some people like perlite..others dont..
personally, I cant stand the stuff..it floats to the surface as makes an ugly mess..
and I see no real benefit to its supposed "open and airy" characteristics..
I dont like sand either..IMO *that* is what gets really dense and compressed..
over the years, I have tried all the common mixes!
50/50 sand/peat..hated it..turned into concrete..
50/50 peat/perlite..hated it..the perlite is ugly, and I see no benefit to it..
and some other variations..
after 10 years of experimentation, I finally settled on my ideal media..and have been using it exclusively for maybe 6 or 7 years now..
I grow my plants in mini-bogs of pure peat: