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Professional game streamer Bad Codes discusses his streaming setup, how he learned to create quality content, and gives advice for aspiring streamers.
Welcome to our new “Behind the Streams” blog series, where we interview professional streamers and creators about the gear they use to create their content. Today we’re chatting with Bad Codes, a professional game streamer and official Blue partner with more than 600,000 views on Mixer.
Known for streaming Grand Theft Auto V and Fortnite, Bad Codes is a LVL 117 Verified Pro, as well as an official partner of Mixer and GFUEL. Read on to learn about what gear Bad Codes uses, his favorite Blue microphone for streaming, and what he wishes he would have known when he started his streaming career.
What is your current streaming setup?
I use a custom-built PC with an Intel Core i7-8700K processor, 32GB of CORSAIR Vengeance RGB Pro RAM, an ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 TI graphics card and a CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler.
For audio, I use a Blue Baby Bottle SL microphone with a Compass microphone boom arm. That’s routed into the TC-Helicon GoXLR streaming mixer, along with my ASTRO A40 gaming headset and Logitech Z130 speakers. I control the whole system using an Elgato Stream Deck.
On the video side, I’m using a Sony a5100 mirrorless camera with an Elgato CamLink. For lighting I use an Elgato Keylight and two Phillips Hue Lights with a Phillips Hue Bridge.
What pieces of gear are critical to your setup?
The GoXLR Streaming Mixer from TC-Helicon is by far the most critical piece of gear in my setup. It lets me route all of the audio, make adjustments on the fly with the onboard mixing system, power the Blue Baby Bottle SL with phantom power and record samples in an instant.
How has your setup evolved from where you started?
When I first started streaming, I was on an Xbox One with a Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam and an ASTRO A40 gaming headset plugged into my controller. Since then, I’ve made the switch to PC. I've gone through countless setups, including a two-PC setup for streaming and gaming.
How many different things did you try before you settled on your current setup?
From streaming with an Xbox directly to Mixer, to a dedicated streaming PC, to a dual-PC setup and then back to a single-PC setup—I've tried a lot of different setups. I wish I would've known from the start that where I'm at now is what works best. I can't tell you the amount of money I've spent between buying and selling or returning gear to make things work the right way. I would say that my setup has changed at least four times over the course of 12 months—and where it is right now is the best it's ever been.
What platforms are you using to distribute your content?
At the moment, I only stream to Mixer. But soon enough, I'd like to get my YouTube channel running with short clips.
What were the biggest hurdles you ran into when you were first setting up your stream?
Audio and video quality were the biggest issues, to be honest. When I first started streaming, I plugged the Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam directly into my Xbox to broadcast live on Mixer. It wasn't until I got a dedicated streaming PC that I noticed a big difference in video quality. With the audio, it wasn't easy to make sound adjustments—especially streaming from an Xbox to a PC. The biggest issue was capturing the party chat audio, but I got around that after buying a streaming PC and the ASTRO MixAmp.
What important tools do you use to make editing and streaming easier?
The biggest tool is the Elgato Stream Deck because I’m able to run commands, switch scenes and more with my fingertips. From a platform side, I use the Mix It Up streaming bot to help with interactivity on Mixer using the MixPlay integration.
What terminology did you have to learn, if any, to get your setup dialed in?
I had to learn about video bitrate, rate control, and video encoders, as well as the differences between encoding on the GPU versus the CPU. Once I figured out what those meant, it helped with figuring out what worked best for me.
What processes do you wish you could do faster or more efficiently?
Audio tuning would be something that I could work on, specifically tuning my microphone to sound podcast ready. But I do understand that the room environment also plays a huge part.
Where resources did you use to figure out how to build your setup?
I used Google, Reddit and word of mouth. I used Google for my audio and video issues. I got the idea for my Ikea desk from Reddit. And the rest was just word of mouth, to be honest. That goes for PC parts, peripherals and streaming tools like Stream Deck and GoXLR.
What advice do you have for streamers who want to build their audience?
My advice to anyone is to build a community. Don't forget that we're content creators making content for our community. You want to build a community that will stick with you no matter what type of content you're creating.
For example, say you're starting to stream and you build a community around Fortnite. But you're afraid of losing your community when you switch to the new Call of Duty coming out.
You want to build a community that will always be there no matter what game you're playing. To do that, just be genuine and be yourself and be happy. Happiness is something your audience will pick up on, and if they feel that you're not having fun or enjoying what you're doing, they won't stay long.