When you’re just starting to stream, you obviously want to create the best set-up possible. Quite understandable, especially when the visuals tend to take precedence and smaller content creators think that they need the best webcam on the market, or £500 worth of purple LEDs on the walls behind them, to produce the most interesting video content. But this isn’t necessarily the case, and that’s why we’re checking out the Hercules Stream 100 to see how this cheaper audio controller stacks up against its rivals.
The ability to understand and automate audio tends to fall by the wayside more often than not, and French audio hardware manufacturer Hercules looks to remind consumers of the benefits of audio control by making it almost completely disaster-proof. Almost everyone has experienced a live stream, whether as a viewer or a content creator when the chat suddenly explodes with comments of “we can’t hear you, you’re muted!”. Something that no doubt plagues streamers in their sleep, because it shouldn’t be such a damn issue all the time.
This is where the Hercules Stream 100 comes in. A small but mighty audio controller, this bit of hardware features four customisable control buttons, an LED display screen, and four volume dials that double as individual channel mute buttons. It doesn’t take up too much room and has enough weight to it that it can sit freely on your desktop and not slide all over the place when you press a button. It’s sleek, compact, and perfect for beginners.
An audio controller can prove invaluable to those just getting to grips with the concept of sound engineering their content. The Hercules Stream 100 was created specifically with content creators and streamers in mind, for those who want to optimise their content with ease.
And ease is certainly the name of the game with the Stream 100. It’s quite literally a plug-and-play device, which for smaller content creators or those just learning the ins and outs of PC technology, is a dream. The box itself has a QR code you can scan to gain access to the software download, or you can simply head to the Hercules website and download it directly. The set-up wizard does all of the hard work, and by the time you plug the Hercules Stream 100 in using the provided Type C USB cable, everything’s raring to go right off the bat.
On our initial set-up, however, the software couldn’t seem to find the device. But instead of a massive headache, a huge reinstall, or a fist punched through a monitor, it was just a case of the age-old failsafe. Turn it off and on again and it has a new lease of life, and we haven’t come across this issue since.
Once the Hercules Stream 100 is up and running on your PC, the integrated software is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. No jargon and no overly complicated processes, just a very simple user interface that allows for full audio control. The audio controller configures audio sources via this easy-to-navigate software and utilises a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to customise audio channels at will.
It gives complete control to modify the soundscape of games, music players, and apps, and the Hercules Stream 100 software automatically finds and labels each of these outputs so that they’re incredibly easy to locate. It is also fully compatible with other plug-and-play outputs, such as USB microphones - which is another piece of hardware that most smaller streamers and content creators tend to gravitate towards, further proving that Hercules truly created this audio controller with them in mind.
The LED screen has adjustable brightness levels, achieved by simply tapping the power button on the back, and it shows all four tracks available so that precise monitoring can be achieved on the fly. These tracks have fully customisable icons and labels, so you’ll never be confused as to what button changes what output, and the hardware also has four numbered buttons on the bottom, for the likes of muting, skipping tracks, and stopping and starting music. These buttons are also fully customisable, and you can pick and choose what you want them to do from the list in the desktop app.
It’s a very instinctive piece of kit and it does match up with something like the Elgato Streamdeck. Although the Streamdeck does offer slightly more customisation, with a few extra bells and whistles, its only real difference is that of cosmetics. And even so, the Hercules Stream 100 is still extremely customisable for such a small piece of hardware. The four assignable action buttons offer various different functions, such as scene changing, URL launching, and multiple muting. Users can also choose from a variety of colours and styles for the VU metres, as well as full profile management so that you can adjust settings depending on your personal preferences.
The Hercules Stream 100 does much the same and is far cheaper than the likes of the Razer Audio Mixer, so it’s certainly worth considering if you’re in the market for a first-time audio controller purchase, especially if you’re willing to forgo the likes of RGB displays. Its main selling point is the fact it’s meant to be simple, and it’s meant for smaller content creators who are just getting to grips with the likes of audio management. It comes fully integrated with both OBS and Streamlabs, so regardless of how you choose to create content, the Hercules Stream 100 has got you covered while you find your feet.
We’d recommend the Hercules Stream 100 for its intended consumer base of smaller content creators, so if you’re looking to upgrade an already established setup, there are likely other audio controllers that can do far more for you. But for streamers just starting, it’s perfect, and with a relatively low price point of £119.99, it matches up well with its Elgato and Razer rivals.
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