Twenty Thousand Hertz

Twenty Thousand Hertz

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


May 24, 2023 37 mins
Our vocal system is incredibly complex. What we call “the voice” starts with very precise movements of our vocal cords, and then goes through an entire “resonation system” that includes our throat, mouth, lips, tongue, and teeth. With enough control over these components, people can do some truly mind-bending things with their voices, creating sounds that feel out of this world—from rumbling lows to piercing highs, and even two not...
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Why do bugs make the sounds they do? And how do they make them? In this episode, we explore the un-bee-lievable world of insect sounds, including crickets who craft tools to make themselves louder, and moths who can jam the natural sonar of bats. By the time it’s over, you’ll never hear these buzzes and chirps the same way again. Featuring entomologists Natasha Mhatre and Nancy Mioreli. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, Instagram...
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April 28, 2023 45 mins
In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we’ve revamped one of the most personal episodes we’ve ever worked on. To create it, Dallas worked with the team from Meditative Story to tell a story from his former life as a musician. It’s about losing the thing that had defined his life for more than a decade, and finding something entirely different in the process. This remix concludes with an all-new segment where Dallas reflects on ...
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April 19, 2023 32 mins
 In the 1960s, stereo sound revolutionized the music industry. But it turns out, a pioneering engineer named Alan Blumlein had actually invented stereo a full three decades earlier. Due to tragic events in World War II, his innovations were forgotten for decades. In this episode, we worked with OnePlus to tell the story of how audio has evolved from mono, to stereo, to quadraphonic, to surround sound and beyond. Today, we even have...
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April 12, 2023 24 mins
Have you ever seen something so cute that you just wanted to squeeze it? Have you ever felt sleepy after a big meal? Or enjoyed bouncing on a puffy cushion? There are words for all of these, just not in English. In this game show episode, 20K producer and resident linguist Grace East cooks up an “untranslatable” words quiz for Dallas and fellow producer Andrew Anderson. How many words can you guess? Watch our video shorts on Youtu...
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March 22, 2023 38 mins
For decades, the jingle was king. But in the last twenty years, jingles have nearly gone extinct. Many brands have now dropped their melodic earworms in favor of spoken word slogans. Today, there’s just one industry where jingles are still as common as ever: insurance. The question is, why? Featuring Jeanna Isham of the Sound in Marketing podcast, audio branding expert Colleen Fahey, and Brand Manager Sergio Trujillo. Snag a $20 s...
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March 8, 2023 32 mins
“Soundalikes,” also called “voice doubles,” are voice actors who perform as characters that were originally played by someone else. They’re used extensively by studios like Disney and Pixar, in order to keep their iconic characters consistent across games, rides, toys, and TV shows. In live action movies, soundalikes fill in for the leads, and record lines for the film’s many rough cuts. But being a great voice double is about much...
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February 22, 2023 36 mins
In a noisy, tumultuous world, how can we find inner peace? This episode features two stories about the transformative power of silence. In the first, the Lieutenant Governor of Washington State abandons politics to become a Jesuit novice, and takes a temporary vow of silence. In the second, a death row inmate at San Quentin discovers Buddhist practices that help to calm his mind, and embrace compassion. Featuring Cyrus Habib, Jarvi...
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January 25, 2023 33 mins
The voices inside our navigation systems are with us nearly every day. They frustrate us when they lead us astray, and guide us through our most memorable adventures. But who are the people behind those voices? In this episode, an Australian musician discovers she is the voice inside millions of GPS units, and the Polish voice of Google Maps goes head to head with a robot. Featuring “The GPS Girl” Karen Jacobsen and “Głos Google Ma...
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December 14, 2022 55 mins
In our third annual Mystery Sound Game Show, the crew from Endless Thread compete to guess the most sounds from this year’s batch. Get ready to listen along and test your knowledge of classic sci-fi movies, strange animal calls, video game themes, UI sounds, and more. One thing is certain: It’s gonna get toasty. Watch our new video shorts on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok! Vote for Twenty Thousand Hertz in the Listener’s Choice Si...
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December 7, 2022 8 mins
After months of speculation, the person behind TikTok’s current text-to-speech voice reveals her true identity. This is an update to episode #155, TikTalk. Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, & Reddit. Subscribe to our Youtube channel. Sign up for Twenty Thousand Hertz+ to get our entire catalog ad-free + our bonus show MicroHertz! Visit to get a free 14-day trial with Shopify’s entire suite of features. Episode ...
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November 16, 2022 26 mins
In the 1960s, Bob Moog and Don Buchla built synthesizers that changed the world. But by the early 80s, they faced a new challenger who threatened to bring it all crumbling down: the digital synthesizer. To defeat this opponent, they’d have to recruit a new ally… and maybe even join forces. Featuring Bob’s daughter Michelle Moog-Koussa, Don’s collaborator Ami Radunskaya, and journalist Ryan Gaston. Watch Welcome to Synth, our first...
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November 2, 2022 28 mins
In the United States, the East Coast and West Coast have rivalries across food, sports, music and more. But there’s another rivalry that’s less well known, but just as important. This standoff created sounds that were unlike anything that had been heard before. It redefined what a musical instrument could be. And it changed the sound of pop music forever. Featuring journalist Ryan Gaston and composer David Rosenboom. Watch Welcome...
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October 19, 2022 31 mins
Audio description allows you to enjoy a movie or TV show without the need for any visuals. But how do these narrators strike the right tone for a scene? How do the writers decide what needs to be described? And what’s in store for the future of described audio? In honor of Blindness Awareness Month, this is a brand new story about the world of Audio Description. Featuring AD Narrator Roy Samuleson and AD experts Thomas Reid and Mel...
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October 5, 2022 26 mins
In the 80s and 90s, movie trailers were ruled by “voice-of-God” narrators who used stock phrases like, “In a world…” Today, movie studios have a different trick up their sleeves: epic sound design. In this episode, Professor James Deaville explains the history of trailers, and Youtuber Craven Moorhaus crafts a hilarious takedown of the overused clichés of modern blockbuster trailers. We’ve remixed one of our most popular episodes f...
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September 21, 2022 38 mins
In the late 80s and early 90s, 900 numbers were all the rage. For a couple bucks a minute, you could call and hear from Hulk Hogan and Freddy Kreuger, have a psychic predict your future, and even find true love. In this episode, we dig into the wild world of 900 numbers, and explore why they came about, what made them so appealing, and why they ultimately faded away. Featuring Doug Fraser of the Curious State podcast, 900 number ex...
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September 7, 2022 29 mins
In World War II, the Japanese military operated a propaganda station called Radio Tokyo. Along with jazz music, the station featured several English-speaking female announcers, who became collectively known as Tokyo Rose. But who was Tokyo Rose? And was she really the treacherous villain that the US government made her out to be? This story comes from the History Daily podcast. Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, & Reddit. Subsc...
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August 24, 2022 32 mins
In 2018, voiceover artist Bev Standing recorded 10,000 sentences for the Chinese Institute of Acoustics. Bev was told the recordings would be used for a translation app, but three years later, she was shocked to discover that she had become the default voice of TikTok in North America. On TikTok, Bev heard herself saying all kinds of wild and inappropriate things. So, she decided to sue. In this episode, Bev tells her story, and we...
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August 10, 2022 34 mins
Ted Lasso is about more than just an incompetent soccer coach—it’s about overcoming challenges by working together. And that’s exactly what the show’s sound team had to do when the pandemic hit just two episodes in. From creating crowds of thousands using just a few voices, to recording actors in their own closets, they managed to turn lockdown into an opportunity for innovation. Featuring Ted Lasso’s Supervising Sound Editor Brent...
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July 27, 2022 48 mins
We spend a lot of time curating for taste, touch, smell, and vision. But too often, sound gets overlooked. We forget that we can get rid of sounds that annoy us, and surround ourselves with sounds that we love. When we do, it can have huge benefits for our mood and wellbeing. In this episode, Dr. Laurie Santos of The Happiness Lab joins Dallas to create a Handbook for Sonic Happiness. Featuring auditory psychologist David Poeppel, ...
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