Twenty Thousand Hertz

78 EpisodesProduced by Dallas TaylorWebsite

A lovingly crafted podcast that reveals the stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds.

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#77 | The [COMPRESSED] History of Mastering

September 23rd, 2019

Join us on a musical journey from the Golden Age of analog mastering to the digital methods of today. We’ll find out why the music industry became …

#76 I You've Got Mail!

September 16th, 2019

How a simple soundbite on America Online became one of the most recognizable sounds of the internet age, plus the creation of a whole new musical …

#75 I Speak Easy

September 9th, 2019

We rarely think about the way we speak. For most of us, it just happens. In this episode, we catch up with two professional voice artists and chat about their rituals and techniques that help them communicate. Featuring …

#74 I Hear Here!

August 26th, 2019

Humans have been fascinated with acoustics since our earliest ancestors. From Roman amphitheaters to modern symphony halls, we’ve designed our spaces with sound in mind. But the relationship between acousticians and …

#73 I Stradivarius

August 12th, 2019

Stradivarius violins are reputed to have an exquisite sound that cannot be replicated or explained. Why is that? And what, exactly, is a Stradivarius …

#72 | 808

July 29th, 2019

The 808 is arguably the most iconic drum machine ever made. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve definitely heard it. It’s in dozens of hit songs -- from Usher to Marvin Gaye, Talking Heads to The Beastie Boys -- …

#71 | Soundmarks®

July 15th, 2019

Companies spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the look of their brands. But now what a brand sounds like matters just as much. We trace the …

#70 | Deaf Gain

July 1st, 2019

The last few decades have seen amazing improvements in cochlear implant technology. Professor Michael Dorman reveals what they really sound like, and …

#69 | Plants that Sing

June 17th, 2019

Have you ever wondered what your dog or cat would say to you if they could talk? How about your plant? In this episode we explore the world of …

#68 | Sonic Illusions

June 3rd, 2019

What we hear is incredibly personal and we all hear things differently. Sometimes our ears can even play tricks on us. Sonic illusions put a spotlight on the unique function of our hearing and how our backgrounds and …

#67 | Mother of Dragons(ounds)

May 20th, 2019

Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon that has redefined the fantasy genre. Viewers from around the world gather every week to anxiously watch what will happen next. The actors, writers, directors, and visual artists …

#66 | Sound Escapes

May 6th, 2019

Over his long career, Gordon Hempton has mastered the art of truly listening. He’s known as the Sound Tracker. Some people call him an acoustic …

#65 | Voyager Golden Record

April 22nd, 2019

In the late '70s, NASA launched Voyagers 1 & 2 to explore the furthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. But something amazing was included …

#64 | Birdsong

April 8th, 2019

When was the last time you stopped and really listened to birdsong? Ever wonder what they’re singing about? We chat to Kenn Kaufman and Dr. Irene Pepperberg about the extraordinary complexity to the avian arias, how …

#63 | Phone Tones

March 25th, 2019

We unpack how touch tone dialing changed communication forever. Join us on a deep, quirky dive into telephone history. We’ll also deconstruct these sounds and reveal their hidden brilliance. Featuring author Annabel Dodd

#62 | The Booj

March 11th, 2019

Movie trailers have undergone a huge evolution. They’ve gone from those cheesy voice-of-God narrators in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to boojes and bwaas. …

#61 | Dining on Decibels

February 25th, 2019

Have you noticed how loud it gets in restaurants these days? Have you found yourselves shouting just to keep a conversation going? Architecture critic Kate Wagner explains how changing design trends have led to dining …

#60 | Do Not Disturb

February 11th, 2019

Alarm sounds have been around almost as long as humans themselves. But as our world has transformed, so have they. Today’s alarms are having an unexpected effect on our minds and bodies, and can even be putting our …

#59 | BLUE! 42!

January 28th, 2019

For decades, NFL strategy slowly evolved from each team running a dozen different plays, to rigid schemes with coaches sending in orders through …

#58 | Silence

January 14th, 2019

Our world is filled with sound. It exists in even the quietest corners of the planet. But what happens when all that sound is taken away? What is silence? There are very few places on Earth where silence actually …

What is 20k? (2019 Trailer)

January 11th, 2019


Twenty Thousand Hertz is a lovingly crafted podcast that tells the stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds. Subscribe now.

#57 | Space Remix

December 26th, 2018

What happens when we leave Earth's thin blanket of atmosphere, and what do other planets sound like? In this special episode, we have completely remixed one of our favorite shows! It's been re-written, re-edited, …

#56 | Boots 'n Cats

December 10th, 2018

Beatboxing began as an imitation of a drum machine, but over the decades it has evolved as a means to emulate any number of percussive sounds. Now …

#55 | Being George Clooney

November 26th, 2018

Hollywood films are huge internationally. But how are these films adapted for foreign languages? We delve into the not so talked about process of …

#54 | Xbox Startup Sound

November 12th, 2018

The Xbox startup sound is an audio logo that’s become synonymous with the game console. But its origins are rooted in solving a logistical problem; …

#53 | Theater for the Mind

October 29th, 2018

The "golden age of radio drama" may have been a stellar period for storytelling -- but the stories weren't all golden bright. Sci-fi and horror radio …

#52 | The Theremin

October 15th, 2018

If you've ever watched an old sci-fi or horror film, you've probably heard the hair-tingling, alien sounds of the Theremin. It's a spooky, strange …

#51 | Classic Cartoon Sound Effects!

October 1st, 2018

Cartoon sound effects are some of the most iconic sounds ever made. Even modern cartoons continue to use the same sound effects from decades ago. How were these legendary sounds made and how have they stood the test of …

#50 | Twenty Thousand Hertz

September 17th, 2018

50 episodes! When we launched this podcast two years ago, we never imagined our passion project would come this far. To mark the occasion, we’re …

#49 | Jingles

September 4th, 2018

Odds are if we asked you sing your favorite advertising jingle from when you were a kid, you’d be able to recall every single lyric. Yet we don’t hear many advertising jingles these days. Why is that? This is the story …

#48 | Sonic Branding

August 20th, 2018

We are constantly exposed to sonic branding in television, radio, and web commercials. We deconstruct some of the most impactful audio logos in …

#47 | Loop Groups

August 6th, 2018

Invisible actors create worlds of sound in everything you watch - from Jaws to The Wire. With special guests, Carl Gottlieb, screenwriter and author of "The Jaws Log"; Dann Fink, loop group director and co-owner of

#46 | Slot Machines

July 23rd, 2018

What do you hear when you walk into a Casino? It can feel like chaos, but each sound is carefully curated to draw you in and make you stay. One …

#45 | Misophonia

July 9th, 2018

The way our brains process sound affects the way we respond to sound. This episode is about why that happens in those who suffer from misophonia, the …

#44 | THX Deep Note, Part 2

June 25th, 2018

Whether you're 6 years old, or 96 years old, one of the most memorable parts of going to the movies for the last three decades has been the THX "Deep …

#43 | THX Deep Note, Part 1

June 11th, 2018

Since 1983 one of the most memorable parts of going to the movies has been the THX certification played during the previews. The accompanying sound logo called “The Deep Note” has fascinated, terrified, and mystified …

#42 | Amen Break

May 29th, 2018

There’s a sample of music that’s been heard in over 2,000 songs. Odds are you’ve heard it many times and didn’t even realize you were listening to the same breakbeat. The amen break might be the most sampled piece of …

#41 | Ultrasonic Tracking

May 14th, 2018

Did you know your phone is a really good listener? Apps on your phone might be sending and receiving data over ultrasound. Ultrasonic communication …

#40 | ASMR

April 30th, 2018

Do certain sounds give you the head tingles? If yes, this episode is full of ear candy for you! In this episode, we learn all about the phenomenon …

#39 | Live Theater

April 16th, 2018

Amazing concerts, Broadway musicals, Cirque du Soliel performances, and other live shows live and die on their sound design. This is the story of how …

#38 | The Music in Speech

April 2nd, 2018

The way you speak has rhythm, timbre, and pitch. It’s more like music than you might think. We chat with The Allusionist host Helen Zaltzman, Martin …

#37 | Seizure Sonification

March 19th, 2018

Brant Guichard has heard "The Music" for as long as he can remember. Brant has a particular type of epilepsy where he hears what are called "musical …

#36 | Hamilton

March 5th, 2018

Broadway’s award-winning, record-breaking, smash hit, Hamilton, is a musical unlike any other. Get the story from people in the room where it happens of how sound helps tell the musical’s story eight times a week. We …

#35 | Emergency Alert System

February 19th, 2018

When people in Hawaii were falsely alerted of a Ballistic Missile threat, the first thing they heard was the sound of an emergency alert. For decades, this tone has alerted us to local weather emergencies and other …

#34 | Muzak

February 5th, 2018

“Elevator music” was once the sound of restaurants, offices, and elevators in mid-20th century America. But ironically these bland, string-driven instrumental tracks are never heard in elevators anymore. In this …

#33 | Six O'Clock Soundtrack

January 22nd, 2018

Ever wonder how the music on your favorite news stations is created? Dive in with news music appreciator + journalist Victor Vlam; Composer Matthew Kajcienski, Composer Irad Eshel, Composer Adarsh Thottetodi, Composer

#32 | 3149146093

January 8th, 2018

A mysterious Tweet from one of the most famous people on Earth: A single phone number, zero context. What does it mean? Why was it posted? Would you …

#31 | The Gift

December 25th, 2017

The science behind sound reproduction has been studied for centuries. But what will research uncover in the centuries to come? One man made it his life’s mission to find out, and a gift he made to the world will …

#30 | The Bleeps, the Sweeps, and the Creeps!

December 11th, 2017

There are sounds we interact with every single day and never give a second thought. Our phones, computers, cars, and other devices are constantly communicating with us through user interface sounds and it’s their job to …

#29 | Let It Beep

November 27th, 2017

For over two decades, every time you turned on a Mac, you were greeted by a familiar sound. It’s appeared as a punchline in The Simpsons, and in movies like WALL•E. It’s a sound some of us tried to hide from our parents …

#28 | Disney Parks

November 13th, 2017

Theme parks have a way of transporting us to magical places, and sound is crucial in maintaining the illusion. From the most action-packed attractions to the background music playing between park areas, theme park sound …

#27 | Spooky Sounds

October 30th, 2017

We uncover how scary sound effects are created in horror films as well as dissect how sound triggers the fear mechanisms in humans. Featuring Formosa Group Senior Sound Editor/Sound Designer Trevor Gates and Dan …

#26 | Acoustical Umbilical Cord

October 17th, 2017

Many animals, humans included, are natural-born criers. It’s the most basic form of communication from right when we come into the world. But us humans are unique: we keep on crying until the day we die. What was born …

#25 | Level Up

October 3rd, 2017

Video games are a growing industry and every play-controlled experience is defined by its harmony of music, sound effects, and voice acting. In this …

#24 | Watergate

September 19th, 2017

Watergate might be the most widely-referenced scandal in our nation’s history. The actual word itself has been appropriated in order to name many later scandals. But for a new generation of Americans, the word Watergate …

#23 | Sonic Seasoning

September 5th, 2017

Taste is one of our most subjective of the five senses. A flavor that elicits delight in one individual may evoke strong disgust in another. And while we all have a basic understanding of flavor, we rarely think about …

#22 | Fight or Flight

August 22nd, 2017

Are you afraid to fly? Does even the thought of boarding an airplane make you anxious? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from clinical aviophobia. While some manage to distract themselves long enough to …

#21 | Sound Firsts

August 8th, 2017

What is the oldest recorded sound in history? For over 100 years researchers thought they knew until a mind-blowing discovery by historians found …

#20 | Noise Pollution

July 25th, 2017

Noise pollution is something we’ve all experienced. Road construction, motorcycles, passing aircraft - the list goes on and on. Other than being just …

#19 | 20,000 dBs Under the Sea

July 11th, 2017

71% of the Earth is covered by water. And most of us imagine it to be a serene, almost silent world. But why should we have all the fun up here? …

#18 | Evolution of Accents

June 27th, 2017

When you describe yourself to others you might mention your height, hairstyle, or maybe your build. But one of the most telling things about you is something you can’t even see, yet it defines you more than you realize. …

#17 | Forensic Audio

June 13th, 2017

You might not realize it, but audio can be just as crucial to solving a case than video or eyewitness testimony. But understanding how to interpret …

#16 | The Wilhelm Scream

May 30th, 2017

When it comes to movie screams, what’s the first one you think of? Is it a scream that evokes a sense of fear, pain, or maybe even… humor? Perhaps you immediately think about a famous “Scream Queen” or a specific scene …

#15 | Voice Acting

May 16th, 2017

We hear disembodied voices all the time, in everything from cartoons and anime to commercials and trailers. It seems easy, but it's actually an …

#14 | Hearing Loss

May 2nd, 2017

Our ears are sensitive, but we often don’t treat them that way. We are born with the ability to hear up to 20,000 Hz. As we age, our hearing range diminishes. On top of that, the more exposure we have to loud sounds, …

#13 | The Good, the Bad & the Irritating

April 18th, 2017

Some sounds are like rug burn for your ears, while others are pleasant and soothing. We explore these sounds and get to the bottom of why we might interpret them as “good” or “bad”. Featuring Tommy Edison and David …

#12 | Foley

April 4th, 2017

When you listen to a movie, everything the actor touches sounds crisp and clean. However, none of it was recorded on the movie set. Go behind the scenes with some of the unsung heroes of our movie experience. Featuring …

#11 | Space

March 21st, 2017

When we think about sound, our only reference is what it’s like here on Earth. What happens when we leave this thin blanket of atmosphere, and what …

#10 | Dolls That Talk... And Some That Listen

March 7th, 2017

Talking dolls have been around for over a century, but the fascination with making inanimate objects seem human reaches back into our early history. …

#9 | Cars

February 21st, 2017

Some car sounds are more obvious like the horn or engine... but what about the not-obvious-until-you-point-them-out sounds like the hollow thud of a …

#8 | Audio Descriptions

February 7th, 2017

Did you know there might be a track of audio on your favorite movies and television shows that describe all of the actions on screen? This technology …

#7 | Movie Soundtrack

January 24th, 2017

When you think of a movie soundtrack, you probably think music. And sure, that’s one of the many, many things going on there. What else goes into making a scene sound “natural”? It isn’t what you’d think. Meet a major …

#6 | From Analog to Digital

January 10th, 2017

Did we lose anything when we transitioned from analog to digital? Learn about the Jedi skills old radio DJs had to have to spin vinyl on the radio, …

#5 | Sound of Extinction

December 27th, 2016

When was the last time you heard a dial-up modem? A dot matrix printer? A CD dropping into its plastic tray? Did you know it would be the last time? …

#4 | Mystery Hum

December 13th, 2016

There's this place right at the border between Detroit, MI, and Windsor, ON where there's this hum… It rattles dishes, makes people sick, it's even making people move away. And the government does not want you to know …

#3 | 8-bit

November 29th, 2016

Primitive, yet iconic, 8-bit audio defined a generation through video game sounds and music. Discover the history and innovation behind those audio marvels that still fascinate today. Featuring Microsoft Sound Designer,

#2 | NBC Chimes

November 15th, 2016

NBC’s three little chimes didn’t just define a television network, they defined a generation. Where did they come from and what is the surprising impact they have had on current and future media? Featuring the last …

#1 | Siri

November 1st, 2016

When Siri launched in 2011, she permanently changed the way people interacted with their technology. What was it like to be the voice behind that …
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