Empress Zoia


Thanks for the pdf, I was thinking of doing it but no need now :thup:


No problem! Honestly I’m sure someone else could do a better job with formatting and all, but it’s working for me.

Maybe I’m old fashioned but I seem to be able to focus better reading from paper than I do from a tablet or phone.

I try to read through a manual and I swear I always seem to spontaneously find myself browsing Elektronauts :drunk:


I’ve had the ZOIA since launch but my busy life has kept me from really digging in. So yesterday I finally found the time to sit down with it and I set out to recreate the glitchy delay that is known as BOSS RSD-10.

Audio routing;
Audio in->delay->gate->VCA->audio out
Modulation routing:
Audio in -> envelope follower -> ADSR -> delay parameters/ gate parameters/ VCA parameter


I’m really liking all what I’ve seen from the zoia so far. For current owners, is this use case possible:
Use an expression pedal to control the level of incoming audio. So if the pedal is up, there is no audio coming in, and if its down, audio is coming and processed.


You could run an expression control to a VCA that comes straight after the audio input, yes.


Hi, I thought this would be fairly simple, but I was so wrong (or I’m missing something obvious).

I am trying to take a CC input & send a PC to an external midi channel.

Taking the incoming value & using that as the output value works as expected.

The problem is triggering the PC to send. Triggers seem to depend on an increase in CV, so sending a lower numbered program change is difficult.

If I use an LFO, it will trigger the PC & send it according to it’s cycle, so I know that the send works.

How can I trigger the PC every time that the incoming CC value changes?

I am really scratching my head here. I tried sending a delayed inverted value after the initial value, but could not seem to make this work.

Many thanks :slight_smile:


Mine arrived today, so far had about 45 minutes with it, it’s amazing and worthy of all the love it gets, I’ll do a little write up later, but initial thoughts are that it is almost like a new hobby rather than just an fx box, sounds amazing and well built, a bit smaller than I expected but not cramped in any way, wish the encoder was below the display but no other gripes so far.


ha mine arrived today too.

So far just had time to play on the run … i think i need to spend a few hours just thinking about how to apply it before diggin in :grin:


Whoop. Made myself a pretty decent 3-channel looper. No sync between the loopers but the start/stop/reset are independent per channel which is desirable! It sounds clean AF, too; really nice to have the headroom. Running three 16s loops with a bit of an overdub on each only tops the Zoia out at about 35% so there’s still room for effects and junk!

Having only 3 footswitches on the unit is somewhat limiting for this application but it’s OK… I’m using the grid keyboard input module to switch between channels. Need to get an extra footswitch. Is it easy enough to make a control on the Zoia that cycles through values (eg. for an input switcher) rather than having to rely on separate control buttons for each channel?


I have a few trusty dusty old faderfox units ready for a new lease of life with the Zoia



Nice one! I was having a helluva time trying to format it to print.


Oh, snap! Ebay here I come…


Mini review (based on first impressions)

Build quality seems very nice, I never owned an Empress product before, there are quite a nice variety of presets which show off some of the capabilities, although for me personally not much use beyond that, with a few exceptions perhaps, but that is the whole point of this box - to make it what you want it, so all good. A bit bummed that no power supply is included, I don’t mind paying a bit more VS the hassle of sourcing one myself.

Navigation seems easy enough, I have yet to RTFM or delve in too deep yet, but I was easily able to make a nice envelope following filter, reverb, delay effect with no trouble, there are a few things about patching that might be improved but as I am not fully familiar with it I’ll wait and see if they are due to my oversight or actual feature requests to make. On the subject of the manual very nice to see a decent printed one included these days, other manufacturers should take note.

Selecting patches is easy enough, although some kind of group sorting would be handy, for example the patches have fairly abstract names which don’t necessarily indicate their function, there seems to be ample room on the display to have a group name below the preset name - synth, delay, reverb etc. Then if you want to find say a reverb apply group filter and scroll just through your reverb patches.

Patch memory at 64 patches in internal memory seems a bit on the low side, thinking more from a workflow perspective than say for a live setting where it would probably be ample, but when programming and due to the tons of options I could easily envisage running out of slots if making multiple edits of the same patch and wanting to switch between them on an already fairly full memory, shuttling to card and reorganising the internal memory seems a bit of a hassle. I have not tried loading any patches from card yet, so it might not be such a hassle but still 64 patches in internal memory seems a strange limitation.

Plenty of modules of many different types, and boy do they sound good, the filters are really great, and overall as others have said the Zoia is rather like a much improved Nord Micro Modular for the 21st century, and the NMM was awesome, so if you liked that you’ll love this.

I think it has the potential to be so many things, my earlier comment about possibly getting multiple units feels even more likely now, I love the flexibility and depending on how I get on with it once using it properly, and the honeymoon phase is over I could see it replacing a few other things in my setup.

Very few bits of gear make such a good first impression on me, but I like to think I’m quite good at spotting excellence when I see it, and even with less than an hour of playing with it I see it in the Zoia, I love the fact that no computer or tablet is needed and without sacrificing sophistication, I do wish it had a battery option though as well as a headphone out, I think they missed a trick there as it would be great to sit down anywhere and program and play.

I’m really looking forward to exploring it more.

Edit - 4 year warranty when registered, really commendable to see a company standing by their product with such commitment.


I wonder how full the interior of the case is for mod possibilities …


If people do buy older faderfox controllers some are fixed cc / note assignments , should be fine if your hardware/software can learn , but you can’t sometimes configure the controller to send what you want.

The newer ones are fine I just recommend you checking the website first.


*** Better solution found. Patch uploaded to PatchStorage. Please see later post. ***

Solved thanks to juicynoisebits on reddit Zoia group.

CC in (A) => trigger (A) => pc out (A)

CC in (A) => cv invert => trigger (B) => pc out (A)

CC in (A) => pc out (A)

This means that I can use a midi track on the OT with Trigless Trigs to send program changes via Zoia to any of my other devices :slight_smile:


My Zoia is still on its way to me, but this fact was the thing which really caught my interest. The ui seems to be so intuitively realized. I have two H9’s - and while those sound great, using the iphone/ipad app to tweak the settings is a letdown (for me at least). And the midi capabilities are really appealing to me.


Found a better solution thanks to Steve from Empress. Uploaded patch to PatchStorage cc2pc


some Questions. I mainly looking for delay, especially tape style delay. How good does Zoia the tape style? incl. Fow & Flutter & Saturatoin & Filtering? Can I insert another fx in the feedback path, let´s say a phaser or a filter or a reverb?

How easy I can tweak Parameters in a live Situation? Let´s say I want to Change delay time and / or Feedback. It´s only possible via external midicontroler? Could the Octatrack be this? Basicly Kind of macro controling zoia with the Octatrack?

and last but not least … can I choose between ping pong style and normal stereo operation?


Yes OT controlling it. The Zoia will respond to any MIDI that the OT sends it (think about that applied to this box…) You can also use the single knob and/or stopswitches to control parameters.

In terms of its FX abilities: I’m expect it can (the idea behind it is that you have all the ingedients to do whatever you want). I would look around the PatchStorage site. Im sure someones done it.