As I write this, a song called Axel F by Crazy Frog (who first reached notoriety as a ringtone mascot) sits at number two on the Australian Top 50 singles chart - evidence that Australia's appetite for mobile phone personalisation is growing.
The problem is that some ringtones advertised on TV can cost $4.95 per song/ringtone, or more. Enter Magix Ringtone Maker, which at $49.95 could pay for itself after creating just 10 custom ringtones.
The software uses a simple, three-step approach. Import an audio CD or MP3/OGG/WAV/WMA music file you wish to convert, highlight the section you want to use and add audio effects (of which there are many). Then simply upload the new ringtone to your mobile phone via Bluetooth or Infrared, without even leaving the program. You'll quickly get up to speed using the useful manual and video tutorials.
The program's main interface is dominated by a four-track mixer for editing or arranging ringtone compositions, and 50 sounds plus 500 music loops are included to get you started.
Ringtone Maker can preview what your ringtone will sound like and supports a variety of mobile phone models and formats (SMAF, AMR, WAV and MP3) but be sure to check the phone compatibility list on the Web site.
Verdict This program would be great for anyone wanting to liven up their mobile phone without traversing the murky waters of minimum monthly content purchases, fees, subscriptions and downloads.
Magix Ringtone Maker
Distributor: Lako Pacific
Phone: 1800 657 601
URL: www.lakopacific.com; www.magix.com
System requirements: 400MHz CPU; 64MB RAM (128MB recom mended); 350MB hard disk; graphics card/monitor capable of 1024x768 resolution; sound card; CD-ROM drive; Windows 98SE/2000/Me/XP; Internet access for codec downloads/activation.