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Phone Ring

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Lights and Sound
Forum Discription: Technical discussion
Printed Date: 6/25/24 at 2:31pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Phone Ring
Posted By: andywaffle
Subject: Phone Ring
Date Posted: 8/01/06 at 6:46pm
This is a pretty dumb question.  But I need a phone ring for a production of Little by Little.  I don't really want to spend money and since its the only sound effect I don't have a sound designer.  I've looke online a little bit, but have yet to find something of any quality.  Is there a good site to download rings or is there another inexpensive way to make it work?

Posted By: Linda S
Date Posted: 8/01/06 at 7:47pm


I have had good luck with -  . It will cost a couple of bucks. I think the last time I spent $25. for 7 effects. They have lots to chose fom and you can download to your computer. You can preview before you buy. I burn it to a cd and go from there.


Posted By: k8tt
Date Posted: 8/02/06 at 8:03am
I've always downloaded free sound effects from
and you can find lots of sounds on

What kind of ring do you need?  I have great home phone and office phone rings that I found on ''.

Posted By: SpazzingSM
Date Posted: 8/02/06 at 10:26am

For a production I worked on last year, we just used a bell or buzzer type thing from offstage. The phoen was SR so behind the set SR was where the sound was located.  It was very realistic and worked well.  The trick to this was timing.  We had a stage manager call the cue by when the phone was supposed to ring in the show.  The stage hand immidately "rang the phone"  Then when the actor on stage touched the receiver, the SM called the cue for the sound to stop. 

You can probably pick up some kind of buzzer or something at a garage sale or thrift shop.  And, if you don't have someone calling the show, just work on the timing a little and it will work out fine.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" ~Einstein

Posted By: Shatcher
Date Posted: 8/03/06 at 11:18am

In one small theatre I worked in we had this childs toy that sounded just like a phone. the theatre was tiny so it worked great. It was one of these duh! moments!


Posted By: Tom_Rylex
Date Posted: 8/08/06 at 12:18am

If you want to make a phone actually ring...
I think I mentioned this in another thread, but when I was being cheap, I created a 30Hz tone on my computer, and recorded it as a CD track. I  hooked up a phone directly to the speaker outputs on an amplifier, and played the CD through that. You just basically turn up the volume until it has enough voltage to make the phone ring.

I still have the CD track on my computer, if you want it. The spacing between rings is set up for an American style ring pattern.


EDIT: Even though this uses a CD player to make it work, you are really making the phone ring. This is the poor man's solution to using transformers to wire a phone. It does the same thing, but in an unconventional way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-R. Frost

Posted By: pdavis69
Date Posted: 8/11/06 at 12:07am
Just a simple suggestion.  Wire up a phone with a transformer and make the phone ring right on stage.  We did Whose Wives are They Anyway which calls for 5 separate phone to ring at various times in the show.  We had a playhouse member wire the phones and all the stage manager had to do was push one of five buttons and that phone would ring right on stage.  It sounds so much better than a sound effect off stage and the phone 20 feet away gets picked up.

Patrick L. Davis
Fort Findlay Playhouse

Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 8/11/06 at 12:46am
I agree with Patrick that it is a far better way than an audio effect.
It is not difficult to rig up a phone ringer box to be operated off stage. The first one I made was fairly primitive & I forgot to add in  the latch relay into the bell/tone circuit, so when the receiver is picked up it drops the relay out & switches off the ringer.
This is much better than relying on a visual cue from the warm props, that could be missed & become rather embarrassing.
You will probably find a member of your group can quite easily set this up. The only hiccup is running the phone cable on stage & masking it, then finding a receiver with a suitable ring tone to fit the genre of the production. You can also find phone schematic circuits on the net, but in most cases it is simple enough on inspection of the receiver to trace it out & energise the ringer. Check the rating plate on the unit first for the correct DC Voltage, most are either 12 or 24VDC, but others will & do vary depending on it?s vintage & the country of manufacture.

[western] Gondawandaland
"Hear the light & see the sound!
{may you always play to a full house!}

Posted By: 75director
Date Posted: 8/11/06 at 11:38am

Check out using a Tele-Q.  It's a little device that's made to actually make phones ring, just plug the phone in and it rings when you hit the button.  Uses a battery or can use AC power.  We bought one last year and I don't know how we lived without it.  Cost is about $140, but definately worth it.  Their web site is -

Posted By: castMe
Date Posted: 8/11/06 at 12:30pm
When we did "Belles" last year we used a home-made Tele-Q set up to operate up to 6 phones either individually or all at once (as happened in the first cue).  As JoeMc has stated, the relay drops out when the phone is picked up so you don't have those oh-so-embarrassing "phone still ringing after being pick-up" moments.  The simple push-to-ring operation also meant we could ring different phones with different patterns, and by ringing the specific on-stage phones, after a while the audience was ablut to decern whose phone was ringing.  Worked like a charm. 

If you happen to be doing a comedy where you require the phone to continue ringing after being pick-up, you simply plug in an off-stage phone.

Investigate. Imagine. Choose.

Posted By: Spectrum
Date Posted: 9/29/06 at 1:48am

After checking out the Tele-Q, take a look at Theatrical Reality's TRG-10K Programmable Telephone Ringer. -

Nearly the same price (when you figure in the power pack), but a WHOLE lot more for the money.  It was designed specifically for the stage, so you can speed it up or slow it down.  It will ring with either a US cadence or that of the UK, AND once you start it (a single push of a button) it will automatically ring the phone continuously until either your actor picks up the receiver or the button is pushed again.

Sorry for the shameless promotion, but if you want to ring a real telephone on stage, I think this will do the trick better than almost anything out there.

Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 9/29/06 at 8:01am
Once again... Your welcome Patrick...

Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."

Posted By: Playwright
Date Posted: 9/30/06 at 2:37pm
I have the good fortune to have a husband who  works for Bell.  Every time one to the CT's in town needs a phone to he sets it up so the phone on the stage actually rings and stops when the actor picks up the receiver.  Just requires some kind of ringing generator that he plugs in and runs the phone cord to.  It's even more fun when we rig a phone at the other end and talk to the actor on the phone.   THE SM just needs to push a button at their end for each ring.

Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 10/01/06 at 1:11am
 That?s the best way to go Playwright similsr to Joan!.
Latch on to a telephone techie & let him/her orginise it!
While I did my Cat 5 electrical endorsement years ago, But with some of the phones churned out from China & other places available on the market, my endorsement would be more of a Dog 2.5 these days!
Find an expert, you might not even have to marry them to get them on board, as they always make great theatre techies as well!

Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}

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