The modern type of ringtone (commonly referred to as a realtone or mastertone) is actually just a short digital audio file -- very similar in fact to the full digital music tracks that you already have in your music library. With this in mind, it's no wonder that more and more people are discovering that they can make their own ringtones from songs they have already purchased -- from online music services like the iTunes Store for example. Rather than paying even more money to get a small clip of the exact same song you may already have, you can use ringtone software. After all, why pay again when you can do this for free? As well as purchased songs, you can also make ringtones out of practically any type of digital audio file that is on your computer's hard drive. This includes: captured Internet radio streams, voice recordings, sound samples, and more. Music downloaded from free and legal music sites also make a great source of non-mainstream alternatives so you can quickly create lots of unique ringtones for your iPhone or other type of smartphone/cellphone.
To get you started with creating your very own free ringtones, we've compiled a list (in no particular order) of software tools that don't require a steep learning curve in order to give good results.
This ringtone software tool by AVCWare is for Windows 7, Vista, or XP (with service pack 2 or higher). It can create ringtones for a wide variety of mobile phones (including the iPhone) due to the fact that it has good audio format support. It can currently output ringtone files as MP3, WMA, RA, M4A, WAV, AAC, OGG, and AC3.
However, one of the most impressive tricks up this program's sleeves is that it can also work with video files too. It can extract audio from video -- you can use a sound clip from the soundtrack of a movie for example which suddenly makes this application twice as useful! There are a multitude of video formats that you can import in order to create a realtone such as: AVI, MPEG, MP4, WMV, DivX, FLV, MKV, H.264/MPEG-4, XviD, and quite a few others too. Overall, this is a great program that is surprisingly full-featured considering that it is free.
AV RingtoneMAX for Windows 7, Vista, and XP contains quite a few unique features compared to the usual ringtone maker. For starters, you can mix different audio files together to create weird and wonderful ringtones -- this single feature alone is useful if you want to mix voice for example with music (a bit like DJ software). Incidentally, you can capture your own voice too if you've got a microphone. It can handle several audio formats that includes: MP3, WAV, OGG, AAC, WMA, ASF, M4A, and audio CD tracks (CDA). Ringtones are outputted as MP3 or AAC.
AV RingtoneMAX can also add effects to your ringtones with its built-in audio effects library. The program also has a rather useful BlueTooth send feature if you've got your phone hooked up to your computer via a BlueTooth connection. A recommended program for creating ringtones if you want to do more than just create music clips.
RingTone Maker is a program for Windows XP or higher. It is particularly useful if you want to create realtones from video files. As well as being able to extract audio from video files on your hard drive (FLV and MP4), RingTone Maker also sports a built-in tube downloader. Using its simple audio editing tools (edit, cut, fade in/out), you can quickly create s ringtone and save it in your desired audio format. The current supported output formats are: M4r (iPhone), MP3, and WAV.