Friday, January 12, 2007

La Ring 01

(... or how to destroy your inner ear cells)

Ever noticed how difficult it is to hear your mobile phone in a noisy place like a sports stadium or crowded bar? "That's because there's a lot of noise" you think. But there's an additional factor: polyphonic ringtones are a lot harder to hear than the good old monophonic ones.

The problem with polyphonic ringtones is that since they divide their output power over the complete audible spectrum, they get easier masked by environmental noise. Monotonic ringtones stand out, putting all their power in a single frequency at a time. Anyway, polyphony is here to stay, so let's make the best out of it.

Here's how to make a ringtone that you can hear well in noisy situations (requirements: audio editor software + mobile phone that can play mp3s):
  1. Take your favorite song that has a lot of high frequencies (audio fx, percussion, hiss noises,...) and chop it up a bit. I took Vitalic's "La Rock 01" but you might as well try out some of Dave Tipper's stuff.
  2. Remove bass frequencies and add treble, e.g. with a filter like this:
  3. Transfer it to your phone, sit back and wait until you get called.
My ringtone is available right here, ready for download and transfer to a mobile phone. You can preview it with the applet below, although it sounds different on a pc speaker than on a phone. And be warned: listening to this kind of stuff a lot is not good for your ears.

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