What kind of mic/mixer should I get to do livestreaming?

With the collapse of live performance in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve received a lot of questions about gear to get for livestreaming.

If you currently don’t own anything at all in terms of microphones or mixers etc, then this is what I recommend. This gear is great for learning about sound production and if you want to get good at telematic performance or livestreaming it will be useful to learn a little bit about sound production.

I’ve included links that might go bad who knows, they aren’t affiliate links (but if you appreciate this resource you’re more than welcome to make a donation to Community of Sound, we’re a 501c3 even). But at least it will be a starting place for pricing things out.

Please feel free to ask me questions in this topic. If you want me to recommend something for you be sure to tell me about your specific instrument, room, and comfort using audio production gear.

Here we go:

Behringer Xenyx Q802USB

Are there better mixers in the world? Yes. Are there better mixers for your livestream for less money? No. I recommend this mixer becase it’s:
  • Small/portable
  • Cheap
  • It sounds just fine.
  • Includes 2 inputs that can take nice microphones, so you can do stereo
  • Includes a simple compressor, so you can make your livestream sound better (or worse if you turn it up too much)

It really varies a ton because each instrument/person has different needs. Here are a couple options:

A) Simple, least expensive, pedestrian but “good enough for streaming”
SM57, mic stand, XLR cable

The SM57 is the workhorse of many recording studios. Those who know me will be amused because I personally don’t keep any SM57s, but that is only because everybody has a bunch of SM57s. They’re great, rugged, predictable microphones. Are they the best for your instrument? Probably not. Will they sound good out of the box? Yep. Will they sound even better if you learn to use the eq knobs on the mixer? Yep.

B) A nicer microphone for acoustic instruments.
AKG P170: Nicest mic ever? Nope. Nicer than an SM57 on acoustic instruments? Yep.

XLR Cable to connect a microphone to the mixer, since we don’t have a bundle.

Stand, since we don’t have a bundle.

Stereo, if you like the sound of your room and/or you have a large instrument like marimba or piano or if you just want to give your audience the sound of stereo.— buy 2 XLR cables above, 2 microphones above, and this stereo bar

C) Professional
DPA 4099 microphone

Link is from Thomann because they are always the cheapest source for this microphone. The DPA is pretty much the standard for individual instrument microphones. This link is is for the “universal” mic which works well for clarinet/oboe/flute. But you can find one for your specific instrument. The main differences are: is it a loud instrument (drum, trumpet) and is it a low instrument (cello, bass). They have mounts for nearly everything so make sure you look for the right one.

XLR Cable to connect a microphone to the mixer
DPA mics have a tiny little cable ending in an XLR/microphone jack. This is great because you don’t have a heavy mic cable hanging off your instrument. But you’ll want to connect a longer XLR/microphone cable to connect to the mixer so you can set up wherever you like in your room.

If you have an ensemble, a quartet of DPA microphones with instrument mounts for viola, violin, cello, bass, trumpet, and universal (flute or clarinet) and a real case to hold them all is here:

I hope this is helpful, again feel free to ask questions below.