Given that plenty of companies will happily relieve you of a couple of quid for a new mobile phone ringtone, a simple software application that can help you make your own could have substantial appeal. It’s a thought shared by the team behind MP3 Ringtone Factory, which is a program that keeps things as simple as possible. In fact, a little too simple, as you’ll discover shortly.
The idea is straightforward enough. You take an existing MP3 file and open it up. It’s then visually presented in front of you, and you hold down the left mouse button and select the portion of the file you want to convert. You can preview your selection with the Play button, but here’s where arguably the biggest problem kicks in.
Imagine you’ve opened up a song of choice, that it’s three minutes long, and that it’s now visually presented in front of you. Selecting the exact 30 seconds or so that you want to use for your ringtone is going to be tricky. So you’d expect some fine-tuning tools, to allow you to start your selection a second earlier, without having to precisely select everything all over again, right?
Wrong. Instead, if you make one mistake or are one second out, you’re back to square one every time. True, it only takes a moment to select and preview another portion of the MP3 file, but that’s not the point. You can find yourself making 15-20 attempts to get it exactly right, when in fact all you should have to do is make one selection and then correct it as needs be.
However, it gets worse. All the program actually then does, once you’ve made your selection, is save the clip as an MP3 file on your computer. You can alter the quality of the clip and alter the output format, but that really is your lot. So in fact instead of being an MP3 ringtone maker, this is actually a small application that allows you to crudely cut a bit out of an MP3 file and make a smaller file.
There’s no help in transferring it to your phone (you’ll need to have a Bluetooth dongle to do the transfer, or upload it to your own Web space and download it using WAP features – that’s if your phone support this, and if it also supports MP3 ringtones). There’s no support for anything other than MP3 and no useful documentation whatsoever.
In short, you’re being charged what converts to around £12-£13 for a feature that’s included in any half-decent audio editing program anyway. An entirely unessential piece of software.