Empress Zoia


I feel the same.


I understand you.

But I think of it as a pedal that can offer a phaser, a multi and distorsion, a weird reverb, or whatever the curious FX ideas I can come up with, controlled with as many MIDI control as I want (or ZOIA can digest).
In such perspective, once an FX is programmed I shouldn’t spend that much time to tweak values…
I also guess there will be an editor…

But it’s true that fewer menu diving would have been ace!


It looks like the looper max record time is 16 second per looper. (4 bar loop at 120bpm). But it seems that every parameter can be sequenced.

On that note, the module index shows what parameter can be connected to what, and the amount of possibilities is crazy. It’s almost as versatile as a custom solution (as in organelle/axoloti/norns) without the need to be a programmer to fully customize things.


it seems like a sturdy organelle with a grid - i wonder does it have a serious CPU advantage


I think the patching looks quite elegant and well thought out, given the interface and that most other devices of this nature require a computer editor to do this kind of thing.

It would be interesting to know if it can do midi processing and filtering and logic type stuff, a shame it doesn’t seem to be a USB host as that would have made adding a simple knob controller like say a microkontrol easy.

I hope that audio recording/playback to/from the sd card will come later.

Looks really interesting though, I’ll be keeping my eye on this.


This. It’s a cool idea but it looks like it’s a nightmare to use.


I spoke to the store I ordered from; should have it by the end of the month! After watching a few vids and reading the manual I am very excited to see what this magic box does in the flesh.


A nightmare with buttons – a little lucid nightmaring would be fun.

Aside on nightmares:

(I’ve been having the weirdest terrifying nightmares lately – fortunately i am always aware they’re just nightmares so i go with 'em and fight back.)

Something i still don’t know about is the performance limitations on a patch. I guess if this shortcoming were very severe it would be a no go.

In the Sonicstate Synthplex video, the Empress guy says that reverbs “of course use the most performance”. I notice in the “Cuckoo Mega Tutorial 1” video, when he first added a reverb, the CPU usage monitor number immediately jumped up to 33%. By the end of the video Cuckoo had the meter at 70%, and while his patch was nice, i wouldn’t consider it a particularly large patch.

I’ve been looking around for a metric somewhere that shows the performance usage for the 80 or 90 various modules that can be part of a patch. I haven’t found it yet.

Another thing i’d like to see is how quickly a Program Change is performed. Almost certainly this will depend on the particular patch being switched to. To me if it’s less than a second typical, i’d be OK with that – more than that and i’d not be happy. Less than a tenth of a second (which seems to me possible) and i’d be ecstatic. A fast Program Change would in some ways mitigate some performance issues – instead of building a Cadillac of a patch with every function built in, you could build a series of smaller patches with separate pieces, that you’d switch to (via Program Change).

ADDED: Watched a video from Perfect Circuit they show a lot of program changes to factory patches and they go quite quickly. That’s good.

An idea about outboard processing (FX send):

Another thing that occurred to me is sending audio off to an external module for things that might really bog down performance. The Zoia has a stereo output and a stereo input, so potentially you could use that, if you weren’t using them for other things. That creates some shortcomings, since there is only two output channels, and two input channels. You could use one output channel for a mono send and the other for a mono output, and off-load some performance sucking function. Or you could put a module in-line after, that would post process the full stereo signal. It could even be another Zoia. This seems less than optimal, so hopefully it’s not necessary. (Although using a Eventide H9 for external processing seemed like a fun idea!)

Regarding FX send: An extra stereo set of outputs would have been very nice – getting close to something i’d consider essential – certainly if needed for a workaround on performance.

Midi to CV is definitely something that would fit nicely with some Eurorack modules and the Zoia, since there is no built-in CV interface.

ADDED: I see that you can also set the Zoia up to send CV (0-5V) out using the ring of the 1/4 inch TRS Control Port. Way cool.

It’s early on with this thing so perhaps there won’t be that serious an issue with patch size limitation based on processor performance.

ADDED: Anyone with experience on the Zoia, who can comment on how CPU hungry the Zoia is, that would be appreciated.


I’ve had the ZOIA for a while as part of the beta crew. Here’s an introduction.

Cheers! // Carl-Mikael


The more I think about this the more I think it could be right up my street for processing a couple of external synths with prior to them going into the DT. Then, if you could then have a little generative sequence running alongside for further flexibility. Could be a real useful part of a live setup…

I’m not in any immediate rush so I’ll see how things pan out over the next wee while to see…

  • what new modules make an appearance
  • what the cpu usage is and if it could handle what I’d want to do
  • if a computer based editor makes an appearance.

I think patching on the unit looks pretty decent for what it is but I can’t escape the thought that for faster and more in depth patching an editor would be pretty cool.


I don’t know if things have changed in a years time but last year they said no to a computer based editor see this earlier in this thread: Empress Zoia

If i spring for this myself (waiting to hear more on whether it’s CPU starved on larger patches) i plan on just making some sort of chart by hand (with a computer that is) when i design a patch, and referencing that.


Cheers, thanks for the heads up on that. Well, hopefully some intrepid soul will make one as whilst I understand the desire to get away from the computer I’d be much more likely to get one if I could use both approaches… not that an absence editor is definitely a deal breaker so much as an editor existing could be a deal sealer.


Well since all the patches get stored as some sort of file on the SD card, maybe someone can work out the file format and write a little program to handle it. Even if all you could do was convert a patch you made on the Zoia into some sort of graphic representation that would be very helpful.


Curious about two things, if you have the possibility to check or know already.

1.) Can you switch effect modules on/off? Say you have a reverb or delay with a long feedback and then you turn it off and it goes quiet and then you turn it on again and it’s reseted = quiet and waiting on new input audio. Like the reverb in Ableton works if you turn it on/off.

2.) Does the looper have an insert - or the possibility of routing the audio out before feeding it back to the loop? Basically the possibility of degrading the loop gradually with effects and lower the volume - frippertronics-style.



We need grains ! Tons of 'em !


The idea of modulating with an envelope follower from my sax mic convinced me to order it. I’ve used an envelope filter before, but it’s just a filter effect. Changing an LFO speed or delay time/feedback with breath, for example, is absurdly exciting to me.


I am looking at the Zoia as an effects pedal too, as well as a synth and sequencer, both. I play the sax also mr_bernard (as well as guitar – poorly) and i like that Zoia could be the only pedal needed with both. I “double” on the Roland Aerophone and so think about the possibilities of using the Zoia with the Aerophone purely as a synth or as fx on the diverse SuperNatural sounds of Aerophone. The Aerophone has several ways to send CCs and so i think about ways to customizing controls on the Zoia.



Olof i think the answer to your question 1) is Yes – if i understand your question correctly. Take a look at Cuckoo’s MegaTutorial 1 – he demonstrates how that is done. Skip ahead to 12:50 where he goes through the detail. (You might want to start from the top though if you need a more full introduction.)

Not sure about 2

I found the Zoia Manual.
And the Module Reference Guide. It’s in a spreadsheet format.
The Guide talks about the Looper function – you can modify the start position and the length, and the playback speed.


I haven’t a clue as to why there are ‘foot’ switches on this?! … its never going to go on the floor is it…

I’d have thought a few knobs would’ve been a nice addition where the foot switches are - at least 5 or 6 so you can assign them and realtime tweak…

It looks cute but I reckon ill give it a miss… You don’t need all the toys in the toyshop!


If you play an instrument that uses two hands (sax, guitar, violin, even keyboard) you will. Lots of people use regular pedals with their hands too, the foot switches are hand pushable too.

For other controls in more of a synth like fashion think about adding a midi controller of your choice.