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How To Create Mobile Ring Tones?

Updated on October 22, 2011

You can tell a lot about a person, if you just listen to the ringtone on his/her cellphone. If you hear the generic tone as the phone's original ring setting, than the owner is giving an impression that the cell is just another tool, not an accessory to personalise.

But if you're roused by the chorus of a recent top hit, that means the owner wants you to believe he's young and hip. On the other hand, if you're startled by a screeching noise that refuses to stop, then there is a good possibility that its one of my friends who has got a nice ringtone with the Star Wars character Yoda saying ‘Answer the Phone, You Must'.

Customised ringtones are the preferred way for many people to express themselves. It has been observed that some youngsters and even adults change their ringtones every week. However, if you have a phone with an MP3 player, you don't have to spend anything on ringtones. Moreover, given the lack of variety that the majority of us face in our ringtone choices, not to mention the exorbitant cost charged by telecommunication companies for mediocre tones, this is the best option.

All you need for free ringtones

  • Cellphone with MP3 ringtone support.

  • CD or MP3 of the song.

  • Any device for transferring the ringtone from computer to phone (USB, Bluetooth, e-mail, instant message, etc.)

  • Audio-editing software that allows export to MP3. If you don't already have this, Audacity is a good open-source programme you can download for free, and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. You'll also need the LAME library for Windows, Mac or Linux. (LAME is a free downloadable MP3 codec that enables Audacity to encode MP3.)

  • About 20 minutes of time.

Please note: Audacity requires a minimum of 64 MB RAM and 500 MHz processor on Windows 98 and 512 MB/1 GHz on Windows XP.

Setting up

If you are creating your ringtone from a CD, rip the song you want as a WAV (Windows) through Windows Media Player or equivalent ripper. It's a good idea to specify a new ripping location, too, so the ripped song doesn't end up getting lost in the rest of your collection.

Once you get the song as a digital music file (whether WAV or MP3), run your audio-editing software, which in our case will be Audacity.

But if you are creating ringtone from mp3 just copy that MP3 in to a new folder so that editing does not affect the version of the song.

Set up Audacity

You can get Audacity through the website,click here to download.

Please note: Audacity requires a separate LAME encoder file to work with MP3s. You can download it from the site as well. Save the LAME encoder file in Audacity's folder (typically C:\Program Files\Audacity). If you downloaded a compressed (.zip) file, decompress it first.

Now open Audacity. Click Edit - Preferences. Select the File Formats tab. Under ‘MP3 Export Setup,' click the ‘Find Library' button.

Audacity will prompt you to locate the LAME encoder file. Click Yes, then locate the file in Audacity's folder. Select the file and click Open. Now Audacity is ready for MP3s.

Cut your ringtone

Load your favourite MP3 into Audacity by clicking File - Open. You'll be prompted to locate the song on your hard drive. By default, Audacity fits the song's entire playtime into the window. For precision editing, click View - Zoom In. Each time you zoom in, the timeline will become more precise. A timeline marking every second or every five seconds will do.

Finally, it's time to cut your ringtone. Press the Play button in Audacity to listen to the MP3. Note which section of the song stands best as a ringtone. Pay attention to that section's place in the timeline.

Highlight the section you want in the timeline then cut and paste. Click and drag across a section of audio and copy it. Paste it into the same track or a new track as needed. The process is similar to selecting text in Windows. Press Play and Audacity will play only that section.

Once you have the piece you like, go to Edit - Copy to get the song snippet then go to File - New to launch a new Audacity window. When the new window is open go into it and select Edit - Paste. You now have the sampled song snippet in the new Audacity window.

If there's no sound at the beginning of the song, you can remove that section by selecting it with the mouse and Edit - Delete. On the tail end of your music sample you may want the song to fade out. Select the two seconds or so and choose Effect - Fade out. You can visually see the music tapering down. Now you can export it as it is or you can personalise the ringtone with audio effects.

Audacity comes with several effects so do try them out. I recommend trying the Echo and Phaser. Each has various settings to tweak. Adding these effects is a matter of taste, but it adds a bit of spice to the ringtone and makes it more of an individual statement. You can also mix different tracks from multiple song files.

Once you've got the sound clip you want, click File - Export Selection As MP3. You'll be prompted for a location to save the selection. It's also a good idea to change the file name. The name should have to distinguish the sound clip from the complete song.

Tip 1:

Use a 56 Kbps Bit Rate. This will lower the quality of your mp3s in general but would also save space on your limited memory and will barely be noticeable on the mobile's speakers.

As a thumb rule, file sizes should have to be around 180KB to 300KB for 20 second to 35 second samples.

Tip 2:

Cut all of your ringtones to be 21 seconds long. That's the amount of time before the phone rings out i.e. you get a ‘no response' message on your cellphone. You'll still have a full ringtone to hear and nothing more.

Getting the tone onto your phone

It is time to transfer the MP3 ringtone on your cellphone. The easiest way to do this is by using a Bluetooth, assuming you have already paired your computer and cellphone. Unfortunately, though many phones accept Bluetooth wireless connections, the same cannot be said of most PCs.

So what to do then? Well, you can also transfer the tone by connecting your phone to your PC. Some phones can be connected using a USB cable. The cable is usually included as part of the mobile tool kit software.

The third and the easiest way to get the ringtone onto your phone is via e-mail, MMS or SMS. Check your service provider for your phone's e-mail address. Simply e-mail the ringtone from your PC to your phone.

You can also visit websites like mobile17, which let you upload ringtones from your PC as well. Then, you can use your phone's Web browser to download the ringtone to your phone. Be careful using these sites as most require an e-mail address to register and use it to send you spam from the site.


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    • ZipClip profile image


      10 years ago

      Very good hub. Thanks for the info.

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for the comment.Its really easy you just add your hub in groups, which can be done by going into our accounts section and then going into groups.You can arrange all your similar hubs in different groups and they all will be linked automatically.

    • Ann Smith profile image

      Ann Smith 

      10 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Hassam,Thanks for the informativce hubs. Hey, how do you create the links at the bottom of your page so that they have an arrow beside them and a nice border above and below them?

      -- Ann


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