OBS recording quality completely depends on its configuration you set. And the right OBS configuration may vary depending on your PC specification and your need when it comes to quality and FPS.
There is a chance that the best OBS settings that you find on the internet may not be optimal for your specific system. This is why you need to know some of the important OBS settings and what it does to figure out the optimal OBS configuration that works best for you.
OBS Settings and What It Means
When you open OBS settings, you are prompted with General Settings. General settings make your overall screen recording process a little easier. Here you can manage settings like confirmation dialog box, language, theme, preview, etc.
All these settings are pretty straight forward and may vary depending on users personal preference.
One of the most important sets of configuration that determines the output video quality is within the Output settings.
We recommend setting the Output mode to Simple. This will automatically apply optimized settings suited for common usage. You can set it to Advanced if you are not satisfied with the result. Advanced Output mode gives you a different UI with some added settings.
If you have set Output mode to Simple, you can set recording path, quality, format and encoding technique.
Recording Quality is the first setting that directly affects the recorded video quality. As with any recording application, increasing the quality of the video also increases the file size. It consists of four settings. High Quality uses various compression algorithms that lowers the actual file size along with the video quality.
Lossless Quality records every pixel data without any compression techniques. So there is no question that it records video with the highest file size. Indistinguishable quality records slightly higher quality video but the file size is lower compared to lossless quality.
Depending on your PC and the monitor resolution, High Quality is best if you want to upload the recorded content. It does not have much file size and won’t use much PC resources as well.
Select Indistinguishable quality if you want to record without compression. But remember that you also need higher storage devices and a stronger processor to record such videos.
As of version 28.1.2, you can find six different formats in which you can record your screens using OBS. Among them, .flv, .mkv, and .mp4 are the most common ones. However, most users prefer FLV or MKV as opposed to MP4.
This is because there is a chance that the data saved in MP4 could be corrupted if the recording process closes abruptly. This does not happen in FLV or MKV file format.
Encoder represents the encoding technique used when recording your screen. Encoding takes a lot of system resources. And if your system does not meet the requirement, you will even get an error message saying Encoding Overloaded.
The latest version of OBS uses two types of encoding techniques when recording your screen. Software encoding uses CPU resources to capture and save your screen while Hardware encoding uses the GPU.
The recording quality is better with Software encoding. But, you will need a powerful CPU to record smoothly using Software encoding. If your CPU maxes out when encoding, the final video will suffer from periodic stuttering.
This is where Hardware encoding comes in. Hardware encoding uses the processing power of the GPU to record. This significantly reduces recording time but the catch is you need to have a powerful GPU to encode the video as well as record it.
Depending on your CPU and GPU, you should choose between the two encoding techniques. If you have a powerful CPU, you can set Encoder as Software. But, if your CPU cannot handle it, set Encoder to Hardware.
Configuration inside Audio Settings is pretty straight forward. First is the Sample Rate
Sampling rate is the rate at which OBS records the audio from the system or the microphone. Higher sampling rate means more measurements per second. So, you can set the sampling rate to the highest amount, that is 48KHz.
It represents the immersiveness of the recorded sound. Mono is the least immersive while 7.1 is the most immersive.
Global Audio Device
Global Audio Device lets you set audio input or output source. Here, you need to select the device from which you are getting your audio output.
Other settings in Audio settings are for user interface. Meter indicates the audio meters you see on the OBS home screen. Here you can also enable and set a delay for push-to-talk and push-to-mute for microphone and desktop audio.
Video settings determine the resolution of the recorded clip. You will see two values of resolution in Video settings, Base (Canvas) Resolution and Output (Scaled) Resolution.
Base (Canvas) Resolution
Base (Canvas) Resolution determines the resolution of the recorded file. Set it to the resolution of your monitor. The highest resolution is the resolution of your monitor.
You can also set it lower than the resolution of your monitor to record your screen at a lower resolution. This will also lower your recording file size compared to recording at a higher resolution.
Output (Scaled) Resolution
Output (Scaled) Resolution is the resolution in which OBS records. It is best if you set Output (Scaled) Resolution to the same value as your Base (Canvas) Resolution, or your monitor’s resolution.
By doing this, your recording does not need to be scaled. If you have Output Resolution lower than Base Resolution, the recorded clip will be blurry even when the Base Resolution is high. This is because OBS needs to scale the lower resolution video to the base resolution.
Finally comes the FPS value (Frames Per Second). This setting lets you choose the frame rate of the recorded video. Common FPS value lets you record video up to the maximum FPS of 60. Integer FPS Value lets you record up to 120 FPS.
To record videos with FPS higher than 120FPS, you need to use fractional FPS value. This lets you set a high Numerator and denominator value allowing you to record clips with high FPS.
Higher FPS value means OBS will record more frames every seconds, resulting in the final recorded clip to be a lot smoother. This also means the OBS will require a lot of processing power to encode the extra frames. Along with this, the recorded clip size will also increase with increased FPS.
Besides this, the FPS on the final recorded clip also depends on the FPS that the monitor is currently displaying.
You can only set the FPS value that is equal to or lower than the current displayed FPS. recording with FPS value higher than the current FPS will not give your recording a higher FPS.
Let’s say your you are playing and recording a game at 60FPS but you set the FPS value to 120. Here, the final recorded clip will be at 60FPS. This happens because the monitor itself is displaying its content at 60FPS.
One thing you can do is set the FPS value the same as your monitor’s refresh rate.
Advanced settings also contain settings that determine how the final recording looks in terms of color and brightness.
This setting allows you to set the OSB priority when using system resources. If you are recording a video in high quality with extreme audio settings, you can change Process Priority to High or Above normal to speed up the encoding process.
Color Format represents how color information is stored when recording. Depending on the settings you choose, the final video could look exactly the same as the game or the colors could look faded out.
One Color Format Settings that works well with most graphics card is NV12. Color Format as RGB is also a sweet spot for recording because it records data right off the screen. If you just want to record your screen, it is ideal that you set Color Format to RGB.
You may receive a warning saying that RGB is not recommended for streaming. If you want to stream, set Color Format to NV12 or P010. This is because NV12 and P010 uses the least amount of processing power.
Color Space and Color Range
You can set the Color Space to the default value. On the other hand, Color Range is what matters when it comes to how the recording looks in terms of color. Color range has two values, limited/partial or full range.
This value determines the range of color options available on 8-bit video signals, 0 to 255. Settings Color Range to partial means the color range available is 16 to 235. Any color value below 16 is true black and anything above 235 is true white.
This is not the case when you set Color Range to Full. When set to Full, 0 is the true black and 255 is true black.
Most TVs and monitors use a partial color range to display. So if you set the OBS color range to full, you will see that the contrast on the recording is slightly higher compared to the actual gameplay.
Furthermore, web browsers also use a partial color range to display colors. So when you upload a clip with a full color range, every color value from 0-16 will be toned down to 0 and 235-255 will be set to 255. This might cause your recording to become a lot darker or a lot lightened.
So always make sure that you’ve set the Color Range to Partial.
Best OBS Settings for Recording
Here are some optimal settings to record that will give you a clear video output for PC with decent hardware component. But if you have a lower-end PC your video may suffer stuttering issues.
Optimal Output Settings
|Software (If you have high-end CPU)Hardware (If you have high-end GPU)
Optimal Audio Settings
|Stereo (5.1 or 7.1 for better sound quality)
Optimal Video Settings
|Base (Canvas) Resolution
|Your monitor’s resolution
|Output (Scaled) Resolution
|Same as Base (Canvas) Resolution
|Higher the better (Higher means OBS will require more processing power)
Optimal Advanced Settings
|NV12(8-bit, 4:2:0, 2 planes)