Twenty Thousand Hertz

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

Arts
Design
Music
1
Windows_Logon.wav
The death and rebirth of the Windows startup sound.
31 min
2
Ta-da! It’s Windows
Start me up.
26 min
3
Liquid Terror
The sound that haunts Hollywood.
24 min
4
Mind the Gap
Stand clear of the closing doors, please.
32 min
5
Hidden Hitmakers
Who writes the hits for the pop stars?
30 min
6
Happy Little Episode
How a soft-spoken, poofy-haired painter changed the world, one gentle word at a time.
41 min
7
Pirate Radio
How a group of scrappy radio pirates changed the course of music history.
33 min
8
Being Dallas Taylor
What’s in a name?
40 min
9
Sul Sul
The secrets of Simlish, the gibberish language of The Sims.
25 min
10
Welcome to Twenty Thousand Hertz
Uncovering the secrets of the sonic world.
2 min
11
Aural Exam
The hosts of Underunderstood go head to head in our annual Mystery Sound game.
37 min
12
HBO 2.0
How HBO reconciled its analog past with its digital future.
25 min
13
It's Not TV. It's HBO.
How HBO crafted two of the most iconic pieces of sonic branding in history.
23 min
14
Zzzzzzzzzzzrr...
If you live with a snorer, it can be tricky to roll out of bed after a night of little sleep.
40 min
15
Creature Speakers
How do you voice over 200 monsters?
26 min
16
Video(less) Games
The ins and outs of gaming without sight.
24 min
17
Blind Sports
Keep your ears on the ball.
21 min
18
Listening to the Movies
Hearing is believing.
27 min
19
Sonic Bubbles
Self-control through sound control.
24 min
20
Domestic Symphony
What happens when dryers and dishwashers get the sound design treatment?
22 min
21
The Windsor Hum
Cracking the case of a sonic mystery.
13 min
22
The Buzzer
Tuning in to spy radio.
31 min
23
Stay Tuned
The new voices of the Looney Tunes.
25 min
24
Prop 'til You Drop
The secret tools of Foley Artists.
21 min
25
Foley Artists
The secrets behind the subtle art of Foley.
20 min
26
The Leaky Pipeline
A story within a story about pioneering women in audio.
25 min
27
Auditory Icons
Why are some device sounds pleasing, while others stress us out?
16 min
28
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
29
SM7
How the Shure SM7 became one of the most game-changing vocal microphones of all time.
22 min
30
Minecraft
Crafting the music and sounds of Minecraft.
24 min
31
20th Century Fox
The history and future of the 20th Century Fox fanfare.
24 min
32
The Deterrent Tone
What happens when you get hit with a “sound cannon?”
20 min
33
I'm Lovin' It
Ba da ba ba ba.
23 min
34
Sound 101 with Bill Nye
Listen up! It’s time to go back to basics on the physics of sound.
22 min
35
Synesthesia
What’s it like to see sounds and taste names?
25 min
36
Sing Gently
How an internet choir connects singers around the world at a time when they can't sing together.
33 min
37
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
38
Conlang
From Klingon to Elvish, what makes a good constructed language?
26 min
39
Space Audity
The mind-boggling technology behind space communication.
21 min
40
Sonic Utopia
What can we expect the future to sound like, and how can we build a sonic utopia?
25 min
41
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
42
Dies Irae
How a four-note melody from the 13th century became a movie soundtrack superstar.
26 min
43
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
44
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
45
Napster
The stunning rise and fall of Napster, and how it transformed the music industry in a few short years.
36 min
46
Vocal Discords
A diagnosis of vocal nodes is every singer's worst nightmare. But when nodes develop, is all hope truly lost?
21 min
47
Deepfake Dallas
Is your voice your own? Maybe not anymore.
22 min
48
The City That Never Sleeps
The link between chronic noise and chronic anxiety may be closer than we realize.
23 min
49
Ta-dum! It's Netflix
The never-before-told story behind the iconic Netflix sound.
21 min
50
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
51
Hamilton Remix
How the sound design of Hamilton draws the audience into the story.
28 min
52
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
53
Copyrights & Wrongs
Theft or inspiration? Part one of a deep dive into the complicated world of Copyright.
24 min
54
Makin' Whoopee!
The history and science behind our favorite fart sound-maker, the whoopee cushion.
26 min
55
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
56
That's All Folks!
The story of Mel Blanc, Part 2. The accident, recovery, and passing of the torch.
20 min
57
Ehh... What's Up, Doc?
The early life and career of Mel Blanc.
24 min
58
Twenty Parts Per Thousand
The stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting smells.
21 min
59
Cremona
The story of a town that stayed quiet to preserve an instrument they love.
23 min
60
Satanic Panic!
Warning: Listening to this episode might entice you to worship the devil.
28 min
61
Noise "R" Us
A nostalgic history of toy sounds.
25 min
62
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
63
4′33″
The story behind one of the most controversial, and influential, pieces of music of the 20th Century.
31 min
64
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
65
Sonic Wonderland
Take your ears on a mini vacation as we celebrate the sonic wonders of the world.
18 min
66
Historically Speaking
How we shape language to our needs, and how it shapes us in return.
26 min
67
Vroom Vroom
A song of fuel and fire - what’s happening inside your car engine?
26 min
68
Baby Shark
The history and future of one of the biggest viral sensations ever.
36 min
69
Virtual Choir
The story of the internet choir connecting people from around the world to share the joy of singing.
25 min
70
The Price is Right (Yeah, Yeah!)
The story behind one of the most recognizable TV show themes ever.
18 min
71
The Loudness Wars
We take a deep dive into the Loudness War, and look for signs of hope in the modern age.
32 min
72
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
73
You've Got Mail!
The most recognizable 3 words of the early internet age + the birth of a whole new musical instrument.
20 min
74
Speak Easy
How to find your voice.
18 min
75
Hear Here!
The story of how acoustics changed our history, and how we might use it to better our world today.
19 min
76
Stradivarius
The story behind the most valuable violins in the world.
22 min
77
808
The story of the drum machine that (accidentally) changed music forever.
23 min
78
Soundmarks®
How sonic branding shapes a brand.
26 min
79
Deaf Gain
The story of how a revolutionary implant sparked a human rights movement.
22 min
80
Plants that Sing
For plants and the people who love them.
20 min
81
Sonic Illusions
Our hearing can be deceiving.
20 min
82
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
83
Sound Escapes
Sound Tracker Gordon Hempton gives us a masterclass on how to listen.
28 min
84
Voyager Golden Record
The most epic album of all time isn’t even on Earth. It’s over 11 billion miles away.
31 min
85
Birdsong
The story of how birdbrains produce the most complex sounds in the natural world.
24 min
86
Phone Tones
The touch tone sounds from our phones might be slowly going extinct.
22 min
87
The Booj
The story of the sounds you always hear in movie trailers, but never noticed... until now.
22 min
88
Dining on Decibels
The story behind how restaurants became so darn loud.
21 min
89
Do Not Disturb
The story of how alarms and alerts came to rule, and endanger, our lives.
24 min
90
Blue! 42!
How headsets revolutionized American football.
23 min
91
Silence
Dallas is locked into an anechoic chamber to experience how our brains process complete silence.
21 min
92
Space Remix
A completely remixed version of our favorite episode, where we explore what other plants sound like.
19 min
93
Boots 'n Cats
The evolution & science of beatboxing.
21 min
94
Being George Clooney
Explore how Hollywood films are adapted for foreign languages.
30 min
95
Xbox Startup Sound
How the designers of the Xbox startup sounds overcame tight parameters to come up with an iconic audio logo.
21 min
96
Theater for the Mind
The stories behind the golden age of sci-fi and horror radio dramas.
29 min
97
The Theremin
The story behind this infamous, spooky-sounding instrument.
25 min
98
Classic Cartoon Sound Effects!
How were old cartoon sounds made, and how did they become so iconic?
27 min
99
Twenty Thousand Hertz
A behind the scenes look at the inspiration and creation of Twenty Thousand Hertz.
31 min
100
Jingles
What is the story behind these unforgettable earworms?
28 min