caught between "put very little on mix bus - that's the mastering job, " and "make the mix sound as good as possible"


long title, but appropriate question. Say you're mixing a single. I hear two main thoughts out there to deliver the mix to a mastering house - 1. put as little effects on the mix bus, especially like saturation and compression.....that's the job of the mastering engineer. And 2. there's the thought that you want to make it sound as good as possible. What if, in order to make it sound as good as possible, you have to break rule 1? I'm just ignoring both rules, and making it sound as polished as it can in the mix, whether I use mix bus effects or not. The only thing I avoid on a mix bus is the limiter, because the master house wants a quiet mix of -24 LUFS anyway to give them headroom. No need for a limiter on my end.
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Send them both. They could listen to what you did and perhaps do the same but better.

Also, -24 dBFS seems awfully low. I wouldn't go out of my way to hit that mark. If they can't figure out how to deal with a file with -4 dBFS peaks, I don't know if I'd feel confident about sending them my stuff.
I'd also be wary of instructions like this - especially if youre not quite up to speed with the process. After all, if you have not hit maximum ever, then reducing the level is everyday stuff. Increasing it can raise the noise floor? Something is wrong.
All the mastering house wants is a mix that doesn't clip with enough dynamic range to allow the track to breathe. Some tracks don't need to breathe much while others need plenty of dynamic range. I'm sure that plenty of mix engineers use processing on the mix bus - especially if that processing is essential to the feel of the song, like pumping to the bass drum on a dance track.

It is always best to talk to the mastering engineer and find out what issues they hear with your tracks.
Send them both. They could listen to what you did and perhaps do the same but better.
This. Sending along a sample master along with the unmastered track can give your ME some valuable insight as to what you want them to accomplish.
Similar to how you might do a rough mix before sending it off to a mix engineer.

edit: typo