Pretty much everything you hear in popular music has been through more than one stage of compression. During mixing, it's pretty common for vocals to be run through two compression stages, with one being a low ratio, longer time constant compression to smooth things out, and the other being a higher ratio, shorter attack and release compressor (or a limiter - the line between the two is blurry) to reign in peaks. Vocals are usually highly dynamic sound sources. And it's common in mastering for a compressor (maybe variable mu or some other "glue" type compressor) and a limiter to be used, gently in both cases.
There are two aspects of compression that affect the quality of the results: the algorithm and the settings. While some algorithms have advantages and disadvantages in certain situations, as leftaroundabout says, it's more likely the settings that are to blame if something sounds worse after compression. Learning to use compression in a way that makes things sound better instead of worse can take years.
Regarding your exact situation, I suggest you stop normalizing. That's rarely a process that makes things better. I'm not sure what you mean by changing your SSD card, but it doesn't sound like anything that would affect the quality of your audio at all either way. Having been in your shoes I recommend looking for a look-ahead peak limiter plug-in. Waves L1, L2, or L3, Izotope Ozone, and Massey 2007 are popular examples. These will automatically help you increase the volume in the correct way, which is by increasing the input gain on a compression/limiting stage, not by normalizing.