After its introduction at NAMM 2018, it took Canadian builder Empress Effects more than a year to finalize their noteworthy modular stompbox Zoia, but it was worth the wait: this is a pedal like no other, with truly infinite potential.
This page gathers all the news about the Zoia in reverse (older news at the bottom). It’s a complex device that allows you to create and connect separate modules of effects, oscillators, samplers, sequencers, input/outputs and so on – there is really no way to summarize what this pedal can do in a few paragraphs, but the bottom line is that it puts the user in charge of creating his or her own effects by connecting different modules to each other.
Therefore, as usual, we’ll let the pedal’s video demos speak…
April 1st, 2019 Update
The following is the humorous video (with our humorous comments at the bottom) that was released on April 1st 2019 to announce the shipping of the Zoia – after a veeeery loooong wait.
It’s April 1st, folks, is this for real? I guess you’ll have to spend that $499 and see if Zoia shows up to your door!
To support our optimism, a bunch of videos came out also on April 1st, see below. You can find more about the Zoia’s birth process under the videos.
Previous update: February 4th.
If mind-blowingly original pedals are your kind of thing, you should be literally dying to get your hands on the Zoia by Empress Effects, since the Canadian builder has been teasing us for more than a year with demos of this bizarre device without a shipping date in sight yet.
Steve Bragg from Empress Effects came up with the idea of a guitar pedal that worked like a modular synth in 2016; at NAMM 2018 he shot a video at our booth and introduced us to it(at the bottom of the post); at this year’s NAMM he came over again to update us about new developments in the pedal’s software. There’s no date announced yet for the Zoia, but this baby is getting more and more interesting…
Sandwiched between the two videos, the gorgeous one by Knobs from early 2018.
See more of our pedal demo shot at NAMM 2019 with 60 Cycle Hum here. We also have a list organized by kind of effect in two pages here and here.
First Videos of the Zoia (NAMM 2018)
Here’s the video Steve shot in person at our NAMM 2018 Stompbox Booth.
The ZOIA is basically a modular synthesizer in pedal form. Instead of being a delay effect or tremolo, the ZOIA provides the modules necessary to build a delay or tremolo from the ground up. But since you’re the one building it, you can make it do whatever you want. With the ZOIA you can build your own custom effects, synthesizers, midi controllers, and virtual pedal boards. And to make life a little easier, we’ve created modules for all your standard guitar effects. So for instance, if you want a phaser, you can just plop down a phaser. You don’t have to break out the textbooks to learn that they’re built out of all-pass filters. (Of course, if you’re a nerd like us, you can use the ZOIA to build them out of all-pass filters).
- 80+ Modules and Growing – ZOIA comes packed with a vast collection of modules to create just about anything you can dream up. With ZOIA the only limit is your imagination!
- Create your own effects, synths, control devices, and more! – Oscillators, LFOs, filters, bit crushers, envelope followers – these are just a handful of the included modules that can be connected in almost any way imaginable. If you can dream it up, you can create it!
- 20+ Ready-Made Effects Modules – Pre-built effects modules such as reverbs, delays, chorus’, flangers, overdrives and more.
- Up to 64 Patches – Create and save up to 64 patches that can be easily recalled during live performance.
- Swap and Share Patches – Join the community of ZOIA users on patchstorage.com to try out other users patches, or upload your own awesome creations to share with the world.
- SD Card Included – Load and save patches to/from ZOIA. We’re also continuously improving the firmware by adding new modules and features, and fixing bugs. Download the newest firmware from empresseffects.com and load onto the ZOIA with the included SD card.
- OLED Display Screen for Easy Editing – View all of ZOIA’s module and parameter information on the high resolution OLED display screen.
- Control Port and MIDI Connectivity – Dedicated control port and MIDI 1/8″ in/out jacks allow you to connect a huge range of external devices to control any or all of ZOIA’s functions and parameters. 1/8″ to MIDI dongles included.
- Customizable Patch Recall System – The on-board stompswitches can be used in either scrolling- or bank-style preset modes, for quick on-the-fly patch recall that suits your workflow.
- Built-In Help – Almost like having a built in manual, the dedicated help function will give you quick information at a glance about ZOIA’s various modules and options.
- High-Quality Audio – 48kHz sampling, with 24 bit conversion and 32 bit internal processing.
- Low-Noise Signal Path – Features extremely low noise operation with a signal to noise of >105dB
EVER-GROWING LIST OF MODULESInterface ModulesAudio InputAudio OutputMidi Notes InMidi CC inMidi PressureMidi CC outMidi PC outMidi Note OutStompswitchUI ButtonPushbuttonKeyboardCport Exp/CV inCport CV outAnalysis ModulesOnset DetectorEnv FollowerPitch DetectorAudio ModulesOscillatorVCASV FilterMulti-FilterDelay LineAudio PannerPitch ShifterAudio BalanceAudio MixerInverterAudio In SwitchAudio Out SwitchAll Pass FilterNoiseAudio MultiplyBit CrusherAliaser1 Buffer DelayLooperStereo SpreadBit ModulatorDiffuserCV ModulesLFOSequencerADSRSample and HoldCV InvertCV RectifyValueTriggerCV Flip FlopCV DelayCV LoopCV FilterClock DividerComparatorIn SwitchOut SwitchSlew LimiterQuantizerStepsMultiplierRandomRhythmEffectsTone Control EQDelay w/ModPing Pong DelayOD & DistortionFuzzCompressorGatePlate ReverbHall ReverbRoom ReverbGhostverbReverb LitePhaserChorusVibratoFlangerTremoloEnv FilterRing ModulatorCabinet Sim