Forte Announcement

After 15 years and four major versions, I’ve made the difficult decision to stop active development and support of Forte.  Forte has been a very rewarding product to create and I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you, even if only online.  However, given the current market for music software, and my own time , I don’t see how I can invest in the product going forward with enough time and quality to keep it competitive.

Forte licenses will continue to work as before because there is no dependency upon the web site, but I will no longer be releasing updates, selling new licenses, or servicing the support portal according to the following timeline:

  • February 28, 2018 – the online store will close and I will no longer sell new licenses.
  • May 31, 2018 – The support portal including the forums will shut down.

This should enable anyone who still wishes to purchase a license to do so and also enable users to download the product for future re-installation (including back revisions.)

Thank you all for your support of Forte over the years.  I hope it has been a useful tool in your musical endeavors.
Mike

Forte 4.5

Introducing Forte 4.5

We are happy to announce the release of Forte 4.5 as a free update to all Forte 4 users.  The download is available on the downloads page.

Forte 4.5 contains new features and numerous bug fixes.

  • Plugin Replacer – easily replace or update plugins in rack files
  • High DPI User Interface – scale the user interface for high resolution monitors
  • New features in Trim Rack to optimize your rack files

Release Notes and Details

Plugin Replacement Tool

The Tools menu now has a new menu item “Replace Plugins in this Rack File…” that guides you through the process of replacing a plugin in your rack file.  This is done by saving and reloading your rack file in a new mode that asks if you wish to replace each plugin.  If you say “Yes” it will ask you to select the plugin to use instead.  After testing and updating scenes you can re-save the rack file to make the changes permanent.  This is useful for replacing plugins that are upgrades from existing plugins and that you expect to read the same configuration data.

This new function also works when loading a rack file that refers to missing plugins.  This guides you through selecting replacement plugins.  Forte will remember your choices for all remaining plugins instances of the same time during the rack load operation.

Added plugin effects to instrument plugin tree

You can now select non-instrument (i.e. effect) plugins in the instrument menu.  This is a convenience that creates a new audio input module with the selected effect in the insert effect bin.

DPI Awareness option in Settings

This enables or disables the applications’ knowledge of DPI awareness, enabling you to customize the size of the user interface for high DPI displays.

Trim Rack Enhancements

Added Trim Rack checkbox option to preserve existing plugin configuration data.

When this option is checked the scenes are updated but the plugin data for each plugin is preserved.  This only removes unused information and updates MIDI and other scene information.

Added Trim Rack checkbox option to remove plugin data for muted instruments and bypassed inserts.

When this option is checked the scenes are updated but the plugin data for any plugin that is in a muted instrument modules, or is bypassed (for audio effects) is discarded. If your working style involves muting or bypassing plugins and these settings do not change in performance, this can reduce rack size.

Other Enhancements

Read/Write JSON formatted plugin cache files (plugins.json and plugins64.json). Add VST diagnostic information to each VST plugin in JSON cache file.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed scene browse cancel – don’t allow select to work if canceled
  • Fix Waveshell plugin naming where plugin menu would show the generic Waveshell DLL name.
  • Fix Arturia plugins compatibility fix
  • Z3TA+ 2 compatibility fix
  • Fixed a bug when modifying a scene or song used more than once in a rack. Note Forte used to append ” Mod” to the song or scene but now appends “*” (#2074)
  • Fixed a problem where, if a song is in a Set List twice in a row, the “move to song in set” feature gets out of sync with the set.
  • Fixed disabled quick scene remove button in the Scene Manager (#2222)
  • Fixed grayed out plugins when you have >1000 VSTs (mix of instruments and effects)
  • Fixed crash on close (#2946)
  • Force Blue Cat’s Remote Control 64 plugin to be seen as an instrument
  • Other miscellaneous fixes

Miscellaneous:

  • Remove Readme at end of installer
  • Fixed tray icons
  • Hide JBridge options in plug-in manager if not installed.
  • Removed tip of the day from help menu
  • Set Browser UI update
  • Rack Manager UI style improvements
  • Automatically enable VST trace load mode when in safe mode. This prompts the user to load each plugin configuration data blob when applying a scene. The dialog is instanced with Yes to All and No to All choices to make troubleshooting faster.

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #5 Release Notes

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #4 (changes from 4.2.8)
Download from the downloads page (download the latest beta).  NOTE:  This is not released software and should be used only for testing.
==================================

Red text indicates changes from previous 4.5 preview build.

Features:
* Plugin Replacement Tool

The Tools menu now has a new menu item “Replace Plugins in this Rack File…” that guides you through the process of replacing a plugin in your rack file.  This is done by saving and reloading your rack file in a new mode that asks if you wish to replace each plugin.  If you say “Yes” it will ask you to select the plugin to use instead.  After testing and updating scenes you can re-save the rack file to make the changes permanent.  This is useful for replacing plugins that are upgrades from existing plugins and that you expect to read the same configuration data.

This new function also works when loading a rack file that refers to missing plugins.  This guides you through selecting replacement plugins.  Forte will remember your choices for all remaining plugins instances of the same time during the rack load operation.

* Added plugin effects to instrument plugin tree

You can now select non-instrument (i.e. effect) plugins in the instrument menu.  This is a convenience that creates a new audio input module with the selected effect in the insert effect bin.

* DPI Awareness option in Settings

This enables or disables the applications’ knowledge of DPI awareness, enabling you to customize the size of the user interface for high DPI displays.

* Added Trim Rack checkbox option to preserve existing plugin configuration data.

When this option is checked the scenes are updated but the plugin data for each plugin is preserved.  This only removes unused information and updates MIDI and other scene information.

* Added Trim Rack checkbox option to remove plugin data for muted instruments and bypassed inserts.

When this option is checked the scenes are updated but the plugin data for any plugin that is in a muted instrument modules, or is bypassed (for audio effects) is discarded. If your working style involves muting or bypassing plugins and these settings do not change in performance, this can reduce rack size.

Other Enhancements
* Read/Write JSON formatted plugin cache files (plugins.json and plugins64.json). Add VST diagnostic information to each VST plugin in JSON cache file.

Bug Fixes
* Fixed scene browse cancel – don’t allow select to work if canceled
* Fix Waveshell plugin naming where plugin menu would show the generic Waveshell DLL name.
* Fix Arturia plugins compatibility fix
* Z3TA+ 2 compatibility fix
* Fixed a bug when modifying a scene or song used more than once in a rack. Note Forte used to append ” Mod” to the song or scene but now appends “*” (#2074)
* Fixed a problem where, if a song is in a Set List twice in a row, the “move to song in set” feature gets out of sync with the set.
* Fixed disabled quick scene remove button in the Scene Manager (#2222)
* Fixed grayed out plugins when you have >1000 VSTs (mix of instruments and effects)
* Fixed crash on close (#2946)
* Force Blue Cat’s Remote Control 64 plugin to be seen as an instrument
* Other miscellaneous fixes

Miscellaneous:
* Remove Readme at end of installer
* fixed tray icons
* Hide JBridge options in plug-in manager if not installed.
* removed tip of the day from help menu
* Set Browser UI update
* Rack Manager UI style improvements
* Automatically enable VST trace load mode when in safe mode. This prompts the user to load each plugin configuration data blob when applying a scene. The dialog is instanced with Yes to All and No to All choices to make troubleshooting faster.

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #4 Release Notes

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #4 (changes from 4.2.8)
Download from the downloads page (download the latest beta).  NOTE:  This is not released software and should be used only for testing.
==================================
Features:
* Plugin Replacement Tool

The Tools menu now has a new menu item “Replace Plugins in this Rack File…” that guides you through the process of replacing a plugin in your rack file.  This is done by saving and reloading your rack file in a new mode that asks if you wish to replace each plugin.  If you say “Yes” it will ask you to select the plugin to use instead.  After testing and updating scenes you can re-save the rack file to make the changes permanent.  This is useful for replacing plugins that are upgrades from existing plugins and that you expect to read the same configuration data.

* Added plugin effects to instrument plugin tree

You can now select non-instrument (i.e. effect) plugins in the instrument menu.  This is a convenience that creates a new audio input module with the selected effect in the insert effect bin.

* DPI Awareness option in Settings

This enables or disables the applications’ knowledge of DPI awareness, enabling you to customize the size of the user interface for high DPI displays.

* Added Trim Rack checkbox option to preserve existing plugin configuration data.

When this option is checked the scenes are updated but the plugin data for each plugin is preserved.  This only removes unused information and updates MIDI and other scene information.

Other Enhancements
* Read/Write JSON formatted plugin cache files (plugins.json and plugins64.json). Add VST diagnostic information to each VST plugin in JSON cache file.

Bug Fixes
* Fixed scene browse cancel – don’t allow select to work if canceled
* Fix Waveshell plugin naming where plugin menu would show the generic Waveshell DLL name.
* Fix Arturia plugins compatibility fix
* Z3TA+ 2 compatibility fix
* Other miscellaneous fixes

Miscellaneous:
* Remove Readme at end of installer
* fixed tray icons
* Hide JBridge options in plug-in manager if not installed.
* removed tip of the day from help menu
* Set Browser UI update
* Rack Manager UI style improvements

 

Forte 4.2.8 Update

Forte 4.2.8 is now available for download.

Changes:

  • Copyright updates to 2017
  • New Code Signing Certificate
  • Added backup method to find VST plugin by ID – racks plugins now have “VSTID” tags that can be used as a backup way to location VSTs on load.
  • Fix Halion 6 GUI size by handling the audioMasterSizeWindow opcode
  • Fixed rounding errors in volume slider
  • Fixed WASAPI audio input support
  • fix SceneView switch scenes
  • Fixed deadlock with control surfaces.
  • Better error message when Forte can’t backup a file on save
  • Fixed transport toggle automation
  • Fixed scene browse cancel – don’t allow select to work if canceled
  • Removed readme from install script
  • Added a rack load time check for duplicate scene IDs – fail to load with a message.
  • Fixed some debug runtime check errors
  • Fixed crash on add plugin to favorites.

These are most of the bug fixes included in 4.5 without the DPI and other improvements. These are chosen for low risk to enable a short beta cycle.

 

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #3

Forte 4.5.3 is now available to download for testing.  This is not a final release and caution is recommended in using it for anything other than testing.

Changes and fixes:

  • Adds another way for Forte to locate the correct VST plugin on rack load.  VSTs are just DLL files which Forte loads.  When loaded, the plugin can return it’s VST unique ID.  However, because of some issues years ago with a plugin vendor who returned the same ID for multiple DLLs in their product line, Forte build a unique ID out of the plugin’s filename + the VST ID.  This works most of the time except when the plugin vendor changes the DLL filename on update (like the recent Waves update which changed the name of the Waveshell DLL file).  Forte 4.6.3 now saves the VST ID in the rack file.  If Forte cannot find a VST plugin by the filename+ID hash, it will attempt to load a matching plugin by VST ID only.  This means that the rack file must be resaved under Forte 4.5.3 to include the VST ID.  The new rack XML attribute is “VSTID”.
  • Saves a new JSON-formatted plugin cache.  When “plugins.xml” or “plugins64.xml” is saved, another “plugins.json” or “plugins64.json” file is saved.  This JSON file contains some new VST diagnostic information in it including the number of parameters, the size of the FXB chunk, etc.  Although these could change dynamically, it is useful to have a snapshot of them at plugin discovery time for diagnostic reasons.  Forte always saves both JSON and XML, but when Forte starts up it attempts to load the JSON file first and only loads the XML if the JSON is unavailable.  Future versions of Forte will drop the XML completely.
  • Fixes a problem where the 32 bit version of Forte 4.5.2 crashed on startup.

 

 

 

 

Waves Plugins Update Issue

A customer contacted me and told me that after updating his Waves plugins, Forte could no longer find them when loading a rack file.  I investigated and found the following issue:

Forte uses the plugin DLL name as part of a unique “key” in the plugin database (CLSID).  A plugin name change can result in a different key name (see plugins.xml and plugins64.xml in your data directory).  This was done for a specific reason years ago, probably because a VST plugin vendor has used the same VST ID for multiple plugins.

I will be looking for a real fix soon, but for now, the solution is to copy the updated VST DLL (e.g. WaveShell-VST 9.91_x64.dll) to the old name (WaveShell-VST 9.6_x64.dll).  This is known to work.

 

Forte 4.5 Technical Preview #2

Forte 4.5.2 is now available from the download page.  This is pre-release software for use in testing only.  Please do not use for important work.

Fixes:

  • Fixed the rounding error in the bus and instrument rack volume sliders.
  • Fixed problems with WASAPI audio input
  • Fixed plugin GUIs that report one size but then resize larger (Halion).  This used to clip the GUI in a smaller area but now expands as needed.  You may still need to undock to see the entire GUI.

Other Changes

  • Support for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.  By popular request, Forte 4.5 will support these older versions of Windows.  High DPI support will not be available in all versions.
  • Added audio effects plugins to the “New Instrument” menu.  If you create a new instrument module from an effect it is created as an audio input module with the effect in the insert bin.  You will be prompted to select the audio input channels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forte 4.5 Preview Release Notes

Forte 4.5 is a FREE update but requires Windows 10.  Focusing our support and development on Windows 10 allows us to add features that are not available in older versions (like high DPI support) and reduces the support needed for many different flavors of OS.  Windows 10 has matured to the point that it is clearly the go-forward Windows platform.  If you need to run on an older version of Windows, please continue to use Forte 4.2.

Download it here

Features

  • Added Trim Rack option to preserve existing plugin blobs

Visual Improvements

  • Redesigned play/stop tray icons
  • UI style update for Rack Manager
  • DPI Awareness (OPTIONS.INI [Defaults]DPIAware=1 or 0 and Rack Appearance Options checkbox).  This option allows you to enable or disable the application’s DPI awareness which controls how Windows renders UI elements, including plugin UI views.  If you find the plugin UI to be incorrectly sized on your monitor, you may disable DPI awareness.

VST Plugin Fixes

  • Fixed Waves Waveshell plugin naming where plugin menu would show the generic Waveshell DLL name.

Automation Fixes

  • Fixed broken automation for play/stop toggle
  • Fixed deadlock with control surfaces like Korg Nanokontrol 2.

Installer and Misc Changes

  • Removed tip of the day from Help menu
  • Removed README from installer

Miscellaneous

  • Better error message when Forte can’t backup a file on save

Forte in Action: Jong Jubal Drum & Bugle Corp

Congratulations to the Jong Jubal Drum & Bugle Corp on winning both the National (Netherlands) as well as European Drum & Bugle Corp championships!  The music arranger and instructor for the corp was kind enough to send along some pictures of Forte in action on the marching field.  Forte is used to power a set of MIDI “Xylosynths” in the pit.

Enjoy the pictures.

wp_20160910_18_09_41_pro wp_20160924_18_18_04_pro jong_jubal_dce_finals_2016 jongjubal