Empress Blog

Five ZOIA Patches We Love January 05 2024

You might think of ZOIA or Euroburo as more of a platform than a processor, and we love seeing how the community develops effects and instruments from the 80+ modules in its toolbox. At the time of writing this post, the user community has uploaded over 1300 presets to Patchstorage that you can download for free to explore ZOIA’s creative possibilities.

Here, in no particular order, are 5 of our favourites. 

One Year of ParaEq MKII December 12 2023

In December 2022, we released the ParaEq MKII pedals.

An EQ might not seem like the most exciting effect. It doesn’t transform your sound as dramatically as a good reverb, delay, distortion, or pitch-detecting monosynth

But a good EQ can sculpt and sweeten your signal, elevating a good tone to a great one. With the MKII pedals, we were confident that we’d built on everything that made our original ParaEq pedal special, with new features to offer players even more power and control.

SURVEY SAYS November 03 2023

With so many responses, and nearly 100 questions between both surveys, it will take a while to dig into and analyze all of the information, but here are a few of the things that we’ve learned so far from our customer survey.

How To Turn Whisky Into Beer October 06 2023

Recently, some customers asked if firmware for the Echosystem could be loaded onto a Reverb, or vice-versa. We asked Steve if this was possible, and he said “Yes, absolutely. I'm surprised it's taken this long to try it out!" Both pedals are based on the same DSP platform, and either pedal can run either firmware.

Superdelay: From Digital Delay v1 to Reverse Mode C August 29 2023

Our friends at Chase Bliss recently announced a new initiative: Small Batch Bliss. The first pedal in this series is the Reverse Mode C, designed in collaboration with Empress Effects and inspired by our original Superdelay.

Artist Profile: Ben Karas of Thank You Scientist August 04 2023

Ben Karas is a composer, producer, engineer, and performer who may be best known as a member of Thank You Scientist. Hailing from New Jersey, the band performs progressive rock with soundscapes that have included fretless guitar, shamisen, sitar, trumpet, saxophone, theremin, and Ben on electric violin. Their newest release is the 2021 EP “Plague Accommodations”.

The Very Best Thing About ZOIA July 12 2023

For us, the best thing about ZOIA is the user community who have created and shared a wealth of music, videos, and patches. We’d like to recognize some members who generously provided their time, feedback, and insight during the development of the new Sampler module. We’d also like to share links to their music, website, social channels, and ZOIA patches. Please check them out and show them some love!

The Inspiring Interface of ZOIA June 05 2023

I remember the first time I saw the pedal. Most of my stompboxes have interfaces that can be mastered in the time it takes to plug in the cables, so I couldn’t even speculate what ZOIA’s 44 buttons did. I had a sense of its sonic potential, but understood why Rhett Shull called it “The Most Intimidating Pedal I’ve Played”.


We’re excited to announce the release of the Heavy Menace, the most versatile distortion pedal we’ve ever created.

To present what’s new with the Heavy Menace, we should first talk about the original Heavy, a 2-channel distortion pedal that launched in 2013.

Guitar EQ Frequencies: How to Sculpt Your Signal to Fit in the Mix December 07 2022

Guitar EQ is an important topic when it comes to recording and playing live. Whether you’re dialing in the controls on your amp or mixing a song in the studio, EQ is the main tool you’ll use to shape the frequency balance of your instrument. With such a big subject, plenty of players have questions about the most important EQ frequencies for guitar. And while it may seem complicated to remember numbered frequency ranges, it’s not difficult once you understand the role they play in guitar tone.

In this article, I’ll break down the basics of EQ and explain the most common techniques used for guitar.

Graphic EQ vs. Parametric EQ: The Guitarist’s Guide to Equalizer Types November 29 2022

If you’re shopping for EQ pedals, you’ve probably seen the two major types—parametric EQ and graphic EQ. Each has their strengths when it comes to shaping your guitar tone. So which should you choose? It turns out that graphic EQ vs. parametric EQ is a question that depends on your specific application.

In this article I’ll explain the basics of each equalizer type and suggest the best ways to use them to dial in your tone. Let’s get started.

What is EQ? The Guitarist's Guide to the Most Powerful Tool in Audio November 16 2022

Learn what eq is, how to properly EQ your guitar signal so your guitar always fits in a mix.

Five Life Hacks from Empress to Save Time! August 08 2022

We know you love sinking countless hours into playing our pedals, so let Empress return the favour and share a few of our life hacks to give you those precious hours back. Or perhaps you want a quick glimpse into Empress factory life, then come along for the tour!

Designing Low Noise Pedals June 17 2022

Ever wonder why Empress pedals are so quiet? Maybe not, since there isn't much noise to notice! However, a lot of work goes into making sure the noise floor is at a level that meets the Empress standard. So we had a chat with our senior designers, founder Steve Bragg, and lead engineer Jay Fee, to find out how they do it!

6 Pedalboard Tips to Fix Noise, Buzz and Ground Loop Issues June 10 2022

Pedalboard noise is a frustrating distraction that can affect any player’s rig. It’s not easy to find the source of noise and diagnose the problem to find the underlying cause. But there are a handful of effective strategies you can use to reduce noise in your setup and get better tone performance overall.

In this article I’ll go through the six key steps you should consider for lower noise in your guitar rig.

Transform Your Patches By Using a Sample and Hold May 20 2022

My fascination with sample and holds began with a Crumar DS-2. When I first laid hands on this distinctive Italian synthesizer, I noticed it had something I had never seen before: a staircase LFO. One of my friends who shared my passion for vintage synthesizers mentioned that the Crumar was "sampling a sawtooth waveform" to create the unique shape. At the time, I didn't really grasp the concept, but when the Euroburo came out, one of the first things I wanted to do was create a staircase waveform.

Before we jump into staircase LFOs and all the other unique ways sample and holds can unlock your patches, let's try to answer this question.

Polyphonic or Monophonic? What is the difference, and which option is right for you? April 20 2022

So, you've been scoping out guitar synth pedals. Or maybe you're ready to make your first (or fifth) synthesizer purchase. Perhaps you've gone down the eurorack rabbit hole and are browsing for that one last module to complete your rack. (Don't worry; there's always another rack.)

You've probably had some version of this debate: monophonic or polyphonic; which one to choose? So let's look at that question, beginning with what those two words really mean and concluding with some ideas for how ZOIA can be used for either.

Expression Pedals April 07 2022

Expression pedals are the key to controlling your effects in real-time. They make it possible to adjust the knobs on your pedals in sync with your playing. But there is a vast range of approaches to using expression pedals in your rig. So it can be hard to know where to start if you haven't tried one before.

This article will explain how expression pedals work, suggest six creative ways to use them, and break down the recommended choices for every budget.

A Brief Introduction to Control Voltage for Guitarists (or Hopefully Anyone) March 01 2021

CV can be the most intimidating aspect of ZOIA for the uninitiated.  Control voltage... it sounds like something out of physics or rocket science, full of calculations and obscure, unfamiliar nomenclature.  It's easy to get hung up on the eye-catching word 'voltage' -- that arcane harbinger of bizarre Tesla coils and confusing laws named after dead white guys -- but the focus really should be on 'control.'  CV is what allows you to exert control across ZOIA.  

The Compressor MKII or Bass Compressor? Which One is Right For You? October 30 2020

Can't decide which compressor is right for you?  Maybe this will help! Here is an examination of the similarities and differences between our compressors.

There is No Right Way to ZOIA October 25 2020

Our First Blog Post!  There is a lot we could say about the ZOIA.  What better way to start that to recruit Christopher Jacques, one of the most prolific and knowledgable ZOIA users we know!  Christopher shares his feelings on the "right way to ZOIA".  This blog will be a new hub for ZOIA tips and tricks and other Empress news.