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Twenty Thousand Hertz

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

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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THX Deep Note, Part 1

Since 1983 one of the most memorable parts of going to the movies has been the THX certification played during the previews. The accompanying sound logo called “The Deep Note” has fascinated, terrified, and mystified audiences for over three decades. What is THX really? How was “The Deep Note” created? And why does it elicit such a reaction from those who hear it? Featuring Andy Moorer, creator of “The Deep Note” and global director of marketing for THX, Rob Cowles.  Twenty Thousand Hertz is hosted by Dallas Taylor and produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/thxdeepnote Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

28mins

11 Jun 2018

Rank #1

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Vroom Vroom

When was the last time you turned off your radio and just listened to your car? What’s really going on under the hood? We chat with our own Nick Spradlin about the simple force at the heart of every gasoline engine and talk with legendary recordist Watson Wu about how the sound of wild and powerful sports cars are captured.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor.Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook.Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate.If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org.Check out and subscribe to ZigZag wherever you get your podcasts.Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/vroomvroom Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30mins

18 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Makin' Whoopee!

Farts have been funny to humans for thousands of years. This basic bodily function has countless nicknames around the world, but our fascination with farts is probably best illustrated by the simple whoopee cushion. In this episode from the podcast Brought to You By, Charlie Herman reports on the history of the whoopee cushion and why we can't help but laugh when we hear that sound.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, & Reddit.Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Subscribe to Brought to You By wherever you get your podcasts.Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/makinwhoopee Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30mins

27 May 2020

Rank #3

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Virtual Choir

Singing with others is a powerful form of expression. That's why the composer Eric Whitacre started the Virtual Choir; an experiment that connects singers from every corner of the globe. In this episode, we hear how a choir can unite people from different backgrounds to achieve a common goal - creating beautiful music.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor.Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook. Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate.If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org.Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/virtualchoir Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29mins

21 Oct 2019

Rank #4

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8-bit

Primitive, yet iconic, 8-bit audio defined a generation through video game sounds and music. Discover the history and innovation behind those audio marvels that still fascinate today. Featuring Microsoft Sound Designer, Zachary Quarles, and David Murray, The 8-Bit Guy.Twenty Thousand Hertz is hosted by Dallas Taylor and produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound.Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.orgEpisode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/8-bit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

12mins

29 Nov 2016

Rank #5

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Sonic Wonderland

There’s a reason we call tourists “sightseers”. As a society, we’re totally obsessed with the way things look. But our world is full of beautiful, fascinating and bizarre sounds. Join us on a sonic adventure around the world, as we climb up sand dunes, plunge into the Arctic Ocean, and even travel back in time. When we celebrate these treasures, we become better listeners and the world becomes a richer and more exciting place. Featuring Trevor Cox, author of Sonic Wonderland and Now You’re Talking.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook.  Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Check out and subscribe to Reveal wherever you get your podcasts.Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/sonicwonderland Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

23mins

16 Dec 2019

Rank #6

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Soundmarks®

Companies spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the look of their brands. But now what a brand sounds like matters just as much. We trace the history from songs to jingles to what's called sonic branding, following the creative process that led to AT&T’s iconic four-note sound logo. And we'll explore what comes next: multi-sensory marketing. Can sound change how beer tastes? This episode originally aired on Household Name. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook.  Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/soundmarks Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30mins

15 Jul 2019

Rank #7

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Mystery Hum

There's this place right at the border between Detroit, MI, and Windsor, ON where there's this hum… It rattles dishes, makes people sick, it's even making people move away. And the government does not want you to know what's making it. Explore the mystery of the Windsor Hum with the man who is working to get to the bottom of this strange government secret. Featuring documentarian Adam Makarenko. 20K is hosted by Dallas Taylor and made out of the studios of Defacto Sound. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/mystery Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

10mins

13 Dec 2016

Rank #8

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Blue! 42!

For decades, NFL strategy slowly evolved from each team running a dozen different plays, to rigid schemes with coaches sending in orders through codewords and secret signals. Then, one piece of audio technology revolutionized the game. Beginning in the early 1990's, the NFL allowed coaches to speak directly to their quarterbacks through radios in their helmets. What followed was an instant increase in excitement for the nation's most popular sport, spawning a high-scoring era of fast paced offenses. Featuring former Super Bowl winning coach, Dick Vermeil, current LA Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, Bose Senior Project Manager Matt Ruwe, and Bose Distinguished Engineer Dan Gauger.Twenty Thousand Hertz is hosted by Dallas Taylor and produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound.Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook. Our website is 20k.org.Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate.Visit mystery.20k.org to enter this weeks mystery sound.Subscribe to The Truth wherever you get your podcasts. Or go to the truthpodcast.com. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/blue42 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27mins

28 Jan 2019

Rank #9

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Spooky Sounds

We uncover how scary sound effects are created in horror films as well as dissect how sound triggers the fear mechanisms in humans. Featuring Formosa Group Senior Sound Editor/Sound Designer Trevor Gates and Dan Blumstein, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. 20K is made out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/spookysounds Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27mins

30 Oct 2017

Rank #10

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The Booj

Movie trailers have undergone a huge evolution. They’ve gone from those cheesy voice-of-God narrators in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to boojes and bwaas. Professor James Deaville delivers the history of trailers, and Youtuber Craven Moorhaus offers a hilarious takedown of the sounds and dialogue that are common in the modern trailer style. After you hear this episode, you’ll never be able to watch a blockbuster trailer the same way again. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook. Our website is 20k.org. Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Check out more videos from the Auralnauts at youtube.com/Auralnauts. Check out Song Exploder wherever you get your podcasts. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/thebooj Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27mins

11 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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Evolution of Accents

When you describe yourself to others you might mention your height, hairstyle, or maybe your build. But one of the most telling things about you is something you can’t even see, yet it defines you more than you realize. Your accent tells others where you’re from, who you identify with, and maybe even where you’re going. How did accents evolve and why are American accents so different from British accents? Featuring Hollywood Dialect Coach Erik Singer and Linguistics Professor Dr. Walt Wolfram. Twenty Thousand Hertz is hosted by Dallas Taylor and produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/accents Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

28mins

27 Jun 2017

Rank #12

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Sonic Illusions

What we hear is incredibly personal and we all hear things differently. Sometimes our ears can even play tricks on us. Sonic illusions put a spotlight on the unique function of our hearing and how our backgrounds and biology affect how we process sound. Psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch and neuroscientist Dana Boebinger explain why our hearing is a unique sense and why sonic illusions can fool us. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound, and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook.  Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/sonicillusions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

25mins

3 Jun 2019

Rank #13

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Sound of Extinction

When was the last time you heard a dial-up modem? A dot matrix printer? A CD dropping into its plastic tray? Did you know it would be the last time? We talk to Rick Adams, a British reporter, about the impact of Big Ben being silenced for repairs next year and Madeline Ashby, a futurist, who has some pretty wild ideas of what sounds we’re about to lose... and have already lost but haven’t realized it yet.  Check out Defacto Sound, the studios that produced Twenty Thousand Hertz, hosted by Dallas Taylor. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/extinction Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

14mins

27 Dec 2016

Rank #14

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Stradivarius

Stradivarius violins are reputed to have an exquisite sound that cannot be replicated or explained. Why is that? And what, exactly, is a Stradivarius violin anyway? This episode features interviews with The Strad magazine’s managing editor, Christian Lloyd, and violin maker Joseph Curtin. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook.  Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Can you tell the difference between a Stradivarius violin and a modern violin? Take the informal test here! Our classical tracks came from Musopen. Check them out at musopen.org. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/stradivarius  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

26mins

12 Aug 2019

Rank #15

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Disney Parks

Theme parks have a way of transporting us to magical places, and sound is crucial in maintaining the illusion. From the most action-packed attractions to the background music playing between park areas, theme park sound designers have thought of it all. In this episode, we speak to Joe Herrington and Mike Fracassi, two Disney Imagineers who work to maintain the magic for guests of Disney Parks. Twenty Thousand Hertz is hosted by Dallas Taylor and produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/disneyparks Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24mins

13 Nov 2017

Rank #16

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That's All Folks!

Mel Blanc is a legendary voice actor who voiced more than 400 distinct characters. But in 1961, Mel was involved in a potentially fatal car accident. In this episode, we discover the unlikely source that saved him and hear how Mel spent his later years. Plus, we explore what it takes to pass the torch. Featuring interviews with Mel’s son, Noel Blanc, and voice actor Bob Bergen.Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, & Reddit.Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. We’re nominated for two Webbys! Vote for us at vote.20k.org and voteagain.20k.org!Discover Bob’s work at bobbergen.com.Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/thatsallfolks Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24mins

29 Apr 2020

Rank #17

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Phone Tones

We unpack how touch tone dialing changed communication forever. Join us on a deep, quirky dive into telephone history. We’ll also deconstruct these sounds and reveal their hidden brilliance. Featuring author Annabel Dodd and telephone aficionado Jim Hebbeln of the Telecommunications History Group. 20K is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Follow the show on Twitter & Facebook. Our website is 20k.org. Become a monthly contributor at 20k.org/donate. If you know what this week's mystery sound is, tell us at mystery.20k.org. Check out Pessimists Archive wherever you get your podcasts. Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/phonetones Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27mins

25 Mar 2019

Rank #18

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From Analog to Digital

Did we lose anything when we transitioned from analog to digital? Learn about the Jedi skills old radio DJs had to have to spin vinyl on the radio, and meet a man who’s found himself trapped in a digital world and learn what he does to escape. Featuring Rick Adams and Craig Crane. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/analog Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

15mins

10 Jan 2017

Rank #19

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The Wilhelm Scream

When it comes to movie screams, what’s the first one you think of? Is it a scream that evokes a sense of fear, pain, or maybe even… humor? Perhaps you immediately think about a famous “Scream Queen” or a specific scene from a movie. But you may not realize that the most famous scream in Hollywood has a name—and it’s been used over and over and over in countless films, television shows, and commercials. What makes it so good? And how did it become a filmmaker favorite? Featuring Steve Lee, sound designer, film historian, and creator of the Hollywood Sound Museum. Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the studios of Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor. Consider supporting the show at donate.20k.org Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here: https://www.20k.org/episodes/wilhelmscream Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

21mins

30 May 2017

Rank #20