A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
We are bringing the vacuum tube back at the fraction of the weight and size of a tube amp. This isn’t just a tube simulation circuit; it is the real thing with a 12AX7 tube.
Our goal was a rugged, great sounding “analog” Pre-Amp/DI designed specifically for the acoustic musician. But we wanted to add something special... a dedicated "real tube" circuit that will add a warm and inviting tone without unwanted signal compression. We did it.
The Ai ProTube is a great acoustic Preamp/DI all by itself but now you can also have the richness of a real “tube.”
Why a Tube? Acoustic musicians can pay thousands of dollars for a well-crafted and great sounding acoustic instrument. This great tone is often hijacked once the instrument is amplified because of the digital processing of today’s amplifying and recording equipment. The best available device for amplifying audio signals is still the vacuum tube. A tube provides the cleanest, most open, transparent, and musically enjoyable sound possible.
GMF Ai ProTube not only offers an incredible preamp and a real "tube" but is your all around portable solution for connecting your acoustic instrument into a sound source at home, in the studio, or on a gig from a coffee shop to even a stadium.
The Ai ProTube features:
acoustic preamplifier with active four band EQ including midshift
a DI XLR out to connect to a PA system
a line out for recording
an input gain control
a level out control
a mute switch and tuner out jack for silent tuning on stage
an effects send and return loop
a ground lift
a phase inversion switch
an overload indicator
24 volt high headroom preamp
and yes a 12AX7 tube circuit activated by a foot switch
If you don’t have a built-in pickup on your guitar or other acoustic instrument, no problem let us know and we will include a handcrafted transducer pickup to your order.
Listen and read what our road testers and reviewers are saying about the Ai ProTube:
Roger Eaton "Over the years I have tried a number of acoustic preamps. I thought a few of them sounded really good, that is until I had the opportunity to play through the Ai ProTube. Wow !! What a difference even to the point that FOH engineers were approaching me asking what my acoustic signal chain is. I could instantly hear a huge difference. For the first time I felt I could actually hear the sound that was inside the guitar, it actually sounded closer to what an acoustic should sound like standing in front of it and not just plugged in to a typical DI. Thanks Greg Farres for a great design in a bullet proof metal package." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️"
Jeffrey Douglas "I love the Pro Tube on my Acoustic guitar but I am using it on my dobro. It makes my dobro stand out in my mix and gives it a rich and fat tone. I love it. It's a great piece of gear."
Special thanks to super talented musician Zach Runquist for road testing our products and making the demos below. Zach is a songwriter and musician who has performed and recorded with many artists, including Lee Ann Womack, Craig Morgan, Lauren Alaina, Kristen Kelly & Sarah Darling.
Dan Carlton (DC Gear Reviews) "This unit instantly breathes life into your recording! I will come clean. I was skeptical that I would use this pre-amp, but Greg at GMF convinced me to give it a shot. I have been converted! I am a believer! :) I love my guitar, but the ProTube is bringing out lush overtones I haven't heard before". (We used his intro for our video! Here are two more clips; for the full scoop click review to go to his YOUTUBE review).
Michael Spriggs Check out session musician and producer Michael Spriggs on his Bouzouki, Baritone guitar and 2 more acoustic guitars.
Message from designer Greg Farres "Standing backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, I got a taste of what young musicians must feel like the first time they get to play there. At a sound check just before the show, Jimmy Capps, Nashville Cat and Opry house band guitarist played through one of my Ai ProTubes. He liked it so much that he went on to use it on the televised show that evening. He told me he would be taking it to Ryman as well. All the hours of design, testing and hardwork were validated in that moment. Needless to say I was very proud to impress one of the best of the best". (Greg Farres, Founder and owner of GMF Music)
How the Ai Pro Tube Compares The Chart below compares the Ai ProTube with some of the popular units currently on the market. As you can see there are two things that stand out. “None” of the competition is MADE IN USA and none of them includes a Tube Circuit. By manufacturing the Ai ProTube in the United States, we have quality control of suppliers, components and assembly. The Ai ProTube circuit brings out the genuine tone of your instrument which you just can't get without a tube.
The Power of Your Pledge: We need your pledge to begin full production of the Ai ProTube and with your support this will be our fourth successful Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter makes it possible to reach the best kind of backer, that special person who wants more and wants to be one of the first to have a new product or technology. Each pledge you make goes well beyond a mere transfer of goods; we want you to fall in love with your acoustic instrument all over again with the richness that only a tube offers.
Production: We are proud to say we can source most of the material in the United States. I will personally build and test each unit to be sure you have a quality piece of gear. I stand behind each product and our logo bears my name.
Fulfillment Plan: This will be our fourth Kickstarter campaign. Products from our first three campaigns were sent out promptly on schedule and are still used almost daily by professional musicians. We have had musicians road testing the Ai ProTube and I can say it was a proud moment when I got to see the Ai ProTube make its Opry debut just a few weeks ago. We will be posting more pictures of artists using the Ai ProTube and their comments. We are pretty excited that in June their will be 3 Ai ProTubes on stage at the Grand Ole Opry for at least two nights in a row.
Risks and challenges
What we've built already: Our team has over 37 years of manufacturing and design experience in the music industry. We've already built the core technology and tested it. We ran a successful Beta test using professional musicians then we started a larger test with more professional musicians. The risks and challenges were minimized through quality and rigorous field testing. We can confidently say that there is no technical risk left to the project.
Once we have achieved our goal and the Kickstarter campaign has successfully concluded, we can complete production and fulfill all rewards. We don't foresee any obstacles that won't be solved easily and we will personally communicate to our backers throughout the process. If delays occur, we will always be upfront about them, inform our community of our plan of action, and keep the regular updates coming.