In the past when recording was done to tape, the input gain level was adjustable on the recorder to optimize the S/N ratio, but not usually the output level on the phonostage (as opposed to its overall gain level). Some standalone CD-R recorder decks are configured like the tape deck model, such as my HHB BurnIT, which burns directly to CD-R disk, and some standalone phonostages do have volume controls. But most don't, and my Alesis MasterLink, which records everything to its internal hard-drive first and burns a disk afterward, has no input level control, seemingly without incurring harm (the digital levels of different tracks can be adjusted after they're ripped and before they're burned). So the output level of my phonoamp remains fixed (other than if I were to alter its overall gain level), as does the analog input sensitivity of the MasterLink, but everything seems to work out fine and metered recording levels are usually reasonable, however no audible problems ensue if the meter goes into the red or is on the lowish side, you simply normalize it digitally later. Since it's a professional machine, I assume this is OK, and that the digital situation is fundamentally different than in the case of magnetic tape recording.
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