It’s all in the mix. Have been there learned it the hard way.
It does not matter if the mix sounds good if the gainstaging and frequency seperation is faulty. A good mix sounds good and is loud, but a mix that sounds good and your master gain is volatile / extensively dynamic IS not a good mix.
Best mixing tool is proper selection of patterns, envelopes and elements. Not EQ and compression.
What you describe is exactly what you get when your master bus dynamic is out of control. Mostly driven by dynamics of drums, as the poster above said you need to get rid of transient peaks.
You should completely delete the word mastering out of your head. It’s just a proxy, an excuse. A false hope. Mastering makes only sense after the mix is perfect. And then it’s like 3% sugar on top.
There is very good vid from mixbustv about loudness in mix and crest factor. Watch it, it’s sets everything straight clear.
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