What's new in Forte 4

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What's new in Forte 4

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Computer Hardware Requirements

 

Forte 4 requires SSE2 enabled CPUs.  The SIMD options in OPTION.INI have been removed (or are now ignored.)

 

Rack File Format Enhancements

 

Forte Rack File format is new and cannot be loaded into Forte 3.  Specifically, new features have been added, but some of the many variations of tempo, sync, and tempo automation have been removed in place of a simpler model, enabling a simpler user interface.

 

Please make sure you keep a backup copy of your rack file in Forte 3 format.

 

Details:

 

Tempo:

BPM is ALWAYS per scene
MIDI Sync Enable/Disable is per scene
MIDI Automation is NEVER per scene (it is always global to the rack)
MIDI Sync Port is GLOBAL per rack

 

Tempo BPM is compatible with Forte 3, but sync and automation are not – be sure to check and adjust when loading a Forte 3 rack

 

Transport:

Play state is ALWAYS per scene
MIDI Automation is NEVER per scene (it is always global to the rack)
NEW:  Starting Bar:Beat per scene
NEW:  Rewind to starting Bar:Beat on transport change.  On or Off
NEW:  Time Signature per scene
VST plugins now honor start time and rewind settings (e.g. EnergyXT)

 

Play state is compatible with F3, but automation is not - check be sure to check and adjust when loading a Forte 3 rack

 

Forte 3 racks (and new racks) default to:

starting bar:beat 0:0
rewind = On,
Time Signature = 4/4

 

User Interface Enhancements

 

SceneView

The original SceneView in Forte 2 has been removed.  What was called SceneView2 in Forte 3 is now just SceneView.

 

Bus Adjustment Mixer

A new “Mix” button is at the top right corner which quickly shows and hides the bus mixer.  In Forte 3, the meter section in SceneView2 was only metering.  In Forte 4, this is now a bus mixer with a fader.  The mix levels here are global, apply to all scenes in the rack and are saved with the rack file.  The levels are “adjustment” levels applied in addition to the bus scene volume applied on scene change.  These adjustment volumes are also MIDI automatable (see MIDI automation).

 

Dynamic Transpose

New “+” and “-“ buttons on the bottom of SceneView enable you to dynamically transpose the entire set up or down in half-steps.  This transpose setting is not saved.  Instead it is intended to be a quick way to change keys.  Click the transpose value button quickly to reset transpose to 0.

 

Other

The “Menu” button now enables you to quickly select the set list.

The SceneView Options now enable you to show SceneView on a 2nd monitor.

 

Rack Manager

 

The Scenes and Setlists Manager in Forte 3 has been expanded to become the “Rack Manager” and includes the Scene and Set Manager, MIDI Automation, and the Rack Editor.

 

Scene and Set Manager

A “Details” button at the top of the Scene Pool now expands the columns to include:

Scene transpose
MIDI Sync enable (on/off)
Tempo (BPM)
Transport Play (on/off)
Start Bar:Beat (enabling more advanced usage of some sequencer plugins)
Rewind to Bar:Beat on Stop (on/off)
Time Signature
Fade time (in milliseconds, time it takes to change mix levels when switching to this scene)

 

A “Hide” button in the Song Pool hides the Song Pool area

 

Upon pressing “OK” to exit Rack Manager, the current scene is re-applied to make sure changes are accurately reflected.

 

MIDI Automation

The MIDI Automation manager is completely redesigned and all MIDI automation capabilities are now configurable through this interface.  These automation settings are global to the entire rack file, not per-scene settings.  Automation options include:

Scene Change
Scene/Song Browse
Transpose, Tempo, and Transport
Quick Access Scenes
Bus Volume

 

In addition, sets of MIDI automation may be saved as a preset and recalled using the Presets on the left side of the display.

 

MIDI Sync port and speed are now configurable from this display.

 

There is also a MIDI automation now defined to update the current scene.

 

Rack Editor

This replaces the Forte 3 rack editor (in the Tools menu) and contains more configuration options, including:

Per-scene Bus Volume
Per-scene Instrument Mute
Per-scene per-VST-output Bus routing and volume

 

Set/Song/Scene Browser

Forte 4 contains a new full-screen Scene/Song browser which enables you to quickly switch to other parts of a set list or even insert new scenes or songs dynamically into a set.

 

Additionally, these new features are usable via MIDI automation.  See the MIDI automation tab in rack manager to open the scene browser, scroll through items, and select or cancel all via MIDI.

 

Other Usability Enhancements

Creating a module for audio processing is now simpler.  VST effects plugins are now included in the list of VSTi instruments when creating a module.  If the selected plugin is an effects plugin (non VSTi), Forte will automatically prompt you to select an audio input for the module.

 

You man now save and load instrument plugin FXP/FXB files from the right context menu without opening the plugin GUI.

 

Program Settings now has an option to enable or disable Touch Mode scrolling in SceneView and Set Browser.

 

Plugin Support

Forte 4 contains better VST plugin scan diagnostics, and also supports zero-output VST plugins (for use as MIDI processors using Virtual MIDI Input).

 

jBridge

jBridge support has been changed significantly from Forte 3.

 

Forte 4 has a checkbox option in Plugin Manager to "Automatically use jBridge if needed."  If checked, when Forte scans for VST plugins and encounters a DLL file it cannot load using normal means, it will attempt to load it using jBridge.  If this is successful, Forte will note that it is a bridged plugin of the alternate bit width, but will treat it exactly as if it had been scanned in the normal way.

 

When a bridged plugin is loaded (either during rack creation or rack load) Forte will load it using jBridge.

 

Forte 3 Compatibility Note

 

Forte 3 had a checkbox in Plugin Manager to "Enable jBridge (if installed)" which behaved differently than Forte 4.  If checked, the Forte 3 Plugin Manager would create jBridged versions of every VST it scanned.  These were considered different plugins, were listed separately, and you could use either one.  However, this created some usage difficulties and that option is now hidden in Forte 4. If you wish to use this behavior with Forte 4, you must manually edit the OPTIONS.INI file.  See OPTIONS.INI for details.

 

Side-by-Side 32 and 64 bit VST Plugins

 

An additional complexity arises when both 32 and 64 bit versions of the same plugin are in the Forte 4 scan path.  Since they both are identified as the same plugin, which becomes the "official" plugin?  Forte removes conflicts by marking one or the other as "Ignored".  The policy has two stages of priority:

 

The newer version of a plugin is the "official" plugin and the older one is marked as an older revision and ignored, regardless of 32 or 64 bit compatibility.

If the plugins are of the same version, the one matching the bit width of Forte (e.g. 64 bit plugins on 64 bit Forte) is made the "official" plugin and the other is marked ignored with an explanatory note.