Twenty Thousand Hertz

Twenty Thousand Hertz

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


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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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 30 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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June 7, 2023 33 mins
Baseball fan or not, there’s one song that virtually every American knows… or at least, we think we do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to “The Star Spangled Banner'' and “Happy Birthday.” But if you dig into the lyrics, you’ll find a forgotten message buried among the peanuts and Cracker Jack. This story comes from the Smithsonian’s Sidedoor podcast. Watch our vi...
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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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May 10, 2023 27 mins
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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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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