Updated · Feb 08, 2023
If you’re thinking of recording professional-quality videos, OBS is a great place to start. However, setting it up can be a pain.
Luckily, this guide will cover the ins and outs of adjusting your video and audio settings. You’ll find the optimal configuration for your:
- Output resolution and downscale filter
- Recording format
- Rate control
- Video and audio bitrate, and more.
So, what are you waiting for?
Your best OBS settings for recording await below!
What Is OBS?
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is open-source software for video recording and streaming. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. Best of all: it’s completely free!
It’s a popular choice for all content creators looking to produce professional videos. OBS is perfect for:
- Multi-source audio/video capturing and mixing
- Adjusting audio settings and switching between scenes on the fly
- Previewing scenes and sources via Studio Mode
- Monitoring eight different scenes simultaneously via Multiview.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg — you’ll see why soon enough.
What Are the Best OBS Settings for Recording?
Before you jump into recording, you should get a good grasp of how to set up OBS. That means picking the right configuration for a smooth video without show-stopping performance issues.
First of all, you should know that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Your ideal OBS setup will depend on your CPU and GPU. A wise starting point would be to consult the Auto-Configuration Wizard. You can find it in the Tools menu.
Based on your system and hardware, it will suggest the most stable OBS settings for recording.
So, if you have a higher-end processor and graphics card, you’ll be able to push for higher video and audio settings. Otherwise, you’ll have to make do with lower and mid-level options.
With that in mind, let’s get into it!
While working out your optimal OBS recording settings, you’ll mainly focus on two sections: Video and Output.
First, make your way to the Settings. You can find them in the lower right corner of the interface. Alternatively, go to the File tab in the top left corner.
Either way, you’ll open up a new window with an array of options. Your first point of interest is Video.
You can set up your OBS video capture resolution, output resolution, framerate, and downscaling there.
The Base (Canvas) Resolution determines your capture size. You can set it as your entire screen or a specific portion of it.
The Output (Scaled) Resolution is the size of your recorded video. It can be the same as your Base Resolution or smaller.
So, if your screen capture is 1920x1080, you can keep it as an OBS HD recording (in 1080p). Or, you can downscale it to 1280x720.
The Downscale Filter plays a crucial role in the final look of your video. The overall best and most detailed filter is Lanczos.
The Common FPS setting lets you adjust your framerate. In most cases, 30 or 60 FPS (if your machine can handle it) should do the trick.
Now, your next stop should be the Output section.
The first thing you should do is change the Output Mode to Advanced. This way, you’ll be able to fine-tune things and get much closer to your best recording settings for OBS.
Next, click the Recording tab.
The Recording Path is where your clips will be saved.
Now, the OBS Recording Format field is important. If you choose MP4/MOV, beware. Your video will be unrecoverable in case of a power outage, BSOD, or if OBS crashes. You’re better off with MKV or FLV if that's an issue.
The Audio Track number is based on your active audio device(s).
Your choice of Encoder is another big decision. Your GPU and CPU will mainly influence it.
If you have an NVidia Series graphics card, you should choose NVENC. With a mid-range CPU and AMD graphics card, go with AMF. If you have a beefy processor, you’re best off with x264.
Either way, new options will pop up!
Your best Rate Control in OBS will also depend on your encoder type. The smartest options are:
- CQP (NVENC and AMF only) — high-quality videos with a big file size
- CRF (x264 only) — another high-quality recording option
- VBR — not as detailed as CQP or CRF, but with far more reasonable file size.
The next thing you’ll need to determine is your OBS Recording Bitrate.
It’s all about striking the right balance between your output resolution, framerate, and the platform you’ll be uploading it to.
YouTube’s recommended bitrates are a good starting point:
Video Bitrate, Standard Frame Rate
(24, 25, 30)
Video Bitrate, High Frame Rate
(48, 50, 60)
Keyframe Intervals display how many seconds it takes for a full video frame to be rendered. They play a significant role when you’re live streaming.
Since you’re working out your best recording settings for OBS, you can be more casual about keyframes. Try out a range of 2-8 seconds.
Your last stop should be the CPU Usage Presets. They represent different speeds of encoding. The faster the speed, the less CPU power is used.
The Veryfast setting is the best balance for video quality and CPU usage in most cases. Switch to Superfast or Ultrafast if you’re experiencing overload issues.
With that out of the way, it’s time to find the best OBS settings for audio! This time, you’ll focus on the Output (again) and Audio sections.
So, while you’re in the Output (Advanced) menu, click the Audio tab.
All you can do here is adjust the bitrates for your audio tracks. Bump it up to 320kbps, and you should be good.
Now, make your way to the Audio section.
The first thing you’ll notice is the Sample Rate. It should be the same as your microphone’s.
Keep the Channels as Stereo.
The Global Audio Devices are basically all your audio inputs. Only enable what you’ll be using in your recording. Leave everything else as it is.
Now you know the best settings for OBS recording — video and audio! Or at least, the closest approximation of them. It bears repeating that your specs will influence your supreme setup.
But, even older machines can produce smooth and crisp videos with some tweaking.
So, now that you’re familiar with recording with OBS, why not try live streaming? It could be fun!
What is the best recording format for OBS?
MP4 is beloved because of its simplicity and compatibility with platforms.
However, it’s not the best recording format for OBS. Your MP4 and MOV videos won’t be saved if OBS crashes or the power goes out.
MKV and FLV are the better (and safer) format choices.
What bitrate should I record at OBS?
If you’re recording a 1080p video at 30 FPS, your bitrate should be 8 Mbps. Your bitrate for 1080p 60 FPS clips in OBS should be 12 Mbps.
If you’re recording a 720p video at 30 FPS, try 5 Mbps. For the same resolution with 60 FPS, your best bet is 7.5 Mbps.
For other resolution and framerate combinations, check out the table in the Video Settings section of this guide!
How do I make OBS record smoother?
If you’re experiencing video stuttering, that probably means your CPU is struggling to keep up with encoding. You can fix it by:
- Downscaling your output resolution
- Lowering your framerate
- Choosing a faster x264 preset
- Switching to GPU-based encoders
- Cutting down on background processes.
You’ll find your best OBS settings for recording only by testing. So, get out there and experiment!
Selma is a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly she's trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.
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Updated · Feb 07, 2023
Updated · Feb 07, 2023