The MPC Series provides unparalleled creative control to users both in the studio and on the go. While our Standalone mode offers the flexibility of a tetherless creative platform, there are still users who experience performance issues while using an MPC by itself. Like any piece of digital equipment, an MPC features a complex operating system with a variety of resources that may impact performance. This guide will help illuminate some common issues encountered by users while using the MPC series in Standalone mode.
Before we begin, the purpose of this article is not to completely diagnose every issue, but to assist each user in recognizing and evaluating the source of their problem. There are two things we want to avoid:
- Convincing users with a minor issue that they have a major issue
- Dismissing users with a major issue that their problem is minor
To help you better diagnose and potentially resolve the issue, this article contains a series of buckets, each containing symptoms, problem descriptions, and of course, solutions and other advice.
- Troubleshoot with a Demo Project
- System Warnings
- Checking system resources
- Out of date firmware
- Faulty, worn-down, or mismanaged USB hard drives
Troubleshoot with a Demo Project
The first step in troubleshooting is to eliminate contributing factors until you are left with the source of the problem. For an MPC, those factors could include personal samples, storage devices, project files, settings and more.
One of the best ways to start troubleshooting freezing issues on a standalone MPC is to use the start up screen to open up a demo project. Demo projects are set up to run perfectly on the MPC, and only feature sounds or patterns native to the MPC. If you are able to boot a demo project and find that the MPC is no longer experiencing freezing or latency issues, it's likely that your MPC is not experiencing a hardware failure. Instead, it may be time to take a closer look at the individual projects that experience this freezing, as well as samples used in those projects and any external storage devices those samples are pulled from.
Reopening the project that is experiencing latency or freezing issues and continuing to work may trigger one of the MPC's system warning messages. If you encounter a warning that there is not enough memory (RAM) to complete an action while using your MPC hardware, do the following to make more memory available:
- Make sure all audio tracks in your project are not record-armed.
- Delete any samples from your project’s sample pool that were there before the warning appeared.
When a sample is added to a project, it is stored in the RAM to allow for quick access and playback. To delete samples from the project (to create more free RAM space for sampling time, audio recording, etc.), tap Purge. In the screen that appears, tap Unused Samples to delete all unused samples from the project, tap All Samples to delete all samples from the project (from all programs, sequences, and audio or MIDI tracks), or tap Cancel to return to the previous screen.
If you are still seeing the warning, do the following:
- Manually undo the last action you performed before seeing the warning (you may not be able to use the Undo button for this due to how the undo history is stored in RAM).
- Save your project.
- Do one of the following, and then load your saved project again.
- In Main Mode, tap the folder icon at the top of the screen, and then tap New at the bottom of the screen.
- Power your MPC hardware off and then on again.
- Press Menu and then tap the gear icon to open the Preferences. In the Preferences, tap Reset at the bottom of the screen, tap OK, and then tap Restart to reset the Preferences.
- Enter Controller Mode and then reenter Standalone Mode.
Checking system resources
If no warning is appearing while you are working, try navigating to the System Resources panel of your MPC by clicking either the battery or system resource bars available from the Main Mode menu of the MPC. A screen should pull up that looks like the one below.
The indicators in this window show current usage statistics:
- Battery: If you are using MPC Live or Live II powered by its internal battery, the first indicator shows the current battery life as a percentage. (See Battery Usage to learn more about MPC Live and MPC Live II’s internal battery.)
- CPU: The CPU indicator shows the current CPU as a percentage. If this indicator shows that you are nearing full capacity, you may begin to experience some freezing. Try disabling any unnecessary plugins or effects when not using those tracks!
- RAM Usage: The Mem indicator shows your MPC hardware’s current RAM usage.
- Drives: The Drives indicator shows the available storage space on any detected external storage devices or the internal drive of MPC X, MPC Live, MPC Live II or MPC One.
Out of date firmware
The firmware and software for the MPC Series are updated frequently to add features and address bugs. It is important to make sure that both your MPC hardware and MPC software are always up-to-date, and the hardware and software versions match.
Download the latest firmware version from the product page and follow the included instructions very carefully to update the firmware on your MPC. Only attempt to install the firmware if you are not already on the latest firmware version!
Faulty, worn-down, or mismanaged USB hard drives
Misunderstanding file management with certain file systems is a common reason why users may experience delays, slow-response, or freezing on the MPC. Just like working with your computer, every step needs to be taken to ensure that the USB drive is operating at the top of its game, otherwise, performance will suffer. This means doing more than just deleting and re-installing the database every now and then.
FAT32 is the most popular drive format to use with the MPC and when used properly, you will never experience issues with freezing or delays. The most important fact to remember about FAT32 is that over time it will not handle simply loading and re-loading files very well. The format retains its file structures on the back-end, even if you have deleted every file off of the drive. This means that data from the file is retained on the drive, even if you don't see it, causing the information to pile up and bog down the system.
If you're seeing slow performance from a drive, even if there are only a few files, we recommend reformatting your hard drive. Luckily, this usually just means that it's time to reformat the drive and reload the database. Our guide here will go through everything from reformatting the drives, choosing the right file types for use with nd the MPC:
If you continue to have trouble with freezing, try a different USB drive. Most artists will have multiple backup drives available just in case one of them fails (and they will fail!). As long as your songs are in the required format, your database is fresh, and your drive is stable and formatted correctly, you won't experience issues with freezing.