So everyone preaches “make sure the level isn’t too hot because of digital clipping”! While this is true, what I believe can be worse is a level too low. When your vocal signal is low it has a bad signal to noise ratio. Meaning when you compress the vocal to maximize it in the end, it will have a tremendous amount of hiss! This destroys recordings. You can try to use a noise reduction plug in but it takes a ton of frequencies out of the vocal that you need.
With that being said, lean towards a hotter level. No you don’t want it to go into the red, but if it goes into the red once or twice and there is audible clipping….I’ve used the plug in called izotope de-clipper and it has really done the trick. I have only really ever used it on recordings that I didn’t record because I pay close attention to levels while recording and redo the take if it digitally clips. I’m just saying that I have found that fixing clipping can usually be an easier fix than a bunch of hiss in your tracks!!