Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How-To: Make Your Own Ringtones!

It is the 21st century dillemma: You have the best, most elitist and hipster music taste this side of Pitchfork, yet your cell phone best represents this with a MIDI version of "Hot Cross Buns." How are you supposed to obnoxiously let everyone know that you, yes you, do not listen to mainstream garbage, but instead have found a niche in sub-subgenres that have barely been conceived?

Well, rest easy, because the definitive answer is finally here.

After months of rigorous testing in the Cassette Musique labs, I have concocted a simple, stepwise process to make absolutely free, absolutely hip, absolutely obnoxious ringtones for your cell phone. There is probably some catches to this, but the method has worked for me, so at the very least it is worth a shot.

For one, I am on Verizon Wireless and have a Samsung Glyde phone. I haven't tested this on any other service providers, and have only tried this one other time on my old Motorola phone and it did work. Also, you are going to need to be able to receive a picture message with an attachment (that's crucial.) Ready? Let's go:

1. Peruse your iTunes (or other inferior music library program) and find a song that you're sure is to impress virtually everyone who hears that someone is calling you. This is probably the hardest part.

2. Once you find the song, you need to select no more than a THIRTY SECOND section of the song to use as the ringtone. If it was hard enough to find the right song, it may be hard to find a section that makes a fantastic ringtone. Alas, once you know the section you want to use, right-click the song, select Get Info, and go to the Options tab. You'll see a Start Time and Stop Time section. Enter in, to the best of your ability, the times where the section you want to use appear. It may be 0:33 to 0:49, so enter that. Trial-and-error works well here, so listen to the newly-edited file to see if it was truncated correctly.

3. Once you have your song of choice shortened to ringtone length, you need to convert the file into a low-quality MP3. (I see you bashing your head against your keyboard...relax, it isn't that bad.) To do this, first go to the Edit tab at the top of iTunes and select Preferences. Under the General tab, select Import Settings. You're going to want to import using the MP3 Encoder, and select Custom for Setting. A small pop-up window will come up. I've found that in order to shrink the file size effectively while maintaining some audio fidelity, a Stereo Bit Rate of 96 kbps works well, but also set Channels to Mono. (Sample rate was Auto and the two checkboxes were checked for me, too.) Once this is done, hit OK and get back to the song file. Right-click the song in question, and select Create MP3 Version. It will make a second copy of the song, one which is of your selected length and quality. Perfect!

4. "How in God's name do I get this one-of-a-kind ringtone to my uber-stylish phone?" Go to your favorite e-mail client and compose a new message. Send the message to your cell phone by typing in your 10-digit cell phone number (area code + 7 digits, like 2125550123) followed by Then, attach your newly made MP3 file. It should be relatively small, like about 100 KB, give or take. Once it is attached, send it and wait anxiously.

5. Once your new picture message arrives to your phone, open it. The song should play upon opening it, so you can hear how AWESOME it sounds. Then, for my phone at least, select Options and Save As Ringtone. Perfect! All done. Try to find some similar option if that isn't there. Some phones might be Negative Nancys and not allow this. That would suck. At least you tried. Be creative and experimental if you have to (that's basically what I did), and you'll get it eventually (unless, of course, your service provider or your phone simply doesn't allow it, in which case write an angry letter expressing your discontent on how the legal ringtone store doesn't have "Gun In The Sun" by Wavves available.)

I made this post for a few friends who wanted to also make "Hustlin'" by Rick Ross their ringtone, but if this benefits anyone else, bitchin'. Coming up next: How to fix your leaky faucet in four easy steps! (Cue Home Depot commercial.)