I have captured several pedals and found that the gain comes out hotter in most of them. Pedals used include boost, overdrive and distortion. None of them are “dimed” to max out distortion levels.
The Input 1 levels at the time of capture are below the red line but I am wondering if I should aim for an even lower value. I usually use P90’s or single coils. Is it helpful to use hotter pickups when trying to choose capture tones on the pedal or levels on the QC?
To capture a pedal, put the pedal in your signal chain and set its controls to get the tone you want in that context. The capture the pedal with the capture gain set to 9dB so that the capture has the same gain and volume as the pedal did in the signal chain where you set it up. The capture should reproduce the pedal settings in that context.
Note that if you use the capture block in a different context, with different blocks before or after, it will sound different. This isn’t necessarily bad, but might not be what you expect. You have limited control over the gain and tone of a capture after you’ve created the capture. See Capture Techniques - Quad Cortex Wiki for additional details.