This article sponsored by Audeara
Aaron “Rowey” Rowe has worked on some of the biggest esports and gaming productions in Australia and has widely become known as the guy to go to for audio and tech tricks to get your stream up to top-notch quality.
We spoke with Rowey to discuss audio settings, his passion for live events and to help us understand a little more the importance of the correct audio settings during World Health Week.
How did you become a master of audio, where did that passion kick off?
Well, that is a question with many answers, the short answer is: I’ve always had quite a bad eyesight, so my ears have always been a more important asset to me.
I was 19 years old, working in a warehouse, and I thought “yeah stuff this,” applied for Uni, got in and learned less there than I would have if I just watched YoutTube videos. While I did learn a lot of networking skills at Uni, I feel like it was a waste of time/money and I will always advise against going to Uni for audio…
Get a business degree, and learn audio on the side…
Where would you rate audio in the importance of having your setup correct?
In terms of streaming, video AND audio are of equal importance. So many people that miss this in many aspects of making videos/streaming.
You have worked with some of the most prominent streamers and events in Australia, what is the most common mistake you see people make when setting up their audio?
Not using a compressor is a huge pet peeve for me, that and having their microphone too close to their keyboard. The last thing I want to hear is someone screaming into their mic or keyboard clacks—it ruins the experience for me.
As a streamer, what is the first thing we should be checking is correct before going live?
Everything, really. While you should be recording a short video testing ALL aspects of your stream before you hit that “broadcast” button, things like matching your stream bitrate to your internet upload speed, making sure none of your audio is peaking and of course mixing your audio (you don’t want your game to be louder than you).
What is the number one setting, filter, or piece of equipment that you think is vital to good audio set up?
There’s actually 3 I recommend to everyone, for any microphone, in any scenario.
In order: noise suppressor, noise gate, compressor.
The first one gets rid of unwanted hum/background noises. The second cuts the microphone below a particular volume, so you’re less likely to hear keyboard or other little sounds in your room (like your computer fan). The third and arguably the most important, squash your volume (make the loud noises quieter, and the soft sounds louder) rounded it out nicely, making sure you can yell without breaking your viewers’ ears/headphones/speakers.
This year, World Hearing Week focused on encouraging people to take a hearing test—have you ever had a hearing test yourself?
Many, after years of audio training, and ear care, I still have an excellent hearing level for my age. I go as far as to test my own hearing frequently.
I guess you wouldn’t be able to spot the issues too well if you couldn’t hear them! If you could improve one thing about gaming headphones, what would it be?
I don’t use gaming headphones for day to day use, while I have been very impressed with some sets, I have always been more of a fan of “Open Back” studio/monitoring headphones. These aren’t for the average punter though.
What software do you recommend for people starting out in the world of streaming?
While there are many iterations of streaming software, I would stick with the stock standard “OBS studio” and OBS.live if you want the alert integration. OBS.live is a “Stream Elements” plugin, not a fork of the software, so you always get the latest updates paired with the latest OBS.
Any final tips or tricks?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take critiques. If someone is pointing out something wrong with your stream, they’re not always being facetious, bring it on board and look to fix it! Another key to a good setup is getting yourself a mic desk stand. That’s the most important thing after a computer/mic. Move the mic as close to your mouth as you can. You’re welcome.
There are a lot of useful tips in there, where can we find you if we want to find out more?
I live on the internet. I run open floor stream support sessions on Twitch where I answer tech questions while covering a particular topic. I also answer questions I receive on Twitter. If you want some more personalized assistance, I also run stream support sessions to help people work with the gear they have, as well as tech support live streams on Twitch.