How to make a ring tone

Well, I bet I’m not the only one who hates paying two bucks or more for a portion of a song when iTunes charges one dollar for the whole song and even that’s a rip-off. Now, now, don’t get too riled up, though. You can simply make your own ring tones, and I’ll show you how. I’ll give you the basic steps and then I’ll let you know how to make the file smaller, make it sound better on your phone, etc. But for those advanced steps, it’s important to have a little information as to why you will need to follow them, and I’ll give you some of that, too. If you are considering making ring tones for a long time, I would highly recommend you study up on sound a tiny bit, as well. It’s very helpful.

So, the first thing you’ll need is a sound editing program. I recommend Audacity because it is free, easy to use, and will be the base program for my instructions. You can adapt these steps for any other audio editing program you prefer, though.

Now that you have a program, open it up and import your audio into it. No matter what it is, you need to have something to use as a master file. I can’t really show you how to produce your favorite song from scratch. So, find the song or mp3 file you want to be a ring tone and drag it into the program. Then, if you are going to be cutting it down to a specific part, i.e. the chorus or a particular verse you like, then do so very carefully so it retains a bit of a professional sound. When cutting something down, you want to retain a bit of rhythm in your work. What I mean is that you need to keep the beats together in the same way they occur in the song, or else when your ring tone plays the second time, it might seem like it’s in a hurry to play again or something strange. It will simply sound off. A good example of this is the beginning of a song. If your song comes in straight away without any pause at the beginning of the track, then you’re fine, but if there is four beats before the music starts, you’ll want to leave make sure you don’t do anything to mess that up. Or, if there are four beats at the end of the chorus and another four at the beginning of the verse that you like and you just cut out the rest, you’re going to have eight beats in total and it will sound strange. Basically, there are a bunch of rhythmic issues, but they’re easily beaten. Simply listen to the audio file you are working on. If it all sounds good once, try to see what it would sound like as a ring tone that repeats over and over. Copy all of the file, then paste it right at the end of itself so you now have double the amount of audio you had before and it’s all the same. Now, all of what you have and it will mimic a ring tone in the way that it plays back to back. If it sounds good, you’re all set. If not, work with it to make it sound natural and not cut, edited, and messed around with.

If you are using Audacity, you can actually see the waveform of the audio you are working with. Many other programs have this, too, but not all of them. But, when looking at the waveform, you will be likely to see it spike up and down many times. This is when the sound moves into a higher or lower frequency. Since many cell phones can only handle certain frequencies, you’re going to need to Normalize the sound wave a bit. It should be automatically centered in the relative middle of the sound, but then just go to Effects>Normalize and then change it accordingly. When the sound wave moves up or down too high, crappy speakers simply register that extra sound as distortion, so there’s a ton of fuzz and it can become so much that it drowns out the rest of the song. Now, after you do this, if you choose to listen to the completed file on a computer or stereo, you will notice a huge difference, but your cell phone won’t have a high enough quality for you to notice the change in the sound.

You are welcome to save the file now, but it is still a rather large file size. A lot of phones are equipped to hold a large amount of data, but even if you are lucky enough to have one of these phones, many will still have limits on the size of a file you are allowed to use as a ring tone. I would recommend changing the bit rate to a smaller bit rate. The way you do this is you select your entire edited audio project, and (in audacity) you click on the bottom left corner where it shows the current bit rate. It will bring up a dialog box for you to choose a lower or higher bit rate. Once again, this will make the file quality kind of lame on good speakers, but for a cell phone, it’s just fine. Since cell phones can only put out a certain quality of audio, they’re wasting the high quality files. Say it can only put out a bit rate quality of 1100 and your file is 3200. Well, the rest doesn’t do anything to make it better so long as it’s coming out of the phone.

Now, this is the finished product for a normal ring tone, but I love adding certain effects. Play around to find out which effects …affect you in the best way. (Gee, ain’t I clever?)
But, the most useful effects are the fade in and the fade out. A tone will sound really professional when they are used. I find it especially helpful if the tone starts out so loud that it scares me when I get a phone call, but it also just sounds nice. And the fade out comes in handy so you can balance it all. The ring tone fades out and then fades back in to the beginning of the song again.

Well, I think that might be it for now. Good luck. Have fun! Enjoy.