Use this document to diagnose issues related to playback and performance in Premiere Pro

How to troubleshoot playback and performance issues in Premiere Pro

When using Premiere Pro, you may encounter issues relating to playback and performance. Issues that commonly occur include: 

  • Drop in frames
  • Audio drop out
  • No Video during playback
  • Playback getting stuck when you hit the play button or spacebar

Troubleshooting issues related to Media Cache and Media Cache Database

Many issues that are related to playback and performance are linked to the Media Cache and Media Cache Database. Media Cache contains the .CFA and .PEK files which are generated by Premiere Pro while importing clips for the first time in Project bin. This issue could also be related to any audio/video effects that you apply to clips in sequences. 

  1. Select Edit Menu>Preferences>Media on Windows or Premiere Pro menu > Preferences > Media on macOS.

  2. Delete Media Cache files: Delete the cache files from Media Cache and Media Cache Database folders.  For more information on how to free up hard disk space by removing cached media files, see Managing the media cache database.

  3. Remove the files that are not required from the hard disk that you're exporting to and create space, or choose a hard disk with adequate space.

  4. Select File>Project Settings>General>Renderer and change the setting to Mercury Playback Engine Software only Mode

  5. Delete the preview files.

  6. Remove the Audio/Video effects applied in a sequence on clips. For more information, see Remove Audio/Video effects in Premiere Pro. Export XML from Premiere Pro and then import it into a new project. See Exporting an XML file for more information. 

Troubleshooting performance issues related to third party plugins

  1. Check the MediaCore folder to verify whether the installed plugins are compatible with Premiere Pro CC 2017.

    For Windows, the files are located at:


    For macOS, the files are located at:

    MAC HD/Library/ ApplicationSupport/Adobe/Common/Plugins/7.0/MediaCore

  2. After identifying the installed plugins, update them or contact the plugin vendor for a compatible version.

Troubleshooting playback issues related to audio hardware

  1. Select Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware, to check the computer audio device and settings, including the ASIO and MME settings (for Windows OS), or CoreAudio settings (for macOS) that is used by Premiere Pro for audio playback and recording. For more information, see Audio Hardware preferences.

  2. Check for external MIC or audio devices and try to disable them. For example, you can disable Webcam, third party audio playback devices such as AJA or BlackMagic, USB MICs, monitor speakers or any third party VST Plugins.

  3. For macOS, try to create an aggregate device by selecting built-in input/output dvices.

    For Windows, try to disable all devices except Realtek listed under Sounds. You may also want to see Windows 10: How to fix sound issues after upgrade.

Troubleshooting performance and playback issues that are due to some hardware limitations

  1. Check the Premiere Pro System requirements page to identify hardware compatibility issues.
  2. You may also want to consult the documentation on Proxy Workflow in Premiere Pro to use the proxy functionality and switch between native and proxy formats to get the job done faster.


Performance issues such as flickering while expoting, glitches while exporting, random lines etc can also be due to some AMD cards. These issues have been noticed in hardware setups including the following:

  • Retina 5K display
  • 27-inch (diagonal) Retina 5K display with IPS technology and 5120x2880 resolution
  • AMD Radeon R9 M380 2GB memory
  • AMD Radeon R9 M390 2GB memory
  • AMD Radeon R9 M395 2GB memory
  • iMac (2014) with AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2048 MB
  • AMD D700 cards in Mac Pro (2013 version)

Workaround: Select Premiere Pro File Menu>Project Settings>General and change to Renderer to Software only Mode. You can also change the memory allocation by selecting Preferences>Media>Memory and assign minimum RAM to Premiere Pro.

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