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Different Types of Ringtones November 27, 2007

A ringtone or ring tone is the sound made by a telephone or cellular phone to indicate an incoming call. The term, nowadays, is most often used to refer to the customizable sounds available on mobile phones. This product was first provided so that people would be able to determine exactly which phone was ringing when in the location of other mobile phones. Overtime, as ringtone started gaining popularity, they are more used to identify and represent the mobile phone owner’s interest in music, films, or personality. For example, you might want to add your favorite band’s new music as your music ringtone.

Type of Ringtones

Monophonic Ringtone
A Monophonic ringtone is a ringtone that can play only one type of musical tone at a time. This is the type of ringtone you used to hear back in 1990’s or early 2000s’. Though many people today still prefer monophonic ringtone for nostalgic reason. 

Polyphonic Ringtone
A Polyphonic ringtone is a ringtone that can play several types of tones at a time (usually up to 72 in recent phones). These recordings specify what instrument should play a note at a given time, but the actual instrument sound is dependent upon the playback device. Though the quality of Polyphonic ringtones are not as good as realtones, you do hear many polyphonic ringtones on the street since it usually cost only $1.99 per download, versus $2.99 for a MP3 tone, purchased from cell phone carriers. 

Realtone, MP3 Ringtone, Mastertone, or True Tone
Though with many different names, Realtone/MP3 Ringtone/ Mastertone/Truetone is a ringtone which has been encoded with a high fidelity format such MP3, AAC, or WMA format. Most new mobile phone devices supports realtones, and it is the most common ringtone purchased/downloaded today. It is often also referred to as a Mastertone (since it is made from the “Master” copy of a song recording).  So, if you own Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” MP3, and upload to, that would qualify as a Realtone/Ture Tone since it was created from an original MP3 recording in its most high quality audio state.


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