Things certainly have gotten smaller!
Developing and maintaining Forte requires a PC that includes all of the compilers and publishing tools as well as a MIDI and audio rig to test it all with. I thought the nature of that rig in 2016 might be interesting to Forte users.
Back when Forte was first released in 2002 the only way to get the compute power needed for good audio was a high end desktop or tower PC, usually with a PCI audio card (I used the Frontier Dakota for years), and frequently with dual high end 7200 RPM disk drives so that you could keep OS disk I/O separate from audio I/O.
Now, this is it: A laptop with some USB devices. I use an HP Envy 14” touchscreen laptop PC. It runs 64 bit Windows 10 (with no real OS optimization tweaks….wireless networking is chatting away). The big enhancement I made to this laptop was to replace the hard disk with a Samsung EVO SSD which made a huge difference in performance.
Thanks to the new Windows Audio Session (WASAPI) audio driver support in Forte 4.2, I don’t actually need to attach any external ASIO hardware. The on-board sound is just fine for casual work. The main MIDI input now is this cool little QuNexus touch keyboard by Keith McMillen Instruments. It’s USB powered and tiny. I also use a Korg nanoKONTROL 2 USB device just to have some knobs and sliders to use, and to test control surface support.
This rig is then expanded as necessary with an M-Audio MIDISport 4×4 USB adapter to connect traditional MIDI inputs (an old Roland XP-50 keyboard and some Roland V-Drums), and a Novation Impulse 25. For higher end ASIO audio I use a Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
Then on to plugins. Although I would like to support all VST plugins equally, there are some market leaders that are higher priority than others. Here is a list of the key plugins I use regularly. Some are on the list because of who they are, and some because I just love them (and some for both):
- Arturia V Collection (love the Prophet and the Solina!)
- Native Instruments Komplete (especially for Kontakt 5)
- GSi VB3 Organ
- GForce M-Tron Pro
- OP-X PRO II – (gotta love something that can accurately reproduce the synth on Tom Sawyer.)
Of course there are many other plugins I use, but these stand out currently and are in heavy rotation. Especially if you have a love of 70s prog rock, these make a nice collection.
So there it is. The 2016 Forte Development Rig. None of this is intended as a specific endorsement of any other product, but I do think you might find it useful to know how Forte gets used everyday in development and test.