Engineer Chris Shaw discusses recording the Goo Goo Dolls' Magnetic

InterviewMay 1, 2013Mix

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

The Goo Goo Dolls’ latest, Magnetic, has already yielded Top 40 single “Rebel Beat,” and the production’s blend of bright, pop band arrangements with anthemic rock vocals is bound to make the album a hit, as well. The first three tracks (including “Rebel Beat”) were recorded at Rewind, the former Quad studio that serves as the home base of producer Gregg Wattenberg. Engineering the sessions were John Alicastro and Chris Shaw, who sheds some light on the process:

“The songs were extensively demoed in Pro Tools by Gregg Wattenberg and [guitarist/vocalist] John Rzeznik,” Shaw says. “The arrangements were pretty complete by the time I was brought in to engineer. So, my focus was to re-record the parts that were demoed, and we would often use the demos as the starting point of the new master sessions. Mike Malinin, for example, was able to record his drum parts to an almost fully realized track, so we were able to tell what parts would work and which ones wouldn’t,” Shaw continues. “Over the course of the sessions, we would replace a majority of the demo tracks with live performances, and we would alter the arrangements if we had happy accidents along the way. A lot of the original demo parts also made it to the final master.”

Tracking to Pro Tools, Shaw made use of Rewind’s API 1608 board and a broad selection of mics and outboard. “Drums and [electric] guitars were recorded through a combination of Neve 31102s and API 512s and 550As,” Shaw says. “A key part of the drum sounds were a pair of PZM mics placed on the the far wall opposite of the drum kit and processed with an SPL Transient Designer to shape the decay of the room to fit the song. There were also quite a few guitars recorded direct using various amp simulators [Amp Farm, Guitar Rig] and processed heavily with the Roger Linn AdrenaLinn plug-in.”

Shaw took acoustic guitars via an AKG C 414 placed about 10 inches from the bridge and angled toward the high E string, and a Neumann KM 184 near the 12th fret and angled toward the sound hole. These went to two Summit TPA-200B pre’s, API 550B EQs and Neve 33609 compression. And the vocal chain was a Shure SM7 or Neumann U67 coupled with a Neve 31102 through a vintage Urei 1176 Bluestripe compressor.