[…] you never want to process a file that is clipping. That should be one of a few of every audio engineer's maximes. Dare I say, it should be one of those principles of life - only use quality material for further processing in order to achieve a quality result.
...under headphones you will hear your left speaker in your left ear and your right speaker in your right ear. All good? Well let me tell you that is not "natural" or rather is not how any living thing has perceived sound over the last millions of years. With speakers, you will hear both your left and right speakers in both your left and right ear, but in different volume and differently timed/delayed. This is called crossfeed, the left side feeds into your right side and vice versa.
"The year is 2030 and our musical lives are easier. Composing and producing doesn’t require us to be an expert in loudness units, know when to use an optical compressor or worry about gain staging. Intelligent DAWs have learned how to automatically mix our music using petabytes of cloud data, harvested from the best mix engineers around the world. Algorithms from the best mix engineers can instantly analyse the spectral content within our own recordings and offer world-class mixes at the click of a mouse[...]"
[...]by early on focusing on making a piece of music instead of being a perfectionist and creating that specific sound exactly like you have it in your head, you'll become a music maker instead of keeping on trying to perfect that one sound years later[...]