Why is the audio lagging behind on Twitch?

Twitch is one of the most popular livestreaming platforms, with millions of people tuning in daily to watch streamers broadcast video games, esports events, cooking, art, music, and more. However, a common issue that both streamers and viewers face is audio that lags or goes out of sync with the video.

This audio delay can be incredibly frustrating, as it ruins the viewing experience. The audio and video syncing up is crucial for an enjoyable stream. However, Twitch’s infrastructure and many underlying technical factors can often cause problems with audio synchronization.

This article will provide an overview of the key reasons why Twitch audio may lag behind or become delayed. We’ll dive into the technical aspects like audio encoding, bandwidth, buffering, hardware, software, internet connectivity, and Twitch’s servers. The goal is to help readers understand what causes these Twitch audio sync problems, as well as potential solutions and fixes.

Audio Encoding

Unlike video, Twitch does not encode audio on their end. Streamers are responsible for encoding their audio before it reaches Twitch’s servers (Source). This means audio encoding settings are configured in the streamer’s broadcasting software, not within Twitch. Common settings include:

  • Bitrate – Higher bitrates preserve audio quality but require more bandwidth. 128-160 kbps is a common range.
  • Sample rate – 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz are standard.
  • Channels – Stereo vs mono.

Because video is encoded by Twitch but audio is not, it’s possible for the two to get out of sync during encoding and uploading processes on the streamer’s end. Factors like a mismatch between audio and video encoding settings, insufficient upload bandwidth, or encoding lag can cause the audio to lag behind the video (Source).

To prevent audio sync issues, streamers should test their encoding settings, minimize CPU usage when streaming, and ensure sufficient upload bandwidth is available.

Upload Bandwidth

One of the most common causes of audio lag on Twitch is insufficient upload bandwidth. Twitch recommends an upload speed of at least 3-6 Mbps for smooth streaming. However, the minimum required bandwidth depends on the broadcast quality and frame rate. Streaming at 1080p 60fps requires an upload speed of at least 6 Mbps according to Twitch’s recommendations. Lower resolutions like 720p 30fps can work with 3-4 Mbps.

If a user’s internet plan only provides 1-2 Mbps upload speeds, this will likely be insufficient for real-time streaming on Twitch without heavy buffering and lagging issues. Upgrading to an internet plan with higher upload speeds can help resolve lag and audio sync problems. Some users may need to contact their internet service provider to check on available plan upgrade options if their current upload bandwidth is determined to be the cause.

According to forums and experts, an upload speed below 3 Mbps often results in frequent lagging and sync issues on Twitch.Check your upload speed and make sure it meets Twitch’s recommended bitrate for your target resolution and frame rate. An insufficient upload speed is one of the most common reasons Twitch streams can suffer from audio lag and sync problems.

Audio Buffering

Audio buffers differently than video when streaming due to its continuous nature. While video streams in chunks that can be buffered, audio is constantly being transmitted. This means audio has less tolerance for network delays and disruptions. Any hiccups in the stream can cause the audio to lag behind or cut out entirely.

Buffering live audio brings additional challenges. Since the audio is being broadcast in real time, there are no pre-buffered segments to smooth over temporary network issues. The audio buffer has to be kept very small to minimize latency between the broadcaster and viewer. But a small buffer provides less protection against lag and interruptions. This makes live audio much more prone to disruptions than on-demand audio or video streaming.

Audio Hardware

The quality of your audio hardware like your microphone and soundcard can greatly impact audio lag. Lower quality microphones and soundcards may introduce latency or delay. Older audio hardware may have outdated drivers that aren’t optimized for livestreaming. Here are some troubleshooting tips for audio hardware issues:

  • Make sure you have a decent USB condenser microphone or XLR microphone setup. Avoid low-quality webcam or headset mics.
  • Use a professional external USB soundcard or audio interface instead of lower quality onboard sound.
  • Update your audio drivers and soundcard drivers to the latest version.
  • Adjust audio buffer settings in your soundcard software to optimize for lower latency.
  • Disable any audio enhancements like noise reduction that could introduce delay.
  • If possible, connect your microphone directly to your streaming PC instead of going through a mixer.
  • Make sure mic gain and volume levels aren’t too high or too low.

Upgrading your audio gear and optimizing your drivers and settings can help eliminate hardware-related lag and delay issues.

Stream Software

One of the main causes of audio delay on Twitch is the encoding settings in streaming software like OBS or Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS). The encoding settings determine how your audio and video are compressed and sent to Twitch’s servers.

Specifically, the audio encoding bitrate may be set too low in OBS/SLOBS, resulting in poor audio quality and lagging/desynced audio. Increasing the audio bitrate in OBS/SLOBS encoding settings is recommended to improve audio sync. For example, setting the audio bitrate to 160-320kbps can help reduce audio delay issues (Source: Fix OBS Audio Sync).

Another option in OBS/SLOBS is enabling an audio sync offset or audio delay to manually delay the video to match up with the audio. A negative offset like -500ms can be added to advance the audio and sync it with video (Source: Fix OBS Audio Sync). Properly configuring encoding and sync in streaming software is crucial to prevent lagging audio on Twitch.

Internet Connectivity

One of the biggest contributors to audio lag on Twitch is the streamer’s internet connectivity. Using a wired ethernet connection instead of wifi will provide more consistent speeds and reduce lag. Wifi is prone to interference and congestion which can cause lag spikes during a stream.

Network congestion from other devices or users on your network also impacts stream quality. When there is heavy traffic on your local network or internet connection, it causes packet loss which results in choppy audio. Having multiple people streaming, downloading, or gaming on the same connection creates congestion. Upgrading to a faster internet plan or using a dedicated connection just for streaming can help minimize this.

Twitch Servers

One key factor that can contribute to audio lag on Twitch is the regional server location you are streaming to. Twitch has data centers located in various regions around the world, including the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The further you are from the server location, the higher the potential for lag and sync issues.

During peak usage times, Twitch’s servers can become overloaded, leading to delayed processing of incoming streams. This can manifest as laggy or out-of-sync audio. Twitch has been working to expand server capacity, but peak traffic from major esports events or popular streamers can still strain resources. According to one Reddit user, switching to Twitch’s nearest regional server helped resolve their sync issues.

To minimize lag caused by distance from the ingest server, it may help to choose the closest available server location in your Twitch stream settings. However, this is not always possible for mobile users or when streaming from different geographic locations [1].


There are several ways to improve audio sync and reduce lag when streaming on Twitch:

Using a wired internet connection instead of WiFi can provide more stable bandwidth and reduce buffering issues that cause audio lag. Upgrading your internet plan to have faster upload speeds is another good option. On the software side, lowering your video encoder settings in OBS or other streaming software can reduce lag by having less data to process and upload.

Adjusting audio delay settings is another fix – most streaming programs like OBS allow manually syncing audio by adding a delay. Some capture cards and audio interfaces also have an audio delay adjustment. On Twitch’s side, they recommend allowing time for their ingest servers to catch up when changing settings.

Hardware upgrades can also help – using a dedicated streaming PC separates encoding from the gaming PC, reducing lag. A faster CPU, more RAM, and SSD storage on the streaming PC improves performance. Upgrading microphones and audio interfaces to have lower latency outputs leads to tighter audio sync.

In summary, increasing internet bandwidth, optimizing streaming software settings, adjusting audio delays, and upgrading to faster streaming hardware are some of the main ways to reduce audio lag on Twitch.


In summary, there are several potential causes behind audio lagging behind video on Twitch streams. The most common factors are insufficient upload bandwidth, audio buffering delays, overloaded Twitch servers, and viewers’ internet speeds. While Twitch has limited control over users’ internet speeds, they can optimize their servers and CDNs to improve audio sync.

Smooth, synced audio is an important part of the streaming experience. As a result, broadcasters should aim to optimize their audio encoding settings, internet speeds, and streaming software configurations to reduce lag. Upgrading bandwidth and hardware can also help for those who are able to do so.

With an understanding of the various causes, broadcasters and Twitch can work to provide the best possible audio sync for streams. While the complex nature of live streaming makes some lag inevitable, identifying and addressing the major culprits can significantly improve the viewing experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *