From the manufacturer:
The PAF Pro® was created when chops-intensive playing was first starting to happen, and high-gain amps and rack systems were becoming popular. A pickup was needed that combined a lot of presence and “cut” with an open-sounding PAF® vibe. The transparency of its sound lets the PAF Pro® slice through heavy processing, where darker-sounding pickups get lost in the mud of the effects chain. Low notes have both snap and chunk, and there is a spike in the mid-range that gives the pickup a subtle “aw” vowel sound, like a wah-wah pedal stopped in the middle. Treble response is tweaked to produce highs that stand out without getting brittle. The PAF Pro® makes an outstanding neck pickup in almost any guitar, and it’s an exceptional bridge pickup when high output isn’t required.
This is a great building block pickup, because it's effective in many different situations. Try it in the neck position with a hotter bridge pickup — anything from a Norton® to an X2N® will create a good two-humbucker match. As a bridge pickup, it's really effective with single-coils, because it won't drown them out with too much power, and it's bright enough to blend in tone-wise.
Best videos/sound clips:
Here is a very thorough look at the DiMarzio PAF Pro neck pickup. Skip to 2:22 to hear it on a clean setting, sporting a very round sound with accentuated highs that sparkle and cut nicely. You can even split the coils for a slinkier sound with greater treble response and a low-output strat sound (3:24). On a medium gain setting, the PAF Pro has a nice growl to it, breaking up naturally while remaining extremely articulate and clean. Tap the coils and you'll add even more brilliance to the tone. This pickup really shines in a high-gain context, boasting a creamy lead tone that is extremely present and perfect for shredding (7:10). If you tap the coils you'll get an even crisper sound with more percussive edge (8:25). With the PAF Pro, you will have no problem getting into virtuoso territory, with a tone that is ideal for alternate picking, fast passages, and sweep arpeggios (listen at 10:35). The coil tap feature (12:30) gives you even greater response to sharp pick attack with amazing precision and presence for lightning speed runs.
The player is Lucas Fowler and he is using a PRS Tremonti through a Mesa Mark IV combo.
This clip briefly compares the ESP LH-200 neck pickup to the DiMarzio PAF Pro. At 0:14, you can hear the PAF Pro on a clean setting, sounding a little fuller and clearer than the LH-200 (0:00 - 0:13), with brighter treble frequencies and greater clarity. In a high-gain context (0:30) the PAF Pro is a little more expressive than the LH-200 (0:23 - 0:30), with a sound that is much fatter and present for a liquidy lead tone. This is a great example of how swapping out a stock pickup can really work wonders for your tone at a very minimal cost.
The Player is Иван Сыромятников and he is using an ESP Eclipse I guitar through a Line 6 POD HD pro.
This clip demonstrates both the DiMarzio PAF Pro bridge and neck pickups. Listen from 0:00 - 2:45 to hear the bridge pickup's clean tone. It definitely has a lot of sparkle with crystal highs and warm lows. Chords sound incredibly rich and full and each note is brilliantly articulated. The neck pickup (2:50 - 5:00) has plenty of low end and shimmering highs for a nice scooped sound that is fat and punchy. On a high-gain setting (5:30) the PAF Pro bridge has a tight aggressive sound that manages to stay pretty clear and detailed despite the amount of gain dialed in. I would say that in this demo, the gain is a little too hot -- making the tone sound a little muddy and fizzy; however, it's still pretty easy to see that the PAF Pro does a fantastic job compensating for the wall of saturation, cutting through with great presence and edge. Listen to the neck at 9:30 and you'll hear its incredibly smooth saturation and harmonics that make for a killer lead tone. This pickup set is ideal for progressive players who need to cut through the mix with soaring leads.
The player is using an Ibanez Jem copy through Guitar Rig 5.
This video showcases the amazing lead tone you can get with the DiMarzio PAF Pro bridge pickup. For tasteful players like Joe Satriani or John Petrucci, it's important to have a pickup that is warm, responsive, and musical; the PAF Pro bridge pickup has all three characteristics, and more. With its round sound, you will be able to get a full-bodied tone that sounds thick and smooth for creamy sustained leads. There is plenty of high-end shimmer to cut through any mix and upper harmonics shine with a musical and bell-like quality. The PAF Pro is not a very forgiving pickup, however, since every note played is incredibly articulate and clear as day.
The player is using a handmade G-Lutherie Stat and his signal chain is as follows: Strat > tube screamer > radial tonebone plexitube > handmade 15W Vibrolux amp.
The PAF Pro neck pickup gives you access to fat clean tones and melodic leads. Jump to 1:25 to hear how it sounds clean. It has pretty pronounced lows and highs for a warm scooped sound that actually makes for a pretty decent blues tone with plenty of honk and chime. Jump to 3:35 to hear the kind of tone this pickup was really designed for. With some tube saturation and delay in the mix, you'll get a lead tone that is unmatchable. The PAF Pro has such an expressive character that enables notes to jump out of the amp and sing with melodic harmonic overtones, endless sustain, and smooth bell-like qualities -- coloring the tone in a very musical way.
The player is Артем Джанаев and he is using an Ibanez RG2550 through a rack effects unit.
There is no way better way to demonstrate the incredible responsiveness and precision of the PAF Pro bridge pickup than by playing a Dream Theater song. Just listen to how each note slices the through mix with amazing attack and bite. The PAF Pro has this edgy quality that adds definition and punch to each note for a dynamic and percussive sound. Whether you are playing articulate chords or alternate picking up and down the fret board, the PAF Pro will respond to your playing in the most accurate way.
The player is Jerie Mubayyin A and he is using an Ibanez RG550 through a Line 6 POD HD500.