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Comparing The Mixes: Nirvana 'In Utero' [Scott Litt Mixes vs. Steve Albini Mixes] [HD
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alerte338
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8th February 2013
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Comparing The Mixes: Nirvana 'In Utero' [Scott Litt Mixes vs. Steve Albini Mixes] [HD

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8th February 2013
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Thanks for posting this. I know Albini has his fans, but I don't get it. The key difference for me is that in Litt's mixes Kurt's vocals are clear and insistent as they should be. To my ears, the Albini mixes are dull, mushy and unbalanced, with the vocal inexplicably buried.

Perhaps it's a philosophical difference. When I hear a tune I don't want to visualize myself in some warehouse in Chicago. I want to go to some imaginary space defined by the music.

-R
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8th February 2013
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Yeah, I heard these a while back...if they're legit (questionable)...Albini's sounds like a faders up working mix that someone might've been given as a progress report--not an actual "intended for release" mix.
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8th February 2013
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It seems pretty thoroughly documented, and I'm not sure why anyone would go to all this trouble if it was not what they claimed. What would be the point?

-R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Thanks for posting this. I know Albini has his fans, but I don't get it. The key difference for me is that in Litt's mixes Kurt's vocals are clear and insistent as they should be. To my ears, the Albini mixes are dull, mushy and unbalanced, with the vocal inexplicably buried.

-R
I think the bigger and clearer vocals take the darkness out of Nirvana, which was one of the things that was appealing to me. Cobain's dry vocals buried in the Albini mixes sound like he's mumbling, which was part of the counterculture vibe that worked imo.

YMMV
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8th February 2013
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The comparison is botched because the Litt mixes are so much louder. Dude matched peak levels instead of RMS.
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Yeah, my mileage varies. I think a lot of the darkness comes from the nuances of Kurt's vocals. I heard Teen Spirit on the radio last night and the vocal was front and center, just audible enough to pick up everything you need without dwarfing the track. IMO, in Albini's mixes the singer could be anybody.

-R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubbaDub View Post
The comparison is botched because the Litt mixes are so much louder. Dude matched peak levels instead of RMS.
Just turn up the Albini stuff. The differences are clear at any volume.

-R
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8th February 2013
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Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Yeah, my mileage varies. I think a lot of the darkness comes from the nuances of Kurt's vocals. I heard Teen Spirit on the radio last night and the vocal was front and center, just audible enough to pick up everything you need without dwarfing the track. IMO, in Albini's mixes the singer could be anybody.

-R
Check out the a capella version of Teen Spirit on Youtube. The vocal production is so lame...Kurt was ashamed and compared it to a Motley Crue record. Especially on the pre-chorus (hello...), it's just awful, so much FX. Sure, the overall record still sounds great, but it would be pretty impossible for that not to be true given Cobain's talent.
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8th February 2013
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Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Just turn up the Albini stuff. The differences are clear at any volume.

-R
I'm not gonna try to level-match Youtube audio. The fairest comparison comes at about 9:30, during Pennyroyal Tea. I like Albini's version a lot more. Kurt sounds like Kurt.
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#11
8th February 2013
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Just remember, Kurt & co chose Albini for that sound.
They felt Nevemind was too polished, and would be more than okay selling less copies than Nevemind.
The label wanted two radio ready songs and had all apologies and heart shape box polished for mass consumption like junk-food.
I agree with the above poster, nirvana's essence was dark, and Albini suits the band to a tee
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With all due respect, Kurt was known for making bad choices. There's nothing "junk food" about Litt's mixes.

-R
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Originally Posted by RubbaDub View Post
I'm not gonna try to level-match Youtube audio. The fairest comparison comes at about 9:30, during Pennyroyal Tea. I like Albini's version a lot more. Kurt sounds like Kurt.
You don't have to level match for something like this. It's not a double blind test or anything. Just turn each one up to the point of maximum enjoyment and see what you like best. I guess I'm in the minority about this, and that's cool.

-R
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Well, to be fair, I think Nirvana was a terrible band with a great, solid drummer. So...YMMV...but, I hated the sound of Nevermind and Bleach before it worse...and really loved the SOUND of the singles of #3 (having never bothered to hear the whole album, I assumed it was all similar sonically), which I attributed to Albini...apparently incorrectly--though, obviously tracking is always a huge component. You couldn't make it sound good if he didn't do a good job tracking it.

But, those (Albini labeled) mixes are terrible. The "placeholder" chop/trem effect on the one--literally, sounds like a working mix-like "we're gonna do something psychedelic here come mix time". The only thing WORSE in that comparison is the horrible mastering. But, I don't know that the ME could be blamed since he was just trying to get fader up mixes to sit on the same record with actual professional open mixes. That would be a daunting task, so it's completely not fair to blame the ME for the "bad mastering" on the Albini mixes...listen to what he was having to match.
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8th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
With all due respect, Kurt was known for making bad choices. There's nothing "junk food" about Litt's mixes.

-R
And here I thought Kurt was known for being the best singer and songwriter of his generation. The main bad choice in question here was allowing the record company to force a bad radio sound on him just because he respected Litt's work with REM. Speaking of bad choices, Litt passed on producing Nevermind. Oops!
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Albini's were rough mixes weren't they? I don't think they'd really started mixing when DGC stepped in and blew the whistle.

The multitracks for Very Ape and a few others are availible online. They're great recordings, I think - ultimately the problem with In Utero was always going to be the music. Unless they expected Scott to somewhere turn a line like "Her milk is my sh-t, my sh-t is her milk. Dole Steak, Test Meat." into something sweeter, what they had was an extremely abrasive rock record.
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Originally Posted by Jazz Noise View Post
Unless they expected Scott to somewhere turn a line like "Her milk is my sh-t, my sh-t is her milk. Dole Steak, Test Meat." into something sweeter, what they had was an extremely abrasive rock record.
"He's the one who likes all our pretty songs...but he knows not what it means."
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Originally Posted by Jazz Noise View Post
The multitracks for Very Ape and a few others are availible online. They're great recordings, I think
I think Albini did a good job tracking the album - the sounds are far superior to Nevermind. However he basically botched the mixing, probably for stupid ideological reasons. Ludwig was able to improve them during mastering. The Litt mixes went a little too far in the other direction. There is a happy medium that exists between the Albini mixes and the Litt mixes.
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9th February 2013
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Originally Posted by RubbaDub View Post
I'm not gonna try to level-match Youtube audio. The fairest comparison comes at about 9:30, during Pennyroyal Tea. I like Albini's version a lot more. Kurt sounds like Kurt.
Yeah, if comparing, Pennyroyal Tea is the only fair comparison. And that being said, i was surprised at how small Albini made the guitars on that cut, especially considering he's a guitarist too. It's the biggest difference between those 2 mixes.
Litt's mix has the typical big wide full guitar sound going on, and cliche or not, I prefer them to Albini's if I had to chose the best mix to put on a album--by far. And that is coming from a drummer (hack guitarist).
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9th February 2013
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Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Kurt was known for making bad choices.

-R
Known by who to make bad choices?
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Originally Posted by Jazz Noise View Post
Albini's were rough mixes weren't they? I don't think they'd really started mixing when DGC stepped in and blew the whistle.

The multitracks for Very Ape and a few others are availible online. They're great recordings, I think - ultimately the problem with In Utero was always going to be the music. Unless they expected Scott to somewhere turn a line like "Her milk is my sh-t, my sh-t is her milk. Dole Steak, Test Meat." into something sweeter, what they had was an extremely abrasive rock record.
*Doll Steak
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Bookmarked to check out later.
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Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Well, to be fair, I think Nirvana was a terrible band with a great, solid drummer. So...YMMV...but, I hated the sound of Nevermind and Bleach before it worse...and really loved the SOUND of the singles of #3 (having never bothered to hear the whole album, I assumed it was all similar sonically), which I attributed to Albini...apparently incorrectly--though, obviously tracking is always a huge component. You couldn't make it sound good if he didn't do a good job tracking it.

But, those (Albini labeled) mixes are terrible. The "placeholder" chop/trem effect on the one--literally, sounds like a working mix-like "we're gonna do something psychedelic here come mix time". The only thing WORSE in that comparison is the horrible mastering. But, I don't know that the ME could be blamed since he was just trying to get fader up mixes to sit on the same record with actual professional open mixes. That would be a daunting task, so it's completely not fair to blame the ME for the "bad mastering" on the Albini mixes...listen to what he was having to match.
In other words, your taste was too bad to appreciate one of the last great innovations in rock. You ASSUMED it would be similar, why? You hate Nevermind - which is widely considered the best album of the '90s - this just means you have bad taste. Hate it if you want, just understand its your taste that sucks, not the bands music. I find it amusing when people bash an artist like this because as terrible as you think they were, their music is greater than anything you could ever hope to create. The worst thing Cobain ever fooled around with would have been the greatest thing you ever wrote. What a nauseating post . . .
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9th February 2013
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Cobain chose Albini as they wanted the opposite of the shiny, polished production of Nevermind.However, I read in an Albini interview that Cobain wanted to remix every track, not just the ones Litt ended up remixing.
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Originally Posted by Baraka View Post
<SNIP BY MOD>
I meant musical choices obviously. In-Utero is a classic. Albini's method was brilliant, and Scott Litt's contribution - though unnecessary - was executed well. The album is raw and beautiful at the same time, as Kurt intended. In no way was it trying to achieve a top-40 ultra-slick quality in either production or composition. Some songs are intentionally obtuse, others are decidedly brilliant. A purposeful departure from Nevermind - a massive selling number one album. They could have done the exact same sound and method, but instead went in an entirely different direction and went number one again. An absolute work-of-art. Like most great art, not understood by all but loved by many.

<SNIP BY MOD>
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Originally Posted by Hoffmanwantsgear View Post
Cobain chose Albini as they wanted the opposite of the shiny, polished production of Nevermind.However, I read in an Albini interview that Cobain wanted to remix every track, not just the ones Litt ended up remixing.
This is supposed to be true. According to Albini, they were satisfied with his work initially. Then DGC made it clear they hated the album and pressured them to rework it. According to Albini, they called him several weeks later and expressed some dissatisfaction with the work. Albini said he believed they were giving in to the pressure from DGC to produce a friendlier sounding work of some kind. DGC favored "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies" as singles so they wanted those to be reworked. At any rate, Cobain expressed satisfaction with whatever combination of mixes were finally released.
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In other words, your taste was too bad to appreciate one of the last great innovations in rock. You ASSUMED it would be similar, why? You hate Nevermind - which is widely considered the best album of the '90s - this just means you have bad taste. Hate it if you want, just understand its your taste that sucks, not the bands music. I find it amusing when people bash an artist like this because as terrible as you think they were, their music is greater than anything you could ever hope to create. The worst thing Cobain ever fooled around with would have been the greatest thing you ever wrote. What a nauseating post . . .
Cause, yeah...taste isn't 100% personal. It's totally objective. I respect that there are people who were moved by his music. I was moved to turn the dial. But, more specific to the nature of THIS thread...I was intrigued by how much better the fidelity was on the singles of In Utero. Being a working engineer around that time...I'm always curious about sonics, even when the material is...Nirvana. The "assumption"...MR ReadingComprehenionChallenged, was that the whole album (In Utero) had the same sonic qualities as the singles...which stood sonically in stark contrast to their previous work--which I had (wrongly apparently) credited to Albini.

Sorry to offend your thin skinned hipster *******'ness. You should look into why you're so easily nauseated.
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Also...do you have anything to actually say about the subject being discussed?
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Not if you want to die, which he did.
You dont know that. My understanding is that most people that attempt suicide dont really want to die - even those who are successful. That being said, he did put a shotgun in his mouth.

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Mustard on a sandwich is a horrible choice to me, but for another person its the choice they want, neither is wrong.


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Guys - can we really compare mixes that are up on yt? I mean, the audio quality is not always there.....
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Cause, yeah...taste isn't 100% personal. It's totally objective. I respect that there are people who were moved by his music. I was moved to turn the dial. But, more specific to the nature of THIS thread...I was intrigued by how much better the fidelity was on the singles of In Utero. Being a working engineer around that time...I'm always curious about sonics, even when the material is...Nirvana. The "assumption"...MR ReadingComprehenionChallenged, was that the whole album (In Utero) had the same sonic qualities as the singles...which stood sonically in stark contrast to their previous work--which I had (wrongly apparently) credited to Albini.

Sorry to offend your thin skinned hipster *******'ness. You should look into why you're so easily nauseated.
I comprehended exactly what you said - you assumed what In-Utero would sound like based on the singles but never listened to the entire album, problem? Apparently it is you who misunderstood what you read - I apologize that you didn't take the time to make sure you understood - I should have written less. It would have been more offensive if you spelled properly when insulting me and executed less grammatical errors. I believe you meant to say taste is "subjective". I found your narrow-minded and bitter opinion nauseating. Allowing yourself to focus on production instead of songs sickens me. I agree taste is "subjective", and I don't care for Blues at all, it doesn't suit my personal tastes, but I would never call Stevie Ray Vaughn a terrible Artist because what he happens to do doesn't suit my taste. Although it doesn't suit my personal tastes I recognize his talent. If I were to call him a terrible Artist because what he creates doesn't happen to satisfy my particular tastes that would be asinine, obtuse, ignorant and unintelligent. When a person can't recognize talent because it doesn't satisfy their personal tastes I find that nauseating - hence, the nausea induced by your opinions.
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