Empress Zoia


Whacking the cost up though innit… and extra clutter.

Its a great idea, if a bit fiddly. . not very immediate. at least to me.


You have a very good point there dee. Empress Effects is a pedal maker so all they’ve ever made are pedals – if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail


I’ll come back to that… Not sure if its a diss?


Not toward you – i agree with you. I’m talking about Empress – the thing they know really well are pedals – so everything to them is a pedal.

  1. Modules themselves do not have on/off switches. You could construct different types of signal flows using a VCA (like @cuckoomusic), mixers or audio switchers.

  2. There’s no insert. But I guess (haven’t played with the looper) you could set it to non looping and combining it with a delay (relating to loop time) and your FX of choice and then create a feedback loop.

It’s a modular you know! :wink:


Plus on question 1) re: turning reverbs and stuff on and off, you could flip the “mix” parameter from 0 (full dry) to 100 (full wet) and go from all dry to all wet, or whatever value of wet you might want. [From the Reference Guide.]

@CarlMikaelBjork – a question for you. Do you find yourself building a patch and run out of CPU? I mean you max out the CPU usage meter to 100.


This brings back memories of using an Eventide H9… Many wonderful things possible, great sound, but ultimately the lack of tactile controls turned out too much of a headache for me. I see this zoia potentially suffering from the same dilemma.

Someone really, like really needs to make a MIDI Figther twister with DIN MIDI output! I know one could attach a USB MIDI convertor, but then that be two additional boces required just for using one effects unit…


H9 is indespensible on stage as an instrumentalist. Granted, I’m loading patches, not tweaking anything. As much as I play live, this thing saves me from lugging out a bigger pedalboard.

Meaning… I see patches on the Zoia being something I’ve set up, and just run. I don’t know that there’ll be a ton of tweaking on stage. I’ll have to see how it goes. I like the idea of having it on a stand somewhere in my effects chain, and having some push button options. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of various scenarios, and I doubt that I’ll settle on one.


Looking through the Module Reference Guide. Lots of cool stuff here.

Some random stuff:

  • You can play the grid buttons like a keyboard.
  • There is a CV out you can configure.
  • There is a diffuser audio module
  • It’s got a ton of CV functions – as for instance a quantizer.
  • There is an envelope follower.


From the Zoia Module Reference Guide:

Keyboard – Turns grid buttons into a keyboard you can connect to an oscillator and play. No external MIDI controller necessary! Tune each keyboard button using the knob to have it play your desired note.

CV Port Out – This module interprets internal CV and sends it down the ring of a 1/4" TRS connector in the control port as a standard CV signal of 0-5 volts. Remember to set CPort to cv in the Config Menu.

Diffuser – Diffuser spreads your signal across the galaxy like so many shimmering little stars. On it’s own it sounds like a modulated slapback delay with no dry signal, but it can be used to construct many a tonal/atonal masterpiece.

Quantizer – Quantizer will interpret incoming CV and send its nearest equivalent note as a CV output.

Envelope Follower – Envelope Follower will interpret an incoming audio signal as a CV signal based on its signal strength. Use this to trigger filter sweeps, audio effects parameters, LFO rates, etc. The connection strength can act as a sensitivity control.

I’m looking in the RG to see if there might be a way to use the Zoia as a midi event processor – i’m thinking of ways to do it through the CV processor modules. Also thinking about refining the quantizer to select chordal notes only and making an arpeggiator. (You can also set the grid up as a keyboard to only play chordal or scale notes only if you want.)

I also have been thinking of all my various midi controllers as now integral part of some sort of musical patch with something cooked up in the Zoia.


Like some of you, after watching the Cuckoo video, I was surprised to see the CPU usage so high.

I remember way back someone asking Steve about this issue and he stated that RAM would be enough for whatever. Coupling that with then over 6 available pages of modules, I had anticipated that one could do a whole lot with this thing.

But as someone has said, I was not blown away by the complexity of Cuckoos patch and it being at 70something%. This gives me pause. I am definitely going to have to give it a go now , as opposed to ordering immediately, to see at which point I can break it.

I keep having to remind myself: this is a guitar pedal made for guitarists by a prestigious guitar pedal manufacturer.


What i said exactly:


I do admit that if you just need to “set and forget” your fx, and doubly so if you’ve already tweaked your patches to perfection for a specific use, UI-less approach is completely valid. But for me, I sold my H9 as soon as I found out just how much more fitting to me even a lowly TC electronic Alter Ego pedal was… no menu diving, knob per function, I just love that when it comes to fx I guess.


I’m constantly hitting the CPU limit when going particularly elaborate. However depending on what modules you’re using, the CPU load will be different. Basically, ready made Effects take a lot of CPU. Reverb take the most. The heaviest of all modules is called Ghost reverb and is an eerie and lovely smooth long reverb.

Last time I checked, a few firmwares ago (I think it has actually been optimised slightly since):

  • Most I/O modules take roughly 0.1-0.4% per module.
  • Stereo output module with gain takes 2.7%
  • OSC w FM input takes 3.4%
  • Most Audio Out modules take between 1-3%, some a little more
  • Most CV modules take 0.1-0.3%, some a little more.
  • One stereo reverb takes 23%
  • The mighty Ghostverb takes 40%
  • Cabinet simulator 7.9%
  • Vibrato stereo in out 4.9
  • Chorus stereo in out 19.8%

… so it’s not as powerful as say the Nord Modular G2 in terms of CPU power. I wouldn’t use it to replace a Eurorack, but rather as specifically crafting something unique.

In my tutorial I didn’t do anything musically wonderful. But the other guys’ videos all sound magical, because they made art with it. It’s a great open tool.


Thank you Cuckoo !!

I’ve already cut the chart of usages out to think over.

ADDED: What happens when it goes over does it go all glitchy?
Glitchy is fun sometimes.


Great info, @cuckoomusic! thank you! Like any tool, it’s going to take some planning and experimentation to work within the limitations. Personally, limitations force certain approaches. I think it speaks to this forum’s love of hardware: yeah, most of us use a DAW, but constraints and character lead to inspiration when you can feel like option overload in a modern DAW.


It’ll go glitchy over 100%, but not the cool bzzpttp glitch, more like a nasty aliasing.

Edit. One way of saving CPU on reverb could be to run a mono reverb, and use a stereo spread, if you still want a stereo image. Perhaps that’d be enough stereo for most cases.


Finding ways to do the same sort of thing with less CPU usage will be part of the trick then.

Like i suggested earlier perhaps since the program change/patch change is relatively quick, you can break stuff up into smaller patches and switch between them for different effects, rather than trying to build that all into one Mega Patch.

Perhaps one day a Mega Zoia with a faster processor. This is not a question, in that i doubt there is an answer.



I’m really thinking about using an expression pedal with this too. (Particular with a sax, but in general too.) Either one pedal plugged in directly through the Control Port, or more likely using the Audiofront Expression IO expresssion pedal to midi interface (added: which i already have) with multiple expression pedals.


That’s on my “experiment list” for this thing. I also have a Morningstar MC6 that allows for two EXPs that can be configured per bank. Since I got the MC6, I rarely use exp pedals, depending on the band I’m playing with. That midi IO looks very cool! Thanks for sharing!


1.) Not really the same though. Play around with the on/off-button on the Ableton Reverb and you see what I mean (if you have the time).

2.) Maybe!

It looks fun that’s for sure!