Hi! This post is going to be a little unusual, although seeing how I haven’t posted in a very long while, this shouldn’t really make a difference to anyone.
My mother used to use a Samsung SGH-C100 a long time ago, before it died due to reasons I can’t really remember anymore. It was sometime around 2010, maybe 2009. She got a new phone, but still missed „that one ringtone with the birdies” (which I later found out to be „Arabesque”) from the C100. I have searched the net for a long time, but couldn’t find any files that would be usable except for a few YouTube videos with the ringtones recorded by a video camera standing next to the phone. They weren’t of really good quality, so I decided not to use them.
A few months ago, I found all the ringtones stored as MMF files, probably dumped from the phone’s memory. MMF (also known as SMAF) is a proprietary format used by Yamaha for the polyphonic sound chips that they used to manufacture back in the 00’s. Unsurprisingly, support for this format is practically nonexistent. ffplay refused to play them, so did VLC. The only thing that I could find for playing these files was psmplay. It also had the option to convert these files to WAV, which seemed just perfect. However, it failed to play the files properly : some of the ringtones (notably „Arabesque”, which was the main reason behind all these shenanigans) stopped after 2-3 seconds. It seemed like there is no hope at all, short of (I think) desoldering the original sound chip from the Samsung C100 (we still have it at home, and it works) and connecting its sound output to the line input jack in a sound card. Obviously, I have no skills which would allow me to do that, so I didn’t really pursue this option.
In a stroke of luck, I came across a different program today : the Yamaha MidRadio Player. It played all the ringtones perfectly! I’m sure that the software emulation of the hardware polyphony is a bit off, as I remember the ringtones sounding a little different, but it’s by all means good enough and truthful to the original. Unfortunately, it didn’t have an option for simply converting the files to normal WAVs like psmplay did, so the only option was to use the „analogue hole” to record them back to WAV. This is exactly what I did : I added all the ringtones to MidRadio’s playlist, fired up Audacity, recorded the audio stream, split the tracks, and saved each of them into a separate file. The sound level was a little bit low, so I used SoX to normalize them, and then converted them to FLAC.
I’m still curious whether it’s possible to do this kind of conversion without going through the analogue stage. Documentation for the format is very limited, and the only thing with actual code that I could find was MMFplay, an open source project with last commits made in 2005. I don’t have enough expertise in the area of sound generation to even try understanding the code anyway, so I didn’t spend a lot of time reading it.
Hope you enjoy a little nostalgia if you used the C100 like my mum did!