Personalizing your phone is probably the most fun you can have. Hmm, okay, well there are many other things that are fun, but it is one fun thing, I'll grant you that. You don't have to be a nerd to add nifty new ringtones. For example, you can purchase them off of the IStore and they get dropped into the rights spot ready for you to use.
But why not use a snippet of 1 of the songs within your music collection. Why not indeed. Today, I'll show you how, by using a couple of free utilities on your PC.
Here is an overview of what we'll be doing.
- Downloading the utilities,
- Finding a song and/or effect,
- Cutting and saving the audio snippet,
- Converting the audio clip into a ringer compatible format,
- Copying the audio clip onto your IPhone.
Sounds like enough work to me. Okay, so let's download and install the programs.
Installing the programs:
I'm all for simplicity, so I packaged the freeware needed within a setup file for you. Ain't I nice?
You can download it here. http://goo.gl/i82WB
Choose Run, (ALT+R), and run again. Click next (ALT+N), a few times to proceed through the set up screens, click Install, (ALT+I), finish to end (ALT+F).
You will now have two new Icons on your desktop: mp3DirectCut and ToneShop.
So we're ready to proceed.
One should never presume, however I will presume that you know where your music presides on your system, or you know how to find it. Going on this presumption, let's launch mp3DirectCut by pressing WINDOWS+M to get to the desktop, pressing M until you find the shortcut and press ENTER. Maximize the mp3Cut window by pressing ALT+SPACEBAR and then the letter X. This is to ensure good behavior with your screen reader of choice.
Now let's open one of the previously presumed audio files by pressing CONTROL+O. It'll ask for a filename. You can access the file list by pressing SHIFT+TAB; once in WINDOWS XP and twice in Windows 7.
Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to navigate the list, ENTER to proceed down one folder level or to open a file and BACKSPACE to move back a folder level.
Once you've found the audio file you would wish to use, press ENTER on it. Please note, this program only works with MP3s and mp2s. Don't even know if anyone uses mp2s anymore.
Cutting The Clip:
Start exploring this program. Press SPACEBAR to start and stop playing the file. Use RIGHT and LEFT ARROW keys to navigate through the file. PAGEUP and PAGEDOWN for bigger increments. HOME and END brings you to start and finish.
Once you have found where you would like to begin the clip, press the letter B.
Proceed to the wanted end point of your clip and press the letter N.
To listen to your handiwork press the F4 key. It will play the snippet over and over again. you can stop it with the SPACEBAR or the letter S.
Once you're satisfied with the selection, press CONTROL+E to create the new file. Make sure you change the name, or else you might write over the original file. Also make sure you know where you're saving it.
Okay, we're done here. Close mp3DirectCut and let's go to the next step.
Converting The Audio File:
So, now that we have something to work with, let's launch the other program that was installed on your system. Press WINDOWS+M to get back to the desktop. Press the letter T until you get to ToneShop and press ENTER.
You'll be presented with a screen of options. I'll walk you through it. The first thing you land on is the audio format. This is where you indicate what kind of audio file you would like to create. There are 8 options. We're looking for: Apple iPhone (AAC, .m4r). This is the format that IPhone ringtones use. This is the last option on this list. Press the DOWN ARROW until you reach it. TAB to the "Load" button and press ENTER. If you know the name and folder of your audio file, you can type it in the filename area. Otherwise, it's the old SHIFT+TAB to the folder area as mentioned previously in this entry. See above.
Once you have found the file, press ENTER and you'll be back to the main screen.
TAB until you get to the "Save" button and press ENTER there. This is where you name the file. Make sure you know where this file resides as well, as it will be important for the next sections.
Once you've named it, press ENTER and you'll be brought back to the main screen.
You can then TAB to the "Play" button And press ENTER on it to make sure it's the right file. There is also the usual "Stop" button as well. Notice that there is also a "start" and "finish" button. We could have theoretically done what we did in mp3DirectCut right here. I've tried and was unsuccessful and just got frustrated, so figured I'd save you the agony. This refers back to my niceness factor in this blog entry. <smile>
Anyway, back to work. TAB to the "Convert" button and Press Enter. Your PC will take a few seconds to convert the file and will alert you when it is done. So we finally have a ringtone. All we need to do is to send it to the IPhone.
Let's close this program for now.
Please note, if you find a file that doesn't need any modifications, you can skip the mp3DirectCut step and just do the above ToneShop steps to convert the audio file.
Also note that IPhone Ringtones can be no longer than 30 seconds.
Adding and Syncing:
We're almost done here. Does your head hurt yet? Mine does. I might consider doing a podcast on this one. We'll see. Okay, let's copy this file onto the IPhone. Connect your IPhone to your PC. If ITunes doesn't launch, start it manually. From within the program, press CONTROL+O to get to the "add file to library" option. This is where the, "Knowing where your new ringtone is concept", comes into play. Point the system to that file and press ENTER. If you explore the ITunes screen, the sidebar actually, you will find a Ringers folder and this is where the file has been placed. But there's one final step to do before you can use your new snazzy ringtone. And you thought we were done?
Press ALT+F to get into the "file menu. Press the UP ARROW until you reach "Sync IPhone" and press ENTER. This will copy your new ring tone to the IPhone.
And there you have it. You can now go into the settings on your IPhone, sounds, ringtones and then change the IPhone ringer to the new sound you've so lovingly created.
Well, this is more a cheerleading "You can do it" sort of note.
Please don't feel daunted with the process I described above. Sure, you're encountering 2 new programs and you're manipulating files, but the concepts you play around with in this exercise can be applied to other programs on your PC.
Take some time to tinker around and you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Don't forget, if you have JAWS, you can ease the use of ITunes by installing the BlindTunes scripts.
You can find more info from this blog entry here: http://blog.cnib.ca/archive/2011/04/29/itunes-access-with-blindtunes.aspx
Happy Ring Toning!
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