I can't speak to the compressor, but the limiters in inexpensive portable recorders usually are all digital, aren't all that great, and will raise the noisefloor noticeably if you're recording quieter music. For what you're recording, I'd avoid it.
Hmmm, So "don't touch it its evil..." [Time Bandits]
But I should consider outboard at some point possibly or just keep level low enough as I been doing & roll the dice?
If I switched to an F4/8 then that would be a different story I suppose.
The F4/F8 have digital limiters as well. For real quality limiting without adding noise, analog limiters are going to be superior, but you'll typically find them only in the expensive pro-level recorders and preamps, or obviously in a dedicated outboard limiter. Around 2:30 or so in this video
, there's a decent explanation of analog vs. digital limiters.
I wouldn't roll any limiters for what you're doing, just set levels reasonably. If you get a recorder that is capable, run a set of -12 dB safety tracks instead of a limiter. If you absolutely must
use the limiter, set it to a fairly high threshold so it doesn't activate until you're getting very close to 0dB. But personally I would avoid it altogether. For any music with a wide dynamic range and a quiet background, if the limiter does
engage, you'll probably hear it, unless it's a very good analog limiter.
The music I record often has a wide dynamic range, and I never use limiters. I do run safety tracks if I have the extra channels available, but even if I don't I just set the levels conservatively and can count on one hand the number of times I've had any clipping in a concert recording, outside of applause when the mics have been close to the audience.
Check out the "O Fortuna" and "Jai Ho" tracks from this concert
. I set levels from the rehearsal run, and backed off just a bit from there because people play louder in front of an audience. The safety tracks were running, but not needed.