Zoom Gear for Small Business in 2021

Preface: In late 2019 a pandemic caused by a corona-virus labelled Covid-19 swept across the world. To buy humanity time to develop and distribute a cure for the killer virus; all countries utilized social distancing and lockdown protocols which caused economies to grind to a halt. As physical brick-and-mortar businesses began to suffocate without the ability to connect with and receive clients; online businesses favouring Zoom and E-commerce Websites gained popularity for being more cost effective, and it’s workflows uninterrupted by the challenges of non-physical contact. As I write this article in April of 2021, Covid-19 remains an issue.

I dedicate this article to my fellow small business owners. As more of us become solo contributors, it has never been more important to #supportlocal. Ever dollar we spend in our local economy has an average of exchanging hands at least 7-times before it leaves our system. My goal is to help you leverage my experience to spend less and get more out of your equipment.

Zoom has become platform of choice for non-enterprise small business to do video conferencing. Over the course of this year I have committed significant resources to find and test for best practices and gear to provide a professional experience to my customers. A quick disclaimer, I make no money from the links on this page nor were any of the choices sponsored. Also everything I am sharing is my opinion and so I invite you to do your own research. Without further delay, I present to you my equipment and technology choices.

Top Quality Sound for You and Your Clients

Did you know people forgiving if you have poor video, but poor audio is a deal-breaker? If I can’t hear you and understand you, there is no point in a call. So here’s why you should care. If you’re like me, and in the business of problem-solving, then you know that our job is establishing trust and confidence with our clients and taking accountability for their frustrations. As a marketing technologist, I am often helping clients with complicated and often emotion-inducing issues. It is important for me to provide a warm and welcoming environment and that journey begins with a solid microphone. Ever since Zoom became part of my workflow, I’ve been on the search for headphone and microphones options that could mimic studio-quality sound for my audience. My goal was to find an affordable solution that would no sacrifice quality of sound for both myself my client.

That search finally came to an end last week when I got on a zoom call with my friend Gabe Wong, at Studio C&G as he sat down at his computer, adjusted his headset and I heard his warm voice come fill my ears. It was like he was standing in the room with me. My immediate reaction was, “What headset are you using?!”

The Sennheiser brand is well known in the audiophile (Audio Nerds) for its premium build quality and sound quality, and this budget end option is no exception.

The Sennheiser PC37X Gaming Headset is only $185.00 CDN!

  • A SENNHEISER STANDOUT, REVAMPED: Based on Sennheiser’s top-tier gaming headsets, our Sennheiser PC37X features the same exceptional audio and microphone quality, with some key tweaks to make it even better
  • ANGLED DRIVERS: Made with drivers that are positioned at an angle, which is typically seen in much more expensive headsets, the PC37X maximizes natural sound reproduction resulting in more clarity in your games and tunes
  • LOCATIONAL ACCURACY: A COMPETITIVE EDGE: The PC37X helps you hear enemies and sense your surroundings more clearly. Thanks to the angled drivers and open-back design, it offers better stereo imaging and locational accuracy
  • INTEGRATED VOLUME AND 10 FT CABLE The right ear cup has a volume adjustment wheel for quick tweaks in the heat of battle and the 10-foot single-sided braided cable is long enough to reach the back of desktop computer towers
  • CLEAR, AMBIANCE-FREE COMMUNICATION: The noise-cancelling microphone is designed for high-volume, low-distance recording, and is optimized to handle unpleasant pops and hisses—great for gaming, Skype calls and video chatting
  • AUDIOPHILE DRIVERS: The drivers come from the same family as the Sennheiser HD598 and HD600 headphones—two audiophile favourites in the Sennheiser collection
  • CONVENIENT MICROPHONE MUTE: Simply raise the boom arm to the upright position to effortlessly mute your microphone

If you’re looking to up your online presentation game and only have $200, you could do no better than the Sennheiser PC37X Gaming Headset.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084GFGMYT/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_7S1B9Y6MB7TSS9XQJJ90

Turn an iPhone into a portable 1080p Webcam

Dear Android User: Epoccam is Apple only. I’m sorry that I do not have information for you at this time. Please write me with your suggestions for Android and I will gladly append and appropriately credit your contribution.

99% of Webcams on the Market are Total Shit.

Prior to Covid-19, video conferencing in business was less preferable to a traditional and more formal in-person meeting. Organizing a video conference requires technical knowledge, planning and organization. A popular practice for many people who own laptops with webcams is to cover the camera with a piece of tape in fear of hackers watching unbeknownst to the user. As a result, webcams were often low quality due to their soft market appeal with little emphasis on quality.

Fast forward to the present where Zoom adoption is driven by the need of businesses to overcome physical distancing restrictions. Webcams today are a hot commodity! In 2020, many of the top webcams were sold out due to a sharp rise in video conference adoption.

My 2020 MacBook Pro has a shitty 720p camera that sends blotchy low-resolution video with embarrassing colour depth. I look like I’m web-camming through time from 1999. I looked at several webcam and DSLR options and quickly decide the $200-$500+ was untenable. I happen to have an iPhone 11 PRO MAX – and before you start groaning about it being a $1500+ phone, allow me to assure you that you don’t need a top-of-the-line iPhone for this to work. Apple iPhone cameras are a desirable alternative because they are accessible and were designed with photography in mind. The lenses and sensors of most iPhones from the last five years will produce a video quality that you won’t be able to find in a webcam for under $200.

EPOCCAM by Elgato is just $7.99 CDN!

I have tried several alternative applications to EPOCCAM and this is the best. I am able to use all three cameras on my iPhone including the superwide angle lens which enables me to get that ultra-dramatic look that you see above. EPOCCAM allows me to stream both wirelessly and via USB with little to unnoticeable lag. Setup, establishing connections, and support from Elgato is second to none.

Elgato creates equipment and software for live-stream content professionals. Professional videogamers and video-bloggers all turn to Elgato for their dialled-in solutions for lighting, staging, and video production needs.

For more information: https://www.elgato.com/en/epoccam


Cyril Wong is the original Net Butlers. He has been building websites for over 30 years.

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