"Set it and forget it" I do that on everything I record. Then fix it in post. Try it , Brian.
me too. I don't even check levels. Never went wrong.
I typically do "set it and forget it". I'm not a levels rider. The issue, in this case, is the "set it" part. I've always had the flexibility to guess levels in advance, and then make a quick, one-time adjustment (with no noise artifacts) at the start of the performance. So how do you set your initial levels? Just guesstimate pre-performance and don't adjust during the actual recording no matter how far off you are?
I record everything from ambient nature sounds to unamplified small group vocal performances to amplified acoustic music to painfully loud amplified club shows. And, sometimes, there's no telling quite where on the loudness scale the volume may fall -- I've been to club shows where the talkers next to me overwhelm the music sound source, or an amplified acoustic show that makes me glad I have my earplugs. This is one of the main issues: unexpected variation in sound source volume. The other is minimizing gear-related noise and avoiding clipping for unamplified performances with large dynamic range.
For a standard club show, I could be off as much as ~30 dB (for example, plan for a quiet show and end up having it much, much louder, or vice versa). Obviously, I could always err on the side of caution, setting levels very conservatively. For unamplified sources with large dynamic range, I could be off even more.
I suppose once I use my new gear enough, I'll be able to guess reasonably closely and adjust in post...all the while prepared to deal with exceptions on the fly, if absolutely necessary.
At any rate, if I have a defective recorder, I want it repaired or replaced under warranty either way.