I've been selling a throat microphone that I created specifically for beatboxers and vocal percussionists for the past 12 years. I've recently completely redesigned it and it's crazy awesome, but I need your help to raise money to produce the new model.
WHAT IS THIS THING? I created the first Thumper throat microphone in 1998, because I needed one for myself. I was a vocal percussionist (or beatboxer) in a touring a cappella group and I wanted a better way to get good sounds on stage. My friend (and vocal percussionist) Wes Carroll and I were chatting about the method he was experimenting with, which was using two handheld mics on stage at the same time (one in front of his mouth and one up against his throat). He asked me, "Could you just make a microphone that strapped around your neck?" SURE CAN!
The first Thumper (TH10) was made from a piece of my roommate's backpack strap with a cut-up guitar pickup hand-sewn into it. I sliced my thumb open trying to open up that guitar pickup (and have since burned myself plenty of times with the soldering iron). I tried it out and it worked! I then went on to refine and refine and was able to start selling them (TH60) to people in the beginning of 2000.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT IN THIS NEW MODEL (TH100)? The previous Thumper models were all analog and had one fixed low-pass filter in it. This new design utilizes digital signal processing (DSP) and allows me to program the Thumper to have various layers of filters, EQ, compression, bass enhancement, and more. There will be DIP switches to allow the user to switch a few of the settings, as well as a push-button mute switch for muting on stage. I have also selected a new belt-pack enclosure for this new model. It is more rugged than previous models and even includes a silicone "boot" (like an iPhone bumper) to protect your Thumper belt-pack from harm. WHAT COULD YOU DO WITH A THUMPER? The most common use for the Thumper throat microphone is to amplify throat sounds when doing beatboxing or vocal percussion. Bass singers can use it too! A performance artist in NYC is using his to amplify the sound of his own pulse! WHOA! Strap it on the end of a didjeridu, great low tones! I can even program it for your own custom use (the reward for $500 donation).
IT LOOKS FAMILIAR, WHERE HAVE I SEEN IT? Dozens of vocal percussionists and beatboxers around the world already use Thumper throat microphones. The Thumper has also been seen on the NBC prime-time TV shows The Sing-Off and America's Got Talent (by approximately 20 million people, but who's counting??)
WHY I NEED YOUR HELP I have the new TH100 circuit design already done, the next step is to make the PCB (printed circuit boards). I need to make a run of 50 or 100 to really make it happen. The parts that get soldered onto this PCB are incredibly tiny (called Surface Mount Technology), much smaller than the previous Thumper circuits. These need to be assembled using a computerized machine, and you need to do that in batches of like 50 or 100.
The goal set for this project is just the minimum of what I need to make a batch of PCBs, purchase the tiny components (chips, resistors, capacitors, connectors, etc), and have the machines assemble all the parts onto them...I'm hoping we can blow past that minimum and really get this done nicely: imprinted logo/text on the belt-pack enclosures, waterproof shockproof Pelican carrying cases, and more.
You can help make a microphone! Do it now!
Thanks for all of your help, you guys rock!!
We hit our goal of $7,500 and actually surpassed it already! I reallllly would like to thank everyone who has pledged so far. Without your help, I would never be able to raise enough funds to produce these new Thumpers.
BUT WAIT!!!! WE'RE NOT DONE YET!!
IF WE CAN HIT $10,000 PLEDGED: I will provide free software updates to all Kickstarter TH100 owners through June 2012. The DSP programming in the new belt-pack is stored on an EEPROM chip, so installing software updates/fixes is not as simple as downloading a file. I will have to send out a round of new chips to owners, when the software changes. I did look into building in the ability to let users update the software on their own (using onboard flash memory, etc), but it really won't work easily with this DSP processor.
IF WE CAN HIT $12,000 PLEDGED: I will provide a free Pelican water-proof carrying case with every Kickstarter TH100 I ship.
NOW THAT YOU'VE GONE OVER THE GOAL, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? The extra money will be used for:
- CNC Machining and Silk-Screening of the Belt-Pack Enclosure: I've talked with the company making the belt-pack enclosures and they will customize the enclosures just for the Thumper needs. This means they will cut necessary holes in the enclosures and silk-screen lettering above the connectors, mute switch, etc.
- Purchase a USB EEPROM Programmer: In order to program everyone's belt-pack's, I need this device.
- Test Units: When I have the PCBs first manufactured, I will do a run of 4 boards first and have them hand-assembled. These are test units, to make sure everything is right before we make 100 of these (and then find out there's a problem). Since you only make a few, the per unit cost on these is pretty high, but VERY necessary.
- (60 days)