How to Livestream Your Collab Sessions

We break down the ins and outs of what you need to go live for the first time.

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The thing about music collaboration is that, save for a few snapshots on Instagram, it’s often reduced to the abbreviation “feat.” in the title once a track is dropped. Collaborating evokes images of producers locked away in a private in-the-box hardware-heavy studio toiling over warbled blips.

But if there’s one thing livestreams from the past year have taught us, it’s that fans relish interactivity. When a DJ deck opens up to emotes and chat messages, the private and shrine-like space becomes a public one. Suddenly those disco balls and vinyl stacks in the backdrop – or even a track list – belong to anyone.

With a bit of livestreaming know-how and a platform that lets you collaborate remotely, production sessions can have that collective experience too. Even if your collaborators are 10 time zones away and use completely different softwares, you can work on the same project using Soundation – and opening up your WIP to the world in the process.

What You’ll Need

Don’t let those over-the-stop streaming rigs on r/Twitch scare you. You don’t need a full slate of gear to get started. Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need:

  • Music that you can work on with your collaborators
  • An account on Soundation
  • An account on Twitch or YouTube
  • OBS Studio streaming software
  • A microphone and a webcam (Optional)

Now, let us walk you through a simple setup that will get you off the ground, but also leaves room for future upgrades if you want to step up the game further down the line.

1. Form an Act

Your first task will be to agree what you’re going to work on with your collaborators. Since Soundation can store audio and MIDI stems from any DAW in one readily accessible cloud-based studio, for the first time there’s no need to worry about DAW compatibility.

If you have a growing heap of unfinished tracks sitting on your hard drive and want to scratch a couple of those off your to-do list, you might want to import stems to a collaboration project on Soundation beforehand. Think of it as a hub that connects you with all your collaborators.

In the mood to start from scratch, or already using Soundation as your main DAW? Great. Then just open up any collaboration project or create an empty one on Soundation and everything is good to go.

2. Set the Scene

Most of the livestreams you see today are broadcasted through OBS Studio. And it’s for good reasons. OBS Studio is one of the most versatile streaming softwares out there on the market. Think of it as a switchboard where you plug in all the mics and cameras. This is where you configure what your audience will see and hear.

Let’s put your shared workspace on Soundation at the center stage.

On OBS Studio, press the “+” sign in the Sources box, select Window Capture, then pick the window you have open with Soundation. Drag the red borders to crop it to fit nicely on the screen.

This way, only a real-time session with your collaborators will be visible to your audience.

2. Get the Sound

Unlike DJ sets, setting up a livestream for collaboration sessions is a much more straightforward process. Given that Soundation is where all the actions take place, there’s little to none audio configuration needed. Of course, unless you’re using a MacBook. But we’ll get to that.

The purpose of this step is to allow OBS Studio to hear the sound from your collab sessions on Soundation. For a Windows user, head to audio settings on OBS Studio and pick your audio device for Desktop Audio.

You’ll know if audio is captured if the level meter on the global mixer is moving when you play back any sound on your computer.

For a Mac user, you’ll need to get software like Loopback, Soundflower, or iShowU Audio Capture first in order to route the audio source to an output that OBS Studio can use. Here’s a simple setup on Loopback:

After that, head to OBS Studio’s audio settings and change Mic/Auxiliary Audio 2 to Loopback Audio. And that’s it.

OBS Studio will now be able to pick up audio from your sessions on Soundation and broadcast it to the world.

3. Be in the Frame

Turn on the cam! After all, today’s music scene is all about putting a story to the song, a name to the alias and a face to the name. Plus, using a webcam is a great way to make your stream more personable and engaging.

If you’re not using your computer’s built-in camera, the Logitech StreamCam is a good option. It has plenty of great features to help you achieve a clean and professional look.

As usual, head to OBS Studio.

Click on the “+” sign to add another source. Select Video Capture Device, then pick your webcam from the device dropdown list. This is also where you can configure the video and tweak it to get the best image possible.

Pay attention to the audio mixer. If your webcam has a built-in microphone and you don’t plan to use it, make sure to mute it by clicking on the speaker symbol.

4. Connect the Mic

A computer’s built-in microphone serves its purpose. However, if you’re after that crisp and clear streamer voice, you’ll need a proper external microphone.

On OBS Studio, click on the “+”sign to add a new source. Select Audio Input Capture, name it, then pick your microphone from the drop-down list.

Whether you’re using a USB microphone or a microphone connected to an external soundcard, the name of your device should show up on the list.

Note that OBS only takes stereo input pairs by default if you’re using an external soundcard. To fix this, click on the gear icon and select Advanced Audio Properties.

Check the mono box next to the microphone. Your microphone signal is now monofied. Good job!

For a Mac user, there’s no need to add a new source for Audio Input Capture since a microphone is automatically created when you add a source for your Desktop Audio. You can change the device by heading to Settings, then choose Audio and pick your device from the drop-down menu for Mic/Auxiliary Audio.

5. Make a Call

If having ten cursors flying around in real-time within the same project is not exciting enough, you can have a video call with your collaborators during a livestream as well.

As some of the most viewed production sessions on Twitch have shown: People love to hear a producer’s thought process behind a track. Imagine that times ten thanks to a collab session.

For video call apps, Discord and Zoom are among the best options out there. Keep in mind that you’ll need to add a new Window Capture source on OBS Studio and might need to adjust the audio settings to make sure the correct source is used.

6. Go Live

Now it’s showtime.

On YouTube, you can find your stream key on the Studio Dashboard. Just head to YouTube Studio first, then click on the Go Live icon and you’ll see a stream key on the page once you enable livestreaming.

On Twitch, you can find your stream key on the Creator Dashboard. Once you log into your account, just head to Settings, then Stream. You’ll see your stream key at the top of the page. Copy the code.

Head back to OBS Studio’s settings (for the last time, promise) and select Stream. Choose a service you’re planning to use and paste the stream key. Hit Apply.

Once you’re ready to go, press Start Streaming. And you’re live.

There are endless possible setups when it comes to live streaming. But endless options can so easily lead to endless futzing. Here we give you the quickest and easiest setup possible so you can go live ASAP.

Don’t forget to hit us up on social media if you’re streaming with Soundation. Looking forward to catching you on stream!

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