The Art of Specifying Stone

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Cathie Schneider delivers an insightful and informative talk on the subject of specifying natural stone at this month’s CSC-GV luncheon on October 18th, 2017**Shout out to our venue hosts at the Grand Valley Construction Association who never complain about us leaving a trail of sandwich crumbs on the carpet. You’re the best!

Cathie Schneider, CTR, the VP of Stonequest Inc. is an accredited speaker with the Marble Institute of America and has been in the stone business for 25 years. She is a member of IDC Canada and the current Chair of the Grand Valley Chapter of Construction Specifications Canada.  Architects, Interior Designers, Specifiers, Distributors, Landscape Architects, Contractors, Construction Managers, LEED Evangelists and ESPECIALLY Building Owners should listen carefully to the podcast recorded at this event, or better yet… reach out to Cathie before planning your next project with natural stone!

Who is Joe?

Joe Ippolito, CTR and VP of Quarry Sales at Arriscraft makes a brief “guest appearance” on the podcast.  We will be sending him a courtesy copy.  Same with Stefanie Hargest of Boehmer’s Block who knows a thing or two about building to LEED Standards.  She gives great hugs too (go to the 1:11 mark on the video).

How do I listen to the podcast?  

Test your Stone IQ here

Fill out the form below for a password to unlock the podcast


we MIGHT even send you the test answers

Cathie Schneider takes us on a stone quest to Rivendell where all the Consultants of Elrond (Design & Construction Team) are thriving under the transformative leadership of the building Frodowner…

she will share the magic word with you if you ask nice (or you could try Stefanie)

**Like the Soundtrack? Special thanks to Mother West Wind’s Animal Friends (recorded at a live performance in 2016 at the End of Summer Festival in Uptown Waterloo)


Interior Designers of Canada

Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada

Natural Stone Council

MIA + BSi (Marble Institute of America)

National Building Granite Quarries Association

National Tile Contractors’ Association



*** The Walker Living Campus***

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at Woodend Conservation N-O-T-L
from the perspective of the Prime Mechanical

Shout out to Ken Willms


DSBN Regional SHSM Construction Technology Students!

Thanks to Brendan J Stephens of the Vaudevillian, JoJo Worthington & Davey James
whose music “narrate” the story of this amazing Project

built with the help of student labour


funded entirely by community donations

Soundtrack recorded live at

the Kitchener Studio Project & Cafe Pyrus


The Jackets Live at Maxwell’s

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good sound and a fun bunch at Maxwell’s Music House

Paul, was that you wiping the tables?

Nice place!

Ode to Recreants and Dastards

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Inspiration from waaaay up Fish Street:

King Henry VI Part II, Scene VIII

Madeira 2009
Wine Festival Tour…Skita

Random Gorilla Recordings:


Jo Jo Worthington

*You Belong To Me* go to the live recording here 

*Amadeus********* go to the live recording here 






cut/cut and more cuts…random recordings #5

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my first “interview” proved to be a valuable learning experience

you can't make me sing
you can’t make me sing
an amusing illustration of Dave’s frequent comments in class about
the  importance of warming up and drawing out your talent

Roger that, for sure

i was so convinced that this interview was going to be a breeze…but soon discovered that even a witty four-year-old will clam up behind a microphone
salvaged a bit of the interview with cuts and effects in Audacity but quickly moved on to stealth recording using the Zoom H6 (XY mic at 90 degrees about 4ft away) in the background while engaging the interviewee in a variety of board games
ended up with a looooong recording and listened for snippets of usable dialogue that could be cut and indexed for future:
1.  Interview with a secret friend:
2.  The Audition:
3.  so… that’s how the game works:
4.  a sic game for sic people:
5.  my cheatin’ valentine:

Lovin’ this Zoom H6…Class #4 Random Recordings

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Tyler jamming in class #4 randomly captured with minor cuts/effects in post:

Comparing various field recorders. This was recorded using the Zoom H6 with the XY mic at 120 degrees:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/recording-challenge-with-tyler

Recorded using the Zoom H6 with the XY mic at 90 degrees.  Cut a short intro and used the “pluck” feature on Audacity on this clip:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/starting-raining-outside-tyler

Field Recordings using the Zoom H6 and the XY mic using the 90 degree option (width of the recording field) recommended (by owner’s manual) for recording close and medium sound sources to capture a three-dimensional sound with natural depth and width.  Sounded good to me, except this set up records in stereo (oops):

Sounds recorded while on a winter walk-about in the neighbourhood.   Monitoring the input signal levels was a bit tricky while attempting to record the snow sounds 🙂

a mental traffic breakdown:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/a-mental-traffic-breakdown

approaching a traffic light…hitting the panic button:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/approaching-a-traffic-light

sound of snow crunching while dressed in snowmobile gear:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/snow-crunching-walk-to-run

Recording #3 (x3) (+1 to pick up the slack from last week)

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Ok so i wanted to understand why nailing the vocal track is so problematic, so i chose to “learn” some songs from a CD Album received a month ago as a Christmas gift, and record the “sing-along” in the kitchen.  Songs are newish to me so as to not rely on long-term memory.

Alot tougher than i thought!  Gave up trying for perfect lyrics (& on key ) Ended up with a mixed bag of recordings from one song i could live with:

Artist:  Shane & Shane/ Song Title:  Your Love

Recorded songs as they were playing on CD through a home stereo in the kitchen using a Zoom H6 Recorder with the MS mic recording the room sound in stereo and a second dynamic microphone recording the sing-along vocals on a separate mono track.  Imported files into Audacity and experimented with basic editing & a few effects:

Recording #3 Take 1:   tried to hide the nastiness of the mono vocal track with effects

#3 Take 1 link to Soundcloud here:     https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/zoom0004-kitchen-blend       

Recording #3 Take 2:  used the “Paulstretch” effect on a section of the recording to create a haunting sound

#3 Take 2 link to Soundcloud here:    https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/the-haunting


Lets try something else:

An oldie:   The Allman Brothers  “Soulshine”

Recording #3 Take 3:  Just singing along with the Allman Brothers in my kitchen

#3 Take 3 link to Soundcloud here:    https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/zoom0013-allman-bros

Note:  Soundcloud was not happy with the “copyright infringement” of this gorilla recording.  Re-uploaded using “private” settings:  https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/zoom0013-soulshine-singalong but still NFG so y’all will have to miss out on my rendition of “Soulshine”

– probably for the best that it stays in the kitchen lol (but so much for picking-up-the-slack)

How about recording sound at the floor level?

Recording #3 Take 4:  Flamenco Shoes (warm-up): 

#3 Take 4 link to Soundcloud here:    https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/zoom0025-flamenco-warmup

I have no idea who the Artist is (to my shame)…Recording was part of a summer party playlist assembled by others

Made the recording as the song was playing on CD through a home stereo in the kitchen using a Zoom H6 Recorder.  The MS mic was recording the room sound in stereo and a second dynamic microphone was set up on a stand contorted so that the mic was recording the foot action on a separate mono track at about two feet above floor level



– using a handheld dynamic microphone for vocals allows for physical movement and artistic vocal expression – but takes practice for the artist to achieve the desired sound
– feels like your performance is improved when you are singing along with the sound of prerecorded music pumping-it-up in the room, BUT end result is closer to laziness (off key/poor tone/timing issues/and vocals often “not connected”)  if artist is relying on the recorded lyric track to carry the song
– editing & effects may cover a multitude of sins

Recording #2 on the ground @ iFly Toronto

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Top left: Foundations complete
Bottom left: Structural Steel complete
Right: Looking up at the base of the wind tunnel from the basement floor

Made a visit to one of our Projects underway in Oakville this week

to take site photos of

the progress of the Work

“Skyventure” iFly Toronto indoor Sky-Diving facility

It is an interesting building with
 unique structural & architectural features
 and i thought it would be cool to record sound
 in the basement plenum space
The foundation is constructed of 14" concrete walls
 reinforced with 1" re-bar in a 12" grid pattern
and the building footprint is 100ft long by 50ft wide with a basement depth of 25 ft

  Standing in the centre of the basement looking up you see an opening
 in the base of a 14ft diameter, 45ft long cylindrical tube
The opening appears to be roughly 1/10th of the diameter of the floating chamber where you chill
until the plenum is fully pressurized using four massive motorized louvers & propellers
generating an airstream capable of reaching wind speeds
of up to 300 kph to simulate the
free fall experience

The distance from the basement floor to the service deck is 80ft (8 stories high)

i used the Voice Note Recording feature on a BlackBerry (Torch), emailed the file to myself and imported it into Audacity

discovered that the file format was not recognized and was prompted  to download  the FFmpeg library

exported it as a WAV file


So how does one download & install the FFmpeg Import/Export Library?

The optional FFmpeg library allows Audacity to import and export a much larger range of audio formats including AC3, AMR(NB), M4A, MP4 and WMA and also audio from most video files.

  • Because of software patents, Audacity cannot include the FFmpeg software or distribute it from its own web sites. Instead, use the following instructions to download and install the free and recommended FFmpeg third-party library.
Warning icon FFmpeg 0.6.2 for Windows and Mac listed below should be used with the latest version of Audacity from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/.


  1. Go to the external download page
    Left-click this link, do not right-click.
  2. Look for “For FFmpeg/LAME on Windows”, then a few lines under that, left-click the link FFmpeg_v0.6.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows.exe and save the file anywhere on your computer.
  3. Double-click “FFmpeg_v0.6.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows.exe” to launch the installer (you can safely ignore any warnings that the “publisher could not be verified”).
  4. Read the License and click Next, Next and Install to install the required files to “C:\Program Files\FFmpeg for Audacity” (or “C:\Program Files (x86)\FFmpeg for Audacity” on a 64-bit version of Windows).
  5. Restart Audacity if it was running when you installed FFmpeg.
  6. If you have problems with Audacity detecting FFmpeg, follow the steps to manually locate FFmpeg.
  • Alternative zip download for FFmpeg 0.6.2
  1. Download http://lame3.buanzo.com.ar/FFmpeg_v0.6.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows.zip from the external download site.
  2. Extract the contents to a folder called “FFmpeg_v0.6.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows” anywhere on your computer, then follow the instructions below to locate avformat-52.dll using the Libraries Preferences.

First Recording! Othello Act 5 Scene 2 – Desdemona’s Death_Take 1

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SSS Sunday EvenThe Death Of Desdemona - Recording_1ing Live! 
What’s this? Another Gorilla Repertory Theatre offering?  Take One
Desdemona’s Death:   https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/othello-act-5-scene-2
 Trying to simulate a podcast environment using two microphones through a Behringer 1204USB mixer connected to an Asus Eee running Audacity.  Microphone One at chin level on a stand recording Krissy B reading from Othello and Microphone Two suspended from the ceiling approximately 5ft apart from Microphone One and at roughly the same height.  Microphone Two is picking up the accompanying guitar at 3ft from the sound hole