Be forewarned, this is a technology tutorial. I'm kind of awesome at technology ;) -
So I don't really use my phone to store full-length songs onto, since I have my iPod, but I like to have a lot of options for ringtones and I like to be able to text people funny sound clips from movies and TV shows. I like to have the closest people to me on specific ringers, so then I know who is calling me right when the music starts. I have my sister on Tim McGraw's Where the Green Grass Grows because that is sort of her theme song, I have my brother-in-law on Steve Miller Band's Jungle Love because he used to always do the whistle from that song so it makes me think of him, I have my brother Logan on the theme song from the X-Men cartoon, and so forth. You can hardly ever find the songs you want through the regular ringer download process and if you can find it, it is always the wrong part or bad quality or in an elevator music style. Plus if you get way too bored with one ringtone and like to have a lot of options, like I do, it can get pricey. So, I set out to discover how to make my own. It isn't free, but in the long run it sure beats paying for crappy versions of songs and is worth the flexibility. This is how:
1- You need to get a membership at http://www.freeringers.net/. There are other programs that may work as well, depending on what phone you have, like http://www.bitpim.org/, but freeringers is the best and most organized option that I have found. It's only like $10 for a year membership and it has been totally worth it. (You can also send images to your phone through this site if you want a particular picture for your backdrop.) Once you sign up you will type your phone number and carrier and specifications into your profile. I believe you can add up to four phones to one account, but make sure you type them in correctly, because you can't edit after the fact. On the website it directs you to download a free music file converter, http://www.dBpowerAmp.com/.
2- Once you have it downloaded, click on the dBpowerAmp icon that should now be on your desktop and find the Mp3 that you want to make into a ringer, then choose the Wave option in the drop-down at the top. Some of the settings need to be changed to a lower quality so that it doesn't take up all of the storage space on your phone: 16 Bit (CD), 22050 Hz, 1 'Mono,' mark the 'Volume Normalize' and un-mark the 'Preserve ID Tags,' set it to save to the folder of your choice and then hit 'Convert.'
3- Now for the actual editing part. For this you will need to have editing software. (It's possible that you can find something like this for free online, but I haven't really looked because I already had a program.) It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something really basic and simple that will maybe be $15-$20 bucks at any computer type of store. The one I have had for years is called Audio Studio 7. (You can do a lot of other editing stuff too, like muting out curse words or splicing songs together or enhancing the bass or whatever). Basically all you have to do is cut find the chorus or whatever part of the song you want as your ringer, and cut it down to less than 30 seconds. (The icon for this typically looks like a pair of scissors.) Now save the shortened Wave.
4- Go back into your dBpowerAmp and find your edited Wave. Now choose the Mp3 option in the drop-down and make sure the settings are as follows: Bit Rate 32 Kbps, Channel Mono, Frequency 22050. Choose your Output folder and hit 'Convert.'
5- Finally, go into your freeringers account and go to the "Real Music Ringtones" option, upload the newly edited Mp3 and hit send. It will text the song right to your phone where you can save it as a ringer. Done and done. It may sound like a long process, but once you get the hang of it it's a piece of cake. I have made enough ringers at this point that if I already have the song in my files it only takes me a few minutes to make it into a ringtone. (Unless it has a really long chorus and I have to strategically edit to keep it under 30 seconds, but that's not process, that's just pickiness ;)
Now I know this may all seem extremely complicated and maybe not worth the hassle, but I promise that just like any other technological task, once you are over the intimidating unfamiliarness of it, it is fantastic. But, sigh, if you are a lazy, lazy bum of a human, and if I really like you... just tell me what song you want and I will make it for you and text it to you. Sorry folks on Sprint or T-Mobile though, because I don't think I have ever gotten them to work on a Sprint phone, and T-Mobile phones are hit and miss. They seem to work great when I send them to AT&T phones or other Verizon phones though.
Maybe I should start a business. How much should I charge per ringer? Hmmmm ;)