Empress Zoia


The Control Port MIDI stuff will probably make/break my decision on whether I’ll ever get a Zoia.

I’ve been slowly developing my vision of where I want to take my music, and it revolves heavily around playing solo guitar arrangements, with electronic enhancement here and there - like OT looping/sampling the guitar. So being able to control stuff via MIDI foot controller is going to be a priority.


Do you have a specific foot controller in mind?

My thing is i really like using various different sorts of MIDI controllers in different situations. Different sorts of controllers shape a performance. For example think of the Touché from Expresssive E. My mind has been racing thinking of various interfaces paired with various Zoia patches and what sorts of things are possible.


At the very least I’d like to use my KMI Softstep 2 for patch selection and MIDI CC. Oh and transport (start, stop, etc.). And also use a keyboard controller at the same time, for the times in my hypothetical solo set that I want to play a synth pad or something.

I’m in no rush though. Still have a lot of exploring to do on my H9.


Very nice videos!

Looking forward to more info about that Control Port and connecting a MIDI foot controller for controlling the looping functions.


Does anyone happen to know know if it’s possible to have the zoia’s midi clock slaved over midi? I couldn’t find anything in the manual about zoia’s midi clock.
For instance, I’d like to have a drum loop playing on my octatrack (midi master), and have live guitar loops i play into the zoia looper (mid slave) repeated in time with the octatrack beat.


As an owner of other Empress products (Reverb and Echosystem) - the sound is great but their interfaces leave much to be desired.

With those devices, you basically need the manuals available at all times… ‘wtf does the Blue tape light mean again in this mode?’ .

Lack of power supply included i guess is common with pedal manufacturers but really irritated me for a $500 product.

I couldn’t even call it menu diving, it’s more like ‘magic words’ diving where you have to know what combinations of button presses and lights do things like change gain staging, etc. Even with the most friendly settings for synths and pads, I find they’re easy to clip the inputs and outputs of, especially in sequence. And when there’s no meter at all it’s really a pain in the ass.

The boxes are VERY high. So if it’s flat on the desk in front of you, it’s actually too high to use comfortably like a desktop product. I’d really like to get slanted racks for mine eventually.

They don’t have normal MIDI ports even though they have MIDI support, you need to use the control port with a special product of theirs I believe. The zoia has direct MIDI ports but not DINs, not sure what they are?

So with all this i’m not super excited about getting a zoia even though it seems powerful. I’m not really confident in their ability to make an interface, even though this has a screen.


agree with most of the points made here. a tiny screen would make all the difference in those pedals


Not sure if this applies to everyone or what, but I managed to get a 20% discount ($100 off) the Zoia on prymaxe.com due to their sitewide spring sale. Couldn’t resist at what’s basically a solid used price. Hope it can help out others here.


Thanks for the info.
Unfortunately its not working for me , probably because im from Canada :slight_smile:

" Products from the following companies are ineligible for discounts: 3Leaf Audio, A/DA, Arc Effects, Bad Cat Amplifiers, Barber Electronics, BearFoot FX, Blackarts Toneworks, Blackbird Pedalboards, Boss, Caroline Guitar Company, CatalinBread, Charvel, Chellee Guitars, Darkglass, Decibel Eleven, Digitech, DOD, Dr. Scientist, DryBell, E.W.S. Effects, Earthquaker Devices, Electro-Harmonix, Empress, Eventide, EVH, Evidence Audio, Fairfield Circuitry, Fender, Focusrite, Foxrox, Friedman, Function f(x), Fuzzrocious, G&L Guitars, Gretsch, Hungry Robot, ISP Technologies, J. Rockett, JHS Pedals, Jackson, Jackson Ampworks, Keeley Electronics, Korg, Lunastone, Marshall, Mission Engineering, Morgan Amplification, Music Man, Nash Guitars, Origin Effects, Paul Cochrane, PreSonus, Pettyjohn Electronics, Red Panda, Reverend Guitars, RMC, Schecter, Selah Effects, Shure, Source Audio, Strymon, SubDecay, Suhr, Swart Amplifiers, Tech 21, ThorpyFX, Vertex, Voodoo Lab, Vox, Walrus Audio, Wampler, Xotic, Z.VEX Effects."


Yup same here, tried Prymaxe for the Zoia discount, was probably an error that they corrected.


Surely down to personal preference. But.

(and I don’t own any of their other pedals)

The grid is HIGHLY intuitive. Patch selection, connections, modulation… I’m very impressed of how they made the UI work.


Good post basehead617, your experience with other Empress products is really informative. I got the impression after reading the detail of all the third party power supplies Empress recommends for the Zoia that you needed to get your own. And i like your expression ‘magic word diving’ – been there done that. And i hadn’t thought through the issues with the thickness of the Zoia as it relates to it playing well with other equipment on the desk.

As to TRS plugs for MIDI i’ve changed opinion on this. I prefer TRS MIDI connections now, now that it’s an official standard and you can go device to device with a regular old TRS cable. (Please don’t shoot me – I know there are other opinions on this, which i respect because i used to hold them.)

About the MIDI Association TRS Cable Standard

The MIDI association back in August of '18 gave specification for this. (Empress sure as hell has better have followed this standard!) So that means you can just plug a standard TRS 1/8" (3.5mm) between to MIDI ports that support the standard, no need for DIN MIDI cables then. And you can use any standard TRS to DIN MIDI converter cable interchangeably. This of course does not apply to devices that are not standard – and that can be a headache for devices from before the standard. What’s the use of six connections on a DIN connector when you only need three? There’s a lot of nitty-gritty detail about pre-standard connections here.

NOTE: The MIDI standard TRS does not apply to the Zoia Control Port, which is 1/4" and manages to squeeze both in and out together on one plug, so you will need a special, custom sort of cable if you decide to use the Zoia Control Port for an extra midi connection. ADDED: Also read the detail in the manual regarding the in ports between the TRS MIDI connections and the Control Port MIDI.


It was a bit strange. Didn’t work for me at first and I gave up. But later I got an email saying “Finish your purchase!” and the discount did apply to that, so I completed the order with the discount. It does sound like a bug, I suppose.


I guess I might be a little anal in this case… according to the specs the enclosure is 1.75” thick and 2.25” with controls, but for me, it feels awkward… maybe a lower table height it would be okay. I took a pic from desk level. It’s obviously meant for the floor with foot switches, etc.

Zoia is even slightly taller with controls, 2.625". I’d definitely want either a low low table or slanting stands.


Empress was over on Lines forum. They said they’d be happy to see someone write an editor and would provide all the necessary information. :metal:

EDIT: File player, ability to make custom samplers and granular confirmed coming on IG :metal::metal:


I’m in.



man, zoia is sick :relieved:


the layout makes me think it’d be amazin if deluge had been made by empress, or if it had this kinda modular functionality… and decent synths n fx. would be absolutely mint


I don’t know about all of you but this seems amazing. I think it would pair really well with an Elektron Machine specially since it can be controller using midi (Right?). Seems fun but they added two more knobs or something.