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Chances are, you’ve heard a difference between a National Public Radio (NPR) show like All Things Considered and some other radio talk show. NPR just has that certain sound.
One reason is that NPR hosts tend to have a certain cadence. But the signature sound is also technical. The public media news outlet Current describes NPR’s signature audio as “crisp and bright.” Last year, its podcast, The Pub, interviewed an audio engineer to figure out how exactly NPR creates its one-of-a-kind audio style.
Part of the effect comes from using specific microphones. NPR is a radio programming powerhouse, and it uses top-of-the-line Neumann U87 microphones. These microphones are specifically tuned to make NPR voices clearer to people listening in their cars by filtering out very low frequencies (below 250 hertz).