Empress Zoia

OK, I hadn’t understood that you could save and load impulse response to get e.g. cab sim.
I thought it was just the technical mean to analyze, well, the response to a simple impulse.
OK, I am useless here :smile:

More and more guitar fx uses IR. That’s be great. I already have an HX Stomp, who’d love a Zoia next to it…

Is flowers…

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Oh ! And the A2 jingle ! Instant flashback :smiley:

I never really clicked with cab sim, but last time I tried it was still the XXth century so I guess it evolved a bit…

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It is. But since the response to a simple impulse is just another audio file you can “miss-use” the calculation process (convolution) by using any audio you want as impulse response. Think of a very strange cave where you send in a pulse and hear a piano sound as response … :wink:


There is a thread that has 9 upvotes concerning user uploaded IR’s but it doesnt appear to have enpough traction to get on the roadmap yet.

Thanks Sezare Willow ;-). Perfectly right my first thought was Cab sim (but nobody would complain for more).

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Thanks Matthew for your checking and answer, then unhappilly low chance to have it. IR for sim cabinet could be a nice to have, yet probably not for all. But if the hardware could support any IR loading, it could be a huge thing for all musicians I believe. But probably not a small update, and the Zoia can already does so much things …Thanks again.

I wouldn’t give up hope. It looks like the criteria for feature adds are a mix of ease of implementation, user feedback and the amount of time the team has specifically allocated for new features. Things with low user support have been added because they are relatively low impact and easy to implement.

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I really really like what I’m reading here and would give up my Strymon Bluesky and a Doepfer Dark Energy (my only analog synth) for this thing. Do you think it’s worth the sacrifice?

I used to own a Doepfer Dark Energy (mk1) and currently own a Zoia, so I can try to answer. It’s pretty hard to compare the two as synths. The possibilities of the Zoia are much more vast and endless compared to the DE, which is semi-modular and which contains some pretty barebones modular building blocks when you come down to it. You can recreate the DE signal path and control interface and have a “Dark Energy clone” patch if you want to (actually a good exercise, if anyone wants to rise to it, schematics are here), but it would sound nothing alike due to the discrete circuitry used in the DE and its various quirks. I’m fond of the Dark Energy’s analog-to-the-core, unpredictably messy waveforms, its grit and character, and its musically lovely, squelchy filter. I’ve gotten serious low end, speaker thuddering bass out of it too. Also this absolutely ace feature you don’t see in many other synths: “LM: linear FM (frequency modulation) control to modulate the VCF by the triangle of the VCO in a linear (!) manner”

I don’t think the Zoia is capable of sounding as good if you’re specifically after an uncompromising analog sound, and that should be expected. But I personally would have no reservations making that tradeoff, because the Zoia still sounds PRETTY DAMN GREAT in its own right, has its own character and sound worth exploring, and the Dark Energy can’t do looping, granular, polyphony, advanced logic, complex sequencing (you’d have to buy the Dark Time for that, which is basic compared to the sequencing capabilities of the Zoia), a pedalboard worth of effects you wouldn’t flinch at, controlled or untamed randomness at any point you like, tons of utilities even an owner of a big Eurorack system would be impressed by, etc. In the end it’s no competition in terms of depth, but it depends entirely on whether you value depth or a specific sound quality more.

(Edit: actually, ideally you keep both, and use the CV and MIDI ports to have an analog/digital hybrid beast)


Can’t really say if you should lose those two pieces, certainly the Zoia can do some subset of what those two can, and a whole lot more besides - but of course there would be compromises in things like user interface and exact sound.

However the Zoia can do some really crazy and highly personalised stuff, for example you could set up a reverb, delay or whatever and also have the input signal send a midi message to an external device depending on the threshold or pitch of the input, obviously that was just a simple example but bear in mind that it takes a little time both to learn how (and to learn what you want) to do.


Thank you both for the fast replies. I get what you mean and I just love the simplicity of the DE. The sound of it is next to something physical. So I don’t expect the ZOIA to replace that at all.

I also own a Digitone as my main go to synth and this thing can also sound like a analog beast. So maybe it’s time for a goodbye :slight_smile:

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I’d been after a Bastl Thyme for aaages. Got one last week and was suddenly struck by the fact that the Zoia was the same price, and could cover waay more ground whilst allowing me to downsize a bunch of gear, making it really cost effective too. I was put off by the looks of Zoia, and concerned about sound quality, but decided to try it.

It seems good enough thus far, and it’s definitely a fun box. Thyme is getting returned (despite being great, it’s not £480 worth of great) and Zoia seems to be here to stay. And a bulky pedalpoard may well be heading onto ebay.

Just a note of caution - when uploading patches you’ve downloaded, be careful to ensure no zip files have snuck in there, or files titled for other pedals… I accidentally bricked my Zoia that way! But a quick phonecall to the Empress support line sorted it out - a super helpful guy called Adam emailed a new firmware file straight over and it worked like a dream to get it up and running again. Brilliant customer service.

The Thyme is a tool with dedicated controllers and yes, it has some shift functions as well.
That is what makes the Thyme and nearly every other effect pedal so superior over the Zoia.
OK, I get it the Zoia is loaded with functionality but what is that worth if it is difficult to access.

I would love to see the Zoia having a simple control scheme via external controlers
Like having a Novation Launch control and setting up those two rows of controllers with midi cc and just press the function in the zoia and have the Launch control control its first 8 values…

I do not like the thought of having to press a button on the zoia and then alter the value with one wheel, meanwhile another paramter waits to be controlled but first I have to find and press another button to access its value… That is so 1985 and Ensoniq Mirage - for example - :slight_smile:
It is like looking through a keyhole to see a room full of nice candy behind an iron door…
Too much effort to get to it…

With “cc in” module you can control any controllable block of any module if I’m not mistaking ? You could make a default project with all these cc in modules already setup for your controller and build from there no ? I have not sepnt enough time with mine and absolutely not explored the midi control option but since it has midi cc in modules I can’t see why this should not be possible ?

or maybe I did not understand what you were talking about…Equally probable… :slight_smile:


thank for your reply.
I did find only basic midi info in the manual…
In theory this could work but not for the patches that are already available… That would require a lot of work and did I mention that I am lazy as …


In the end every single thing ends like this : You control it with the octatrack ! :smiley:


and thus why I keep being tempted by this sucker :smiley:

So much love for the ZOIA right now.

Has anyone tried making synth drum voices with it yet? I want to add some rhythmic parts to my tunes and think that the ZOIA is a pretty nifty way to do it… I’ve been listening to a lot of Thom Yorke this week :joy:

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This is my workflow, which is why I am pushing very hard to get the copy page between preset functionality .

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