How does all this work?
The diagram above shows the (admittedly, very complicated) setup I use to run my stream. It looks over-the-top but generally makes my life and running the show easier.
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View the old diagram.
Why do you need two PCs?
Truthfully, you don't need two PCs to stream and you don't need all this audio equipment either - I started with one PC and a USB microphone like most other streamers. But there are a few advantages to having two PCs:
- Streaming is very CPU-intensive. It needs a lot of processing power. Using two PCs means that your streaming PC is free to handle all the streaming while your gaming PC (and therefore your gaming) is unaffected by the streaming processes.
- If a problem occurs with the gaming PC which necessitates a restart, your stream will stay live. No streamer likes having to restart their stream, so this is a pretty ideal fix to that problem. It sounds like an unlikely scenario, but it happens more than you think.
A Couple Notes
First, if you are not using a 1440p 144Hz monitor like me and you just have standard 1080p monitors, you don't need to get a 4K capture card, splitter, or switcher. You can just get standard ones and use HDMI normally. I used two Elgato HD60 Pros in my streaming PC before I got the new 1440p monitor.
Second, if you're wanting to use voice comms on the gaming PC, you simply need to move the AUX Send cable from the streaming PC to the gaming PC mic in. On the mixer, only the AUX knob for the mic is turned up, meaning that is all the audio it's sending through that connection.
Third, I'm aware that programs exist which would allow me to use one keyboard and one mouse across both desktops and I have experience with using those programs. I prefer to have separate keyboards to ensure that anything I type, copy, or paste on the streaming PC stays on the streaming PC. This helps protect me against accidentally pasting my password somewhere on stream while live. It's just for peace of mind and personal preference.
Fourth and finally, I got a lot of questions about isolators - the audio isolators help reduce white noise and hum on the audio cables due to electrical currents. There is one on every line because the noise is very noticeable on stream if you have a line without an isolator.