Roll My Own Ringtone

First of all, I real­ly don’t go in for .mp3 ring tones. I’m actu­al­ly okay with just hav­ing a beepy or ringy ring­tone on my phone. How­ev­er, cus­tom ring­tones do serve a use­ful pur­pose. Now that essen­tial­ly every­one1 car­ries a cell phone with them, know­ing that it is actu­al­ly your phone ring­ing is handy. Of course, you don’t need to have “The Macarana” blar­ing every time your wife calls. That’s annoy­ing (for sev­er­al rea­sons). So, all this being said, it’s a good idea to know how to make your own ring­tones. Ring­tones are mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar busi­ness, and it’s no won­der when you con­sid­er the num­bers. I can pur­chase the lat­est hit at the iTunes for 99¢ but that same song, in a short­er, low­er qual­i­ty ring­tone will cost me $1.99 at Cin­gu­lar (plus what­ev­er amount of band­width it costs me to down­load it). I pay twice as much for less? I don’t think so.

Here’s what I use to do this:

  1. A song. More to the point, one in .wav for­mat. You can rip one off a CD you own or burn-and-re-rip a song you’ve bought off of iTunes (or what­ev­er music ser­vice), which I do usu­al­ly to remove the DRM. Just re-rip it into .wav this time instead of .mp3.
  2. Some sound edit­ing soft­ware. I like Audac­i­ty because it’s open source and pret­ty easy to use. You’ll need to get the LAME .mp3 encoder for it, but that’s not too much trou­ble and also free.
  3. About five min­utes. Open your tune into your wave edi­tor soft­ware (Audac­i­ty) and trim it down to size. I use about 30 sec­onds, and not nec­es­sar­i­ly the first 30 sec­onds, either (I want the meat of the song, not the art­sy intro). I also use a brief fade-in at the begin­ning to save my hear­ing as well as some fade-out at the end, although who ever hears the end of a 30 sec­ond ring-tone?
  4. Save the new ver­sion as a low-to-medi­um qual­i­ty .mp3 file, prob­a­bly 42kbps (where-as I’d usu­al­ly use at least 192kbps for an .mp3 file on my PC). The key is, the file needs to be less than 600kb in final size, at least on my Cin­gu­lar brand­ed Sony-Eric­s­son W810i (I’ve yet to test Ange­la’s Motoro­la SLVR). How­ev­er, 30 sec­onds at 42kpbs should come well under that size.
  5. Trans­fer the .mp3 to the phone, by USB if at all pos­si­ble as any­thing else is excru­ci­at­ing­ly slow (i.e. – Blue­tooth). I found that I had to put mine in a spe­cif­ic fold­er called “Ring­tones.” This may not be always the case, but it worked and I’m not sure that I’d want to mix this low qual­i­ty, clipped songs with full-length .mp3 I’d lis­ten to on my head­phones, so it’s a good idea to sep­a­rate them.
  6. Use the ring­tone. Call your­self and test it out. You just saved a cou­ple of bucks and exer­cised your fair-use rights. Heck, splurge: call your­self and talk for a while. You can afford the minutes.

Right now, I have “Love Me Do” by the Bea­t­les for when Angela calls (yeah, cheesey). It works great, though, and I did­n’t have to pay for the same song twice. I sup­pose tech­ni­cal­ly if she calls while I’m lis­ten­ing to that song then I’ve gone beyond fair use and am guilty of copy­right infringe­ment. How­ev­er, that’s pret­ty unlikey. Just in case, I’ll put my phone on silent when lis­ten­ing to my copy of One.

  1. now that my broth­er Dave has giv­en up his land­line in favor of a mobile-only, I feel con­fi­dent that every­one is not just hyper­bole. []

6 thoughts on “Roll My Own Ringtone”

  1. Ah… Dave, for what it’s worth, I think Jason J. held out about as long than you did. How­ev­er, Angela and I did­n’t have to force one onto him. :)

    Also, I just thought anoth­er com­ment need­ed “Ah” in it.

  2. Ah… it’s true, Dave. I held out prob­a­bly longer than you did. Damn the evil fin­gers of tech­nol­o­gy creep­ing their way into my life.

    Sure are handy lit­tle boogers som­times, though.

  3. Ah… yes, and I have to admit, I nev­er real­ly got into phone tech­nol­o­gy because so many of them are locked down and crip­pled. Imag­ine my sur­prise when I was able to pair my phone to my mac and sync all my con­tacts and cal­en­ders. Cou­ple that with being able to cre­ate and use ring­tones, I sud­den­ly got inter­est­ed in phones.

    There’s so much irony that the phone is a Sony, though. They’re not known for open plat­forms or inter­ac­tion with others.

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