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Creating MP3 Ringtones With Audacity

Carl from PA asks:

How can I make ringtones for my phone with Audacity?

I am going to concentrate strictly on MP3 ringtones because most modern phones can use them.

The first step, if you haven’t already, is to go here http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ [1] to download Audacity and then download the LAME MP3 encoder from the same page. This will enable you to import your music and export your ringtone in MP3 format.

Once you have Audacity and the encoder, click on File>import>audio and choose your song.

Some phones, like my old Blackberry, will just play an entire song as a ringtone, but there’s really no need to use up that amount of space for a ringtone.  You only need enough song there to cover five rings, because that’s when voicemail typically picks up.  Most ringtone makers recommend twenty to thirty seconds of song, but I actually timed it out as fifteen seconds, so that’s all that I’m using for my tones.  So the next thing that you need to do is select the section of song that you want.  You may want to start by using the zoom tool…

…to zoom in to a fifteen to thirty second section of the song so that you can be more precise about where you’re going to cut.  Decide what fifteen to thirty seconds of the song that you want.  Switch from the zoom tool to the select tool…

…then click at the beginning of the section that you want to use and drag back to the beginning of the track.

Click “delete” to clear that section of the song.  Next, do the same from the end of your section to the end of the song.

Click “delete” again.  This should leave you with with just the section of song that you want.  Once you’ve got that, click File>Export.

Type the title of the ringtone as you’ll want it (I always just save it as the person’s name), input any track information that you want on the next screen, and then choose the bitrate that you want to save it at.  Remember, the higher the bitrate, the better the quality of the ringtone, but the more space it will take up.  If your phone limits the size of ringtone files (my Samsung Captivate running the Android operating system, for instance, limits ringtones to 300 KB) then you may have to resave the section at a lower bitrate.

Have fun with it!

~Randal Schaffer