Empress Zoia

There’s a control for the gate, second row, first value module (this controls the sensitivity of the patch–and I set it on the high side in the default patch) on the front panel. Or are you looking for something else?

I believe that is the parameter I tried to tweak, but I’ll have to try again when I get back home from work. Quite possible I was tapping on the wrong square (module).

I had my Boss Katana amp set to one of my guitar presets rather than one of my violin ones, so I’ll also make sure the amp is on a violin preset. My violin presets have different gain settings due to the violin’s different dynamic range compared to electric guitar.

I have the Zoia in the effects loop of the Katana so the signal should be preamped either way.

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I have no idea how to start doing the more advanced stuff in the Zoia, tbh. Am looking forward to someone making a series of detailed tutorials about the possible concepts.

What I am doing, though, is setting up each patch to handle both vocals and guitar in a consistent way.

For vocals, I have an XLR to 1/4 cable going into the Zoia’s left input, and I up the gain to the max +12db before then controlling it via a VCA module. From there I have an FX chain for each patch, eventually leading to the Zoia’s left output.

For guitar, I have a compressor and Earthquaker Palisades leading into the Zoia’s right input. I then set up an FX chain that leads to the Zoia’s right output.

The plan is to have a default patch that will apply to most songs, and then bespoke patches for songs where I require something different from the norm.

My key aim is to keep everything consistent in terms of programming, so that when I’m performing live there will be as little possible for confusion or mistakes as possible. So left is always vocals, right is always guitar. Page 1 of a patch is always the vocal signal path, page 2 is always the guitar signal path. Stomp switches are configured in the same way for every patch, so for example a stomp on/off for vocal FX will always be set to the middle switch. To simulate keeping FX tails intact, I use a slew limiter to make the stomp off reduce the FX gradually, (otherwise a reverb trail, for example, will immediately be cut off).

Even at this basic level, I’m having a lot of fun programming the Zoia for my needs. I’ll be using it in my band’s next gig on Saturday week.

At some point, I’m going to dive into the sequencer, looping and granular aspects properly!


After some more playing, I think it’s a user error, not an issue of the gate sensitivity.

i think the patch was designed to wait until the player shuts up before playing loops. I noticed the same thing on guitar - it looped whenever I stopped playing, but if I noodled continuously it wouldn’t make a sound.

I think it’s a cool design!

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Yeah, the whole premise is that it records until it hears silence (or enough silence to drop below the gate’s threshold). One of the tricky things with loopers, recording automatically, is getting them to capture a note or a phrase, without cutting things off abruptly or beginning to record in the middle of a phrase, so the design is focused around approaching that. Which also means as long as you keep playing, it won’t produce sound. (Although, once it does start producing sound, it has three looper tracks that run in sequence so that it ideally continues to play sound until you’re ready to record over the first track.)

If you want a looper patch to just keep playing over (of mine–although there are many), I’m rather fond of my “Falling Forward” design.

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Had a great experience with Perfect Circuit! Bought the Zoia on the 2nd and received it on the 3rd. You were right, it went on sale for their 4th of July promotion for $424.99. I sent an email to see if they would match the price, and they did! They offered me a refund or store credit so I took the store credit and got a couple covers for my DT & DN.

TLDR Didn’t deserve a refund, got one anyway. Awesome buying experience. :+1:


This thread is horrible.

Always thought Zoia was a fun concept but not for me and I would rather get a specialized pedal that does a perfect job.

Then I watched one of the videos posted here. Now I need to spend $500. This thing seems truly innovative. It also seems fairly simple to start with and hard to master which I like. This is perfect as I’m planning to get away from my computer for sometime and focus on the hardware that I have.


I think these may be the best digital distortions I have ever heard. Like having Tim Hecker in a box.

And envelope followers are my new favorite thing. I like dynamic field recordings and using followers with them is gooooood fun.


I got one and it has replaced my pedal board. Took them FOREVER to finish beta testing though.

Is this the one?


Enjoyed playing with your Fading Dream patch last night. Turned up the bit crushers and loved the sound.


That’s the one. My favorite sound on “Fading Dream” is sending delay 1 all the way into delay 2 with the bit crusher of delay 1 set very high and delay 2’s diffusion set high/maxed out. It creates a very pleasing noisy wash without being too abrasive.


I think these may be the best digital distortions I have ever heard. Like having Tim Hecker in a box.

I haven’t even touched the distortion yet, but Tim Hecker in a box is extremely in my interests! Thanks for the tip.

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Possible to configure the Zoia as a WMD Geiger Counter? (lofi, wavetables…)

I think you’d do some crazy stuff with one of these Sezare56, custom modular fx routes midi sequenced from OT!?! :thinking: Portals will open… I certainly would enjoy one… :smile:


Yup, midi seqing to process Cue Out and feedback to OT inputs … tempting …

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No wavetables (yet).

But Aliaser, bit crusher and modulator, od, distortion, fuzz and cab sim (its a pedal after all) with 3/4 band tone control. Plus ofc all the cv audio mixing and control.

I should say my standard for digital distortion is very low as i don’t usually like it. I doubt that it could hang with something like Soundtoys.


It sits so nicely next to it like a sidecar.


Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! :smiley:


Had a go on that distortion just now (with the granular module as sound source). Tasty and crunchy! I haven’t heard a software/plugin distortion I’ve liked yet (I think it’s notoriously hard to do), and this handily beats all of those, for what it’s worth. Pretty cool considering good-sounding distortion wasn’t even in the top 20 reasons I bought the pedal for.

I’m recently in the process of selling off a bunch of my Eurorack (and gear in general) and slimming down to hardware modules that do useful, unusual, lovely things I can’t do easily in software or Zoia. Zoia is now the mother brain of my Eurorack setup, with MIDI->CV and CV->MIDI being handled by Hemisphere Suite’s Captain MIDI program. It’s surprising to me how much of my rack can be replaced with various stuff on the Zoia. LFOs, simple / complex / looping envelopes, clock source and clock mult/div, sequencing and keyboard playing, attenuation, VCAs, randomness, logic, filters, stereo mixing, panning, CV-able effects, audio processing, granular, extra oscillators, FM, wavefolding, ring mod, etc. etc. Obviously not all of this at once, but yeah, I think it handily beats out a Mother-32 or Neutron as a single suite of useful things to be the centerpiece of a Eurorack setup. The main things I’m holding on to in Eurorack-land now are deep analog oscillators and filters, and crazy/unclassifiable/multi-function stuff like Teletype and Just Friends.

Considering getting a Hexinverter Mutant Brain or a CV.OCD for more extensive MIDI->CV. Also considering a 16n Faderbank, which does both MIDI and CV, so I can have some of the 16 faders controlling Zoia parameters and some of them controlling Eurorack parameters. A single controller to unite them both.


Not me, but here’s someone using Zoia as centerpiece for a Eurorack setup. (from this Reddit thread)

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