What does the PRE button do on an audio mixer? We’ll explain where to find it, what it does, when to use it, and when to avoid it. We’ll also look at how the PRE/PRE FADE button compares to the POST/POST FADE button that you might find on other mixers.
Quick Answer: The PRE button on an audio mixer switches a channel’s aux from post-fade to pre-fade operation. This dictates whether or not the aux send is affected by fader adjustments for that channel.
Where Is The PRE Button On An Audio Mixer?
PRE, aka Pre Fade, buttons are typically located near the aux controls on each channel strip; you should find that each channel has its own PRE button.
How Does The PRE Button Work?
There are two things you need to do in order for the PRE button to work.
- Set the gain for the channel
- Turn on or unmute the channel
The PRE button toggles the state of the aux send from being post-fade to pre-fade. What does this actually mean?
Imagine you have the channel fader set to zero/unity, and an aux send level dialed in for a monitor channel. By default, any adjustment you make to the channel level will affect the monitor channel too.
If you press the PRE button, the aux send level for the monitor channel will not be affected by any changes you make to the main mix when adjusting the channel level.
When To Use The PRE Button?
Pre-fade is really useful for setting up monitors in a situation where the front-of-house mix is constantly changing, but the performer doesn’t want to be affected.
Background vocalists are a great example of where this is useful. Their vocals may be prominent in the mix of some songs and buried in others. Irrespective of the front-of-house mix, they need to hear themselves in their in-ear monitors at a consistent volume to make sure they’re singing in key.
When To Avoid Using The PRE Button?
Avoid using the PRE button on any aux that you need to accurately track what’s happening in the main stereo mix.
Let’s say you have a dedicated aux for your live stream; you want it to track what’s happening in the room, with perhaps one or two slight modifications. You can set different levels for your live stream but keep everything relative to the main mix.
PRE Vs. POST Buttons | What’s The Difference?
On some audio mixers, everything we have spoken about is reversed; by default, the channels are pre-fade. These mixers have a POST or Post Fade button to toggle the pre/post behavior of the channel.
So, they essentially do the same thing, just the other way around. It varies by manufacturer, much like Yamaha mixers have “On” buttons while Mackie mixers have “Mute” buttons.
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