Welcome to Influenced, where we interview creators of all kinds about the gear they use to do their jobs – and their advice for aspiring influencers. This week, we caught up with game, entertainment and esports broadcaster Erin Ashley Simon about the gear that kept her hosting throughout the pandemic, and why you should always start with what you have it at hand.
- Entertainment and games broadcaster that has hosted for major networks, such as VENN and Cheddar, and creates content on Twitch and YouTube.
- Has collaborated with brands such as Puma, Nike, Bacardi, Bleacher Report, Columbia Records, Forbes and Turtle Beach.
- Co-owner of XSET, a new, diverse esports team competing in titles like Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Rocket League.
Like many content creators, Simon found herself scrambling for new gear after the pandemic forced her to produce and host shows from home rather than in a studio.
“I wish you could see behind my computer right now,” Simon says, discussing the complex amount of cabling that holds all of his gear – including staples like the Elgato Creek Bridge and Sony A7 III Camera – working properly.
Here are the key gadgets that keep Simon keeping shows and collaborating with big brands while staying at home, plus his tips for those looking to get started in the designer game.
For comfortable work and play: Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro ($ 139, originally $ 159; amazon.com)
Simon’s keyboard of choice is the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro, a compact, keyless mechanical gaming keyboard that adapts well to his little hands while being reliable for both everyday work and intense Call of Duty sessions. .
“I have really small hands so it was really great for me,” says Simon of the small size of the Vulcan TKL Pro. “And it’s also more comfortable, because it’s small enough for my desk, which [I] can set it up [for] job. But then when I play, of course, I tilt it to the side a bit because it’s more comfortable on my wrist and the way I sit.
The Vulcan TKL Pro is a keyless keyboard (TKL), which means it ditches the numeric keypad in favor of a more sleek design that can easily fit into a home office or gaming room. Keys are designed to survive up to 100 million keystrokes (which means it will last for years), and it features a flashy customizable backlight that you can sync with other RGB devices. We personally love our Logitech G915 TKL for most of the reasons Simon swears by his Vulcan – these keyboards fit well into any setup and deliver satisfying, impactful feedback whether you’re typing emails or that you blast aliens in the face.
For easy audio mixing: GoXLR Mini ($ 199, originally $ 249; amazon.com)
Simon is one of the many creators we’ve spoken to who use a GoXLR audio mixer, which provides an easy way to balance multiple audio sources for high quality podcasts, streams, and videos.
“Audio is always the biggest issue when it comes to streaming or whatever,” says Simon. “[The GoXLR Mini] Helped me a lot as it minimized the amount of work I had to do in preparation whether it was streaming or broadcasting. It already had its own program interface that allowed me to determine what was recorded [and] what I would hear versus what the audience would hear and so on.
Simon uses the GoXLR Mini model, a more compact and streamlined version of the $ 499 GoXLR that still gives you the key controls you need to balance things like microphone volume, background music, and in-game sound. the fly. It has built-in audio processing to make your voice more professional and lets you customize its RGB lighting and create multiple profiles through a companion app for Windows.
For always professional sound: Shure SM7B ($ 399; amazon.com)
Even the best mixer in the world can’t fix a bad microphone, which is why Simon uses the Shure SM7B to sound as professional as it gets during podcasts, videos and TV appearances.
“There is never a problem in terms of sound and being clear,” Simon says of the SM7B. “I could literally record an interview, and it’s so crisp and clear I could turn it into a podcast if I wanted to. So that allowed me to do a lot more content.
A favorite among YouTubers, Twitch streamers, podcasters, and even musicians, this premium mic is used by everyone from Conan O’Brien to Grammy-nominated rapper Logic. The microphone’s cardioid pattern (which records directly in front) is designed to reject unwanted background noise and includes a filter to suppress unwanted breathing and “pop” noises. We tested the little brother of the SM7B in the Shure MV7 in our quest to find the best microphones, and although we found it overkill for most people, we found it to have the richest voice quality of any mics we tested.
Just for Fun: Knockout City ($ 19.99; bestbuy.com)
When Simon isn’t appearing on TV, hosting podcasts, or leading her esports team, she takes on everyone who comes to the virtual dodgeball field. As a player and athlete, Knockout City has been very moved by its competitive itch.
“As a former D1 athlete, I am very competitive. But what I like is that it’s competitive, but it’s [still] fun, ”says Simon. “I am competitive [in Call of Duty], but sometimes i get so pissed off because of all the cheats. But Knockout City, it was so much fun playing with my friends.
Available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, Knockout City is a three-on-three dodgeball game that takes the classic backyard contest a wacky twist with things like explosive balls and fancy punches. And while it’s easy to pick up and play (we’ve spent quite a few hours on it already), it also offers an impressive depth of competition for the esports audience.
“When you first watch it you say to yourself, oh, that would still be pretty straightforward and easy, but timing is literally everything in this game,” says Simon.
When asked what advice she would give to aspiring content creators, Simon echoes a refrain many pros have heard: just start.
“I think now the technology is so advanced that you don’t have to start with this type of mic or mixer. You can literally do it with your phone and get a smaller mic, ”says Simon, who started with the $ 129. Blue yeti – a relatively affordable USB mic that just happens to be our pick for the best microphone you can buy. “If you’re interested in broadcasting or podcasts, or any kind of streaming, this is a great mic to use.”
Like many creators we’ve spoken to, Simon started out with relatively basic gear (including streaming on Twitch straight from his PlayStation) and has been upgraded over time as needed. She recommends that most people do the same, especially if they’re not sure how seriously they want to take their Twitch, YouTube, or podcast game.
“You don’t want to spend all that money if you’re not going to go on and on with what you want to do,” says Simon. “I still have followers and supporters who remember when I was streaming straight from PS4 and they were like, ‘Oh my God, Erin, you are such a graduate. “But it was a progression, it wasn’t overnight. [with] what you have, then buy cheaper, but more efficient hardware, and then you build from there.