Twenty Thousand Hertz

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

Arts
Design
Music
1
Ghosts in the (Hit) Machine
Inside the secretive world of ghostwriting and ghost producing.
27 min
2
Windows_Logon.wav
The death and rebirth of the Windows startup sound.
31 min
3
Ta-da! It’s Windows
Start me up.
26 min
4
Liquid Terror
The sound that haunts Hollywood.
24 min
5
Mind the Gap
Stand clear of the closing doors, please.
32 min
6
Hidden Hitmakers
Who writes the hits for the pop stars?
30 min
7
Happy Little Episode
How a soft-spoken, poofy-haired painter changed the world, one gentle word at a time.
41 min
8
Pirate Radio
How a group of scrappy radio pirates changed the course of music history.
33 min
9
Being Dallas Taylor
What’s in a name?
40 min
10
Sul Sul
The secrets of Simlish, the gibberish language of The Sims.
25 min
11
Welcome to Twenty Thousand Hertz
Uncovering the secrets of the sonic world.
2 min
12
Aural Exam
The hosts of Underunderstood go head to head in our annual Mystery Sound game.
37 min
13
HBO 2.0
How HBO reconciled its analog past with its digital future.
25 min
14
It's Not TV. It's HBO.
How HBO crafted two of the most iconic pieces of sonic branding in history.
23 min
15
Zzzzzzzzzzzrr...
If you live with a snorer, it can be tricky to roll out of bed after a night of little sleep.
40 min
16
Creature Speakers
How do you voice over 200 monsters?
26 min
17
Video(less) Games
The ins and outs of gaming without sight.
24 min
18
Blind Sports
Keep your ears on the ball.
21 min
19
Listening to the Movies
Hearing is believing.
27 min
20
Sonic Bubbles
Self-control through sound control.
24 min
21
Domestic Symphony
What happens when dryers and dishwashers get the sound design treatment?
22 min
22
The Windsor Hum
Cracking the case of a sonic mystery.
13 min
23
The Buzzer
Tuning in to spy radio.
31 min
24
Stay Tuned
The new voices of the Looney Tunes.
25 min
25
Prop 'til You Drop
The secret tools of Foley Artists.
21 min
26
Foley Artists
The secrets behind the subtle art of Foley.
20 min
27
The Leaky Pipeline
A story within a story about pioneering women in audio.
25 min
28
Auditory Icons
Why are some device sounds pleasing, while others stress us out?
16 min
29
Progression Obsession
From Pachelbel's Canon, to the Ice Cream Changes, to the Four Chords, we examine the most-used chord changes in pop music.
25 min
30
SM7
How the Shure SM7 became one of the most game-changing vocal microphones of all time.
22 min
31
Minecraft
Crafting the music and sounds of Minecraft.
24 min
32
20th Century Fox
The history and future of the 20th Century Fox fanfare.
24 min
33
The Deterrent Tone
What happens when you get hit with a “sound cannon?”
20 min
34
I'm Lovin' It
Ba da ba ba ba.
23 min
35
Sound 101 with Bill Nye
Listen up! It’s time to go back to basics on the physics of sound.
22 min
36
Synesthesia
What’s it like to see sounds and taste names?
25 min
37
Sing Gently
How an internet choir connects singers around the world at a time when they can't sing together.
33 min
38
Sounds Worth Saving
Legendary music archivist Alan Lomax made it his life's work to preserve and promote the sounds of local culture.
24 min
39
Conlang
From Klingon to Elvish, what makes a good constructed language?
26 min
40
Space Audity
The mind-boggling technology behind space communication.
21 min
41
Sonic Utopia
What can we expect the future to sound like, and how can we build a sonic utopia?
25 min
42
Sound and Silence
The way we each experience sound depends on so many unique factors, from tiny receptors in our ears to the way we were taught to communicate.
48 min
43
Dies Irae
How a four-note melody from the 13th century became a movie soundtrack superstar.
26 min
44
Perfect Pitch
What's it like when every sound you hear—from the whir of the coffee grinder to the beep of the microwave—all sound like musical notes?
27 min
45
Tyrannosaurus FX
The sound design wizardry behind the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, and how these sounds compare to what dinos REALLY sounded like.
23 min
46
Napster
The stunning rise and fall of Napster, and how it transformed the music industry in a few short years.
36 min
47
Vocal Discords
A diagnosis of vocal nodes is every singer's worst nightmare. But when nodes develop, is all hope truly lost?
21 min
48
Deepfake Dallas
Is your voice your own? Maybe not anymore.
22 min
49
The City That Never Sleeps
The link between chronic noise and chronic anxiety may be closer than we realize.
23 min
50
Ta-dum! It's Netflix
The never-before-told story behind the iconic Netflix sound.
21 min
51
McElroys, Mysteries and Me
The McElroy brothers, hosts of My Brother, My Brother and Me, compete in a heated and hilarious game of mystery sounds.
41 min
52
Hamilton Remix
How the sound design of Hamilton draws the audience into the story.
28 min
53
Stop... Collaborate & Listen
Theft or inspiration? Part two of a deep dive into the complicated world of copyright, sampling and the ability to own a song.
23 min
54
Copyrights & Wrongs
Theft or inspiration? Part one of a deep dive into the complicated world of Copyright.
24 min
55
Makin' Whoopee!
The history and science behind our favorite fart sound-maker, the whoopee cushion.
26 min
56
Pew Pew
The story behind the sound design of Star Wars: How legendary Sound Designer Ben Burtt helped transport audiences to a galaxy far, far away.
29 min
57
That's All Folks!
The story of Mel Blanc, Part 2. The accident, recovery, and passing of the torch.
20 min
58
Ehh... What's Up, Doc?
The early life and career of Mel Blanc.
24 min
59
Twenty Parts Per Thousand
The stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting smells.
21 min
60
Cremona
The story of a town that stayed quiet to preserve an instrument they love.
23 min
61
Satanic Panic!
Warning: Listening to this episode might entice you to worship the devil.
28 min
62
Noise "R" Us
A nostalgic history of toy sounds.
25 min
63
Good Vibes
We know music can affect our moods, but its influence over us goes even deeper, and has the power to heal, harm, and manipulate us.
25 min
64
4′33″
The story behind one of the most controversial, and influential, pieces of music of the 20th Century.
31 min
65
Seinfeld
A theme song about nothing: how it was created, what makes it so unique, and how it became one of the most iconic theme songs in TV history.
26 min
66
Sonic Wonderland
Take your ears on a mini vacation as we celebrate the sonic wonders of the world.
18 min
67
Historically Speaking
How we shape language to our needs, and how it shapes us in return.
26 min
68
Vroom Vroom
A song of fuel and fire - what’s happening inside your car engine?
26 min
69
Baby Shark
The history and future of one of the biggest viral sensations ever.
36 min
70
Virtual Choir
The story of the internet choir connecting people from around the world to share the joy of singing.
25 min
71
The Price is Right (Yeah, Yeah!)
The story behind one of the most recognizable TV show themes ever.
18 min
72
The Loudness Wars
We take a deep dive into the Loudness War, and look for signs of hope in the modern age.
32 min
73
The [COMPRESSED] History of Mastering
A look at the mystical art of mastering from its analog beginnings to the digital world of today.
27 min
74
You've Got Mail!
The most recognizable 3 words of the early internet age + the birth of a whole new musical instrument.
20 min
75
Speak Easy
How to find your voice.
18 min
76
Hear Here!
The story of how acoustics changed our history, and how we might use it to better our world today.
19 min
77
Stradivarius
The story behind the most valuable violins in the world.
22 min
78
808
The story of the drum machine that (accidentally) changed music forever.
23 min
79
Soundmarks®
How sonic branding shapes a brand.
26 min
80
Deaf Gain
The story of how a revolutionary implant sparked a human rights movement.
22 min
81
Plants that Sing
For plants and the people who love them.
20 min
82
Sonic Illusions
Our hearing can be deceiving.
20 min
83
Mother of Dragons(ounds)
Hear from the sound designer who gave a voice to the dragons, direwolves, white walkers, and more in Game of Thrones.
19 min
84
Sound Escapes
Sound Tracker Gordon Hempton gives us a masterclass on how to listen.
28 min
85
Voyager Golden Record
The most epic album of all time isn’t even on Earth. It’s over 11 billion miles away.
31 min
86
Birdsong
The story of how birdbrains produce the most complex sounds in the natural world.
24 min
87
Phone Tones
The touch tone sounds from our phones might be slowly going extinct.
22 min
88
The Booj
The story of the sounds you always hear in movie trailers, but never noticed... until now.
22 min
89
Dining on Decibels
The story behind how restaurants became so darn loud.
21 min
90
Do Not Disturb
The story of how alarms and alerts came to rule, and endanger, our lives.
24 min
91
Blue! 42!
How headsets revolutionized American football.
23 min
92
Silence
Dallas is locked into an anechoic chamber to experience how our brains process complete silence.
21 min
93
Space Remix
A completely remixed version of our favorite episode, where we explore what other plants sound like.
19 min
94
Boots 'n Cats
The evolution & science of beatboxing.
21 min
95
Being George Clooney
Explore how Hollywood films are adapted for foreign languages.
30 min
96
Xbox Startup Sound
How the designers of the Xbox startup sounds overcame tight parameters to come up with an iconic audio logo.
21 min
97
Theater for the Mind
The stories behind the golden age of sci-fi and horror radio dramas.
29 min
98
The Theremin
The story behind this infamous, spooky-sounding instrument.
25 min
99
Classic Cartoon Sound Effects!
How were old cartoon sounds made, and how did they become so iconic?
27 min
100
Twenty Thousand Hertz
A behind the scenes look at the inspiration and creation of Twenty Thousand Hertz.
31 min