Introduction: Create Original Custom Darth Vader Ringtones for Your IPhone

Darth Vader was an inspiring character and an important role model for me throughout my life. Joking aside, I've never really grasped the whole good versus evil thing and prefer films / TV series where the characters are an undefinable mixture of the two.

Nevertheless, I was messing about with some audio stuff the other day and thought it was time to update some of the ringtones on my iPhone. A quick googling on the interweb lead me to a piece of free software called 'Audacity' which could convert audio files into the FFmpeg format that iphones seem to love using.

There's quite a bit of different software used in this instructable, but it's all free and you WILL be able to produce your own custom made, highly original, iPhone ringtones using nothing more than a windows based PC. Also, I'm sure that the same software could be used for creating ringtones for most other types of phones as well.

Step 1: Software Required

In theory, we could exclude FL Studio, but to create new, original pieces of audio it is essential. We're not just talking chopping up bits of audio from the film track. We can do much better than that!

Step 2: Creating the Original Audio Clips

This is the fun part. Inside the vast program called FL Studio there is a tiny section called 'Speech Synthesizer' that allows us to type in text and create speech as an audible entity. The setting that I used was for a 'Giant Man' with a 'Monotone' voice.

If you download FL Studio demo you can upload my zip file called 'Speech synthesis' and find all the stuff that I used.

The five videos above each have a different short Darth Vader style message for your iPhone.

When you open the 'Speech synthesis' zip file you will see all the effects that I have put onto the speech synthesis to make it sound really nasty:

  • Fruit Multiband Compressor
  • Effector FX module (automated)
  • Fruity Reverb
  • Fruity Delay 2
  • Fruity Blood Overdrive
  • Vocodex

You can now use all my settings and type in your own custom text. I'm not going to go into detail about how to use FL Studio - it's pretty intuitive except that the relationship between 'patterns' and 'tracks' is quite tricky to work out. It's really great fun anyway and once you get going, incredibly quick and easy to use.

Step 3: Export to Wav Format

Now for the necessary, but boring bits.

Firstly, you need to export the audio that you have created as 'wav' format. Go to 'file' and select 'export' and you'll find the 'wav' option.

Step 4: Audacity and FFmpeg Files

Download the ffmpeg driver and then open up your copy of Audacity. Click 'edit' then 'preferences' and locate the FFmpeg library.

Once this is done, import your 'wav' file into Audacity and get it sounding as loud as possible with the 'Amplify' effect such that there is no added distortion.

Now export the audio clip as an 'M4A (AAC)' file (FFmpeg).

Step 5: Change the File Name

Right click on the 'm4a' file and hopefully you'll be able to change the file extention type to 'm4r'. For example, you might have called it 'darkside.m4a', so it needs to be changed to 'darkside.m4r'. If you only see 'darkside', you need to do the following:

Click the start button (bottom left of screen), select 'control panel', select 'Appearance and Personalisation' and select 'folder options'.

Now find the 'Hide extentions for known file types' square and make sure it is empty - no tick within it. Now go back to the beginning of this step and change the file type.

If you want to be really mega organised, then you could copy all your ringtones into the iTunes library which is found at:

..... Desktop ... Libraries ... Music ... iTunes ... iTunes Media .... Tones

Step 6: Upload to ITunes

Connect your iPhone to the USB and right click on your new 'm4r' file and select 'Open with' then 'iTunes'.

Once in iTunes, you'll find a tiny little phone icon to click on.

Now click the 'sync' button and hopefully your file will go into the iTunes 'Tones' library. There will be two 'Tones' libraries visible on the left and you can check that both of them have your new ringtone.

Step 7: Configure the IPhone Sounds

Go to the iPhone settings tab and then select 'Sounds' and you'll find all the ringtone assignments. Change them all to something loud and ridiculous and have fun with your friends!

Please feel free to use my own creations too. There's also one for your morning alarm call which says 'Wake up lazy bones, you can sleep when you're dead', in a Darth Vader type voice. Well that should get me out of bed in the morning!

I've also created a zip file with all my ringtones included so that you can email them to your friends.

Lastly, a friend of mine complained that the ringtones were all a bit masculine and could I do a mystical one with fairies? Yes of course! This is where I learnt that the maximum tone length allowed is 40 seconds.

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