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A couple of days back, after surviving an accident, my girlfriend’s father decided to cheer me up by giving me his very nice Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone. This gave me the opportunity to learn how to make MP3 ringtones – and it made me realise it’s not as difficult as I thought. All you need is your desired MP3, Audacity and the mobile phone software to transfer the MP3 to your phone.

Audacity is used to cut the MP3 down. Your average MP3 is around 3 minutes in length and is around 3 megabytes in size. There’s no need to have the whole MP3 on your phone as your ringtone as you’re not going to let the phone ring that long are you? So I used Audacity to cut the MP3 down to the first minute in length and 1 megabyte in size only. In doing so, I saved myself some space on the phone and since I normally pick up the call after the first few rings, I still have my nice cool ringtone.

So here’s how to edit your MP3 using Audacity. Being a bit of a geek, I wanted to make a Star Wars ringtone so this is what I did (Star Trek The Next Generation is next!)

After opening Audacity, open the MP3 file you want to edit :

Next, go to Edit-Select-Start To Cursor

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Then from the beginning, drag your cursor along until you highlight the amount of the file you want as your ringtone. I chose the first 60 seconds. You may want more, you may want less. But be honest, when your phone rings, how long do you wait before you pick up? Do you really need more than 60 seconds? Will the caller wait longer than 60 seconds? I don’t think so.

Then to save that section of the file as its own file, go to File-Export Selection As MP3. It will ask you for a “lame_enc.dll” file before it can export as MP3. It’s a tiny file (220KB) but necessary for MP3 exporting.

The selected portion will now be downloaded to your computer as a MP3 file.

Getting it onto your phone now requires the software that came with your phone and with that, I can’t help you as the software with each phone obviously varies. With my Sony Ericsson, it was a case of starting up the software file manager and dragging / dropping the MP3 onto the file manager. The phone was already connected via the cable and the MP3 was instantly transferred. But it may differ for other phones so check your manuals. My girlfriend has a Samsung for example and for her it’s MUCH different.

How do you make YOUR mobile phone ringtones? What software do you use? Do you make your own ringtones? Tell us what ringtones are on your phone when someone calls!

  1. Geoff
    November 22, 2009 at 8:18 am

    (smartphonecandy.com) RingtoneExpress can also be used to create ringtones from mp3, iTunes, YouTube, etc. You can transfer to your phone via bluetooth/internet download/sms/etc.

  2. Jack Cola
    August 13, 2009 at 7:13 am

    You can get the the lame file from this link
    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3

    You should extract it to the program directory where you installed audacity. If you link to it when it is on your desktop and delete it again, it will not work. So make sure it is in a place where you won't move or delete it.

  3. The Dude
    January 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    the lame file you havelinked does not work.

  4. Scott Elkin
    August 31, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Why use audacity when sites like cellsea.com handles everything, including sending to your phone?

  5. Aibek
    August 31, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Make sure to check out Ringtones Category in MakeUseOf Directory, there are at least 3-4 websites for making custom ringtones.

  6. ~Zero
    August 30, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Audacity's a great audio editing tool, but for simple task like cutting MP3 I prefer a simpler interface, like the Shuangs Audio Editor from ShuangSoft.

    btw, to me 30 secs will do. I won't usually need 60 seconds to pick up a call (especially mobile phones). Even if I do, the caller usually hangs up after 30 seconds or so.

  7. Chris @ ComicHacks.com
    August 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Mine cell didn't come with any computer software, so is there a way to get it from my PC to my cell?

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      August 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm

      Bluetooth or microSD cards are the way to go. USB connectors also work.

    • Aibek
      August 31, 2008 at 7:13 am

      Did you try Googling necessary software. If you have a popular a somwhat popular handset then there is a good chance you can get necessary drivers from manufacturer website.

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