Recording Bit Depth and Gain


I have a question about getting the most from a recording. I just recorded a mix using a line input from a mixer into my soundcard and recorded in audacity. The default setting was 44100 / 32 bit. When I export this file to wav or mp3 will there be sound loss or playback issues if I down scale to 16 bits? Also I noticed that audacity recorded the mix at around -6 dB which is ok when I turn up my speakers on playback. Should I add an Amplify effect to bring the gain up closer to 0 dB? I noticed during quiet passages the volume was too low and overall the mix had some headroom(?) for loudness. Any advice here will be greatly appreciated.

MP3s will be worse quality than 16 bit WAV.
16 bit 44.1 kHz is CD quality, so unless you started with an extremely good quality recording, then down’sampling from 32 bit to 16 bit should not produce any noticeable change in sound quality. Try it and see if you or your friends can tell the difference.

Amplifying from -6 dB to 0dB should make no noticeable difference other than being a bit louder - though it is generally better to keep everything a little under 0dB to ensure that nothing clips ( -0.1dB should be fine, or -0.3dB to be ultra safe).

Thank you for your input. I found windows (maybe the drivers) was recording at higher levels. Also seemed to clip so much easier. Using Linux and Audacity now and the sound is recording differently. More stable but lower input levels it seems. I’ve added Amplification and the mix seems spot on. Now I have to figure out the optimal settings from the mixer to get the levels I want. Oh, I down sampled to 16 bits wav and mp3 to check the sound and they both were very good. Minus the limitations of mp3 format. You are right I couldnt tell any difference in 16 bit vs. 32 recording.