A lot of times, while mixing, I've come across plugins that will peak at the odd high transient or so and still not sound bad. Some analog modelled pre-amps also don't sound bad to the ear when peaking now and then. Is it safe to drive some plugins or let them clip now and then if you can't hear any problems OR is gain staging to be followed very strictly and no clipping should be allowed regardless of the plugins used as certain artifacts are still being introduced?
Not intending to mix it hot,but I always had the question is it always always a requirement that I never peak even accidentally and if some plugins emulate being run "hot".But yes, that answers my query. Gain stage as much as possible but trust your monitoring and ears. Thanks!