You are absolutely on target by observing whether the speakers are farting/distorting. That's the one reliable key to know whether there's anything wrong with how strong a signal you're putting out.
There's also nothing wrong with using compression as part of the core of your sound. Once in a while you might want to switch it off for variety, and to hear whether your tastes and skills have changed over time; but it's all good.
Be sure to check out the FAQ linked in my sig, and that goes for the OP too.