Review: Method 1 by Sound Yeti (currently 30% OFF)
Superb modern drum machine sounds
6 hardware processed alternatives for each sample
Comprehensive and flexible drum machine
Well designed and attractive GUI
Very quick results
Well curated and plentiful snapshots
Panning quirk on some presets
Loading preset sequencer patterns is laborious
No EQ available
Not quite as strong for EDM sounds
Method 1 is a powerhouse of fresh sounding beats wrapped up in a versatile drum machine. It’s a one stop shop for creating banging beats at speed, with a firm focus on hip hop, trap, modern pop and old school boom bap.
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Review: Method 1 by Sound Yeti
Sound Yeti have been releasing sample packs for drums and sound design for a few years now, but only recently have they moved into the world of Kontakt instruments. Collision FX was the first and focussed on their sound design expertise, but the latest is all about the beat. Method 1 is a drum engine, incorporating a multi-track sequencer and puts a bewildering number of samples at your fingertips in a great looking Kontakt instrument. It is built for Kontakt Player which is ideal for anyone who does not own the full version of Kontakt and for all of us that do it means it appears with a nice little graphic in the libraries browser.
Method 1 sells for $169 from Sound Yeti
Right off the bat let’s be clear what this is not. This is very much not a real drum kit instrument with all the round robins and velocity mapped samples you would expect. Method 1 harks back to classic hardware drum machines and their glorious one shots. Although retro in approach it is far from it in the sounds used, which are bang up to date and with all the flexibility of what a software drum machine engine should offer in 2020.
Working down the GUI, the top panel has global controls for crush, tone and compression. Below that we come to the individual drum controls with a multitude of filters and knobs for drive, pan, stereo width, and velocity. In this section we also have 3 selectors to choose what appears in the middle window.
Let’s skip the more complex middle section for now though and look at the bottom section. This is where the 8 drum sounds that Method 1 can use are there to edit. These can be laid out however you see fit, which could mean a different kick on each for example, but most patches come up with the standard arrangement of kick, snare, closed hat, open hat, perc 1, and perc 2. These can be played across an octave manually or triggered by playing the sequencer. For the former they do not share the familiar assignment of kick on C, snare on D and hat on F# that many of us will be used to, but they can be reassigned to your preferred keys very easily and then saved as the default.
Each drum has a single fader which controls whatever parameter is selected in blue via the 6 buttons either side. It’s a great way to quickly dial in edits on a per drum basis. There is volume, decay, tuning, delay, reverb and core. All self explanatory apart from the last one – so what is this core business all about then? Well, Method 1 comes with nearly 1700 base sounds and each one has then had a further 6 different kinds of processing on it. Thus, you get the clean original plus close room, lofi, slow, smash, tape and tube. This processing is not within Kontakt and the team at Sound Yeti have really gone to town by selecting some awesome bits of hardware kit to colour the raw sample. Its high end gear like Telefunken and BAE preamps, the Eventide ultra-harmoniser, Otari tape machines and punchy DBX and Empirical Labs compressors. I love this feature so much and it’s one of the key features of the library that differentiate it in a rather crowded market.
In the centre of this bottom section you will find a big dial which acts both as a master output and a sample selector. I found it to be a way smoother and quicker method of scrolling through samples then the oft-used pulldown or arrows. It scans through the entire currently selected bank and in combination with the core fader you really can audition and find the sounds you are after at great speed (and with a changing waveform display to match!). Above this dial are the playback, sync and record buttons for the sequencer which bring us nicely to the middle section of the GUI.
The DRM button here displays the pattern for each individual drum plus its associated decay, tune, delay and reverb which can be programmed on a step basis, enabling incredibly intricate patterns to be created. For example you might have the kick descend in pitch, or have it hit into the reverb only on the first beat of each bar. A detailed display in the top right keeps you informed of various settings per step. This is also where you can access the banks of sounds which are divided into various genres – anything from super hard trap beats to more old school drums that sound as if they came off some 70s funk vinyl. It’s easy to build your own hybrid kit of say a phat hip hop kick, a crusty trip hop hat and a modern pop snare should you want to. I would say the best on offer here is mainly for hip hop and pop beats. The more EDM type sounds are decent, but it really shines for the more urban side of things. It is worth noting the perc 2 sound has its own particular banks, as it provides all of the more bizarre sound effects in the library – things like dubstep womps, anvil hits and even a chipmunk ninja! These are really cool additions to spice up your beats with something a bit more unique.
The next button along brings up the effects, consisting of delay and reverb. The controls here are what you would expect and it’s very nicely designed in terms of colours and layout.
The one point to note in this section are the parameters at the bottom, which toggle preferences for playing note on selection, automatic MIDI selection of the drum, individual external outs, and an interesting humanising option so everything is slightly less robotic.
The final window in this middle section is the main sequencer where you can see and programme all 8 drum parts either via your mouse or keyboard, should you have record enabled.
Any pattern you make can then be dragged to a MIDI track in your DAW should you prefer that workflow. Should you want fresh inspiration the browser takes you to 500 loop templates. In practise it does not work well, as you must manually navigate to the correct folder which I got sick of doing after 3 attempts. It is a shame there is not a better way of quickly being able to audition the pattern presets as they are really good. The main sequencer mirrors the individual drum sequencer in having options along the top for various things like patterns (up to 12 can be programmed), swing, length and more. It took me a minute to figure out how these could be changed, but once I did so I realised it was a very neat way of doing so. There is also a copy and duplicate feature to help build longer and more complex rhythmic structures and all 12 patterns can be individually triggered via keyswitches. The bottom of the sequencer also has a lane for flam and accent. I am not sure why they could not extend the GUI slightly so they were not sharing a lane, as it is a slight fiddle switching between them.
All this may seem a bit overwhelming in terms of complexity, but within an hour or so it becomes second nature and a lot of fun to work with. However, if you just want to jump straight in quickly there are over 225 presets to get you started which really showcase what a flexible modern beat maker Method 1 is. A screenshot below shows the main categories.
My only real issue with this library is how they have programmed the width knob. Many of the presets use the pseudo stereo effect, but this invariably has quite a left pan bias. Sound Yeti have implemented a workaround that partially compensates, but flicking through some presets can still be a left sided affair. However you can simply dial down the width knob per drum if this is not to your taste. There is a further idiosyncrasy in that many presets also have the resonance dialled to max, even if the filter is up at 19,900Hz. This does effect the raw sound slightly and can create nasty peaks if you simply want to dial in a quick basic roll off. This leads me to the only other potential drawback that some users may have, in that neither on a per sample basis or globally is there any EQ available. Personally I did not miss it, especially as the various core options give ‘baked in’ tonal variations and I like using my own third party EQ, but it is something to be aware of at least.
These minor grumbles aside, the most important thing here is the sounds themselves and they are top notch. There is plenty of trouser flapping kicks, punchy snares and perky hats that would need little processing or layering to fit well in the most modern of productions. However, for me the sleeping giant of this library is the percussion. Perc 1 has an inspiring array of shakers, clicks, tambourines, bells, scrapes, metal hits, and much more, whilst perc 2 take us into more foley and sound design territory. When you then consider each one has a further 6 variations the sheer scale of Method 1 becomes apparent. Those more familiar with real drum kits may consider the toms and cymbals collection to be slightly small, but it does reflect the limited use they have in the genres Method 1 specialises in.
For producers of most hip hop related genres and pop to some extent Method 1 should be firmly on your radar. Media composers seeking to tap into authentic urban beats will also find the ease of doing so most attractive. The quality of sounds in combination with the hugely flexible interface is a winning combination. Overall Method 1 is very exciting to use, with a comprehensive sequencer and given that there are 10,000 samples to work with, it will provide exceptional longevity and value for money, especially at the current launch price.
The credits in the manual mention everyone from Ralphie the Cat to Donald Trump (what?) as people to thank, but I will instead says thanks to the very talented drum producers and programmers at Sound Yeti for what is a first class collection of modern drums.
Method 1 comes with 3GB of raw material in the shape of 10,000 samples, 225 presets, 500 loops templates and 7 core characters per sound. It works with the free Kontakt Player.
Method 1 sells for $169 from Sound Yeti
Contributor Sam Burt reviews Method 1 by Sound Yeti
“Method 1 is a powerhouse of fresh sounding beats wrapped up in a versatile drum machine. It’s a one stop shop for creating banging beats at speed, with a firm focus on hip hop, trap, modern pop and old school boom bap.”