What does the PFL button do on an audio mixer? We’ll explain what the PFL button does, where you’ll typically find it on an audio mixer, when to use it, and how it compares to the AFL and Solo buttons found on other audio mixers.
Quick Answer: The PFL button allows you to monitor and check the level of a channel, pre-fader, via the mixer’s headphone output. Gain, compression, and EQ settings will affect what you hear, but the channel fader won’t.
Where Is The PFL Button On An Audio Mixer?
Typically, you’ll find a PFL button near each fader on your audio mixer. Depending on the mixer, the button can be found at the bottom of the fader track, by the on/mute button, or with the PAD button at the top of the channel strip in rare cases.
Not all audio mixers have PFL, AFL, or Solo buttons; it’s a feature you’ll start to see on midsize and larger mixers. The Yamaha MG10XUF, featured in the accompanying video, is the smallest audio mixer we know of with PFL buttons.
What Does PFL Mean?
PFL stands for Pre-Fader Level. When you press the button, your mixer’s level meter will show you the level of that channel before it gets to the fader. Gain, compression, and EQ are factored in.
Using PFL With Headphones & Multiple Channels
The PFL button will take over your headphone jack. Normally the audio mixer’s headphone jack sends you the same mix as the stereo output, albeit with independent volume control.
When you press the PFL button, you will only hear that channel through your headphones. You can click on multiple PFL buttons, which is helpful if you only want to hear all the mics for a drum kit or a group of vocalists.
How To Use The PFL Button
We often use the PFL button to set up a channel when the mixer is already live at an event, but we don’t want to interrupt the main stereo output.
- Connect an audio source to your channel (Channel strip controls zeroed/reset)
- Press the PFL button
- Make PAD, gain, compression, and EQ adjustments to achieve the desired level
- Turn on/unmute the channel
- Bring up the channel fader
Using PFL On Multiple Channels
As we mentioned earlier, you can activate PFL on multiple channels at once. You have to remember that you are hearing those channels pre-fader; no amount of moving the faders will change the mix in your headphones.
Therefore, what you hear is not an accurate representation of what is coming out of the speakers, as they are getting the main stereo mix which is affected by the faders.
PFL Vs. AFL
- PFL: Pre-fader level
Optimized for initially setting up the channel without interrupting the main mix.
- AFL: After-fader level
Great for working on the blend of multiple channels as heard in the actual mix.
PFL Vs. Solo
Solo is essentially the same as AFL, but it affects the stereo outputs on some mixers, taking over the front-of-house speakers too. PFL and AFL only ever affect the headphone output.
What Does PFL Button Do? Featured Equipment Pricing
- Yamaha MG10XUF Audio Mixer: https://currentprice.io/mg10xuf
- EV RE20 Microphone: https://currentprice.io/re20-black
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones: https://currentprice.io/beyer_dt_990
- XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
- TRS Cable: https://currentprice.io/trs_cable
- Mic Stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand
- Rode PSA1 Boom Arm: https://currentprice.io/boom_arm
What Does PFL Button Do? Audio Mixer Set Up Topics
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 0:20 – Pricing & Specs
- 0:35 – PFL Button Location
- 1:12 – What Does PFL Mean?
- 1:22 – PFL & LED Meter
- 1:35 – PFL & Headphones
- 1:55 – Using PFL on Multiple Channels
- 2:15 – How To Use PFL Button
- 3:24 – How To USE PFL On Multiple Channels
- 4:17 – PFL vs AFL
- 4:59 – PFL vs Solo
- 5:28 – Final Thoughts