Talking Point | Are large brands hurting new streamers?

Becoming a new streamer seems attractive for sure! You can do something you love and share it with the world, and build a new community of friends surrounding it and get support and support others, maybe even inspire.

It can be so very satisfying! And if you do well, you get to do something you love for a living.

Being new the first thing you are likely going to do, is jump straight on to another stream, probably a large streamer, and take a look at what they have. And you are gonna see all the toys like Shure SM7B Microphones, GOXLRs, Stream Decks, Nanoleaf panels etc. Then you go to YouTube and look up things like “Best microphone for streamers” and get some paid reviewer spewing how you need a Sure SM7B as its the best thing since sliced bread, and 2 Elgato keylights, and a stream deck and this and that and the cost to start is suddenly VERY expensive. I’m only going to cover a couple of specific products to make my point here as they are VERY popular items to think you NEED to enter the market…

On Microphones

Can a microphone costing a LOT less be just as effective for streaming (and bare in mind, stream audio is usually 128kbps or 160kbps anyway)?

Its no secret that gaming headset micrphones almost always sound inferior to a dedicated microphone for streaming — Photo by Fausto Sandoval on Unsplash

Yes, a dedicated microphone is going to sound better than your gaming headset. The small units on headsets just tend to sound crushed, its a fact of the technology most of the time. But can you really tell the difference between these two (SM7B and Blue Yeti) in terms of it being actually stream affecting in any meaningful way? Well, no, not really lets be honest here. Yes if you are professionally recording or doing VO work there is enough of a difference, or espescially in music creation, but not for a stream no.

The key here is that the reviewer in the video has the microphones positioned correctly. This article covers the point well about understanding your microphone and using it correctly. If you prefer a video check this out instead as to how and why things sound incorrect based on things like distance and lack of acoustic treatment.

The Video Nerd over on YouTube also has a great video on this and how various cheaper microphones sound.

So before you start streaming, ask yourself, are you REALLY, getting £100 more from your mic by buying the popular brand that a sponsored reviewer says you should buy (and bare in mind, they got it for free OR are sponsored by the brand, so a lot of reviewers dont even think about the price)? Could you achieve the same thing with a reasonable enough mic, and a free equaliser such as Voxengo for OBS?

On Streamdecks

Ah this one is my favourite. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not a fan of the Elgato product range and Stream Decks really get my goat.

Does it make your life easier? Yes.. YES it does. Does it however for most streamers justify its cost? No not even slightly.

Why not use a device you already have to do the same thing? — Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

You have to look no further than Touch Portal to find a product thats VERY cheap if you pay for it (free if you don’t) for way more function than a Stream Deck. Most of you I assume have a phone or a tablet which is going unused when streaming, why not use that device, and some software, to do exactly what an expensive piece of hardware can do and more?

Is it a little more complex to get started? Yes it is, but learning is also part of the process of becoming a streamer, so why not learn from the off, and have the flexibility to grow your device with your content and needs instead of cornering yourself?

So whats your point?

Ok I know this is starting to sound like “rag on popular product X” which is not my intention, they are just popular brand examples.
But I have a point with brands like these. Just bare with me.

The question is; Are large brands hurting new streamers?

Larger brands, and to an extent sponsorted streamers are pushing the “requirements” to stream up for their own needs and profit rather than providing impartial advice about what is good for YOU.

Everyone’s needs are different and a sponsored person may not be taking this into account.
Without taking this into account, its making starting out streaming seem very daunting or nearly impossible fornew streamers, almost feeling they “must be doing it wrong because I don’t have that product that everyone talks about”.

If you are that streamer thats new, or just looking to upgrade, think about WHY somoene things you should use that product rather than the cheaper or free option.
There are some great impartial reviewers out there for sure, but are the ones you find actually impartial or are they reviewing a sponsors product? Always check your sources.

Say it with me; Spending more on kit doesn’t automatically make you a better streamer.

So who bares the responsibility for shilling products and making the industry seem impossible for a new streamer?
Is it the existing streamers that built themselves from the bottom, got sponsored and now push their sponsored product line because they are paid to push the brand rather than thinking of what is actually GOOD for their community rather than their pocket?
Is it reviewers with paid review / sponsored reviews?
Or is it corporations pushing their agenda for the sake of profit, rather than creating a good value product because of the “Apple effect”?
Or, do we just say “people can make their own choices” and blame the person wanting the product for making a choice that may be beyond their financial means or requirements?

My view? It’s that corporations should be very careful about how they market products and the use of paid reviews, but also that we as consumers should be pushing back against sponsored reviews specifically. Reviews should be impartial to allow the consumer to make a good choice about what they purchase.
Responsibility also has to lie with the content creators and that they should be remaining impartial in the advice they give rather than shilling just to line their own pockets.

We live in a capitalist society ultimately yes, but we can all be a little more socially responsible in our graft.

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