Funding Friday: The Backtrack Box

Dylan is a musician, an entrepreneur, a hacker, and a geek. That’s quite a combination and a good one at that.

He’s come up with a better way for live musicians to play their back tracks without the need for a computer and lots of cables.

It is called The Backtrack Box and he’s raising funds to manufacture it on Kickstarter.

I backed this project earlier this week and think it is the perfect Kickstarter project; creative, unique, and something that should exist in the world.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Vendita Auto

    Liking This.Liking the tag line that got my interest “Dylan is a musician” as in truth I was playing (again )

  2. sbs

    what is this

  3. LE

    I’ll bite on this (you have provoked emotions).This is an insult to all Engineers/musicians who have ever built their own stomp boxes.In what way is this project an insult? As of right now the total raise is $453. I think that is unchanged from this morning. If the other engineers had put up a kickstarter my guess is Fred would have just as easily backed them.I could build this in 20 minutes with $15 worth of parts that are already sitting around my workspace, hand wired, no circuit board required. You realize how this sounds don’t you? How many people have that skill? And how many people (even if you gave them step by step directions and mailed them the parts) would simply rather buy something pre-built? Not to mention support someone who is trying to do a kickstarter.He did nothing innovative here, just good promotion.Fred never claimed it was innovative in any way. And kickstarter is about promotion. And Fred is about promoting kickstarter. Typically featured on ‘Funding Friday’ is actually the topic.Fred said:He’s come up with a better way for live musicians to play their back tracks without the need for a computer and lots of cablesBetter way does not equal ‘innovative’. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a similar device from B&H Photo (I actually checked and there are things that look like they do this but I don’t know enough to confirm that) or build one yourself.Kickstarter often has art or music type projects. All of those you could ‘do yourself’ by buying supplies from Anyone can do it.There is a whole industry of small pedal makers that deserve your praise… but not this kidYeah but this is the ‘twitching cat’ [1] that Fred uncovered.[1] Twitching cat:

  4. Francois Royer Mireault

    I’m a musician. I’m also a marketer. So I’m quite aware of all the points you make + kickstarter products are often overhyped. But I’d still pay 100$ for that. Most of my pedals are 100$+ are I use them rarely + they only do one thing. This little box is like a platform — you can play solo gigs, rehearse new parts in studio, compose on it, compensate for a missing member on stage, etc. Anyways, I don’t mind the technology (or that I can build one in my non-existing workspace in my 1 bedroom apt.), I mind that it works really well for 100$ and I can use it right away. 15$ worth of parts + design/box + labor time x markup = at least 100$ no? Food for thought.

  5. PhilipSugar

    I am 100% with you. This is where tech people totally sell themselves and worse other tech people short.Oh, I could do that for $X cost. No other profession does this, nor values their time at $0. It is not about cost it is about value. How much is your expertise worth.You could say: Oh, I could install that ice maker line in PEX tubing for $50. It’s only $50 in parts, but they charged you $180, what a rip off. (example from this week) Yes except you have the tools and the knowledge. That is priceless.

  6. Paul Williams

    OK I give up, my reply here is getting marked as spam or deleted by moderator.I guess William does not like my opinion…. I don’t thing I broke any of the stated rules for this discussion….. so much for free speech and the stated policy here on censorship.Peace out comrades … if you see this at all πŸ˜‰

  7. LE

    No other profession does this, nor values their time at $0.Exactly. This is where ‘you can only be as honest as the competition’ meets ‘tech guy nerd just wants to be loved’.A near perfect storm of circumstances whereby people will do all sorts of things just to get acknowledged and stroked by another person.Honestly my theory has to be correct. I know the only other people that don’t value their time typically is a college student who ends up helping the pretty girl (or vice versa) just to be around them. They get nothing in return and won’t get even invited to any parties for the help. The pretty girl (or guy) just exploits w/o any conscience at all.Will tell you another group of people that value their time but other people don’t. Doctors. My wife gets calls from people who want her help and to diagnose some problem they have. In many cases they want her to write a prescription. She normally will spend time on the phone but it’s never about something critical. And you just kind of get sucked into it. And then of course it becomes a no win situation anyway with that type of advice. You don’t have full info so you can only speculate.

  8. Paul Williams

    I’d install the ice-maker myself….. not because I’m a cheapskate but because of the valuable time I would waste waiting at home for the plumber to arrive when I could be out charging megabucks/hour for consulting πŸ˜€ …and yes I have the qualpex and fittings sitting around here some where. Yes maybe that’s sad but I’m with Red from “that 70s show” or the Clint Eastwood character from “Gran Torino” “nobody in this damn country can fix anything anymore” …no country in particular getting picked on here.Oh and there is this also”The case for working with your hands”…$180 for a plumber to callout … not in my city.

  9. PhilipSugar

    I’m right there until you hit Doctors. They don’t value my time. What other profession has you sit and wait late for an appointment.I had a Doctor tell me I am so busy today. I told him so am I. There is nobody on this board that has not maddeningly sat there and waited for a Doctor.I understand you get an emergency. But no other profession where people make you wait as a matter of practice.Don’t know who I hate more Insurance Companies, Lawyers, or Doctors. They are reaping what they have sown. I think, too bad, the Lawyers take a piece of your hide, and the Insurance companies screw you on payment. You deserve it.

  10. Paul Williams

    Two little words here LE ….”open source”Most of what I do completely depends on the work of other Engineers that have given there time at $0 to build amazingly complex and ingenious software when they could be “selling” that time for pay.Do you seriously believe that someone like Linus Torvalds has spent the last 20 years working on the linux kernal just to be loved ?”they get nothing in return” not true, it encourages others to do the same so we get this whole world of intertwined open source software that the whole industry(and the world ) depends on.Practically all commercial software stacks are dependent on open source, every banking system running on an “industry standard” java enterprize stack has apache in it somewhere, every iot device has a linux based os or realtime exec….. even that ice make probably πŸ˜‰

  11. Richard

    You sound foolish and what you are saying is a gross generalization. Many doctors have little or no wait times. The wait time are mostly due to emergencies and/or demanding patients. There is no professional that requires more uncompensated time (when one factors in education/training) than MDs

  12. LE

    With Dr’s though it is an efficiency move. You have multiple exam rooms. You shuttle to different patients. Different patients take different amounts of time. And in many cases the doctor can’t predict this. So it is a cost savings if you wait vs. the doctor waits.Now when you get your haircut let’s say at the salon or barber easy to predict the time it takes. 30 minutes allotted. As long as someone isn’t to late you can make the next appt. 30 minutes later.With a doctor, by making you wait, sure they make more money but in the end that is just the way the business works. Same as that you can get a contractor to give you an estimate or a car salesman to waste time with you but won’t get a free medical opinion w/o paying for a consult.But my strongest point really is (again) that a) it does make sense for the doctor to make you wait. For one thing not everyone is you in terms of time value. There are retired people, there are people who get off from work and get paid anyway etc. Most people are typically going to have a time value that is less than a doctor.b) Also one other thing. You don’t want the doctor rushing. Despite hipaa I was in an office waiting recently for a doctor and I could hear him in the next exam room taking his time with a patient.So instead of getting mad I thought ‘this is good’. Because he won’t rush me. He is willing to take more time if needed.As a kid I went to the best hand surgeon in Philly for a problem once. Never did I ever wait longer than in that appt. After several hours I finally saw him. And he was good enough (hence busy) that he fixed the problem that others said I needed surgery for. So I was happy as was my mom who was with me.I am in a medical complex as you know. So I go and make an appointment and then tell the receptionist to call me as soon as the doctor is ready. So she calls me but I still wait in the exam room until he finishes up with the patient. He wants to go from patient to patient and honestly I think that makes sense.That said yes there are doctors with attitudes and all of that. But honestly all I care about is skill. My daughter years ago needed a big operation. My ex wife wanted to use the nice ENT at the synagogue. He was good enough but I wanted better. So I found the world class guy who happened to be at Penn. He was quite the asshole. I thought ‘ok I have found the best’ and didn’t care that he dismissed my thought that my daughter have a plastic surgeon to cover the scar. He did two surgeries where if bad skill she would have lost her hearing. My point is the fact that he was an asshole with no bedside manners (and at Penn) meant to me I found a good guy and it turned out right. Not looking for a person to hang out with just someone who is the best and got to that point despite being an asshole.

  13. PhilipSugar

    I am not debating one bit it makes sense. And I do not debate people ask people for medical advice outside the office expecting it for free (no valuation of expertise)It is no different just at a higher scale than people let’s say like a plumber. But at least where I live plumbers and even the cable company! have starting paying if you have to wait.Hey I get it, for my shoulder doctor a kid came in with a broken shoulder.But even ER departments here post wait time live on a billboard.My point is it screws your goodwill. Look the insurance companies want to stiff you and me, the lawyers want to Monday morning quarterback……you didn’t go to the Doctor for that procedure because you were well, did you???But that practice steams people off, because it is clearly saying my time is valuable and yours is not.

  14. PhilipSugar

    Here at 8am done by 9am. Parts and labor. Box with a quarter turn and then a stainless steel connection. The tools alone to do that are more than $180. I looked the box cost is $26 and the stainless is $10. 20 feet of PEX at $10. Connections must be at least $10.So I figure $60 in parts $120 in labor. I did email for the hour, and I figure that he knows better what to do. I’d have just gotten a long icemaker line and quarter turn t’ed at the source. He ran pex from the source and then put in the box, said much less chance of breaking things when you move the fridge.

  15. LE

    I’d install the ice-maker myself….. not because I’m a cheapskate but because of the valuable time I would waste waiting at home for the plumber to arriveThis is exactly true. In many cases you will just end up babysitting the person (have to be around them) while they work.This is actually one reason I vacuum my own office and often clean my own (office) bathroom. Simpler than having someone there. Less annoying when I work the vacuum (and not I can’t let someone do it when I am not there).Ditto for certain repairs.That said I will typically only do things that don’t require spending time learning or doing something right the first time or something that I only would need to do one time (so I would not do an ice maker for example).

  16. Paul Williams

    ok posting this reply again Francois because someone is maliciously marking my replies as spam …mmmmoriginal reply”I’m also a musician, “This little box is like a platform — you can play solo gigs, rehearse new parts in studio, compose on it, compensate for a missing member on stage, etc.” how exactly ?…. this box is a “mechanical turk” all the smarts are done “earlier” in the DAW. The example of me building this for $15 in 20min was just to demo that there is nothing here, I would not build it…..because I have the exact same physical/electrical functionality of “the box” from 2 tiny and cheap items I already use. 1. a 3inch Y splitter cable, takes a single stereo 1/4 input and splits it to two standard(mono) 1/4 output jacks(female).It came free with a uni-vibe/leslie-emul pedal that can drive two amps/cabs, available elsewhere for $5 approx.2. behringer p1 $30 on amazon($10 from reverbdotcom). basically a volume control that clips to my belt for my in-ear monitors(Dylans cue volume). So this is why I think this smells like a con to me(maybe over-exuberance is fairer to Dylan), the “box” gives the impression that there is something clever going on in there but there really is not much happening in there.So you probably have used a DAW like Pro-tools(as Dylan mentions) or Ardour(linux) ? I could go into detail for the non-musicians/recording-geeks here about why the Daw part of this system is not as trivial as Dylan conveys from the 2nd promotional video, but I’ve done enough to make you all “love me” already, as you know that’s why I do this…. right LE ;)Kisses all around and peace out for now ….even for Dylan :)”

  17. Paul Williams

    Checkout the Digitech Trio+ if you’re looking for a band in a box, no computer or DAW work….it just learns your songs and creates the parts for drum and bass. good demo below.https://www.youtubedotcom/watch?v=wKwqg0U7ZLU

  18. LE

    And to my other point not a great use (unless you enjoy it) repairing something that you will probably only need to do one time. Also something that is not mission critical (like HVAC is so the more you know about simple things the better).

  19. LE

    Doctors can be real dolts. Remember the old girlfriend I had Valedictorian of her high school, graduated medical school but didn’t know that you can’t heat up a pizza in the pizza box because she hadn’t been specifically taught that.Of course if you try to suggest any solution to a Dr. they will be total deer in headlights mode. The only doctors that would care or even understand are the ones that run big multi office practices. They tend to be more business minded. But even those don’t fully understand the concept unfortunately.

  20. LE

    William doesn’t do that. That is some other thing going on. He wouldn’t do it for a comment such as yours I am pretty certain of that.