Twenty Thousand Hertz

Twenty Thousand Hertz

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


April 17, 2024 26 mins
The sound of Late Night television is a complex beast with many moving parts. In this episode, we step inside the daily hustle of Broadcast Mixer Fred Hedemark as he and his team bring the sound of Late Night with Seth Meyers to life. Along the way, Fred reveals the highs and lows of working on a high-adrenaline, live-to-tape TV show, and shares some never-heard recordings from his years on the show. Sign up for Twenty Thousand He...
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What do you call it when you’re homesick for a place you’ve never been? Is there a word for letting books pile up in your house without reading them? How about weather that looks beautiful out the window, but that you wouldn’t want to go out in? For this episode, we worked with Babbel to bring you our second annual Untranslatable Words challenge. In it, resident linguist Grace East pits the Twenty Thousand Hertz crew against each o...
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March 20, 2024 47 mins
Hans Zimmer is responsible for some of the most iconic film scores of the last 35 years. So how does one person create so much amazing music? It turns out, he doesn’t do it alone. In this episode, Hans Zimmer’s incredible team pulls back the curtain to reveal their extraordinary creative process, and uncover the secrets behind the otherworldly music of Dune. Featuring Raul Vega, Taurees Habib, Suzanne Waters, Tina Guo, and Steve Ma...
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March 6, 2024 28 mins
All over the world, there are unique and breathtaking sounds that you can only hear in one specific place. In this episode, we travel to two of the most astounding sonic wonders in the United States. The first is a hidden sound installation in Times Square that might be the most visited art exhibit on Earth. The second is an enormous organ built right into the rock of an ancient Virginian cave. These stories originally aired on the...
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February 28, 2024 26 mins
If you listen to vintage music, one of the first things you’ll notice is the complete lack of bass. But turn on a Top 40 station today, and you’ll hear song after song with deep, sub-ratting bass tones. So how and why did this change happen? For this episode, we worked with OnePlus to tell the story of our collective obsession with bass, and the one device that transformed the sound of popular music. Featuring hip-hop legend DJ Jaz...
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February 21, 2024 31 mins
For more than three decades, it was common for American companies to put on “industrial musicals” for their employees. These elaborate productions could rival Broadway shows, and featured original songs about the company and its products. And while this music was never intended for the general public, once you hear it for yourself, you might just get hooked. This is a story about bathroom remodeling, corporate art, and one man’s ob...
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January 24, 2024 26 mins
Today, virtually every streaming platform has a sonic logo, from HBO’s classic “Static Angel” to the iconic Netflix “Tudum.” For Hulu, standing out in such a crowded marketplace has been a process of experimentation and revision. In this episode, we chart the evolution of Hulu’s sonic branding across 5 unique sonic logos. Along the way, the creative team shares unused alternate versions for the first time, and breaks down how they ...
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January 17, 2024 2 mins
The world of sound is full of great stories. To get in touch with your sonic world, follow Twenty Thousand Hertz right here in your podcast player. If you’re already a listener, send this trailer to someone you know would love the show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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December 13, 2023 45 mins
For our fourth annual Mystery Sound Game Show, we pitted the winners from the past three years against each other. The result? Chaos and hilarity. So unclog your ears, put on your listening cap, and get ready to play along. Featuring Travis McElroy, John Lagomarsino and Emily Jankowski. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. Follow us on Reddit and Facebook. Sign up for Twenty Thousand Hertz+ to get our entire c...
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November 29, 2023 27 mins
From electric guitars to samplers to drum machines and beyond, the music we love is only possible thanks to the technology used to create it. In many ways, the history of popular music is really a history of technological innovation. In this episode, we partnered with BandLab to unpack four inventions that changed music forever. Featuring author and journalist Greg Milner. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. ...
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November 15, 2023 25 mins
The world of headphones is a deep rabbit hole. With thousands of options and endless technical jargon, it’s hard to know which factors really matter, and which ones are just marketing gimmicks. In this episode, we cut through all of the gobbledygook, and break down the ins and outs of headphones to help you find your perfect pair. Featuring Wirecutter’s resident headphone expert Lauren Dragan. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, In...
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November 1, 2023 23 mins
Since the earliest days of commercial radio, companies have been using sound to worm their way into our brains. And over the decades, they’ve come up with all kinds of sonic tactics to make us want, crave and remember their products. In this episode, we take a whirlwind tour through the sounds of persuasion. This story was adapted from Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, Instagram, and TikTo...
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October 18, 2023 25 mins
The sound of a roaring combustion engine is a fixture of modern life. But as electric vehicles become more and more common, these mechanical sounds will gradually be replaced with artificial tones that have been designed from scratch. And once self-driving cars start to take over, there will be an even bigger need for creative and intuitive sound design. In this episode, we explore the future of car sounds with Audio UX Co-Founder ...
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October 4, 2023 21 mins
For more than seventy years now, filmmakers have been using and reusing a particular scream. Without a doubt, this is Hollywood’s most famous sound effect. Many people even know it by name. But despite how widely-known this sound is, lots of people still don’t know its surprising origin story. To set the record straight, we’ve remixed one of our classic, early episodes. Featuring Steve Lee, sound designer, film historian, and creat...
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September 20, 2023 29 mins
In recent years, the dialogue in movies and TV shows has gotten harder and harder to understand. No one seems to agree on who or what the main culprit is, much less how to fix the problem. In this episode, we wade into the murky waters of The Great Dialogue Debate, and maybe, just maybe, find a solution. Featuring Production Sound Mixer Tom Curley and Slashfilm Senior Writer Ben Pearson. Watch our video shorts on Youtube, Instagra...
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September 6, 2023 25 mins
Mark Mangini is one of the most prolific sound designers of all time. He’s been credited on over 150 films, including Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Aladdin, Space Jam, The Green Mile, Anchorman, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dune, and tons more. In this episode, Mark joins us to count down six of our favorite sonic moments from his career, and reveals the secrets behind how these iconic sounds were made. This episode was made in partnership with...
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August 23, 2023 28 mins
Many of us talk to ourselves in our heads pretty much all day long. But it turns out that there are plenty of people who don’t. In fact, thinking comes in many shapes and sizes, and no two minds are exactly alike. In this episode, we explore the peculiar world of how we think, and consider the pros and cons of inner speech. Featuring psychologists Charles Fernyhough and Russell Hurlburt, and lots of 20K listeners. Watch our video ...
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August 9, 2023 30 mins
The original Zelda game featured three melodies that would come to define the franchise: the Secret Unlocked Sound, the Treasure Chest sound, and the classic Zelda theme. Throughout the series, these melodies have been transformed again and again. Each version reflects the hardware it was made for, and Nintendo’s evolving approach to these iconic games. Featuring Thomas of Thomas Game Docs, and Kirk Hamilton of Strong Songs. Watch...
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July 26, 2023 24 mins
Music is a quintessential part of the Zelda series. And some of Zelda’s most iconic melodies go all the way back to the original game, on the Nintendo Entertainment System. These tunes were born in an age of 8 bits, and 5 lo-fi channels of audio. But those limitations forced composer Koji Kondo to make them as distilled and powerful as possible. Featuring Thomas of Thomas Game Docs, and Kirk Hamilton of Strong Songs. Watch our vid...
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June 21, 2023 29 mins
The history of recorded sound stretches back over a hundred and fifty years, starting with a device that could “record” a voice on a piece of paper. Today, we can enjoy lossless streaming anywhere we go… but getting here wasn’t easy. In this episode, we worked with Qobuz, the high quality music platform, to chart the history of audio mediums, from cylinders made of tin foil and wax, to vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CDs, and mp3s. Along...
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