Effusive thanks to @Stephen57, @stingray, @Manike and @svennilenni. I’ve now changed my signature as requested.
Thanks to the comments from you guys, I think I now know what I’ve done wrong. I suspect you’ll think I’ve been something of an idiot but I’m hoping you can help me understand what I OUGHT to do in future.
I’m using Cubase Elements 9 to record mono voiceover on a Macbook Air, mixing down and exporting the Wav file so that I can edit (and occasionally mix with music and/or FX) on an iMac with a rather bigger screen.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that my audio track was showing a lower meter level than the Stereo In track. I thought this was a problem and realised it was due to the stereo pan setting. I changed it to 0dB, after which the levels were then the same. Perhaps I should have left well alone.
As I’m recording in mono and find it easier to edit in mono if I’m not throwing music or FX into the mix then, as Stingray suggested, I HAVE been doing a mono mixdown. That seemed to make sense to me. But when I took a look at the statistics for a perfectly recorded track exported in mono and stereo, it became clear that the mono one adds 6dB whereas the stereo does not.
Changing the Stereo Pan setting to -3dB now gives me a reimported file with the same sound level. Hurrah!
I feel daft, but still don’t quite understand what I should be doing in future. If I’m trying to record with a peak of between -6 and -4dB, presumably it’s the meter level of the audio track I’m recording on that I should be ensure doesn’t clip rather than the Stereo In track. Is that right?
Or should I leave the Stereo Pan setting at 0 and only export in stereo? It’s not easy, though, to turn it back into mono is it (though I can do it in Audacity). It’s not a biggie but if I AM only in mono, it seems simpler to stick to that.
Presumably exporting a Wav file IS the best way of moving an audio track to work on on another computer.
Many thanks for your assistance, guys. How nice to find such helpful people before I tore out too much of my hair!