Empress Zoia


It’s the same form factor as their other pedals.


I’ve gotten the impression that there are more guitarists who want smaller pedals than those who want bigger ones. Certainly there’s been enough of a demand for pedal makers like Xotic, EHX, tc electronic, etc. to make mini versions of certain models.

Anyway, there are quite a few who seem to be buying this thing.


Smashing! Thank you.


some hastily-made recordings of my first patches (warning: experimental / noise fuckery)

100% ZOIA:

ZOIA processing modular (simple mother-32 sequences):


Is there a CV gate module or something similar on the Zoia? I’m trying to make a rudimentary ‘depth’ control for a filter but can’t suss out how to hook up my LFO via an ADSR (opened by an on/off momentary switch) to control the filter cutoff.

My lack of modular-thinking-skills is coming to the fore today!

(If there are any good modular tutorials that would help me with this kinda thing, please feel free to point me in the right direction! I made a super-simple synth patch - 1 osc, a filter, and an envelope - and that felt like absolute magic to me)


Just to check in, my Ripcord arrived. Got the 9v center negative one. Working great with laptop, phone charger, powerbank.


I’m not really understanding what you are trying to achieve. Could you give a bit more detail please?


Yeah; no problem. I didn’t articulate that very well! I want to vary the depth or amount of the LFO on, say, a filter when I press a (momentary) pedal. You get the same effect with the connection strength but you can’t affect that with a modulation source.

Not sure which modules to rig up to achieve the same thing.


Try using a multiplier. Not being able to mod connections is a pain, hopefully they’ll sort that in an update.


Got mine a few days ago. I have been quite busy these days so I haven’t been able to spend enough time with it, so I’m barely scratching the surface here…but man, is this thing cool or what. Just scrolling through the factory presets and trying to understand them is extremely fun - feels like I could be doing this for days and I’d still be happy even if it meant I’d got nothing done. This thing is amazing!!!


Couldn’t resist anymore and found one here in Montreal. I’m quite astonished by how easy it is to get into the interface ! I have been into modular synths for a while so it’s probably why I felt home immediately. In a matter of minutes you start anylising presets and start building your first little patch project. It is deep and for sure looks like it’ll take time to use it to its full potential but so far can’t be more pleased.
The buttons are definitely tiny but they feel great and I’m surprised that I really like the ZOIA as a custom controller for synths as well


Oh, btw : are the pads velocity sensitive or at least aftertouch enabled ?
I watched people play notes and shake their hand but couldn’t tell if the change in tone was due to the hand shaking or if it was only cosmetic, while an LFO was doing the thing :smiley:



Great to see all the positive feedback! Super excited to get my hands on mine.

So what’s the real-use word on CPU ceiling: do you find it limiting (which can be a good thing with a unit like this), more than enough, do you often hit max?


Regarding pads velocity / aftertouch >> actually haven’t even looked into that, was more focused on the overall programming blocks together thing. Good question !

CPU use is definitely what I wanna “investigate”, I’ll give my insights after finishing a proper patch. Currently working on a dual looper thing, mixed with effects, we’ll see how deep I can go. But some of the presets are pretty complicated and running flawlessly, so not too worried about the limitations.


Can anyone explain how the ‘ratchet’ effect works on the sequencer? I’m not entirely sure how I’m meant to be hooking it up to achieve that classic ‘double step’ sound…

[edit] scratch that: sussed a way to make it work. Two tracks on the sequencer: CV out to osc input (track 1), ratchet out to ADSR gate in (track 2). I’m getting some nice, skippy rhythms going on!

Re: pad velocity. AFAIK, there’s no velocity sensitivity on the pads. Might be something for a future firmware update?


My impression of CPU usage, with the latest firmware installed: pleasantly surprised. I don’t have it in front of me, so I might have details wrong. For building synths, I don’t think I’ll have many issues with reaching the limits. There’s an obvious limit to adding oscillators - I think they’re around 10-12% per oscillator module. But control modules (LFOs, envelopes, etc.) and standard logic utility stuff are cheap and will only cost you around 1-2% per, so you can actually get fairly complex with modulation and generative self-patching without hitting the ceiling (I haven’t hit the ceiling yet). And although connection strength on patches appears to be the only way to attenuate/attenuvert at the moment (hopefully fixed soon? or maybe there’s a workaround with VCA modules or multipliers in the meantime), it’s not to be underestimated - it’s like having an attenuverter built in to every single patch cable.

Keyboards and sequencers also not as CPU costly as I might have expected, but forgetting details.

Effects modules will be more costly, with fancy reverbs being the most expensive. Others might be able to elaborate there.

Loopers not bad at all - I remember doing the math and thinking “oh, I could actually have 10 loopers on this patch, not just 4”.


Yeah, pretty sure there’s no pad velocity or aftertouch. Those sound like expensive features anyway - I like the price point exactly where it is!


I had that moment, too. I was all like ‘IT’S A SUPER-LOOPER!’

I need to look at how to make the generative stuff happen with the sequencers… I am LOVING this pedal.


These are simple buttons, not pads. So neither velocity, nor aftertouch. But you can connect an expression pedal or some MIDI controller to get a variable input source, of course.


Yes, those are definitely just buttons.
I am at a point where I am considering selling my OPz and switch to a second Zoia ( but it’s honeymoon right now, gotta spend more time with it first). We can’t exactly compare them but the Zoia is actually providing all I want from a self contained small system. Despite its bonkers sequencer, the OPz remains quite fiddly to use in my opinion, not exactly user friendly while here it’s all very simple to connect, experiment, expand, etc.

Regarding the CPU limitation, I am indeed quite impressed by how far you can go with one patch. I have a 3 parallel loopers + ghostverb+ ping pong delay patch running at the moment, with a few controls on the reverb tail/modulation and loopers speed, all in stereo, that actually reach 103% at its peak and all still runs flawlessly. (Just add the tiniest module and a little bit of clipping comes in, so it’s really tthe limit :slight_smile: )