Best recording format for use on CD

I’ve been using this excellent program for a while now. I’ve realised that the default Audacity recording format is 44.1KHz 32 float, but I think CD format is 44.1KHz 16bit integer. If this is correct, there would be a conversion if I exported to a .wav file for the CD. Would it be better to avoid this by recording 16 bit (this option doesn’t mention integer, but I’m guessing it is as 32 bit mentions float)?

An added complication is that I usually export to FLAC as that is no data loss with compression, then create the CD from those.

That’s correct.

Yes there is, but the conversion is virtually lossless.
During production it is best to work in 32-bit float. This gives the best possible quality during the production process (better than working at 16-bit integer).

Best to set Audacity for 32-bit float, work in 32-bit float throughout, then export in whatever format you need (16 or 24 bit WAV or FLAC) at the end.

Clearly explained, thanks. Should I assume that converting my exported FLAC files to WAV will have no losses too?

I don’t follow what you mean.

I think that in an attempt to keep my original query simple, I made it muddled…

You have explained that recording as 32bit float then exporting to 16bit integer for wav or into FLAC format should not result in loss of data/quality.

What I actually do is to export to FLAC to store/play the file, then delete the Audacity file. If I decide to create a CD, I copy that FLAC file onto the CD with a tool like Linux Brasero, and it converts it to WAV/CD format (I think they are basically the same) as part of the process. I assume that process doesn’t cause any losses either.

Conversion from 16-bit FLAC to 16-bit WAV is completely lossless.
Conversion from 24-bit FLAC to 24-bit WAV is completely lossless.
Conversion from 16-bit E+WAV to 16-bit FLAC is completely lossless.
Conversion from 24-bit WAV to 24-bit FLAC is completely lossless.

Converting from 24-bit to 16-bit, you obviously lose 8 bits.

I wanted to check something and found this old thread from 3 years ago. Question answered. Reading this thread again, I realise that all my technical queries were answered factually and clearly and within 4 hours! I should have posted to thank you at the time.

You’re welcome :slight_smile: