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Stream Settings: Encoders

This article on "Encoders" will go over a more detailed list of recommended settings based on the encoder you select. This guide was put together with OBS in mind, but these settings can easily be adapted to other streaming software. As such, keep in mind that some of the settings might have different names (but similar, conceptually).

Before you go changing a bunch of settings, we would suggest trying Simple mode in OBS. It will automatically apply some of the settings that we feel are good for all stream types. In this mode, you will simply set your Video Bitrate, your Encoder (NVENC recommended if you have an NVIDIA GPU), and leave the Audio Bitrate at 160 unless you need to lower it. If you select NVENC set the Encoder Preset to Quality.

If you find that Simple mode is not working the way you want, or if you have an RTX series GPU and want to take advantage of the new version of the NVENC encoder , here are the settings: 

  • First, be sure to change “Output Mode” from Simple to Advanced.
  • Uncheck “Enforce streaming service encoder settings”. This will allow more control over the individual encoder settings. If things aren’t working quite right, you can always re-check this box to re-enable our default settings.
  • Encoder
    • NVENC is recommended as it looks great and doesn’t use any CPU resources. It’s only available if you have an NVIDIA graphics card.
      • If you have an RTX card, use NVENC (new) for even higher quality.
    • x264 is good, it will use your CPU but can have slightly lower latency compared to NVENC.
    • QuickSync is like hardware accelerated encoding, such as NVENC, but is specific to Intel chips, no GPU needed. It can be used if you are having issues with x264 but don’t have an NVIDIA GPU.
  • Recommended Bitrates:
    • See more information in the recommended bitrates article here
    • We recommend you first run a speed test to see your available upload and don’t set your bitrate higher than 75% of your upload speed (see more about upload speed testing on the first page of this document).
    • 1080p60 (or 50): 4500 to 9000 (7000 if using FTL)
    • 1080p30 (or 25): 3000 to 6000
    • 900p60 (or 50): 3500 to 7000
    • 900p30 (or 25): 2250 to 5000
    • 720p60 (or 50): 2250 to 6000
    • 720p30 (or 25): 1500 to 4000
  • NVENC (new) / NVENC specific options:
    • Rate Control: CBR
    • Bitrate: see the recommended bitrates section of this document
    • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds recommended, 1 second is ok
    • Preset: Quality
      • NOTE: You can try Max Quality, but we have seen issues with frame drops with some GPUS. The difference between Max Quality and Quality is that Max Quality uses 2 encoding passes, and Quality uses 1 encoding pass.
    • Profile: Main (High is ok)
    • Look-ahead: unchecked
    • Psycho Visual Tuning: checked
    • GPU: 0
    • Max B-frames: 0 for FTL, 2 for RTMP
  • x264 specific options:
    • Rate Control: CBR
    • Bitrate: see the recommended bitrates section of this document
    • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds recommended, 1 second is ok
    • CPU Usage Preset: should be veryfast, faster, fast, or medium depending on CPU usage. Medium will look better but use more CPU. Veryfast uses the lowest percentage of your CPU. You’ll have to play with this one to find what works for your pc. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying different presets, set it to veryfast.
    • Profile: main (high is ok)
    • Tune: zerolatency (lower quality, lower latency) or none (higher quality, higher latency).
    • x264 options for FTL (required): bframes=0 scenecut=0
      • FOR XSPLIT: this is set as &ex:bframes:0&ex:scenecut:0 under Extra Encoder Parameters
    • x264 options for RTMP: bframes=2 scenecut=0
      • FOR XSPLIT: this is set as &ex:bframes:2&ex:scenecut:0 under Extra Encoder Parameters
    • While scenecut=0 is not required, we recommend setting it for both FTL and RTMP because it maintains a consistent keyframe interval instead of a variable one.
  • QuickSync specific options:
    • Target Usage: balanced
    • Profile: main (high is ok)
    • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds recommended, 1 second is ok
    • Async Depth: leave at default
    • Rate Control: CBR
    • Bitrate: see the recommended bitrates section of this document
    • B frames: 0 for FTL, 2 for RTMP
    • Content Adaptive Quantization: checked

For more on stream settings, please see the following articles:

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