It is actually extremely easy to turn almost anything in your music collection into a ringer for your cell phone. And there are many ways to get the new file onto your phone.
The first thing to note is that not all phones accept the same file types for ringers. Some phones use mp3′s, others use m4a’s, and others will use either format. You can find out which format you will need by checking in the manual that came with your phone, or by searching online; or it is almost easier to just save the file in both formats and try them both to see which works.
The second thing to keep in mind is that phones typically require that the file be under a certain amount of time. For instance, my phone will only use files that are 30 seconds or less in length. This shouldn’t be an issue anyway, as normally voice mail will pick up by then.
To convert the files you will need a couple programs. For starters, you will need a program to truncate your music into an acceptable length. I find that Audacity is great for this purpose as it allows you to listen to the file and set break points. You may then cut everything before and after these breakpoints and save the file back out under a new name.
You will also need a program to convert the file into an acceptable format. For mp3′s this is not a big deal as there are an abundance of programs to do this – in fact, you probably already have at least one program that will create mp3′s from other file types. If, on the other hand, your phone uses m4a’s, I would suggest importing the ringer into iTunes and exporting it as an m4a. Windows and Mac users should be able to install iTunes quite easily, and it will also run under Wine on Linux systems.
Once you have the file, you will need to copy it to your phone. If your phone and computer both support Bluetooth, then it should be trivial to copy your new ringer. Likewise, if you have the appropriate connection cable for your phone you can transfer the file via USB. However, if like me, your computer does not support Bluetooth and you haven’t forked over $20 or $30 for a cable that you would probably only use once or twice, there is another way. If you use a phone on Sprint’s network, you can transfer your new ringer (or wallpaper) to your phone using the free service at Rumkin. Similar services for other carriers probably exist as well.
Once the file is on your phone, it may be in a downloads area. Normally to use the ringer, you will need to go to the downloads menu option, select the file, and there will typically be an option to associate the ringer with an entry in your phone book. Of course, you may luck out, and the file may have been downloaded into your ringers folder instead and you can just select it normally.
I have used this service with service with 4 different models of phone from 3 different manufacturers and have not had issues, but it may take a bit of playing around with to figure out where your ringers have been downloaded to. If you have instructions for a specific model of phone, please feel free to post a comment with a link to the instructions.