Empress Zoia



Cuckoo said it’s still in beta, but what an interesting box…been following this from the beginning. Still seems really cool to me


Empress with a little pre-NAMM publicity?

ADDED: I expect to see some more videos very soon from some of the usual sources – Loopop, etc.


I think the zoia looks sweet, I know it’s a guitar pedal but I wish someone would make something a bit bigger. Imagine some size between a digitakt and an MPC live, purely for FX and weird modular experimentation. There’s definitely a market for a crazy effect unit like that. The zoia is almost there but it looks so tiny and I don’t know enough about the UI to figure out whether that’s gonna be irritating. I suppose the best thing till then is laptop or an iPad but that’s not really it either. Maybe real modular is actually the way


I hope you’re right! Loopop does such a great job of getting ‘under the hood’ and showing all the inner workings of machines


Dude is my favourite youtuber, love his videos. I find most youtube people completely grating but he’s so informative, no cheesiness but also without being boring dry information. Really appreciate his stuff


Perfectly said and totally agree. I’ve found many of Cuckoo’s tutorials to be very helpful too. Max Marco is doing great videos explaining the OT as well. Kenny Zhao (sp?) is off to a good start. It seems like too many want to be celebrities and start drinking their own koolaid when a couple comments support a specific quirk. So many that start off so well that eventually turn into something just too cringy for me :slight_smile:


What can I say?

I’m very “empressed”

Sorry couldn’t resist



Mods feel free to merc this thread


The Interface Looks fiddly to use. As Synth i d say the Digitone is easier to use. And probably Sounds better too.


The earliest videos posted by Empress a year ago made it look like more of an effects box with a crazy amount of routing options. They suggested it could be used as a synth, but my take on it was that’s just one of the many things it can do. Looks too fiddly? I fear that too. Hoping it will have a good editor and I would’ve been happier if it was about 4x bigger, personally. Still, on the surface it looks pretty groundbreaking and I’ll most likely give it a try.


They said no editor awhile back. Who knows though.

I am much less interested in it as a synth than a modular fx processor, Empress style.


Same :slight_smile:


Yup. As a modular easy to use Audio mangling fx unit i am in. For modular Synth stuff i have a modular Synth. :slight_smile:


For me it comes down to how much of the excellent algorithms from their other pedals Empress is willing to incorporate into that device and how much of them can run in parallel without sacrificing the quality.

If it can fully replace a - let’s say - Echo System, Nebulus and Multidrive this would be a definitive Must-Have. But I’m quite sceptic this will be the case.


I think the idea is that all the ingredients are there but you - as opposed to Empress - do the preperation.

I speculate they’ll upload some choice Empress presets. In addition to offering an online bank where users can upload their own. Basically a more customizable, Empress H9

EDIT: the multidrive is analog.


Recalling all the hard earned things i learned about the Zoia interface, from studying the many videos a year back – I think of it something like Max/MSP in a little box, with some very high level sound generation and manipulation functions. When you add a function it gets put up as a box of buttons on (edit) the button area all of one color. You then can hook various connections from it into other things by pushing buttons between your various functions. (So output of a sequencer goes to a synth, which is sent to a reverb that is connect to midi input, etc.) There is a small b&w screen with text and image that helps you pilot around. The button area scrolls so you can have a field of functions larger than the button area. I could be wrong on details here, but at least that’s the gist.

So that can be in the category of fiddly. But that’s for set up – typically you’re just using it to make music, with patches you’ve already set up, or ones you found that someone else did. Whether there is a computer based editor or not, i don’t know, perhaps that’s something that has been done over the past year. Regardless we’ll be seeing a lot more on this thingy soon.

The Organelle is something similar, you set stuff up for it to run in Pure Data (which is similar to Max). But there you do the set up on a computer. Axolotti is similar too.

I completely agree with you tnussb, what is crucial with this is how well they carry off the built in parts. Their pedals are in general are really good, so i think that augurs well.

I’ve already set aside the 500.

BTW: On the size, it’s totally portable, and big enough to be useful. Funny how it seems whatever size something is, it is simultaneously both too big and too small. Could they make it inflatable somehow?


At the end of Cuckoo’s video – what does YEEEEEAAHMUARY mean? Looks like a month of the year, in some strange language. Is this some sort of code?

Ignore this, i’m just picking at fluff.


It’s a video he’s done for his Jamuary project, and Cuckoo does tend to say “yeah” a lot :smile:


Looking pretty interesting so far. That’s a ton of connections to manage via the tiny screen. Also wondering if an editor is in the works. They said something about a big repository of patches. If done well, that could be really fun. ala Reaktor blocks.