My initial noise and listening tests were through the RIAA path.
I was running the front end at maximum gain which, according to my quick calculations, was about 6 dB too much for the flat path.
The RIAA EQ's path has the 75µs passive pole first.
Based on the gain structure its almost impossible to overload the EQ'd path.
One thing you learn quickly about RAW, flat, recording is that you need a lot less gain than you think you do.
A good rule of thumb is 20 dB less than a typical, 1 kHz RIAA-EQ'd gain.
That's often not enough headroom particularly if you want to leave a little room to reproduce lower-level clicks.
For the MM preamp I chose -23 dBFS.
If you're doing flat recording, the best way to determine gain is to work backwards form the converter overload point.
My two A/Ds are 2V RMS and 4 VRMS.
The PCM-EVM is 4V RMS.
I lowered the gain by 6 dB so that the total flat gain is 62 dB and made a recording of "Southside of the Sky" from Yes' Fragile album.
The reduction in flat gain can be compensated for on the RIAA EQ board at the post-EQ gain makeup stage.
"Southside of the Sky" is the last cut on the A-side of a 47 year-old disc I've played a million times.
The peak level was about - 1dBFS so I actually need even less gain.
Just for grins I decided to run Spek on the RAW, pre-emphasized flac file.
I'll apply some EQ to this file in DSP so our ears don't burn out listening to it and post a short segment.