Nirvana pressings

Anyone done careful comparisons of different nirvana pressings? Are the new elusive disc pressings better than original pressings? I have the simply vinyl geffen 180gm uk pressing with the gold label sticker and it sounds very good but i am wondering if something out there might be even better? Probably looking for a pressing that captures the "dirt" of their sound. Something not "overproduced" maybe...
I bought the Bleach re-issue and all the Geffen re-issues. They're great on vinyl, and were my only option.

But Nevermind should of offered a stripped down version. They didn't.


Did you have a chance to compare your reissues with any pressings from the early original releases?

I have a "simply vinyl" 180g "made in uk" pressing of "nevermind" and wonder if one of the early releases, the original release, would sound better?

I thought maybe someone out there has done this comparison already and could shed some light.
I've been thinking of picking up the Bernie Grundman-mastered reissues put out by ORG, but I haven't. My only other ORG record(TV on the Radio's "Return to Cookie Mountain") is great. Great sonics, great pressing. I think that's mastered by Chris Bellman at Grundman's mastering place. Anyway, I'd be pretty surprised if the ORG Nirvana records weren't good.
Well, bernie is getting on in years. They say hearing starts dropping off naturally at 40. Plus I'm not sure i'm a big fan of the tannoy speakers he mixes with. Cant remember if they are old or new or golds or something. I think i'll get an original nevermind lp and compare it with what i've got.

Sometimes 180g records can sound too damped? it can depend on the genre of music. For example bob dylans live 66 sounds very wonderful to me. Quiet lp, harmonica sounding out of a pretty blackness, you hear the hall and its so fresh and supple.

I have experienced 120gm lps that sound great too, sometimes i imagine because they are thinner and less damped they can come across as more energetic or lively or something, maybe someone knows what i mean, then you hear the same lp on 180 and its too prettied up or something.

Sometimes they'res nothing like a original. Just hear it the way it was released and enjoy.

My experience has been that for the most part 1st pressings of the music from the artists country of origin are the best.

For me uk and usa do the best job of pressing records. Japan is good too but i think theyre reputation is a bit overhyped. A bit...!

Mastering in one system then listening in your own is a very slippery endeavor. Results will vary i'm sure.

With that said....any hardcore fans out there who can comment?

I feel so sorry for cobain. I wish he could have found a happy family life with his daughter and worked things out with courtney love. Pain and drugs are a deadly mix. Such a tragedy that in this day and age that he saw no alternative. I think he was a pretty good guy with some problems thats all.

He had artistic success, money, a daughter, a wife, he was peaking in his career...damn those drugs!

I have the ORG pressings and they are very good. There is a review of these on "The Audio Beat" web site I believe.
I have the standard US pressing of Nevermind and also the Mofi one.

Both are good, however the US pressing captures the grunge essence better.

save some $$ and buy an original US pressing
Thanks stickman451. I read those reviews.

I'm confident they ORG reissues will sound good but would still be curious to see if someone preferred the originals to them. I dont expect any definitive conclusions but would like to hear some discussion on it maybe. Any big nirvana fans out there who just had to know and made some comparisons?

Listening to nirvana unplugged new york dvd sounds amazing too! Its such a sparse arrangement that it comes through sounding so clear and fresh, when i watch it in the dark, through my system...i really feel like i'm there! the visual plus the sound combined make it spellbindingly good!

I'm guessing that maybe "bleach" could be improved on in a re release [because it was done with a small budget] but those other originals, it might come pretty close because those were pretty big budget processes that spawned those pressings and the tapes were super fresh, they must be quite good already. I'm sure theyre both very good and more importantly the music on them is so good!

I've heard from people who have one copy anyone have the two?
Thats what i wanted to know! Thanks man. Looking for the "dirtiest" sound!

Is the mofi thicker? I ask because i wonder if your results had to do with the vta change if in fact the mofi is thicker? I know i'm getting really extreme here but this could make a difference and i would be curious to know.

PS. I was born in whyalla SA [smile]!
[live in vancouver canada now]
I've heard the Simply Vinyl version of Nevermind, and own a dutch original pressing of same album, and the original pressing is superior by a fair way.
Thanks...soundfan. If anyone has info please feel free to comment. Rock on nirvana...
I have:

1.) Original Geffen USA pressing "masterdisk" etched in dead wax of Nevermind, bought day after release

1a.) "320" EU pressing of "Nevermind"

1b.) ORG of "Nevermind"

Of these three (and all are good in their own way), I would have to give the slight nod to the ORG in terms of overall detail and clarity of bass HOWEVER...the original USA pressing has that magic of how it was supposed to sound, raw. The EU is also very good, I'm glad I have all three.

I had, and soon sold, the MoFi. Just awful, muddy. They go for way too much money.

2.) Original Dutch pressing of "In Utero"

2b.) ORG of "In Utero"

LOVE the ORG here. Great bass slam.

3.) USA black vinyl pressing of "Unplugged"

3b.) ORG of "Unplugged"

Both are winners, hard to distinguish as the recording is superb.
Jcoehler, thats great thanks! Great comparisons and info. I see you like to compare!

I think i've decided to get the original pressings from usa and leave it at that. Funny, that generally seems to be where you find the best versions.

1.original pressing
2.from the country of the bands origin.

If your looking to avoid a pressing that sounds overproduced I fear you will have to avoid Nevermind in general! Didn't Grohl say it had the production value of a Motley Crue record?

Not sure exactly what you mean. I think i might know what you mean but...Can you be more specific?

Its natural for bands to second guess the final product but you have to go with something and trust its for the best.

Do i think nevermind is too polite or too polished or too commercial? The way i answer that is to ask myself do i like the sound of the album or not?

I have to say i do! I think its best that some of the rawness was polished out to make for a more cohesive sound. If it was left more raw I dont think it would have that sonic quality to make it a timeless classic.

I think it was a huge mistake for cobain or any of the band members to get hung up on this or for them to think they compromised to the 'establishment' or whatever.

Their artistry is their in spades and the mixing or mastering cant take that away from them.

If cobain did get hung up on it, it just shows that he was an idealist and young and if he didnt take his life but got past his issues he would have realized that he created something that transcends genere's or petty arguments about mixing or mastering. That record he made goes way beyond that. The only thing he should take away from that record is pride! Not guilt or shame. Pride.
It's really not that suprising the band was ultimately unhappy(to a certain degree) with the final product. There's a pretty telling video on YouTube that has Butch Vig talking about how he got Cobain to do certain things that he really didn't want to do during the recording sessions. In some instances he had to be down right mendacious to achieve the sound he thought Nevermind should have. If that doesn't qualify as over production I don't know what would.
I think that is what motivated them to get Steve Albini for In Utero. Of course their admiration for his band Big Black and his recording of The Pixies' Surfer Rosa amongst many other recordings was probably motivation as well though.
So they went with albini on the next album. Albini would not even take a royalty! but rather took a flat rate fee for his work. I think that is pretty amazing! especially in lieu of the massive success of their previous album! He must have known how much less money he was going to make. That is someone really sticking to what he believes in and not selling out his beliefs for the almighty dollar. I'm very impressed.

I respect that but in my opinion i have to respectfully disagree with him as to the role a producer has in the collaboration in the making of a record.

I see the studio as a 'instrument'. When you play any record you are in fact hearing that instrument being used. It has a significant effect on the final sound of a record. The producers role i think is to take a band bring a vision of the record and bring that into being.

His job is to aid, abed and yes sometimes push the band. Sometimes producers and bands have heated disagreements about the direction a producer is taking the record in. Daniel lanois, bob dylan and 'time out of mind' come to mind. There were some heated discussions between lanois and dylan out in the parking lot about the recording of that album! If you listen to that hear lanois's fingerprints all over that album but...that is a great dylan album. 'Not dark yet' from that album happens to be one of my all time favorite dylan songs. It is brilliant and has a wonderful 'sound'. That track is a wondeful collaboration of two genius's in their own field of talent.

From what i gleaned off the internet, apparently on 'nevermind' the producer would 'trick' cobain to make another take on vocals because that was the only way he could get him to 'double' some of the vocals.

I see THAT as the producer exercising his experience and vision about what works and what doesnt. Its not a sin to have a vision for a record.

Was cobain difficult to work with because he was a user? I know users can be more irritable than they normally would be if they werent. Making a second or third take probably seemed like an irritating task to him? He had to trick him to get it. But all the producer i think was trying to do is work and carry out his vision of making what he perceives to be a great sound.

Nirvana are not producers. I dont think i would like to hear a record they produced all by themselves.

I would venture to say that every produced record is the producers take on what the record is about in sonic terms.

In response to nevermind they went with albini. Was cobain now satisfied? Would a producer who 'got out of the way' make them happy? Did they like what he created?


It is said they initially were happy but when cobain brought it home and listened he felt something was missing.

I have listened to the albini mix off you tube and it is a different alternate perspective on the songs. I found it a 'pleasure' to listen to in that it was nirvana! and it was a different interpretation of the same songs i got to know differently. All the songs do in fact sound like the producer has gotten out of the way but to me the albini mix doesnt point the album in any direction. The songs to me sound like they lack focus and at some level fall a bit flat, like they dont get their point across clearly.

I prefer the polished version of the album. It is still raw and angry and explosive and hard sounds ...complete and ....whole!

So, producers and the studio are very important tools i think, i would say they play an extremely important role and the contributions of a talented producer are priceless. They do deserve a royalty since in one sense they are carrying out their own artistic vision of what the record is about but within the context of the life the songs themselves have.

They hear the potential of the song and try to let that potential flourish?

How bout the analogy of a diamond cutter? He takes the raw stone and releases its inherent brilliance and beauty!

I wonder if i'll like how the original pressings sound? I find the simply vinyl pretty good but maybe a bit prettied up. I dont want a Nirvana record that is 'pop' but i dont want one that doesnt 'say anything' either. Somewhere between those two extremes will be nice.
I pulled the Albini snippet below from Wikipedia so take it however you want to. I think it gives a pretty clear idea of Albini's recording philosophy and might point towards why Nirvana used him after the Nevermind recording experience if they were in fact unhappy with it. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with any of Nirvana's recordings and enjoy them all because after all they are great records and the music is excellent. I was fortunate enough to see them during the In Utero tour a few months before he did himself in.

"In Albini's opinion, putting producers in charge of recording sessions often destroys records, while the role of the recording engineer is to solve problems in capturing the sound of the musicians, not to threaten the artists' control over their product. In 2004, Albini summarized his opinions regarding record producers: "It always offended me when I was in the studio and the engineer or the assumed producer for the session would start bossing the band around. That always seemed like a horrible insult to me. The band was paying money for the privilege of being in a recording studio, and normally when you pay for something, you get to say how it's done. So, I made up my mind when I started engineering professionally that I wasn't going to behave like that." (Young, 2004)."
***I was fortunate enough to see them during the In Utero tour a few months before he did himself in.***


***putting producers in charge of recording sessions often destroys records****

True, but not having producers in charge often destroys records too in that they dont let the songs and the album be all that they can be.

I guess there's two camps out there? One camp prefers the kind of raw underground unpolished non establishment sound while the other is a little more mainstream.

Is punk about rejecting the establishment? Did cobain have a inner struggle as to whether the mastering and mixing was producing a 'sound' that accepted the establishment or rejected 'the establishment'?

I dont think even cobain was aware of how great this music was. That it transcended the one dimensional 'f the establishment' tiresome mantra.

The mixes and mastering that ultimately THE BAND allowed to go to press , i think, capture BETTER the greatness of the songs and the deeper meanings and sophistication within them. In my opinion THEIR sound made this music for the world and not just for a small sub culture.

In this sense the world REALLY could have lost something due to mixes and mastering! Thank God we didnt!