Emphasis is mine:
OK, a dumb question and i mainly want to confirm what I am doing is right. Say I am hooked up to a GT8 or a HD500 and I take my line outs into a R8. Where would you typically set the Output of the Effect processor and then set the input gains on the R8 to get a good signal. By raising input gains on R8 are you introducing distortion to the signal or purely raising volume of incoming signal. I know you should get target sound volume in to be ~-3dB right?I know at some point if you drive them up you will get clipping.
Hope I explained well enough the sitauation and curious to know what you guys do. I typically record over USB into reaper but i do like recording to R8 at times and using footswitch to switch on/off Record.
If they are true line-level outputs, then the input gain should be at or near the "line" (all the way down, counter clockwise). Most of the devices I own have "peak" indicators, and the instructions are that the peak indicator should just flicker on the loudest input signal.
Having a low level coming in, and using the recorder gain control control to boost it means boosting whatever noise is in the signal. That is, if the source box is putting out only -24dB peaks, and has an inherent noise floor of -48dB, and you feed that to the recorder, using the gain control to raise that (ie; microphone level) to -3dB, you've raised the noise to -27dB... But having a -48dB noise floor and a signal that is already at -3dB peak means no amplification of the noise.