When you’re at the beginning of your journey into streaming or creating video content, one of the main things you’re likely concerned about is ensuring your setup looks and sounds professional. Most, if not all, of the biggest streamers have green screens with high-quality cameras, microphones that look like they’re straight out of Taylor Swift’s recording studio, and stream decks with a plethora of prompts to enable cool effects and shortcuts.
Here’s the good news. Although, yes, the very best kit comes at a massive price premium, it’s actually possible to build a very professional setup without breaking the bank. And that’s where we come in, as our community of content-creating experts has collaborated to create this budget guide to creating content, with everything costing under £100 or thereabouts.
Best budget microphone for content creators
We got far more microphone recommendations than any other bit of kit, because as @Schadsquatch says, “if you sound like a tin can, nobody is gonna stick around.” It’s the most important thing to get right, but there are many high-quality options available for a reasonable price.
Aokeo USB Condenser Microphone
Schad’s top recommendation for a budget microphone is the Aokeo USB Condenser Microphone, which will set you back around $36 on Amazon at the time of writing, £15 off its RRP. He explains it has great quality for a cheap microphone and it also comes with a pop filter. Since it’s a USB mic, it’s easy to install and use with different computers and setups - handy if you find yourself streaming from different places occasionally. He’s also recommended some specific OBS mic filter settings if you’re streaming with it, courtesy of StreamingVideoProvider.com.
Neewer USB Microphone Kit
Around the same price - $39 on Amazon - is the Neewer USB Microphone Kit, as recommended by @avrona. They explained this is the one they started out with in their content creator journey, and it comes with a pop filter and boom arm. Eventually, they moved onto an XLR mic, but this got them through their early days.
One of the most popular budget microphones in the world and a mainstay of creators for years - seriously, even I have one and my content creator journey was both brief and almost a decade ago - is the Blue Snowball. @LetitiaTHELemon explained that she picked one up for £40 in 2018 and she’s still using it to this day. It’s available for $40 on Amazon, and often goes on sale.
A slightly more expensive microphone - but still below the $100 threshold of the original bounty - is the HyperX Quadcast, as recommended by @BrotherGrimoire. Currently going for $70 on Amazon, he explains that it’s a popular choice for plenty of streamers, especially for the many who choose not to appear on camera for whatever reason, and rely instead on the “smooth and buttery sounds of their voices”. It also has a number of options to adjust and tweak, in order to find the perfect sound balance.
At the bottom end of the budget, @funinc suggests the Sennheiser SC60, which is a very basic headset with a mic attached and comes in at $40 on Amazon. It doesn’t appear to have the best audio output quality, looking more suited to an office environment rather than video games, but Fun Inc vouches for its mic input quality, which is by far the most important aspect of a headset when streaming. This would be a great fit if you’re not streaming a game that requires excellent spatial in-game sound - better for EVE Online than Call of Duty, say.
HyperX Cloud II Wireless
Finally on the microphone front, we have @lanah_tyra with the HyperX Cloud II Wireless. This is another headset, rather than a standalone mic, and will set you back around $100 on Amazon - although you can get a wired version for almost half the price. Lanah explains it’s “comfortable and fairly light, which is important for long streaming sessions”, and “the noise cancelling is fairly good; I sit next to my partner when streaming and the mic doesn’t pick up his voice when he’s talking”. She also claims the battery life is around 30 hours, which is terrific if you’re doing any streaming marathons.
Best budget webcam for content creators
If you do on-camera work, a decent webcam is right after a decent microphone on the list of streaming essentials. A webcam that can put out a bright, clear, sharp image can go a long way to helping your audience feel connected to you, and you can be more communicative with your reactions and gestures.
Logitech HD C922 ProStream
Brother Grimoire recommends the Logitech HD C922 Pro Stream webcam, which comes in at around $55 on Amazon. This is a fairly hefty amount to spend on a webcam, but if you have everything else ticked off and the cash to splash, it’s one of the best: it can stream your beautiful face in 1080p at 30fps, has autofocus and instant lighting corrections, and it even comes with a tripod.
The cleverest webcam suggestion we got comes from Schadsquatch, who has submitted the above video from Nutty as a tutorial on how to use it. DroidCam is essentially an app for your smartphone that transforms your phone into a webcam, and can connect to your PC either wired or wirelessly. It’s a free app (though does offer in-app purchases) on both iOS and Android, so if you’re on a seriously tight budget, this is an option to consider.
Best budget lighting for content creators
For the third and final specific category, we’re looking at the best lighting options. A lot of first-time creators overlook good lighting, but it really does make a huge difference to the look, feel, and overall sense of professionalism in your stream, giving you a big edge over those who neglect it. If you’re going on camera, we’d say it’s close to essential after a good webcam, and once again, it needn’t break the bank.
Neewer Dimmable 5600K USB LED Video Light
Avrona suggests the Neewer Dimmable 5600K, which will set you back around $40 on Amazon. They reckon they are easy to set up and despite their budget price, are more than bright enough for streaming. They also come with blue, red, and yellow colour filters, and the tripod can be raised to over a metre tall.
Schadsquatch suggests using a ring light, specifically one with a remote control and a stand. He didn’t specify a brand, explaining that there are a ton of great options available - one of the best selling on Amazon UK with a 4.4 star average of almost 6,000 reviews is the GerTong 12" Ring Light, which costs around £30. This brand doesn’t seem to exist on Amazon in the US, but there are plenty of similar alternatives.
Finally, a special shoutout needs to go to Fun Inc for his budget approach to a stream deck. These popular accessories can often be quite expensive so rather than fork out for one, he decided to make one from scratch using a USB joystick to keyboard converter, a black box, and a bunch of cables. He did it all for less than £30, and “had a whale of a time doing it”. Love the ingenuity. He’s also recommended any budding content creators pick up an air horn, though we don’t quite think that’s mandatory.
We’ll definitely run this bounty again in future, so keep your eyes peeled for that and let us know if you have any other budget content creator recommendations!