Making ringtones and notification sounds

I was actually browsing my phone for setting my normal alarm clock sound, but it got me thinking if anyone here is composing ringtones of notification sounds for personal use, for distributing to friends and loved ones, or for sell or other distribution? :phone:

It used to be a business, I knew people composing Nokia ringtones you could buy from a catalog over MMS :calling:

What goes into making a good ringtone or good notification sound? Now i want to make my own for sure!

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You might find useful this Twitter feed which endeavours to preserve ringtones from the pre-smartphone era:

https://twitter.com/ringtonebangers

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I was hanging out on the bitwig discord and got to chatting with x.iso on one of their live streams. They talked about how someone they knew was using various smartphones as speakers in the production of ringtones.

I just thought that was interesting and could help to make the process more efficient and direct, so it wouldn’t be like guesswork. I can’t remember if it was software they were using or modified hardware.

I’ve been meaning to start this thread for years !!! thx @xmacex. would love to contribute a community catalog of tones. I have a ringtone & a text tone that I use for myself, I’ll share them here when I have a moment : ) : )

re: alarms - it’s kind of fascinating to think about the kind of sounds that are effective at waking you up (I struggle with this, so not any sound will do) while also not being too annoying since you’ll end up hearing it daily for a while. I haven’t attempted an alarm tone yet

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I’ve been making my own ringtones and alarm sounds for years. Specifically I found that putting some real intention into what sounds I want to wake myself up with generated a very positive change in my day to day life.

I’ve been waking up to small clusters of buchla bongos awash in reverb for a while and it’s a very pleasant experience.

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Not exactly what you asked but a physical version: I bought a weird clock on a whim (secondhand locally) and it is actually ingenuous! It has a singing bowl sitting on top of it with a solenoid powered striker… Can be used as an alarm clock (starts with a very gentle strike of the bell and slowly builds in intensity over 5 minutes) or as a meditation or work timer… Seems current models work as a phone notification alert too (but: “simply plug in your phone line”)

https://now-zen.com/Phone_Bell.html

photo1

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that sounds wonderful - I’d love to load it up on my phone if you don’t mind sharing : )


@timp your photos of sound objects just keep getting better & better

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Uuh good responses everyone and @post those ringtone bangers are absolutely amazing inspiration (and sampling) material. Well done buying 2nd hand and local @timp – funding billionaire spacerace must stop.

Anyway just vocalizing this idea and your responses have resensitivized my ears. I am usually always on mute, but turned notifications on today to listen to how they resonate and reverberate in my soul throughout the day :bellhop_bell:

@andrew here you go.

Lines community, have at it, ringtones for all!

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Currently using some tones from this Make Noise tutorial: Modular Ringtones - YouTube

Most ringtones I’ve used eventually become aggravating to me. I usually use silent modes, but I love the idea of something functional, simple, and even beautiful(?). Brief, clean tones…

On a related note, I enjoy the Japan Railway tones, but they are elaborate and catchy… especially for a ringtone. Love for the JR-SH-03 【耳コピ】〈リメイク〉JR-SHシリーズ 発車メロディ - YouTube

Edit: More on rail tones… The Hidden Melodies of Subways Around the World - The New York Times

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I was once working for an artists in their 70-ties who made a charming sculpture which played a melody they had recorded, when people called a number. The sculpture was hanging from the ceiling and “sending blessings” to the caller. Serious low-key media-art interactivity. Borderline a hack and it looked cute. I think there is huge potential in ringtones. Here is a one I made for my Nokia way back. It was intented to be disruptive and to remind about mining.

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Brian Eno on making the Windows 95 startup sound:

The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.”

The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 3.25 seconds long.”

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

From: Creating the Windows 95 Startup Sound | Mental Floss

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Speaking of whom…

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If I were asked to make some kind of notification sound for someone, here are some questions I’d want answered:

medium (physical): What kind of speakers? How loud? What’s the frequency response? What’s the range of playback devices? Maybe there’s more than one place it is expected to go?

medium (software): by this, I mean restrictions related to the playback environment inside the device. Limited duration? File size? Sampling rate? Is it some kind of MIDI/soundfont thing or module format? Something restricted to a fixed-channel chiptune like the gameboy/NES/SID?

Space/environment: What kind of spaces will this be played in? Will it need to compete with other sounds, such as in a busy airport or bar?

Intelligibiliy/information: If applicable, how much information is being conveyed in the notifications (or set of notifications), and how distinguishable do they need to be?

Psychology: how do you want people to react to your sound? Is it mission-critical that they hear the sound at all costs? Or is it a gentle nudge? Are they going to need to be cheered up? chilled out? calmed down? This can get specific, and can also tie into…

…Branding: In a professional setting, usually a company will try to aim for a particular product vibe or distinctness. This ties into pyschology, distinctness, the “stickiness” factor of the particular sound or hook, and general aesthetics. probably not for

Regulations: if applicable, are there legal requirements or standards for the sound? this usually comes into play for things like medical devices, which can be very particular about what goes into an alert or notification sound. The creativity here then would involve working within these constraints to create something interesting that is more than just ticking the boxes.

From there, I can start thinking about what to do.

Speaking of sampling, the ringtonebangers content is here in various file formats including MIDI, mp3, ogg and others. This one is supposedly made by Ryuchi Sakamoto.

Edit: good riddance some cheesy :cheese: material in there :laughing: Somebody made each one of these lol. Downloading the entire folder onto my norns :wink: