Twenty Thousand Hertz

Twenty Thousand Hertz

www.20k.org
The stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds.
#47 | Loop Groups
Aug 6 • 28 min
Invisible actors create worlds of sound in everything you watch - from Jaws to The Wire. With special guests, Carl Gottlieb, screenwriter and author of “The Jaws Log”; Dann Fink, loop group director and co-owner of Loopers Unlimited; Stuart Stanley, Sound…
#46 | Slot Machines
Jul 23 • 19 min
What do you hear when you walk into a Casino? It can feel like chaos, but each sound is carefully curated to draw you in and make you stay. One collection of sounds are scientifically and artistically designed to keep the gambler, gambling. Slot machines.…
#45 | Misophonia
Jul 9 • 19 min
The way our brains process sound affects the way we respond to sound. This episode is about why that happens in those who suffer from misophonia, the hatred of certain sounds. Featuring researcher Dr. Phillip Gander, psychologist Dr. Ali Mattu, and…
#44 | THX Deep Note, Part 2
Jun 25 • 28 min
Whether you’re 6 years old, or 96 years old, one of the most memorable parts of going to the movies for the last three decades has been the THX “Deep Note” trailer. Unfortunately, they lost the original sound file. What happened? Also, what do sound…
#43 | THX Deep Note, Part 1
Jun 11 • 26 min
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…
#42 | Amen Break
May 29 • 23 min
There’s a sample of music that’s been heard in over 2,000 songs. Odds are you’ve heard it many times and didn’t even realize you were listening to the same breakbeat. The amen break might be the most sampled piece of music in history. Where did it come…
#41 | Ultrasonic Tracking
May 14 • 22 min
Did you know your phone is a really good listener? Apps on your phone might be sending and receiving data over ultrasound. Ultrasonic communication is used for everything from tracking your daily habits to enabling light shows at music festivals. We hear…
#40 | ASMR
Apr 30 • 23 min
Do certain sounds give you the head tingles? If yes, this episode is full of ear candy for you! In this episode, we learn all about the phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response—or ASMR for short. This soothing episode features researchers…
#39 | Live Theater
Apr 16 • 23 min
Amazing concerts, Broadway musicals, Cirque du Soliel performances, and other live shows live and die on their sound design. This is the story of how sound design for live performances went from zero to speakers in the seats and where the industry might…
#38 | The Music in Speech
Apr 2 • 18 min
The way you speak has rhythm, timbre, and pitch. It’s more like music than you might think. We chat with The Allusionist host Helen Zaltzman, Martin Zaltz Austwick from Song by Song, Music Psychologist Dr. Ani Patel of Tufts University, and Drum Composer…
#37 | Seizure Sonification
Mar 19 • 29 min
Brant Guichard has heard “The Music” for as long as he can remember. Brant has a particular type of epilepsy where he hears what are called “musical auras” whenever he has a seizure. Brian Foo, aka the Data Driven DJ, introduces a different musical…
#36 | Hamilton
Mar 5 • 29 min
Broadway’s award-winning, record-breaking, smash hit, Hamilton, is a musical unlike any other. Get the story from people in the room where it happens of how sound helps tell the musical’s story eight times a week. We talk to Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton’s…
#35 | Emergency Alert System
Feb 19 • 26 min
When people in Hawaii were falsely alerted of a Ballistic Missile threat, the first thing they heard was the sound of an emergency alert. For decades, this tone has alerted us to local weather emergencies and other important events, but it has never been…
#34 | Muzak
Feb 5 • 19 min
“Elevator music” was once the sound of restaurants, offices, and elevators in mid-20th century America. But ironically these bland, string-driven instrumental tracks are never heard in elevators anymore. In this episode, we speak with Joseph Lanza, the…
#33 | Six O’Clock Soundtrack
Jan 22 • 26 min
Ever wonder how the music on your favorite news stations is created? Dive in with news music appreciator + journalist Victor Vlam; Composer Matthew Kajcienski, Composer Irad Eshel, Composer Adarsh Thottetodi, Composer David Lowe, Musicologist James…
#32 | 3149146093
Jan 8 • 25 min
A mysterious Tweet from one of the most famous people on Earth: A single phone number, zero context. What does it mean? Why was it posted? Would you call it to find out? For commercial director Duncan Wolfe, this hypothetical became a very real social…
#31 | The Gift
Dec 25, 2017 • 22 min
The science behind sound reproduction has been studied for centuries. But what will research uncover in the centuries to come? One man made it his life’s mission to find out, and a gift he made to the world will continue that mission for the foreseeable…
#30 | User Interfaces
Dec 11, 2017 • 25 min
There are sounds we interact with every single day and never give a second thought. Our phones, computers, cars, and other devices are constantly communicating with us through user interface sounds and it’s their job to be heard, but not distracting. In…
#29 | Let It Beep
Nov 27, 2017 • 19 min
For over two decades, every time you turned on a Mac, you were greeted by a familiar sound. It’s appeared as a punchline in The Simpsons, and in movies like WALL•E. It’s a sound some of us tried to hide from our parents as we turned on the computer in the…
#28 | Disney Parks
Nov 13, 2017 • 22 min
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.…
#27 | Spooky Sounds
Oct 30, 2017 • 26 min
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…
#26 | Acoustical Umbilical Cord
Oct 17, 2017 • 23 min
Many animals, humans included, are natural-born criers. It’s the most basic form of communication from right when we come into the world. But us humans are unique: we keep on crying until the day we die. What was born as a survival mechanism, develops a…
#25 | Level Up
Oct 3, 2017 • 23 min
Video games are a growing industry and every play-controlled experience is defined by its harmony of music, sound effects, and voice acting. In this episode, we reveal how these elements of a video game’s soundscape are crafted and come together to tell…
#24 | Watergate
Sep 19, 2017 • 26 min
Watergate might be the most widely-referenced scandal in our nation’s history. The actual word itself has been appropriated in order to name many later scandals. But for a new generation of Americans, the word Watergate might not mean much. What was it?…
#23 | Sonic Seasoning
Sep 5, 2017 • 19 min
Taste is one of our most subjective of the five senses. A flavor that elicits delight in one individual may evoke strong disgust in another. And while we all have a basic understanding of flavor, we rarely think about the other sonic factors that may be…
#22 | Fight or Flight
Aug 22, 2017 • 26 min
Are you afraid to fly? Does even the thought of boarding an airplane make you anxious? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from clinical aviophobia. While some manage to distract themselves long enough to endure a flight, countless others avoid…
#21 | Sound Firsts
Aug 8, 2017 • 29 min
What is the oldest recorded sound in history? For over 100 years researchers thought they knew until a mind-blowing discovery by historians found something new - and technological advances allowed it to be played back for the first time in history. What…
#20 | Noise Pollution
Jul 25, 2017 • 20 min
Noise pollution is something we’ve all experienced. Road construction, motorcycles, passing aircraft - the list goes on and on. Other than being just plain annoying, what effect does noise pollution have on our lives? In this episode, we take a look at…
#19 | 20,000 dBs Under the Sea
Jul 11, 2017 • 24 min
71% of the Earth is covered by water. And most of us imagine it to be a serene, almost silent world. But why should we have all the fun up here? Discover what sound is like just below the surface and all the way down to the ocean’s depths. And see how…
#18 | Evolution of Accents
Jun 27, 2017 • 26 min
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…
#17 | Forensic Audio
Jun 13, 2017 • 18 min
You might not realize it, but audio can be just as crucial to solving a case than video or eyewitness testimony. But understanding how to interpret audio evidence, or having the ability to enhance it to a point of intelligibility, requires…
#16 | The Wilhelm Scream
May 30, 2017 • 20 min
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…
#15 | Voice Acting
May 16, 2017 • 19 min
We hear disembodied voices all the time, in everything from cartoons and anime to commercials and trailers. It seems easy, but it’s actually an intricate craft involving a great amount of training. What does it take to create multiple, unique…
#14 | Hearing Loss
May 2, 2017 • 20 min
Our ears are sensitive, but we often don’t treat them that way. We are born with the ability to hear up to 20,000 Hz. As we age, our hearing range diminishes. On top of that, the more exposure we have to loud sounds, the greater the impact it has on our…
#13 | The Good, the Bad & the Irritating
Apr 18, 2017 • 20 min
Some sounds are like rug burn for your ears, while others are pleasant and soothing. We explore these sounds and get to the bottom of why we might interpret them as “good” or “bad”. Featuring Tommy Edison and David Poeppel. Episode transcript, music, and…
#12 | Foley
Apr 4, 2017 • 17 min
When you listen to a movie, everything the actor touches sounds crisp and clean. However, none of it was recorded on the movie set. Go behind the scenes with some of the unsung heroes of our movie experience. Featuring Fred Newman and Skywalker Sound’s…
#11 | Space
Mar 21, 2017 • 22 min
When we think about sound, our only reference is what it’s like here on Earth. What happens when we leave this thin blanket of atmosphere, and what do other planets sound like? Featuring Dr. Lori Glaze, Dr. Keith Noll, Dr. Scott Guzewich from NASA’s…
#10 | Dolls That Talk… And Some That Listen
Mar 7, 2017 • 17 min
Talking dolls have been around for over a century, but the fascination with making inanimate objects seem human reaches back into our early history. What is it about creating a companion that can interact with us, especially for a child, that fascinates…
#9 | Cars
Feb 21, 2017 • 17 min
Some car sounds are more obvious like the horn or engine… but what about the not-obvious-until-you-point-them-out sounds like the hollow thud of a trunk or the click of a latch? The sounds a car makes are so closely associated with quality, so how,…
#8 | Audio Descriptions
Feb 7, 2017 • 16 min
Did you know there might be a track of audio on your favorite movies and television shows that describe all of the actions on screen? This technology was designed for the visually impaired, but it could be used for the masses. It’s still not as widely…
#7 | Movie Soundtrack
Jan 24, 2017 • 17 min
When you think of a movie soundtrack, you probably think music. And sure, that’s one of the many, many things going on there. What else goes into making a scene sound “natural”? It isn’t what you’d think. Meet a major motion picture sound designer who…
#6 | From Analog to Digital
Jan 10, 2017 • 17 min
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…
#5 | Sound of Extinction
Dec 27, 2016 • 17 min
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…
#4 | Mystery Hum
Dec 13, 2016 • 13 min
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…
#3 | 8-bit
Nov 29, 2016 • 15 min
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,…
#2 | NBC Chimes
Nov 15, 2016 • 15 min
NBC’s three little chimes didn’t just define a television network, they defined a generation. Where did they come from and what is the surprising impact they have had on current and future media? Featuring the last person to play the NBC chimes on the NBC…
#1 | Siri
Oct 31, 2016 • 15 min
When Siri launched in 2011, she permanently changed the way people interacted with their technology. What was it like to be the voice behind that voice? And how did they make that voice come to life? Featuring the original voice of Siri, voice actor Susan…
#0 | Trailer
Oct 31, 2016 • 2 min
The stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds.