MMMmmm... Dynamic Range. For peaks, it's perfectly acceptable to use a limiter. However, I'll qualify this quite a bit. Only on extreme peaks should the limiter be hit. Otherwise, you will want most musical peaks to remain under the threshold of the limiter. Personally, when I mixdown a live recording here are a few of the guidelines I use for dynamic range. 1. I like my room noise floor on the recording to average at around -65 - -70 dBfs. 2. I like my loudest selection to hit 0dBfs. Any "non-musical" peaks such as extreme cymbal crashes (not to say cymbals aren't music - simply, they can be excessively loud and if not tamed, can cause the recording to sound too soft. This goes for occassional BD hits, Tam-Tam, picollo, brake drum, etc.) may be limited or gain-riden down to a more moderate level. 3. I like my lowest sounding articulation to start as low as -50dBfs or lower. Of course, this seriously depends on the type of music. A disc full of Sousa marches just won't have this kind of dynamic range. The Mozart Requiem would have even more. In general, I try to make it sound as dynamic as the concert/performance. You would think this would be easy - set the volume so you don't clip and you're cool, right? Nope, a little bit of gain riding here and there is essential. Most the time that conductors sit in as producer, I constantly hear "can you make that section quieter?" Musicians under the influence of concert adrenaline will have a tendancy to make things louder than usual. Including pp sections that really need to be super soft. Very rarely do I ever use a compressor. Occassionally, I'll use it on wind ensemble/bands and just recently, I had to use one on orchestra. The pic was so forward and bright, I had to use a multi-band carefully tuned to tame her down. Other than that, minimal dynamic processors are required. I hope this helps. J.