Here’s a question: If a song costs you about $.83 to buy on CD, and $.99 from iTunes, how can you justify buying only a fraction of a song as a ringtone for $3 a pop? If your cell phone is capable of playing MP3 ringtones, it makes sense to replace that boring default ringtone with a snippet from your favorite song, but there’s no way that you should have to pay $3 to do it.
Here’s how you can create a ringtone from one of your MP3s for free.
What You Need
If you don’t confirm that you have all three of these before you get started, you may end up wasting a lot of time on something that isn’t going to work. If you’re unsure, check your manufacturer’s and/or service provider’s websites.
- A phone capable of playing MP3 ringtones,
- A way to get the MP3 to your phone (PC to phone USB cable, etc.), and
- An installed copy of Audacity (a free and open source audio editing software).
- Open Audacity.
- Select File, Open and open the MP3 you would like to make into a ringtone. After Audacity loads it, your screen should look somewhat like the screenshot above.
- Click the point in the file where you want your ring tone to start.
- While holding down the left mouse button, drag the mouse to the right to highlight the section of the MP3 that you want use.
- Clicking the green play button will play your selection.
- When you move the mouse pointer close to the edges of your selection, your cursor will turn into a hand. By clicking and dragging with the hand you can shorten or lengthen your selection as needed. This can be done at either side of the selection.
- If you have trouble getting the exact point you want, click the zoom button (or [CTRL]+1) a few times so that you can make the start and end points of your selection more precise.
- Once you are happy with your selection, select File, Export Selection as MP3.
- In the “MP3 Save As” box, change the name of your ringtone to make sure you don’t overwrite the original file.
- Connect your Phone to your PC and follow your manufacturer’s instructions for transferring the ringtone onto your phone. With my phone (Sony-Erikson W810i), it was as simple as connecting to the PC with a USB cable and dropping the ringtone into the “ringtones” directory.
And you’re done!
- Holding down the shift key when clicking play tells Audacity to play your selection as a loop.
- Some phones have size limitations for ringtones, so if you can’t get yours to work the file may be too big. Try cutting the length of the ringtone down to ten or twenty seconds.
- Sometimes carriers lock the ability to load MP3s on a phone so that they have a monopoly on selling you ringtones from their store. If this is the case, you may be out of luck.
- Be careful of what you use as a ringtone. That mushy song that reminds you of your significant other is bound to make you look like an idiot when you’re out in public. Unless of course, that sentimental song is “Brick House” by the Commodores (She’s a brick… Hauuuuus. She’s mightay mightay. Lettinitallhangout.).
- Assign custom ringtones for each of your contacts so you know who is calling without looking. If it’s Slayer, it’s Darryl. If it’s Michael Bolton, it’s probably one of the Bobs.
- Please don’t ever use Michael Bolton as a ringtone.