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XSplit vs OBS: Why I am Using OBS for Live Streams

Last Updated on September 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

Recently I was faced with a couple of dilemmas when trying to stream to Twitch while using XSplit broadcaster. Because I couldn’t find a solution, I had to change to using OBS for live streams instead. And I can say that the experience is worth the effort.

This is a bit disheartening as I pay $5 per month for XSplit Broadcaster. However, I found that making YouTube videos with XSplit is much easier for me. So, it’s worth keeping the account…for now.
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Why Using OBS is Better

For live streams, I found using OBS to be superior for a few different reasons. Of course this will depend on personal preference, but there are a couple of good points you should keep in mind.

Solving the Low FPS Problem

About a month or so ago, I was having a problem with the live stream having reduced frames per second in XSplit although the game itself played beautifully. Especially in areas with various movement or shadows in-game.

I spent days trying to figure out why the stream had low FPS, hitting as low as 4 in some areas, but the game played at more than 60. Finally, I decided to drop the visual quality of the game just so it would stream better in Twitch.

Removing shadows from Diablo III increased FPS by 10 times.

Then, I decided to try OBS for a completely different reason. I found that using OBS solved the issue of losing FPS in games like Diablo III and H1Z1 at maximum settings. Now, I can increase all my visual effects without worrying about a low FPS in stream.

The only thing I can figure is that XSplit just doesn’t process the data from games as well as OBS. Instead of hitting 5 FPS while playing in certain areas of H1Z1, the Twitch stream now runs smooth as silk.

Built-In Microphone Noise Reduction

The initial reason behind using OBS in the first place was to address the background noise problem I have in my house. My desk sits relatively close to my friend and her voice carries.

At first, I was going to use Voicemeeter to reduce the background sounds. Unfortunately, I could seem to get the app to remove everything that is going on in my office.

Using OBS gives you a built-in method for noise reduction and echoing effects. Just by making a few adjustments in OBS, I was able to eliminate the sounds in the background and deliver a studio-quality experience.

The settings are a bit wonky in OBS, and the tutorial on the OBS website is grossly out of date. I found how to set up OBS noise gate from a YouTube video.

Using Less Resources

While using OBS, I found the system uses fewer resources than with XSplit. Perhaps this is why the games can play without lose FPS during the stream. In any case, there seems to be less lag and computer functionality issues especially on systems without a lot of memory driving them.

Although I use the NVenc encoder regardless which streaming software I use, I still see a lower usage on the CPU during live streams while using OBS as opposed to XSplit. Yes, XSplit will use low CPU when you switch to NVenc, but it still seems to hit higher CPU rates when streaming.

Custom CSS Ability

One element that I like, but haven’t really played with much, is the ability to add custom CSS to certain online sources in OBS. I don’t know exactly how far you can take this aspect, but it seems to be pretty flexible – if you have CSS knowledge.

For example, I can make edits to the Streamlabs widgets like the tip jar in CSS if I chose to do so.

I’ll have to experiment with this feature and see just how far it can go without screwing up the live stream too much.

The Downside to Using OBS

I can say that I find using OBS to be greatly beneficial – at least until the developers of XSplit catch up. There are a few things I miss from Broadcaster that I wish I still had access to in OBS, though.

Manual Configuration for Many Things

Most elements in OBS require manual configurations. One of the biggest issues I have is adding a game source and then adding it’s audio as a source as well. XSplit does both of these automatically under one source.

These configurations are not overly difficult, especially since there is plenty of online support for OBS. It’s relatively easy to find a tutorial covering just about anything you want to do in the software.

Unlike XSplit, OBS doesn’t have plugins you can install directly from the developers. For instance, adding an Extra Life widget to your live stream is far more involved than simply installing the Extra Life plugin.

Adding elements like these are not impossible…just far more involved than they are in XSplit.

I also don’t like the idea of manually entering in the pixel width and height of every source I add. If you put in the wrong size, then you have to go in and change it. XSplit will size its elements according to the source you’re adding.

Like I said, though, It’s not overly difficult to manage OBS. It just seems XSplit is more user-friendly and automated especially for those who are new to streaming or producing videos.

Will I Continue Using OBS?

From the standpoint of streaming live videos, OBS is superior for my purposes. Between the video rendering and the built-in microphone control, it’s worth the effort to install it and give it a shot.

For instance, I can vape near my microphone without the sound being broadcast to all my viewers…a sound that can become really annoying at times. This is aside from silencing the fans in the background, noisy children in the next room and my friend who speaks as though she has a loudspeaker in her throat.

UPDATE: 04/28/2018

In a recent update, XSplit Broadcaster no longer has the issues of losing frames per second in high-graphic areas. I tested this by taking my character in Diablo III to a spot that would sink the stream from 60fps to 5fps, even though the game would play at maximum capacity.

The result is being able to play in that area flawlessly.

Although the Twitch is now back to running like it should through XSplit Broadcaster, I still find myself more partial using OBS simply because of the microphone filters. It’s nice to set the noise reduction and noise gate to create a great-sounding video.

Use What Works Best for You

Because I like both XSplit and OBS almost equally, I can’t really tell you which one is better. Both have their merits, but using OBS is better for my Twitch channel in terms of delivering a superior viewing experiences for those watching.

Find the system that works best for you and explore its potential.

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop, to name a few.