From the blog

How to make a rotary telephone ring (without telephone connection)

During the process of creating a sound library of old rotary dial telephone devices, we came up against two challenges: Firstly, how to manage to make the devices ring in a space where there isn’t any landline, and secondly, how this ringing would comply with the existing ringing tone standards of the U.S.A, Europe, and Australia. What do we mean by that? Let’s see the following table to make it clear.

List of commonly used ring patterns in North America, Europe, Australia and England

List of commonly used telephone ring patterns in North America, Europe, Australia & England

In order to make the devices ring, we used Cubase’s TestGenerator at 50 Hz (most of the world uses frequencies between 20 and 65 Hz) and we recorded the ringings according to the previous table.

Afterward, we connected this channel through the output of our soundcard to the amplifier, and we connected the telephone device to the speakers’ output of the amplifier. An important note here is not connecting both ends of the telephone cable to one output’s positive and negative, but to both the positive speakers’ outputs. All that’s left is to press play on your DAW and your phone will start ringing at any pattern you have chosen to.

This method is widely used by sound pros working in theatrical productions or live shows where there’s no available landline nearby or, simply they want to emulate the ringing pattern according to their needs.

Sound Ex Machina recordist, John Varelidis, put together also a short video tutorial, demonstrating the whole process step by step. Be sure to check it out this too, below 😉

Find out more about our Vintage Telephones sound library here