons that the best OBS Studio settings are different for some people.
With that said, as a new streamer you will never want to put this number higher than 3,500 Kbps. Also, as a new streamer, you should know that unless you have a high number of viewers, or you’re partnered with Twitch, your viewers will receive data at the rate you send. For this reason, I personally recommend staying at 2,500 Kbps or below. This is so that viewers on mobile devices or with poor connections will be able to watch your stream without buffering issues. If you’re a Twitch partner then your best OBS Studio settings will involve a 3,500+ Kbps bitrate, if your system and internet can handle it.
How Do I Choose My OBS Studio Bitrate for Twitch?
If you’re wondering, how do I choose my bit rate? Well, it’s easy! Go back to the Twitch Bandwidth Test tool and look at the bandwidth for the server you selected. We want to take 80% of that number, since we don’t want OBS Studio to hog all of our upload bandwidth. Remember – no matter what, don’t go over 3,500 Kbps. Let’s pretend our best server showed 3,000 Kbps as for our bandwidth. If we take 80% of 3,000 Kbps we will get 2,400 Kbps – and we’ll enter that into the bit rate box.
For audio bitrate, leave it at its default setting. Let’s hit apply to save the changes we’ve made so far.
If you didn’t use the Twitch Bandwidth test tool to estimate your upload speed, I recommend using TestMy.net to run an upload test. This site will give you a good idea of what your upload speed is. You might need to use a Mbps to Kbps calculator to convert your result to kilobits per second. After you get that number you then can use 80% of that number as your bitrate. Remember, do not exceed 3,500kbps. Hit apply to save.
Setting Up Recording in OBS Studio
With selecting our server and bit rate out of the way, we can finish up with your best OBS Studio settings. Let’s continue in the Output tab and take a look at the recording options. The recording path will determine where our recordings will be saved. I sometimes use OBS to record screen captures and more – sometimes even while I’m streaming! The next option we want to select is the recording quality. This by default is set to Same as stream. This option might not be best for you. Let’s say you’re streaming at a lower bitrate and resolution, but you want to capture high quality videos for use on YouTube or in other videos. You can change that here. If you have a lot of extra hard drive space – you can use lossless quality. I’ve found indistinguishable quality to work quite well. Next, I like to use .mp4 as my recording format. Hit apply to save any changes.
The Audio Tab
In the audio tab we’ll leave most of the settings at their defaults. The first option I want to talk about here is the Desktop Audio Device. This will basically tell OBS Studio what sounds from your computer to pick up. Generally, leaving this on the “Default” option is what most people will want. For most cases this means that OBS Studio will broadcast the sounds that play through your default audio device. This will typically play all the sounds your computer makes – including music, voice chat, and your games. More advanced tutorials will explain how you can include only certain sounds in your stream.
For Mic/Auxillary device, you’ll see that “Default” or “Disabled” is selected. If you’re like me you might have multiple microphones attached to your computer. If you’re unsure what your default mic is set to then you can directly select the microphone you’d like to use here. For myself I’m going to choose my AT-2020 microphone. If you want the best OBS Studio settings for your audio, then you need to decide what sort of devices or sounds you want playing through your stream.
You can also see that we can add multiple microphones and desktop devices if we need to.
We can also choose to enable push-to-mute, which is useful if you want to avoid loud noises like coughs on stream, or push-to-talk which is great if you have a lot of background noise and want there to be silence from your microphone unless you’re talking. If you select these, I’ll show you how to set up their hotkeys in just a bit.
The Video Tab
Let’s hit apply and move on to the video settings. The base canvas resolution represents our strating resolution. I prefer to leave mine on 1920 x 1080, or 1080p, as this is the best OBS Studio settings for me, for a few reasons. First, all of my graphics are meant for this resolution. Second, when I record videos they will be recorded at 1080p instead of a lower resolution. For most people this should work fine. Next, our Output (scaled) Resolution will represent what resolution the Twitch servers will receive from our video feed. This size will be determined by our bitrate. I’m going to check out Twitch’s recommendations for resolutions based upon our bitrate.
The bitrate I have set is 2,400 Kbps – so I’m going to downscale my resolution to 720p, or 1280×720, which I can just type in or use the drop down to select. Leave the downscale filter and FPS option at their default values. Hit apply to save your settings so far.
If you’re still having any issues with these steps, then you should check out the OBS estimator page for additional help.
Before we move on, I want to talk mention that it’s important to keep at the 16:9 aspect ratio. Most of you will be doing that with 1920×1080, 1280×720, 852×480 and so on. But if for some reason you have a different aspect ratio – I recommend setting your canvas to one of these aspect ratios, as they are recommend for Twitch. You can always play your games in windowed mode and match these aspect ratios in order to make things look great. So, to get the best OBS Studio settings, you may need to tweak your default resolution to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The Hotkeys Tab
Let’s check out the hotkeys tab. This section is pretty straightforward, if there is an option you’d like to take advantage of by hitting a key, or combination of keys – you can click inside it’s box and press the button or button combination that you’d like to assign to that function. You can hit revert to go back to an old setting or clear to remove the command completely. This is also where you can set up the push-to-talk or mute buttons we saw earlier. Set up any hotkeys you find useful to you at the moment, the most notable is the start and stop recording options. The Studio Mode and other keys we’ll discuss at another time. The scene options we will also set up once we get to adding scenes into OBS Studio. To get the best OBS Studio settings for yourself here, you will need to decide if having hotkeys will help your production, and if that’s something important to you. Hit apply to save any changes.
The Advanced Tab
Finally, let’s take a quick glance at the advanced tab. The options under video will all be left at default. The stream delay options are useful if you’d like to make your stream be delayed by a certain amount. Let’s say you’re broadcasting some information that you don’t want your viewers to see in real time. You can enable this option and set the amount of seconds for your stream to be delayed. You’ll also see an estimate on how much memory OBS Studio will need to make this work properly.
The automatically reconnect option will tell OBS Studio what to do in the case that we disconnect from the Twitch server. I leave mine at the default values.
With that, let’s hit apply and “Ok” to finalize all of our changes. We’re finally done with your best OBS Studio settings. Remember, these settings will be saved in our profile. So, if for any reason you’d like to make a completely different profile, you can do so by going to Profile > New, and then assign your new profile a name. Perhaps you want different hotkeys or different resolutions set for various games.
With everything now completely set up, we could actually hit start streaming and go live. But first, you’ll need to set up some sources and scenes – which we’ll cover in another post.
The Core OBS Studio Tutorials
- Introduction to our OBS Studio Tutorial Series
- OBS Studio Vs OBS Classic
- Installing and Setting Up Profiles In OBS Studio
- Best OBS Studio Settings (current post)
- In-depth look at OBS Studio Sources
- Using OBS Studio Filters
- Setting Up OBS Studio Scenes
- What Notification Should You Use With Twitch?
- Setting Up Your Twitch Account Before You Stream
- Streaming Live on Twitch and How to Improve Your Stream
- OBS Studio Updates – Alt Cropping, New Transitions, and Source Snapping