Welcome to Influenced, where we interview creators of all kinds about the gear they use for their jobs – and their advice for people who want to follow in their footsteps. This week we caught up with NFL wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster about his love of streaming, favorite gaming gear, and tips for aspiring content creators.
- Wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he’s set multiple league and franchise records since debuting in 2017 – including the longest touchdown catch in team history.
- Avid gamer, streamer and content creator with 257,000 followers on Twitch and more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube.
- Founder and CEO of Team Diverge, a gaming and lifestyle organization that sponsors professional gamers and sells their own clothing.
- Sponsored by the popular gaming peripheral company HyperX.
Smith-Schuster started streaming and making YouTube videos on Twitch during his rookie year in 2017.
“I wanted to find a better way to connect with my fans and express my love for games and content, and once I started I just ran with it,” says Smith-Schuster.
Like many other creators, Smith-Schuster started out very simply: broadcasting straight from his PS4 while hundreds of thousands of supporters agreed. He’s made significant improvements to his setup over the years – thanks in large part to his sponsorship with gaming accessories maker HyperX – and is now producing streams into what his fans can clearly see and hear him as he snaps up those Victory Royales.
Here are some of the gaming gadgets Smith-Schuster swears by both at home and on the go during the football season – and his tips for anyone looking to showcase themselves on Twitch or YouTube.
For great sound on and off the field: HyperX Cloud Mix ($ 195; amazon.com)
Whether you turn on JuJus Twitch streams or catch a glimpse of how he’s training for game day, there’s a good chance you’ll see a HyperX Cloud Mix on his head. As the “mix” in the name suggests, this hybrid headset can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth and to almost any gaming platform via its 3.5 mm audio cable. Pair that with a flat design and you have a headset that will withstand all of the smith’s long days on the road.
“I use my HyperX headphones when I’m on the go, when I’m out and about, training and preparing for a game,” says Smith-Schuster. “It’s great to have the same headset that I use to play [be] used for everything else. If I take my portable gaming case with me, it helps me save space as I only need headphones. ”
While the Cloud Mix can make great sound for both music and games, Smith-Schuster sometimes switches to the HyperX Cloud Alpha S ($ 99, originally $ 129; amazon.com) when the time comes to settle down for some serious Fortnite action. We don’t blame him – the Cloud Alpha S is our pick for the best wired gaming headset, thanks in part to its great controls that make it easy to strike the right balance between your game audio and the chatter of your teammates’ chatter with just a few buttons . It doesn’t hurt that it sounds awesome too.
For comfortable gaming: HyperX Alloy Elite 2 keyboard ($ 109, originally $ 129; amazon.com)
Smith-Schuster’s preferred keyboard is the HyperX Alloy Elite 2, which ticks off most of the key boxes we look for in a premium gaming keyboard. It features snappy mechanical buttons, a sturdy steel case designed to stay in place during hot gaming sessions, and of course eye-catching RGB lighting that you can customize in all sorts of ways.
“Everything looks so sick and I feel really comfortable playing and competing,” says Smith-Schuster, who also names the similarly colorful HyperX Quadcast S microphone as an important part of his gaming setup.
While the Alloy Elite 2 didn’t quite score in our rankings of the best gaming keyboards, we were impressed with its wealth of customization options and useful dedicated media controls. It’s also cheap for a mechanical keyboard, which often dips below $ 100 during sales.
JuJu’s advice to those looking to get into the world of Twitch and YouTube is simple: focus on what you really enjoy playing and streaming, and the rest will come by itself.
“Just do what you love and find a way to get it out [into] the world, ”says Smith-Schuster. “Games and content are things that I enjoy doing anyway, and being able to easily transfer that to the world isn’t hard, time-consuming work for me. It’s just who I am. ”
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