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Live Performance Workstation

Version 1.5

User Manual
Copyright © 2002-2005 Brainspawn, Inc.

Quick Technical Support

· Visit www.brainspawn.com to access product updates.


· Visit www.brainspawn.com/forum for support forums.
· Visit the Knowledge Base at http://www.brainspawn.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16.
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1. Table of Contents

1. Table of Contents ..................................................................................................2


2. BRAINSPAWN Software License Agreement.........................................................5
3. Technology Acknowledgements............................................................................7
4. Introduction ...........................................................................................................7
System Requirements..................................................................................................................................11
Technical Support .........................................................................................................................................11
Registration.....................................................................................................................................................11
Installation.......................................................................................................................................................11
File Compatibility...........................................................................................................................................12
5. Working with forte ...............................................................................................13
Overview ..........................................................................................................................................................13
Output Busses....................................................................................................... 15
Instrument Modules ...............................................................................................16
6. Creating and Maintaining Racks .......................................................................... 17
Adding, Deleting, and Copying Instrument Modules...........................................................................17
Adding an Instrument Module ................................................................................. 17
Deleting an Instrument Module ............................................................................... 17
Copying an Instrument Module ............................................................................... 17
Adding, Deleting, and Copying Output Busses ....................................................................................19
Adding an Output Buss ..........................................................................................19
Deleting an Output Buss.........................................................................................19
Copying an Output Buss.........................................................................................20
Trimming Racks.............................................................................................................................................21
Automatic Backups.......................................................................................................................................21
7. Working with Instrument Modules ....................................................................... 22
Volume ................................................................................................................. 22
MIDI Activity .......................................................................................................... 22
Module Name........................................................................................................ 22
Mute and Solo ....................................................................................................... 22
Output Buss Assignment ........................................................................................22
Instrument Console.......................................................................................................................................23
Docking and Floating the Instrument Console ..........................................................23
Preset Manager ..............................................................................................................................................24
Selecting a Preset.................................................................................................. 24
Recently Used Presets...........................................................................................24
Favorite Presets .................................................................................................... 25
Preview Presets..................................................................................................... 25
Creating a new User Preset....................................................................................25
Deleting a User Preset ...........................................................................................26
Assigning MIDI Presets to Specific Channels...........................................................26
FXP/FXB Load/Save for VST Plugins...................................................................... 26

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Working with MIDI Configurations............................................................................................................27


Remapping or Disabling MIDI Program Changes .....................................................28
Channel Channel Routing and Layering .................................................................. 29
Quick MIDI Routing................................................................................................30
Advanced MIDI Channel Routing ............................................................................ 31
Key Range and Transpose .....................................................................................32
MIDI Controller Remapping and Layering ................................................................34
Toggle Mode ......................................................................................................... 35
Saving and Loading MIDI Configurations................................................................. 35
Setting a Default MIDI Configuration ....................................................................... 36
Scene Change Commands..........................................................................................................................36
Working with ReWire Instruments............................................................................................................36
8. Working With Audio Effects................................................................................. 37
Adding and Removing Effects ...................................................................................................................37

Insert Manager................................................................................................................................................38
Showing Effects Consoles..........................................................................................................................38
Bypassing Effects .........................................................................................................................................38
Using Effect Presets .....................................................................................................................................38
MIDI Routing to Effects................................................................................................................................38
Insert Effect Automation using MIDI Continuous Controllers ..................................... 39
9. Working with Audio Inputs .................................................................................. 41
10. Working with Scenes and Set-Lists ..................................................................... 42
Creating Scenes.............................................................................................................................................42
Changing Scenes from the Control Module...........................................................................................43
Changing Scenes from the Keyboard......................................................................................................43
Changing Scenes from MIDI.......................................................................................................................43
Accessing Large Numbers of Scenes using Bank Select .......................................... 43
Scene Change Actions.................................................................................................................................44
Set Configuration Data (FXB, FXP, and/or DirectX Persistent Data) ..........................44
Resets .................................................................................................................. 45
Program Changes.................................................................................................. 45
Held Notes over Scene Changes ............................................................................ 45
Using Samplers with Scene Changes...................................................................... 45
Scene Tempo..................................................................................................................................................45
Controller Automation of Tempo ............................................................................. 46
Play/Stop and MIDI Panic ............................................................................................................................47
Controller Automation of Transport.......................................................................... 47
Setlists and Songs ........................................................................................................................................47
Setlist Manager...............................................................................................................................................49
Manage Setlists ..................................................................................................... 49
Manage Songs in the Active Setlist (Left “Songs” Column) ....................................... 49
Manage Scenes in Songs (Center Column) .............................................................49
Creating Scenes .................................................................................................... 50
Protecting Scenes.................................................................................................. 50
Updating Scenes ................................................................................................... 50

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Using Scenes ........................................................................................................ 50


Renaming Scenes.................................................................................................. 50
Applying a Description to a Scene........................................................................... 50
Reordering Scenes ................................................................................................50
Deleting Scenes .................................................................................................... 50
Changing Scenes from MIDI...................................................................................51
Exiting the Setlist Manager .....................................................................................51
How Rack Changes Affect Scenes ...........................................................................................................52
SceneView .......................................................................................................................................................53
11. Advanced Performance Recovery ....................................................................... 55
12. Rack Stress Test.................................................................................................. 56
13. Preferences.......................................................................................................... 57
General Options.............................................................................................................................................57
Edit Shortcuts.................................................................................................................................................59
Audio Options.................................................................................................................................................61
Plugin Options................................................................................................................................................63
VST/VSTi Options..........................................................................................................................................64
Scene Options................................................................................................................................................65
MIDI Input Ports .............................................................................................................................................66
MIDI Configuration ........................................................................................................................................67
Copy Options..................................................................................................................................................68
14. Menus .................................................................................................................. 69
File .....................................................................................................................................................................69
View...................................................................................................................................................................69
Options.............................................................................................................................................................69
Help ...................................................................................................................................................................69
15. Keyboard Shortcuts.............................................................................................70
16. Command Line Switches .....................................................................................71
17. Performance and Troubleshooting ...................................................................... 72
MIDI-to-Audio Latency..................................................................................................................................72
Audio Dropouts..............................................................................................................................................72
Log File.............................................................................................................................................................73
Additional Options in Options.ini..............................................................................................................73
Safe Mode........................................................................................................................................................75

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2. BRAINSPAWN Software License Agreement


The use of this product indicates your understanding and acceptance of the following terms
and conditions. This license shall supersede any verbal, or prior verbal or written, statement
or agreement to the contrary.

If you do not understand or accept these terms, or your local regulations prohibit "after sale"
license agreements or limited disclaimers, you must cease and desist using this product
immediately. Copyright laws supersede all local regulations.

This license is a contract between you, the end-user of this software, hereinafter referred to
as "THE USER", and BRAINSPAWN, hereinafter referred to as the “AUTHOR(S)", and is
governed under the laws of the State of Texas.

Copyright

This product (in whole or in part, including all files, data, and documentation, from here on
referred to as PRODUCT) is © Copyright 2001 BRAINSPAWN, all rights reserved, and is
protected by the United States copyright laws, international treaties and all other applicable
national or international laws. This PRODUCT may not, in whole or in part, be copied,
photocopied, translated, or reduced to any electronic medium or machine readable form,
without prior consent in writing, from the AUTHOR(S) and according to all applicable laws.
The sole owner of this PRODUCT is the AUTHOR(S).

No Warranty

The AUTHOR(S) provides absolutely no warranty. The software and information are provided
"as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to,
any implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk
as to the quality and usefulness of the software and information is with THE USER. Should
the information prove to be incorrect and/or software not work as expected, THE USER
assumes the cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction.

In no event will the AUTHOR(S) be liable to THE USER for any damages, any lost profits,
lost monies, or other special, incidental or consequential damages arising out of the use or
inability to use this software and/or information (including but not limited to loss of data or
data being rendered inaccurate or losses sustained by third parties), even if THE USER has
advised us of the possibility of such damages, or for any claim by any other party.

Restrictions

THE USER may not use, copy, modify, translate, or transfer the PRODUCT or any copy
except as expressly defined in this agreement. THE USER may not attempt to unlock or
bypass any copy-protection or authentication algorithm utilized by this PRODUCT. THE
USER may not remove or modify any copyright notice, nor any "about" dialog or the method
by which it may be invoked.

Operating license

THE USER has the non-exclusive right to use the PRODUCT only by a single person, on a
single computer at a time. If the PRODUCT permits, THE USER may physically transfer the
PRODUCT from one computer to another, provided that the PRODUCT is used only by a
single person, on a single computer at a time. In group projects where multiple persons will

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use the PRODUCT, each member of the group must purchase an individual license. Use
over a local area network (within the same locale) is permitted provided that the PRODUCT is
used only by a single person, on a single computer at a time.

Evaluation

THE USER has the right to evaluate this PRODUCT for the period of 30 days, provided that
terms of Operating license are compiled with, and that the PRODUCT is not used for profit,
including but not limited to creating patch libraries and sounds for any pieces THE USER are
profiting from. Should THE USER continue use of the PRODUCT after your evaluation period
expires, or use it for any profit, THE USER shall pay the registration fee.

Back-up and transfer

THE USER may make one copy of the software part of the PRODUCT solely for back-up
purposes. THE USER must reproduce and include the copyright notice on the back-up copy.
The PRODUCT may be transferred to another party. To perform such a transfer, THE USER
must notify the AUTHOR(S) in writing of the transfer. The letter must include:

· The name of the party to which the transfer is made


· THE USER’s registration information
· A statement that THE USER is ceasing all the rights to use the PRODUCT
· THE USER’s signature.
· New registration information will be issued by the AUTHOR(S) to the new user of the
PRODUCT.
· Terms

This license is effective until terminated. THE USER may terminate it by destroying the
complete PRODUCT and all copies thereof. This license will also terminate if THE USER fails
to comply with any terms or conditions of this agreement. THE USER agrees upon such
termination to destroy all copies of the software and of the documentation, or return them to
the AUTHOR(S) for disposal.

Redistribution

THE USER are permitted to distribute the evaluation shareware package of this PRODUCT
provided that the a) the package is not modified in any way, and b) that no profit is earned
from such redistribution. However, THE USER can charge reasonable fees to cover costs of
media, packaging, shipping, handling, electronic transmission and storage, and other costs
impacting THE USER in the process of such distribution.

Other rights and restrictions

All other rights and restrictions not specifically granted in this license are reserved by the
AUTHOR(S).

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3. Technology Acknowledgements

ASIO technology by Steinberg Soft- und Hardware GmbH

VST PlugIn Interface Technology by Steinberg Soft- und Hardware


GmbH

DXi technology by Cakewalk

ReWire 2.0 technology by Propellerhead Software AB

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4. Introduction
Welcome to brainspawn forte. forte is a live performance workstation for virtual instruments,
offering more control and convenience than a traditional rack of hardware sound modules.
forte is optimized for the stage, with low latency audio, vast MIDI routing capabilities, and
unique live performance features.

Key Features
· Low Latency Multiple Instrument Hosting: Play up to 32 virtual instruments live
with mixing and routing to multiple audio outputs.
· Intuitive User Interface: If you’ve seen a rack of hardware sound modules, forte will
look familiar to you.
· Performance Automation: Reconfigure virtual instruments and MIDI routing
instantly with remote controlled “Scenes.”
· Advanced MIDI Routing and Filtering: Independent routing and filtering per MIDI
input port; MIDI control of audio effect plugins, MIDI Clock tempo synchronization.
· Audio Effects: Add audio effects to audio inputs, instruments or audio buss outputs.
· Audio Thru: Process live audio input through audio effects with very low latency.
· Virtual Set List: SceneView displays the set of upcoming configurations in large
font.
· Performance Features: Auto-start on boot up, auto-recovery, remote control,
SceneView and other features eliminate the need to use the keyboard and mouse
during performance.

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New Features for forte 1.5

· Setlist Management: Scenes can be used in Songs, which are part of SetLists.
This promotes storage efficiency since scenes can be reused. It also allows flexible
setlist changes without reordering scenes. You may also print Set Lists for use in a
show.

· Use Forte as a ReWire Master.

· Mono Inputs and Outputs: Single-channel (mono) audio inputs and outputs can be
assigned to busses and input channels. Previously these were stereo pairs only.

· ASIO Sound Card Sharing: Forte now only opens the input and output channels it
needs instead of all the channels on the soundcard (For ASIO mode only).

· Insert Effect Bypass: Each insert effect can by bypassed per-scene.

· Tap Tempo: Change the tempo of instruments and effects dynamically by tapping a
new tempo into them using a MIDI controller pedal, MIDI button, or a button in
SceneView.

· Tempo Control: Alter the tempo of instruments and effects dynamically with MIDI
controller knobs or sliders, and increment and decrement tempo using MIDI controller
pedals or buttons.

· Global Tempo: Use a separate tempo for each scene or use a single tempo for all
scenes in the rack.

· Play/Stop Control: Play and stop sequencing plugins using a MIDI controller pedal
or button. This can be configured to be different for every scene or the same for the
all scenes in the rack.

· Panic Control: Panic (all MIDI notes off) using a MIDI controller pedal or button.
This can be configured to be different for every scene or the same for the all scenes
in the rack.

· Enhanced MIDI-controlled Scene Changes: Change scenes based upon program


change only from certain ports and channels. Also, access more than 128 scenes
using bank select.

· Scene Change Actions: Users may control scene change actions for every
instrument module in the rack independently for every scene:

o Choose to send plug-in configuration data never, only if changed, only the
first time a scene loads, or always.

o Choose to send MIDI program changes to each channel on the instrument.

o Choose to send All Notes Off, All Sounds Off, and Reset All Controllers

· Enhanced MIDI-Filtering and Remapping: New MIDI Filtering features allow user
to:

o Split a channel message to multiple channels simultaneously

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o Apply Key and CC filtering independently for each From/To channel remap
pair

o Split controller messages to multiple destinations simultaneously, each with


different linear re-scaling and optional toggle-mode

o Linearly rescale CC messages.

o Specify a start position for toggle remapping

o New remapping user interface includes matrix-based channel remapping


dialog box for quick channel patching and QuickRoute (a pop-up menu with
easy access to simple routings, available without opening the instrument
console)

· Enhanced SceneView: Includes:

o Custom background picture per-scene

o Right click context menu to select scenes

o Optionally hide portions of the SceneView display to show the background


picture

o Full screen mode

o Option to automatically open scene view when auto-loading a rack

· Preset Preview: Automatically cycle through the presets on a plugin while you play

· Stress Test: Gain confidence in your choice of plugins and hardware by


automatically sending MIDI notes, Program Changes, Panic, and scenes changes
through rack file at configurable frequency and duration.

· Warnings on Destructive User Actions: Each warning can be disabled by


checking a “do not show again” checkbox

· Descriptive Rack Load, Save, and Trim

· Backup Rack Files to Alternate Locations

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System Requirements
· Operating System: Windows 2000 Professional SP3 or Windows XP
Home/Professional SP1 or higher. Recommended Windows 2000 SP3 updates from
Windows Update: Q322913, Q322842. Note: forte is not supported on Windows 95,
98(SE), Me, or NT 4.0.
· Processor Speed: Minimum 1.5GHz.
· Memory: 128MB – some plugins such as soft-samplers may require more.
· Plug-Ins: At least one supported VSTi or DXi instrument (see
www.thedirectxfiles.com or www.kvr-vst.com for some links to instruments).
· MIDI: At least one Windows compatible MIDI input port.
· Audio Output Device: At least one Windows WDM-compliant or ASIO audio output
device. For best results see MIDI-to-Audio Latency on page 72.
· Graphics: 1024x768 256 color graphics mode or higher.

Technical Support
For Technical Support, visit www.brainspawn.com. Submit your issue on the technical
support page. We make every effort to answer questions within 24 hours.

Visit www.brainspawn.com to access product updates.

Visit www.brainspawn.com/forum for support forums.

Visit the Knowledge Base at http://www.brainspawn.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16.

Note that quality of output is dependent upon the CPU, memory, and disk limitations of your
PC. Some systems may not be able to achieve the rated specification.

Registration
forte requires user registration in order to install. User registration is both a User Name and a
License Key, which are provided by email upon purchase. The User Name and License Key
must be entered exactly as provided during program installation.

Installation
forte is provided as a self-installing program (.EXE) file. To install, double click the
installation program file and use the wizard to read or supply the following information:
· Read and Agree to be bound by the brainspawn software license agreement
· Read any other release notes provided by the installer
· Enter User Name and License Key provide by email from brainspawn upon purchase
· Choose installation folder
· Choose program group
· Optionally choose to create a desktop icon

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File Compatibility
forte 1.5 can read rack files and MIDI configuration files created with previous versions of
forte. However, it writes files in an XML format that cannot be read by previous versions.

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5. Working with forte

Overview
forte is a live performance workstation for virtual instruments. The user interface is designed
for musicians making the transition from hardware rack-mount rigs, and so follows the
concept of stackable horizontal modules. The modules consist of a Control Module at the
top, output busses for controlling access to audio device outputs, and instrument modules for
controlling sound sources.

Here is an example rack showing the organization of the display:

Control Module

Output Buss

Instrument
Modules

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Control Module
The top rack space is the Control Module.

Scene List Rack Power


Add/Remove Snapshot
MIDI Panic Instruments and new Scene
Busses Scene Tempo

Transport Show/Hide Next/Previous


CPU Meter
Play/Stop Busses Duplicate Modules Scene
And Busses

On the Control Module you can:


· Turn rack power on or off. When off, forte does not consume CPU power for audio
processing and closes the audio outputs.
· Load and save racks.
· Add, remove, or duplicate instrument modules.
· Add, remove, duplicate, and hide output busses.
· Create and manage scenes.
· Set Tempo.
· Set Transport.
· Configure program options.
· Rename plugins (open the Add Module menu and right click to rename).
· View CPU utilization.
· MIDI Panic.

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Output Busses
Below the Control Module are the output busses. A buss is the place to add audio effects to
multiple instrument modules simultaneously or control the mix of several modules as a group.

Buss Audio effects patch


Volume Buss Name point

Audio Meter Soundcard Output

On each buss you can:


· View audio levels going into the audio output device (post buss effects) with the
Audio Meter.
· Change the volume of all audio routed to the buss with the buss volume fader (post
buss effects).
· Add, remove or reorder VST and DirectX audio effects.
· Display the console for each VST and DirectX audio effect.
· Select an audio output device.

Each buss is assigned to a single mono or stereo audio output and may share hardware
outputs. You may rename busses by clicking on the “Buss Name” field and entering a new
name.

The audio meter displays peak level. Red is clipping level. To correct for overdriven outputs
you may:
· Adjust the buss volume fader. This affects every module feeding the buss.
· Adjust audio output level at the instrument or audio effect console. Many instruments
and audio effects have output level controls.
· Adjust audio output level using MIDI input. Many instruments respond to MIDI
controller 7 (volume).
· Change the global volume trim in Preferences.

The audio meter also provides an indication of audio dropouts. When an output is incapable
of providing enough audio to the sound card, it will notify you by driving the meter to bright
red. If no sound is being produced but the meter intermittently shows a spike, check to make
sure you are not running too many modules and busses.

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Instrument Modules
Below the output busses are the instrument modules. Each contains one VSTi or DXi
instrument. Although the sounds on this instrument can be changed, the instrument itself
cannot. To use a different instrument, create a new module.

Module Name
MIDI Activity LED Audio effects patch
point

Show/Hide Buss Assignment


Volume Instrument
Console
SOLO MUTE

Instrument modules may contain VST and DirectX audio effects which are applied to that
module only. The output of a module goes to one output buss. The buss routing for a
module can be changed at any time by clicking on the buss assignment display.

On each module you can:


· Adjust volume of the instrument output (post effects).
· View MIDI input activity.
· Display or hide the console for the instrument.
· Mute or Solo the module.
· Add, remove, bypass, or reorder audio effects.
· Display the console for audio effects.
· Select an output buss.

The Selection Caret, which is present in some skins, is a graphical marker on a module or
buss that represents the item that will be acted upon. For example, the caret determines
which module or buss will be deleted by pressing the [DEL] key. Clicking the left mouse
button on another module or buss moves the selection caret.

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6. Creating and Maintaining Racks


The user file of forte is called a “rack” and is stored in a file with an .RCF extension (Rack
Configuration File).

Racks consist of instrument modules, output busses, audio effects, and scenes.

Adding, Deleting, and Copying Instrument Modules


Adding an Instrument Module
Adding an instrument Module can be accomplished in several ways:
· Select the File | New | Module menu item.
· Press the [INSERT] key on your keyboard.
· Right-click on the Control Module or a Module and select ‘Add Module…’
· Press the Module ‘Add’ button on the Control Module.

Each of these actions displays a menu containing a list of all the available Instruments on
your system.

When an Instrument Module is added:


· The initial preset is set to the first MRU (Most Recently Used) Preset.
· A MIDI Configuration file is loaded. This is either the last-set configuration or a
default configuration for that Instrument if one has been set.
· The buss assignment is set to the first buss.

Deleting an Instrument Module


To delete the selected Instrument Module, as indicated by the Selection Highlight or Caret,
press [DELETE] on your keyboard; click the Module ‘Del’ button on the Control Module; or
right-click on the Instrument Module and select ‘Remove’.

Copying an Instrument Module


When you copy an Instrument Module you may choose the Instrument that the new module
will use. The copied items are the other attributes of the module such as those shown in this
dialog box.

To copy the selected Instrument Module, as indicated by the Selection Highlight or Caret,
press [CTRL]+[C] on your keyboard; click the module ‘Copy’ button on the Control Module; or
right-click the Instrument Module and select ‘Copy Module’. Each of these actions displays a
menu containing a list of all the available Instruments on your system.

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After selecting an Instrument, you may be presented with the above list of copy options to
choose which parameters to copy. This dialog box will be shown only if the option “Display
this page when copying Modules?” is selected. This dialog is also available in Preferences.

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Adding, Deleting, and Copying Output Busses


Adding an Output Buss
Adding an output buss can be accomplished in several ways:
· Selecting File | New | Buss menu.
· Pressing [CTRL]+[INSERT] on your keyboard.
· Right-clicking on the Control Module or a Module and selecting ‘Add Audio Output
Buss.’
· Pressing the Buss ‘Add’ button on the Control Module.

If no busses exist, the first buss will use the Default Audio Output Buss if configured in
Preferences. Each additional buss will use the first available unused output.

Deleting an Output Buss


To delete the selected output buss, as indicated by the Selection Highlight or Caret, press the
[DELETE] key on your keyboard; click the Buss ‘Del’ button on the Control Module; or right-
click on the output buss and select ‘Remove’.

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Copying an Output Buss


To copy the selected output buss, as indicated by the Selection Highlight or Caret, press
[CTRL]+[C] on your keyboard; click the Buss ‘Copy’ button on the Control Module; or right-
click the output buss and select ‘Copy Output Buss’.

You may be presented with the above list of copy options to choose which parameters to
copy. This dialog box will only be shown if the option “Display this page when copying
busses?” is selected. This dialog is also available in Preferences.

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Trimming Racks
Scenes contain data for each instrument or effect in the rack. If that instrument or effect is
removed or replaced, over time the scenes and the rack file can continue to hold information
on missing plugins. The Trim… command in the File menu is a convenient way to update
every scene in your rack file and remove stale data.

To trim a rack, select File | Trim… from the menu, then press the Trim button. You will see a
progress bar and a log of the trim. When finished, be sure to test the rack before saving it to
make sure each scene still generates the sounds it should.

Automatic Backups
Whenever you save a rack file, forte will automatically back up the existing version of the file
before saving the new version. The backup will exist in the same directory with a backup
number appended to the name. You may control the maximum number of backup in
Preferences. You may also specify an alternate location to store backup files.

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7. Working with Instrument Modules


Each Instrument Module contains a VSTi, DXi, or ReWire Instrument. The instrument is not
assignable after a module is created.

Module Name Audio effects


MIDI Activity LED patch point

Show/Hide
Volume Instrument Bypass effect Buss Assignment
Console

SOLO MUTE

Volume
The volume fader controls the master mix volume of this module (post effects).

MIDI Activity
The MIDI Activity LED flashes when a instrument receives MIDI input data. If the MIDI
Configuration blocks incoming data, the MIDI LED will not flash.

Module Name
This is the name of the instrument that this module contains.

Mute and Solo


Mute disables audio processing for an Instrument Module. A muted module takes no CPU
processing power. Mute status is stored in each Scene so you may change which Instrument
Modules are active between scenes. The keyboard shortcut [CTRL]+[M] will mute the
currently selected Instrument Module as indicated by the Selection Highlight or Caret.

Solo mutes all Instrument Modules except the soloed one. Solo is a temporary setting and is
not saved with scenes or racks. The keyboard shortcut [CTRL]+[L] will solo the currently
selected Instrument Module, as indicated by the Selection Caret.

Output Buss Assignment


Each Instrument Module is routed to one output buss. This buss is changeable by clicking
the output buss name and selecting another buss from the pop-up menu.

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Instrument Console
Each instrument has its own user interface, called a “Console,” in forte (e.g. Native
Instruments B4 has the vintage drawbar organ keyboard shown below). Consoles can be
either displayed or hidden.

Show/Hide DXi
Console

Preset Manager

Undock

Instrument
Console

Console Docking
Handle

Docking and Floating the Instrument Console


The console may either be docked (embedded in the forte window below the Instrument
Module strip) or floating (shown in a separate window).

To float a docked console, double click on the docking handle or single click on the float
button at the top left of the console window.

To dock a floating window, double click on the title bar of the console window.

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Preset Manager
forte features easy access to different preset sounds on a instrument. These sounds can be
either built into the instrument (similar to ROM presets on hardware sound modules), or
created and stored by the user (similar to RAM presets on hardware sound modules.)
Regardless of the type of preset, forte always displays presets in an easy-to-find alphabetical
format broken into sub-menus. A user-defined preset has a “user” icon next to the name
whereas ROM presets have a “chip” icon.

Click here to save a user preset Click here to show presets menu

Right-click for more preset options

Preview Presets

Load/Save VST FXB/FXP File

Most recently used presets

Selecting a Preset
Click the preset name bar and select the preset from the Favorites submenu, one of the
Presets submenus or the MRU (most recently used) list. Each of the Preset submenus holds
the available presets in alphabetical order.

Recently Used Presets


When you select a preset, it is added to the top of the recently used list and is easier to find
and select the next time. The number of presets in the recently used list is configurable in
Preferences.

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Favorite Presets
You can designate a preset a “favorite” with easy access via the Favorites submenu by right-
clicking on the preset and selecting “Add to Favorites.” You can remove a favorite by right-
clicking the preset in the Favorites submenu and selecting “Remove from Favorites.”

Favorites Menu

Preview Presets
Forte will automatically cycle through an instrument’s presets, pausing for 10 seconds on
each while you audition them. Press Continue to advance to the next preset before the 10
seconds is finished or Abort to stop previewing.

Creating a new User Preset


If you change the sound of an instrument preset, you may save this new version by clicking
the Save User Preset button and providing a name in the preset name field.

Preset Name
Field

Save User Preset

This preset is now available in the Presets submenus in alphabetical order and with “user”
icon next to it. User presets may be added to the Favorites list just like any other preset.

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Deleting a User Preset


You can delete a user preset by right-clicking on it in the submenus and selecting “Delete
User Preset.”

Assigning MIDI Presets to Specific Channels


If an instrument supports it, you may right click on a preset and assign it to any MIDI channel
(1-16).

Right-Click on a preset
and choose a MIDI
Channel to assign it to

FXP/FXB Load/Save for VST Plugins


If the plugin being shown is a VST or VSTi plugin, two additional options appear in the preset
manager menu:

Load FXP/FXB: You may browse and load a standard VST FXP or FXB file into the plugin.
Save FXP/FXB: Save the state of the plugin in a standard VST FXP or FXB file.

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Working with MIDI Configurations


Each instrument module contains a MIDI configuration, which controls how incoming MIDI
data is routed or modified prior to being sent to the instrument. Options include remapping
MIDI program changes, restricting note ranges, transposing notes, remapping channels, and
remapping MIDI continuous controller data. Using MIDI Configurations it is possible to
configure a large number of MIDI input devices to play simultaneously through a rack using
different channels, splits, and layers.
MIDI Configurations are modified using the Program Map and MIDI Routing tabs in the
instrument console.

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Remapping or Disabling MIDI Program Changes


Incoming MIDI Program Changes may optionally be remapped or disabled. If remapping is
on, the program change is remapped to a configurable list of presets. If remapping is off, the
program change is sent directly to the instrument which may or may not respond by changing
its internal preset. The list can be of any length up to 128 entries.

Additionally, MIDI Program Changes can be ignored. When checked, program change
messages are not remapped or passed to the instrument.

Enable the Program Map

Add or remove map entries

Click to make the instrument ignore MIDI program changes

The remap is:

Output Program = Input Program MODULO Number of Entries

This means, for example, if there are 3 entries in the remap table:

Incoming MIDI Program Remapped MIDI Program


Change Change

0
1st entry

2nd entry
1

3rd entry
2

1st entry
3

2nd entry
4

To add a remap entry, press [New]. To delete a remap entry, highlight the entry in the list
and press [Delete].

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Channel Channel Routing and Layering


The MIDI Routing tab configures channel-specific MIDI input settings.

Quick MIDI Routing

Advanced MIDI Channel Routing

Channel Routing and Layering

Each MIDI input port can be either enabled or disabled. If enabled, each input channel can
be remapped and layered. In the above picture:
· Channel 1 is mapped straight through to channel 1
· Channel 2 is disabled
· Channel 4 is remapped to channel 1
· Channel 6 is layered to channel 1 and channel 6. This means that each channelized
MIDI event (e.g. notes) on channel 6 is duplicated and sent to the instrument both on
channel 1 and channel 6.

Right click a row in the To column to make changes to this mapping. Click the triangle icon to
expand or collapse portions of the channel display.

Right click the To column on the port row to enable or disable the entire port, disable all its
channels, reset channels to a 1-1 map (unity), or map all channels to channel 1.

For each MIDI input port and channel from/to pair you can independently configure:
· What MIDI note ranges a instrument will respond to (splits and layers configuration)
· How incoming MIDI notes will be transposed (after note range filtering)
· How incoming MIDI continuous controller data is remapped to different controller
numbers.

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Quick MIDI Routing


Use the Quick MIDI Routing button to quickly set up basic channel routing:

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Advanced MIDI Channel Routing


Use the Advanced MIDI Channel Routing dialog to configure channel from/to pairs using a
convenient matrix view:

Select input
port
Enable/disable
entire column

Basic Routing
Presets

Enable/disable individual
mappings Enable/disable or reset
entire row

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Key Range and Transpose


You may configure an instrument to respond to only a subset of the entire 128 note MIDI
keyboard. To do this, select the port and from/to channel pair in the left column, then click
the mouse in the keyboard graphic. The disabled upper and lower ranges will be displayed in
grey.

Gray note range is filtered out

You may change the upper and lower ranges a note at a time by clicking the up/down arrow
buttons for each. The MIDI keys that lie within the enabled range are then transposed by the
amount shown in the transpose box.

Training is a convenient way to automatically set the upper and lower ranges. Press [Train]
and a message will show “Training…” Now simply press two notes (simultaneously or one
after another) on your MIDI input device. The instrument module must not be muted, and the
rack power must be on for training to succeed.

Press Reset to enable the entire keyboard.

IMPORTANT: Key Range and Transpose are channel-routing-specific. You will have
as many ranges and transpose settings as you have channel mappings. Be sure to
select the desired channel mapping on the left before altering the key range and
transpose

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MIDI Controller Remapping and Layering


Incoming MIDI continuous controller data may be remapped to a different controller number,
layered to multiple controllers, or disabled.

Each MIDI controller can be either enabled, disabled, remapped, layered, toggled, or
rescaled. In the above picture:
· CC 0 is mapped straight through to CC 0
· CC 1 is layered to Modulation and Decay Time
· CC 2 is disabled
· CC 3 is configured to toggle between 0 and 127 every time the incoming value
reaches 127. (Init Off) means CC 3 is initialized to 0 on the scene change. (Init On)
means CC 3 is initialized to 127 on the scene change.
· CC 4 is rescaled linearly from 0-127 to 40-100.

Right click a row in the To column to make changes to this mapping. Click the triangle icon to
expand or collapse portions of the channel display. Right click the Mode colume to change
Toggle modes. Click in the 0 and 127 columns to set linear rescaling values.

Training is a convenient way to automatically set the “from” field without having to consult
your MIDI controller configuration. Select a “from” field, press [Train] and the field will change
to “Training…”. Now simply change a controller on your MIDI input device and the field will
automatically change to the controller number you sent. The Instrument Module must not be
muted and the rack power must be on for training to succeed. If the [Auto-Train] button is on
when [New] is pressed, training will be started automatically.

You must manually select the “to” field. Some instruments provide a comprehensive list of
MIDI controllers which will be shown in the “to” field. Many, unfortunately, do not and you
must consult the instrument manual and select a numerical field.
IMPORTANT: CC remapping and layering are channel-routing-specific. You will have
as many CC remap settings as you have channel mappings. Be sure to select the
desired channel mapping on the left before altering the CC remap.

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Toggle Mode
Toggle Mode configures a controller mapping to toggle the “To” value between 0 and 127
each time the “From” value transmits a value of 127. This feature allows you to assign MIDI
foot switches to features on the instrument like an organ’s rotary speed: Step on the pedal
once to slow the rotors down and step again to speed them up.

Toggle mode is configured with a starting value. When the MIDI configuration is applied on
scene change, the initial state of the toggle is sent to the instrument. (Init Off) means the
instrument controller value is initialized to 0. (Init On) means it is initialized to 127.

Saving and Loading MIDI Configurations


MIDI Configurations are assigned to an Instrument Module, but some settings can be saved
and reloaded from a file.

Load MIDI Configuration Save MIDI Configuration Assign default MIDI Configuration

Press [Save] to save a configuration. This includes for each MIDI input:
· Key Range
· Transpose
· Channel remap
· Controller remap

This allows frequently used MIDI configuration parameters to be applied to other Instrument
Modules or stored for future use.

When a MIDI Configuration is loaded you may optionally load or ignore specific portions of
the configuration.

NOTE: Each MIDI Configuration file stores information about a single MIDI port. If you save
a file, it will reflect the configuration of the currently selected port (if a channel from/to pair is
selected beneath it, it will still save the parent port info.) When you load a MIDI Configuration

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file, it is loaded into the current port. This makes it useful to save MIDI Configuration files that
are “device-specific” because devices are attached to ports.

Setting a Default MIDI Configuration


A last-used MIDI configuration is always saved with an Instrument Module. Usually, this MIDI
configuration will be reloaded automatically on any future Instrument Module using the same
instrument. However, if you select a MIDI configuration to be the default, it will be used
instead.

Scene Change Commands


In the Scene Commands tab, each scene can be configured to affect each instrument plugin
in a variety of ways. See “Working with Scenes and Setlists” for more information.

Working with ReWire Instruments


You may create an instrument module using ReWire instruments. When doing so, the
instrument console will be a generic panel to launch the ReWire console.

ReWire instruments will follow Forte’s play/stop transport and tempo. However, they do have
some limitations:
· Rack Load is not automated - The ReWire specification has no concept of a host
application sending configuration information to the ReWire instrument. Therefore,
the ReWire instrument must be manually configured after forte is running.
· Scene changes do not work – For the same reason, Forte cannot send
configuration information on scene change. Some ReWire instruments may respond
to program changes, however.

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8. Working With Audio Effects

Adding and Removing Effects


Instrument Module Buss Audio effects
Audio effects patch patch point
point

Bypass button Previous/Next patched


Audio effect

Double click on an Right-Click to add


effect to open its Inserts or open
console Insert Manager

VST and DirectX audio effects may be inserted into either modules or output busses.

To insert an effect, right-click on an audio effects patch point shown above and select the
DirectX effect from the pop-up menu.

To delete an effect, right-click on the effect you wish to remove and select “Remove Audio
Effect” on the pop-up menu.

You can use the up/down arrows on the right to view different effects in the chain.

By right-clicking and opening the insert menu, you may right click on an effect and add it to
your favorites, rename it or hide it.

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Insert Manager
Right click an effect and select Insert Manager to control the order of inserts at that patch
point.

Showing Effects Consoles


Double click an effect to show its console. Working with audio effects consoles is very similar
to working with instrument consoles. The only differences are that the console window is
always floating (never docked) and there are no Program Map or MIDI Configuration tabs.

Close an effect console by clicking the upper right hand close button.

Bypassing Effects
Effects may be bypassed either by clicking the bypass button in the instrument module or
buss or by unchecking the “Active” column in the Insert Manager.

Effects are bypassed independently for each scene, so you may use scene changes to
switch effects in and out of an instrument module or buss.

Using Effect Presets


Accessing an Audio Effect Preset is identical to accessing instrument Presets.

MIDI Routing to Effects


MIDI input is sent to insert effects. The filtering is different for effects than for the instrument
module:
· Program changes from MIDI are never sent to insert effects.

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· The Instrument Channel and Controller remap is not applied to MIDI before it goes to
the effect. Each effect has its own Controller remap to apply automation.
· Insert effect Controller mapping is not MIDI input port specific (unlike an instrument’s
controller remap).
· Instrument Transpose is applied so that plugins like harmonizers can build chords on
incoming audio data from MIDI notes.

Insert Effect Automation using MIDI Continuous Controllers


Incoming MIDI continuous controller data may be remapped to VST or DirectX 8.0
automation parameters. They can also be configured to toggle the effect’s parameters. This
can be useful to remap, for example, your foot-pedal MIDI input to Amplitube’s stomp effects.
The list contains each remap entry up to 128 with a “from” and a “to” column, along with a
“toggle” checkbox. The list will only display entries that are remapped to automation
parameters. Any controller not listed in the “from” column is not remapped and toggle is
disabled. Any disabled controllers will not be passed to the instrument.

The above example shows MIDI CC 1 remapped to control the effect’s “Body Sze”
parameter. CC 2 is toggling CC 8, and CC 3 is mapped to “Tone”..

To add a remap entry, press [New]. To delete a remap entry, highlight the entry in the list
and press [Delete].

Training is a convenient way to automatically set the “from” field without having to consult
your MIDI controller configuration. Select a “from” field, press [Train] and the field will change
to “Training…”. Now simply slide or rotate a controller on your MIDI input device and the field
will automatically change to the controller number you sent. The Instrument Module must not
be muted and the rack power must be on for training to succeed. If the [Auto-Train] button is
on when [New] is pressed, training will be started automatically.

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You must manually select the “to” field. Most effects provide a list of automatable parameters
which will be shown in the “to” field.

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9. Working with Audio Inputs


Audio inputs allow you to run audio from external sources through modules and busses.
Audio inputs are available on any instrument module in the Audio Input Configuration tab of
the console.

This shows the Audio Input Configuration tab:

You may select the mono or stereo audio input source and monitor the input levels. Select
“No Audio Input” from the input selection box to turn off audio input.

Although some instruments will process audio input, most will not. For this reason there is a
special module you can create from the add module menus called ‘brainspawn Audio Input’.
This module is a module without an instrument. In the Audio Input module, the audio is sent
directly from the input to the module's insert effects.

WARNING: Be very careful when using audio inputs that you do not accidentally
enable an audio feedback loop! This may damage your audio equipment if volume is
too high.

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10. Working with Scenes and Set-Lists


Scenes are one of the most powerful features of forte. Scenes enable you to use a single
rack for an entire performance and automate preset changes, output routings, and mutes.

Each rack file can contain multiple scenes visible in the Scene window.

Snapshot new scene Right-click to display scene menu

Display Setlist Manager Scene


Tempo

Each Scene contains a complete configuration including:


· A preset for every instrument in the rack. This does not need to be a saved preset
because the actual settings of each instrument are saved instead of just a name.
· An effect preset for every audio effect in the rack. Again, this does not need to be a
saved preset. Bypass status is also saved.
· A MIDI input enable for each port on each Instrument Module.
· A MIDI keyboard range, transpose, channel and controller remap for every MIDI input
on every Instrument Module.
· An output Buss selection for every Instrument Module.
· A tempo (which many VST and DirectX plugins will follow).
· A transport (used by many drum machines, arpeggiators, and ReWire devices).

Note that the Program Change remap is not included in a Scene. Scenes may be optionally
changed using incoming MIDI program changes. When this feature is enabled, MIDI
Program Remap does not work because the program change messages are used to change
scenes instead of being remapped and sent to the instruments.

Creating Scenes
Scenes can be created by clicking the Scene button to the left of the scene list on the Control
Module. The new scene will be given a name that represents the time and date the scene
was created.

Scenes can also be created from within the Setlist Manager (described below).

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Changing Scenes from the Control Module


You can change the current scene by clicking the up or down arrow to the right of the scene
list.

Changing Scenes from the Keyboard


You may also advance to the next scene by pressing [SPACE], or move to a specific scene
by pressing a shortcut key you have assigned to that scene.

Changing Scenes from MIDI


Use the “Enable Scene Remap” option in the Setlist Manager to change scenes on incoming
MIDI bank select and program change. You can enable program changes to select scenes
on specific MIDI ports and channels.

When enabled, incoming program changes select scenes in the active setlist: Program 0
th
selects the first scenes, Program 8 selects the 9 scene, etc. If the program number is higher
than the last scene in the setlist, the last scene will be selected.

Accessing Large Numbers of Scenes using Bank Select


By default, a bank of scenes consists of up to 128 scenes, each selectable via program
change. If more than 128 scenes exist in the active setlist, MIDI bank select (CC0 and CC32)
can be used to select alternate banks of 128 scenes. In order for this feature to work, the
controller must send bank selects starting at 0, 1, 2, etc. Some devices use different bank
numbering schemes that may not work.

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NOTE: Using alternate MIDI controllers:

You may change the number of scenes per bank by modifying a setting in
OPTIONS.INI. Select Tools|View INI Files… and open OPTIONS.INI. Find the
line that says “ScenesPerBank=128” and change that to a different value. If
you change this to 4, for example, you must select bank 1, program 0 to access
th th
the 4 scene in the setlist. Likewise, bank 2, program 2 would select the 10
scene. The ability to alter the number of scenes per bank can be useful when
using some MIDI controllers like guitar footboards that select programs using
separate pedals.

Scene Change Actions


Each scene can be configured to affect each instrument plugin in a variety of ways. In the
instrument’s console is a “Scene Commands” tab where you may determine what happens to
the instrument when the current scene is applied.

Set Configuration Data (FXB, FXP, and/or DirectX Preset Data)


This option selects how configuration data is applied to the plugin:

· Do not use per-Scene configuration data – when this is checked, data specific to
each scene is not loaded into this instrument. Instead the instrument is loaded once
with the configuration it held when the rack file was last saved and maintains that
configuration across all scene changes in the rack. This is selected any time a plugin
is loaded that appears on the scene skip list in preferences.
· Load configuration data into the instrument only if it is different from the
previous scene – Forte tracks the data sent to a plugin and this option will only send
configuration data if it is different than what was loaded by the previous scene. This
can reduce scene change times by avoiding unnecessary operations. Note that forte
cannot know if you have manually changed the plugin’s configuration; the
comparison is only done between the data of the previous scene and the current
scene.

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· Always load configuration data into the instrument when changing to this
scene – Always load this scene’s data into the instrument. This is the equivalent to
previous versions of forte if the plugin was not on the scene skip list.

Resets
· Send all notes off to the instrument - sends a note off for each playing note, plus
the MIDI “All Notes Off” command on each channel.
· Send all sounds off to the instrument – sends MIDI “All Sounds Off” command on
each channel.
· Reset all controllers – sends MIDI “Reset All Controllers” command on each
channel.

Program Changes
This option allows you to send a program change to each MIDI channel.

Held Notes over Scene Changes


With specific settings on the Scene Commands tab it is possible to hold notes over scene
changes. This can only happen, however, if the MIDI filtering for the plugin is the same in the
new scene as in the old scene. If the new MIDI filter is more restrictive (allows fewer notes or
has a different transpose setting) the playing notes are forced off to avoid hanging notes.

Using Samplers with Scene Changes


Some plugins require a significant amount of time to process setting configuration data.
Many of these are samplers which must load new sample sets into memory when
configuration data is applied. Therefore to properly use plugins like this, you should configure
them to “Set configuration data only if this is the first scene used”, and use a combination of
MIDI channel filtering and program changes when changing scenes to alter their sounds.

Scene Tempo
Each scene can contain a tempo instruments and effects can sync to. In addition, you may
optionally choose to have forte adjust the tempo dynamically from incoming MIDI Clock
messages from a chosen MIDI input port.

To alter the Scene’s tempo. Click the tempo button in the Control Module.

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The Set Tempo dialog will let you adjust tempo using the horizontal slider control, or by typing
the tempo into the edit box. You may also tap the tempo on the Tap Tempo button.

If you click Follow MIDI Clock on port, forte will follow the tempo of incoming MIDI Clock
messages from the highlighted input port. Use the slider below to configure how quickly
tempo responds to changes in MIDI Clock.

If you uncheck Enable Per-Scene Tempo, the current tempo configuration will be used for all
scenes in the rack.

Controller Automation of Tempo

You may configure tempo to respond to MIDI controller and note messages on specific ports
and channels. Using these features, you may:
· Configure a knob to adjust tempo
· Configure buttons or pedals to increment and decrement tempo
· Configure a button, pedal, or key, or drum pad to tap tempo

Tap tempo responds on the fourth tap.

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Play/Stop and MIDI Panic


Even though forte is not a sequencer, many virtual instruments and effects depend upon host
transport control to control drum machine patterns and arpeggiators. Most ReWire devices
also require host transport control. For this reason, forte features a Play button.

Each Scene may have the transport button in either the Play state or the Stop state. This
means you can stop and start drum machines on scene change.

When play starts, forte reports a start position of measure 0 beat 0 tick 0. If you stop and
restart the play button, the position will reset to 0. This is consistent with forte not being a
sequencer and assures that pressing Play will cause an instant measure 0 downbeat.

Controller Automation of Transport

You may configure transport to respond to MIDI controller messages on specific ports and
channels. To do so press the Transport Setting button on the header. Using these features,
you may:
· Configure buttons or pedals to start and stop the transport
· Configure buttons or pedals to force a MIDI panic

If you uncheck Enable Per-Scene Transport, the current transport automation configuration
will be used for all scenes in the rack.

Setlists and Songs


Setlists and Songs are ways to manage scene order. A rack file may contain several Setlists.
Setlists contain Songs, and Songs contain Scenes.

In this way, Scenes may be used more than once in the same Song or different Songs, and
Songs may be reused in Setlists. Only one Setlist may be active at a time.

If no Setlists are defined in a rack file, the scenes will be presented in order in the Scene List
and SceneView (identical in behavior to previous versions of forte). If one or more Setlists
are defined, the active Setlist’s Songs and Scenes will be presented in Song order/Scene
Order. For example, if the Setlist contains 2 songs:

· Song “Pictures At An Exhibition” contains Scenes “part 1”, “part2”, and “part3”
· Song “Tarkus” contains Scenes “part a” and “part b”

The Scene List and SceneView will show

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· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 1
· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 2
· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 3
· Tarkus::part a
· Tarkus::part b

By simply reordering the Songs in the Setlist, you can get a different Scene order:

· Tarkus::part a
· Tarkus::part b
· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 1
· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 2
· Pictures At An Exhibition::part 3

If a Scene name is formatted to match a Song name like this: Song: “Neverland”, Scene:
“Neverland|Key Solo”, The part of the scene name before the ‘pipe’/vertical bar character (|)
will not be shown. This allows you to create song-specific scenes and not show the song
name twice. Instead of “Neverland::Neverland|Key Solo”, you would get “Neverland::Key
Solo”.

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Setlist Manager
Double click the scene list to display the Setlist Manager

Manage Setlists Change scenes with MIDI


program change

Manage Songs

Manage Scenes

Print a Setlist Protect a scene

Manage Setlists
· New: Create a new Setlist.
· Delete: Delete current Setlist.
· Clone: Create a new Setlist from the current Setlist.
· Rename: Rename the current Setlist.

Manage Songs in the Active Setlist (Left “Songs” Column)


· New: Create a new Song.
· Close: Create a new Song from the existing selected Song.
· Use: Use (apply) the first Scene in the selected Song.
· Rename: Rename the selected Song.
· Move Up/Down: Reorder Songs. You may also simply drag them into different
orders.
· Remove: Remove a Song from the active Setlist.

Manage Scenes in Songs (Center Column)


· Use: Use (apply) the first Scene in the selected Song.
· Move Up/Down: Reorder Scenes in Song. You may also simply drag them into
different orders.
· <<: Add selected Scene from right column to selected Song.
· Remove: Remove selected scene from Song.

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Creating Scenes
Click [Snapshot] to create a new scene.

Protecting Scenes
Click to the left of the scene name in the “P” column to protect a scene. A protected scene
cannot be updated.

Updating Scenes
Select the scene that needs updating and press [Update]. The data in the scene is replaced
with a new snapshot. The name is not changed and you cannot update a protected scene.

You may also update a scene without opening the Setlist Manager by pressing [CTRL]+[U].

Using Scenes
Click [Use] to change to the selected scene.

Renaming Scenes
Click [Rename] to rename the selected scene. You may then type in the new name. You
may also rename by simply clicking on the current name in the list. You cannot rename a
protected scene.

Applying a Description to a Scene


Use Descriptions to add more information about a scene. This information is displayed in
SceneView.

Reordering Scenes
Click [Move Up] or [Move Down] to move the selected scene up or down in the scene list.

Deleting Scenes
Click [Delete] to delete the selected scene. You cannot delete a protected scene.

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Changing Scenes from MIDI


Click “Enable Scene Map” to change scenes on incoming MIDI program changes.

The remap is:

Scene = Input Program MODULO Number of Entries

This means, for example, if there are 3 entries in the Scene table:

Incoming MIDI Program


Change Scene Number

0
1st entry

2nd entry
1

3rd entry
2

1st entry
3

2nd entry
4

Exiting the Setlist Manager


Click [Close] to exit the Setlist Manager.

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How Rack Changes Affect Scenes


It is likely that you will add or remove modules, busses, or effects from your rack after you
have created some scenes.

When a Scene is used:


· Any new Instrument Module the scene does not recognize will be muted. This is to
preserve as much as possible the sound that was generated by the scene. To
integrate the sound of the new module into a scene, unmute and configure it and
then update the scene in the Setlist Manager, or by pressing [CTRL]+[U].
· Any new Audio Effect the scene does not recognize will not be changed
· If modules or effects have been removed, the scene will skip them and silently
update itself to remove the unused data. This will happen even if the scene is
protected in the Setlist Manager.

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SceneView
SceneView is a full-screen display that shows the previous, current, and next scene names.

Enable SceneView by selecting the View|SceneView menu option or pressing [ALT]+[0]. Exit
SceneView by pressing [ESC], or by pressing the close button on the top right of the window.

Previous scene

1-click access to
all scenes

Current Scene

Scene Description
or Notes

Next Scene

Set Background
Picture
Tap Tempo
Next Scene
Prompt

You may assign a background picture to a scene by clicking the “Pic” button in the lower right
hand corner. This can be useful for displaying alternate information like song lyrics or just art
you enjoy.

You may right click on the Scene View to hide or show various elements shown above. For
instance, if you set the background picture to be song lyrics, you may wish to hide the scene
names.

You may configure SceneView to open automatically when a rack loads. See Preferences
for more information.

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Scene Shortcut Keys

Keystroke
Action
Shows/hides the full-screen SceneView display. Esc will also close the SceneView
Alt + 0
display
Ctrl + E Creates a new Scene with a default name based on the current date and time
Ctrl + U
Updates the current Scene
Space
Advances to the next Scene

Note: These shortcut keys are reassignable in Preferences.

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11. Advanced Performance Recovery

Advanced Performance Recovery (APR) is a performance feature designed to provide forte


some additional resilience in a live situation.

It is a 'watchdog' system. A separate Windows application monitors forte's health by listening


for a signal from forte every few seconds. If the watchdog stops detecting this signal, it will
forcibly kill forte (if it still exists in a running state) and restart it with the last rack and scene it
was using.

APR is disabled by default. You can enable it in preferences and it requires a restart to begin.
When enabled, a new window will pop up and sink into the icon tray. This is the watchdog,
and you can pop this up and disable monitoring any time you wish. The watchdog will also
automatically close if you close forte.

APR is designed for live performance. It should not be enabled when you are interacting with
the forte user interface, for example building or configuring racks. The reason for this is that
some plugins require large amounts of time to load sample sets and this can be falsely
detected by the watchdog as a “lack of activity” situation.

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12. Rack Stress Test


The capability to play virtual instruments in a live setting is based upon making a number of
elements work together reliably:
· Computer Hardware and BIOS (including ACPI)
· Operating System
· Soundcard and MIDI drivers from various sources
· Forte
· Vitual instruments of various technologies (VST, DXi, ReWire, etc.) from countless
vendors in various states of stability

Each of these elements can be a weak link that makes the system unreliable. Each can
interact with other elements in unexpected ways.

For this reason, forte includes a built-in stress test to allow you to test all of the above
working together in the same rack file for extended periods of time.

To start the stress test:


1. Turn down or off all of your audio outputs!
2. Load your performance Rack File.
3. Select Tools|Stress Rack… from the menu.

4. Select the length of time you wish to stress the rack. This can range up to 24 hours
(this test is unattended, so you can start it and go do something else).
5. Select which events to include in the test and how frequently to send them.
6. Press Start.

You may stop the test before it completes by selecting Tools|Stop Stress from the menu.

When the test is complete, it will offer to open your log file. At the end of the log you will find
information about scene change times, memory utilization over the course of the test, and
CPU utilization in each scene.

Note that although this stress test can be useful for finding weak links in your rack setup, we
can never promise that it will result in a 100% stable live setup. There are simply too many
variables. However, this stress test is certainly better than assuming everything will work.

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13. Preferences
You can change forte’s preferences by selecting Options|Preferences… from the menu bar or
by right-clicking on the Control Module and selecting “Preferences.”

Preferences are divided into pages selectable on the left side of the window.

Preferences Pages

Accept or abandon
changes

General Options
Launch forte when Windows starts? – Select if you want to start forte automatically when
you log into Windows. For this to be useful, Windows should be configured to log in
automatically.

Hide splash screen at start? – Select if you do not want to see the splash screen at
program startup.

Open SceneView at launch? – Automatically shows the SceneView when a rack loads.

Autoload Rack when forte Starts? – Loads either the last used rack or a specified default
rack when forte starts.

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Default Rack Save location – Path used to save rack files. The default is
<my documents>\brainspawn\forte 1.0

Default Backup Rack Save location – Path used to save backup rack files. The default is
the same directory used to save the rack file.

MRU Sizes – select how many racks, instruments, and inserts to keep in your most recently
used lists.

Enable Advanced Performance Recovery – See Advanced Performance Recovery on


page 55.

Disable Screen Saver while playing? – Disables any configured screen saver when the
rack power is on.

Minimize to System Tray – Choose whether forte minimizes to an icon on the task bar or in
the system tray.

Use all available CPUs – This is a troubleshooting option which should remain checked. If
you are using a multiple processor system and encountering problems, you can uncheck this
option to see if it is related to multi-processing.

Number of Auto-Backups to keep – Every time you save a rack file in forte, it makes a
backup to preserve the old file. The number of backups is configurable here.

Logging Level – Configures the amount of information logged to the log file (see Log File on
page 73.)

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Edit Shortcuts

This page configures hot-key assignments.

To assign a new hot-key:


· Select the function you wish to assign a key to
· Set the cursor in the ‘Press new shortcut key’ box and press the key you wish to
assign to the function
· Press the Assign button

Check “Disable shortcuts when Consoles are open” to disable hot-key assignments when
plugin consoles are open. This can solve problems where hot-key assignments conflict with
plugin keystrokes.

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Skins

forte supports skins which can be selected from this screen. For alternate skins, please visit
www.brainspawn.com. For information on creating your own, please contact technical
support.

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Audio Options

Device List - Shows all audio output devices available to forte. Each output may be enabled
or disabled for use within forte by the check box next to its name. A disabled output will not
be available to assign to a buss and is not used when determining audio buffer sizes on
startup. “Min Buffer Size” displays the buffer requirements reported by the audio driver. The
device list reflects the WDM/ASIO selection below. In ASIO mode, only one driver may be
selected at a time.

Audio Driver Mode – WDM/KS or ASIO – This selection determines the audio driver mode.

ASIO Control Panel – Open the ASIO control panel.

Audio Sample Rate – Select the sample rate forte will use to access your sound cards.

Global Volume Trim – This gain adjustment is applied to each buss after all effects but
before audio is sent to the sound card. It is applied at the same point the buss volume fader
is applied.

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Default Audio Output – Configures the device that will be used when the first buss is
created. Additional busses use first available outputs.

Custom Buffer Settings – Configures the minimum size and number of buffers used. When
both are set to “Auto”, the configuration is automatically computed based upon enabled audio
outputs. If you experience audio dropouts, try different settings here.

Current Buffer Size/Latency – Displays the current buffer size and number of buffers. forte
automatically computes the minimum buffer size when it starts based upon the enabled audio
outputs and the Custom Buffer Settings described above. The Current Latency is the
estimation of software latency based upon the current buffer configuration.

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Plugin Options

Group plugins by these companies – Use this box to organize your instruments and audio
effects by plugin manufacturer. Any company name not represented in this list is presented
in the top-level menu of the menus.

These plugins will be hidden from the add/copy instrument menus – Use this box to
exclude plugins from menus.

These plugins will not be available in forte – You may quarantine a plugin by adding it to
this list. A plugin on this list will not be loaded when a rack is loaded and it is not available in
the Instrument Module or audio effects menus.

These plugins will be hidden from the add insert menus – Use this box to exclude plugins
from menus.

Preset MRU Size - Configures the number of “most recently used” presets on the Preset
menus.

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VST/VSTi Options

VST Search Paths – Use this box to list multiple directories to search for VST plugins.

Unrecognized VST Plugins List – This is a list of DLL files in the VST search paths that did
not appear to be usable VST plugins and are skipped on subsequent restarts.

Re-Profile – If a plugin is on the unrecognized list but shouldn’t be (for example a timed out
DR-008 demo replaced by a purchased version) you can re-profile on the next restart to
rebuild the unrecognized list.

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Scene Options

Once of the most powerful features of Scenes is the ability to load each plugin in the rack
with different data on each scene change. Some instruments, however, take a very long time
to change configuration. A common example is soft-samplers which must load new sample
sets from disk.

This page allows you to configure a list of plugins that will not be loaded with new data on
scene changes.

For instance, you can include Kontakt in a rack, but if it is on this list, the sample set will not
change between scenes. Instead, use MIDI routing changes between scenes to alter the
output.

If an instrument is listed here, the configuration action specified in Scene Commands (see
Scene Change Actions) is overridden to set configuration data only once when the instrument
is loaded. This preserves the behavior of previous versions of forte.

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MIDI Input Ports

Enable/Disable MIDI Input Ports – Use this list to enable or disable MIDI input ports for use
in forte. If an input port is not checked in this list, it will not be opened for input and it will not
be included in the MIDI Configurations list.

Leave MIDI ports open – If checked, forte will open MIDI input ports when started, but will
not close them when rack power is turned off. It will always close ports when exiting. When
unchecked, input ports will be closed when rack power is turned off.

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MIDI Configuration

This page configures which portions of a MIDI Configuration file will be used when you load a
configuration file.

Instrument Module Creation options allow you to select the MIDI Configuration to use:

Autoload MIDI Configuration File unchecked to start with a generic configuration:


· All 128 MIDI keys are passed to the instrument
· No transpose
· No channels or controllers are remapped
Autoload MIDI Configuration File checked to start with either a specified default
configuration or the last used configuration.

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Copy Options
See Adding, Deleting, and Copying Instrument Modules.

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14. Menus

Here is a summary of forte’s menus:

File
· New
· Rack – Creates a new rack with no modules or busses.
· Scene – Creates a new scene in the current rack.
· Module – Adds a module. You must select the instrument to use.
· Buss – Adds a buss.
· Open… – Opens a previously saved rack file. You must select the .RCF file to use.
· Save – Saves the current rack to a .RCF file.
· Save As… - Saves the current rack with a different name.
· Play – Toggles rack power on or off.
· Recent racks – Open a recently used rack.
· Exit – Exit forte.

View
· SceneView – Enables full-screen list of scenes for distance viewing.

Options
· Preferences… - Change program preferences.
· Skins… - Change program skins.

Help
· About forte…

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15. Keyboard Shortcuts

Keystroke Action

Alt + 0 Show/hide the full-screen SceneView display. Esc will also close the SceneView display.
Ctrl + B Show/hide all Output Busses.
Ctrl + C Copies the selected Output Buss or Instrument Module. See Adding, Deleting, and Copying
Instrument Modules on page 17, and Adding, Deleting, and Copying Output Busses on page 19 for
more information.
Ctrl + E Creates a new Scene with a default name based on the current date and time.
Ctrl + L Solos the selected Instrument Module.
Ctrl + M Mutes the selected Instrument Module.
Ctrl + N Does nothing.
Ctrl + O Displays the ‘Open rack’ dialog box and allows a previously saved rack to be loaded.
Ctrl + P Toggles the rack power On/Off.
Ctrl + R Creates a new, empty rack. You will be prompted to save the current rack if changes have been
made to it.
Ctrl + S Saves the current rack. If the rack has not been saved before, you will be prompted to name the
new rack.
Ctrl + U Updates the current Scene.
Ctrl + W Show/hide the console window of the selected module.
Ctrl + X or Alt Exits forte.
+ F4
Space Advances to the next Scene.
Ctrl + Space Moves to previous Scene.
Insert Adds a new Instrument Module to the rack.
Alt + Insert Adds a new insert effect to the current Module.
Ctrl + Insert Adds a new Output Buss to the rack.
Ctrl-D Deletes the selected Instrument Module or Output Buss.
Home Scrolls the Control Module into view.
End Scrolls to the bottom of the rack.
TAB or Down Advances the Selection Caret to the next Instrument Module or Output Buss. When the Selection
Arrow Caret reaches the last Module in the rack, it wraps around to the first.
F1 Opens the forte User Manual.
NUMPAD Presses the MIDI Panic button.
1~9
1~0 Use Scene numbers 1 through 10.
Ctrl + 1 ~ 0 Use Scene numbers 11 through 20.
Shift + 1 ~ 0 Use Scene numbers 21 through 30.
Ctrl + Shift Use Scene numbers 31 through 40.
1~0
Shift + TAB Moves the Selection Caret to the previous Instrument Module ot Output Buss. When the first Output
or Up Arrow Buss is reached, it wraps around to the last Module in the rack.

Note: These shortcut keys are reassignable using Edit Shortcuts in Preferences.

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16. Command Line Switches

forte supports the following command line switches:

Switch Action

/safe Starts forte in safe mode

Loads the specified rack when forte starts. Must include


/rack <rack name>
full path, using backslash (\) between directories.

Loads specified instrument at start. Instrument Name


/synth <instrument name>
must be the friendly name as displayed in fortes menus.

Notes:

· The /rack parameter overrides the /synth parameter. If both are specified on the
command line, the Rack, not the instrument, will be loaded at start up.
· Both /rack and /synth, override the 'Load Rack' options found on the 'General
Options' page.
· /safe cannot be used with any other command line parameter.

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17. Performance and Troubleshooting


Visit www.brainspawn.com to access product updates and look for the latest technical
support notes.

Support forums are available at www.brainspawn.com/forum.

The Knowledge Base is available at http://www.brainspawn.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16.

Forte’s performance is highly dependent upon the WDM or ASIO audio device drivers
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present in your system and the 3 party instruments and effects plugged into it.

MIDI-to-Audio Latency
Latency is the amount of time that passes between when a MIDI controller is triggered and
when audio is heard. Low latency is essential in live play. In forte, latency is directly
determined by the number and size of audio buffers used (expressed as size × count). For
example, 64 × 1 will have half the latency of 128 × 1 or 64 × 2:

Buffer Configuration Latency in milliseconds


64 × 1 1.45 (acceptable for drum trigger input)
128 × 1 or 64 × 2 2.90
192 × 1 5.80
256 × 1 5.80
384 × 1 8.71
11.61
512 × 1
(still acceptable for certain types of keyboard sounds)

forte uses several factors in configuring buffer settings. If the user has specified either a
number of buffers or a buffer size in Custom Buffer Settings (see Audio Options on 64), that
will be used regardless of whether or not it is a good choice. If the user has left both Custom
settings at “Auto”, forte will compute a suitable buffer configuration based upon enabled audio
outputs. If one of the Custom settings is “Auto” and the other is not, the automatic buffer
configuration will consider the user choice and alter the other setting to compensate.

In ASIO mode, only one output can be enabled at a time, so the automatic buffer
configuration is fairly simple. However, in WDM/KS mode, multiple outputs can be enabled.
The automatic configuration chooses a buffer size that is equal to the smallest buffer size
supported on any enabled output, and then increases the number of buffers until enough data
will be supplied to the cards with the larger buffer sizes. For example, if you have two
enabled cards, one of which can do 64 samples/channel (e.g. Dakota) and one which can do
441 samples/channel (e.g. most SoundBlasters), the automatic configuration will result in 64
× 8 (latency of 11.61 ms) to ensure that enough data will reach the SoundBlaster.

Normally, you should leave the Custom settings at “Auto”. If the automatic settings result in
dropouts, then you should take note of the current settings and adjust the custom settings to
increase either the buffer size or number of buffers until dropouts no longer occur.

Audio Dropouts
The audio meter on each buss provides an indication of audio dropouts. When an output is
incapable of providing enough audio to the sound card, it will notify you by driving the meter
to maximum level, which will fade just like audio peaks. Audio dropouts may be detected by
either:
· Listening for pops

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· Watching for unexpected red peaks on the peak level LEDs. For example if you are
not playing MIDI notes and no sound is being produced but the peak level LEDs
brighten to red occasionally, it is likely you are experiencing dropouts.

Here are some tips for minimizing dropouts:


· Don’t show instrument consoles during performance – some consoles have
animation such as meters which can use a significant amount of CPU power.
· Don’t task-switch to other applications during performance – this causes a burst of UI
activity similar to meter animation.
· Shut down CPU or disk-intensive background applications.
· Run fewer modules, busses, or audio effects in a single rack.
· Adjust the Custom Buffer Settings.

Sometimes dropouts are caused by soundcard driver issues. For more information on how to
adjust forte for use with certain soundcards, see Additional Options in Options.ini on page 73.

forte is a live-performance application so it will not deliberately stop if an audio dropout


occurs.

Log File
forte maintains a log file in its program files directory called “forte.log”. The level of
information logged to this file is configurable in General Options. The following logging levels
are supported:

Silent – no logging output.


Errors – System information and errors are logged. This includes application start time and
version, Windows version, DirectX runtime version, and application end time.
Warnings – System information, errors and warnings.
Information – System information, errors, warnings, and verbose status information such as
instrument/effect plugin information and WDM output information.

If you are having a problem with forte, looking at the log file may be very helpful, especially if
Logging Level is set to Information. If you email technical support it is helpful to attach the
log file.

The log file is kept in the application data directory, typically


“C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\brainspawn\ forte 1.0\forte.log”

Additional Options in Options.ini


forte stores its configuration options in a file called

“C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\brainspawn\ forte 1.0\options.ini”

This path may differ on some installations. You can view this folder in forte by using the
menu command Help | View INI Files….

There are some additional options in OPTIONS.INI that can not be configured within the
program Preferences pages and must be configured by directly editing the file.

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[Audio]
KSNumExtraBuffers = 0. This indicates the number of extra buffers used when
communicating with WDM soundcards. There are always 2 buffers. This option increases
that number. For example, if KSNumExtraBuffers = 1, forte will use 3 buffers.

ASIOUsePreferredBufferSizeOnly=0. If =1, forte will only access the ASIO driver using its
preferred buffer size. If =0, forte will try to use the minimum buffer size.

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Safe Mode
forte supports “safe” mode where you can prevent any instruments or effect plugins on your
system from being loaded. A list of all installed instrument and effect plugins will be
displayed in alphabetical order. You may select to ‘Skip’ a plugin, which prevents the plugin
from being loaded but does not add it to the “bad list”. Skipped plugins will be available again
the next time you start forte. You may also select ‘Mark Bad’ to add a plugin to the “bad list”
and make the plugin unavailable within forte..

Click here to skip

Click here to mark bad

You may start forte in safe mode by adding the ‘/safe’ parameter to the command line or by
holding down the CTRL key while starting. If forte ever crashes, it will automatically offer to
enable safe mode the next time it is started.

In safe mode, the rack power will not automatically turn on when adding the first module or
loading a rack. If a problem exists when rack power is on, this will allow you to modify the
rack first.

You may re-enable plugins within forte in the Plugin Options page of Preferences.

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