Yeah, it's looking like if I proceed with MPC projects, I will have to do alot more pre-documentation, etc, just as you suggested. I just got spoiled from tools like Maschine, Fxpansion Geist/Guru, and other DAWs that did this for me.
For example, I just used the MPC Software as a plugin in Cubase. As usual, when I drag a sample to an MPC pad (no matter, whether the sample was dragged from the MPC's File browser or Cubase's Media browser), there is no way to track the absolute path original location of the samples.
However, there is a small breakthrough when using with Cubase. It's a little work though. If I double my work time crafting kits by not only dragging the sample from the Cubase Media browser (or wherever) to a MPC Pad, but then also 1) to a Cubase Audio track (Deselect Copy to Folder option). From there, 2) Drag the sample from the Cubase Audio track to a Cubase Sampler Track. In the Cubase Sampler Track the whole absolute path of the sample pops up if you hover over the sample name.
So if I build 4 custom kits x 16 pads, I would have to do this 64 times and have 64 sampler tracks in Cubase, just to track the locations of the file origins.. Of course, I could write each one down as I do it, in a notepad, but this increases the time tenfold more for each pad.
In the meantime, I probably will just go back to Maschine and native DAWs to continue to build official productions. I will just use the MPC Software as a testbed to play with samples and layers. Once I find a way to convert mpc programs to Maschine, then this will no longer be a problem. Or I will just re-sample the MPC pads into another system for kits I like. This becomes important if you care about the MPC effects and panning that have been applied to MPC expansion programs.
I only bought the MPC Studio 2 (w/MPC Software 2 access), in the first place, to just get at the MPC programs and expansions; but then started digging the MPC workflow the more I messed with it.
The lack of good MPC file management (absolute path referencing) and tracking, and duplicate file generation for saving projects (disk hog), is just a hindrance for me.
In some instances, for creative sessions (pre-production), in other tools, I usually just bang out a bunch of beats on other applications without having to worry about where samples came from. Just swap out stuff and experiment. And 20 beats/compositions later, I can always go back and hover over files in the various projects to reveal/show in the file explorer where things originated. Can't do this on my MPC environment. For each freestyle beat, I would have to spend about an hour or more just to log what I am experimenting with.
I get it that MPCs have always dealt with programs needing to find all samples in one flat folder, but software-wise, under the hood, the MPC software has to know the source file and path in order to make the copies to the MPC project_[projectData] folders. So why not just dump this in one of the *.xml files that they drop in these project data folder.
BTW, thanks for your reply and input. That was helpful and something to chew later on down the road. This MPC world is too strong to just walk away for me completely.