ZOIA Vs Organelle?

I know this topic has been talked about before but I’d like to hear some opinions. I’m looking for one more piece of gear to complete my live set up and I’ve decided that the ZIOA or Organelle is gonna be it, but i’m having a hard time deciding which one is better for me. I currently have an OP-Z and Guitar and I’m looking to purchase the one that will compliment these best. Synth/sound design capabilities are very important to me, but i also want something that can process my guitar sound in many different ways and it seems like both do these things, but which does it better? I’m also into portability and as little wires as possible: i know that the new organelle is battery powered, but can the ZOIA be powered by battery or does it need to the power input connector?

I have an Organelle and no real interest in the Zoia, but a big plus in Zoia’s favour is being able to program it directly. I know, “you can do that with the Organelle too,” but it’s an affair involving a mouse and keyboard. Then again, there are loads of existing patches for it, you just won’t be tweaking them on the fly unless you’ve brought a display with you.

Overall I think the Organelle has better potential, but it might take more work to get there.


Have you used organelle as a guitar pedal? and if so how well does it work and how deep can u go?

I haven’t, but a large number of the patches make for it are effects. As far as depth goes… that really depends on the work you want to put in. If you think you’ll want to make your own patches, it’s probably a good idea to get pure data running on your PC and see how you like it first. There’s a learning curve to it.

You might want to check out Axoloti. They’re not as powerful and if you want controls you’ll need to solder your own on, but they are cheap and really handy. Programming is done with a node editor, similar to Organelle, but probably easier to learn than pd.

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The Axoloti is great, but they are working on a much more powerful version, the devs say it should be ready in 6 months as a conservative estimate and will cost the same. It should have around 4x the processing power and more RAM. Might be worth waiting for.


Good catch, that will be dope. One thing that really gets me is there’s a lot of gear at the same price or more that fits into some utility space, like oplab or midi filters. I’ve taken to thinking of them as something like a cable that you can never have enough of. If I wanted more I wouldn’t bother waiting, but I will definitely be grabbing one of the new ones.

So jazzed that dude behind this is so keen on just making things better. He could easily charge more for it, especially after the new version, but what he really wants is to make the hardware available.

Yeah I agree. I just picked up one of the current Axolotis and have been having so much fun with it, writing a bunch of FM patches. The new device should be backwards compatible with the old patches so I figure I’ll just pick up another when the new one comes out.

I love the fact that there’s such a big DIY and open source community for synths, the Axoloti guys are a great example.

So I’ve just been catching up on the Axoloti thread over on their site and… wow. The new rev is obscene!

I didn’t realize it was someone else, not Johannes, doing the design. Glad the spirit is contagious.

There’s talk of pairing it with an FPAA. This is a dream come true, as mentioned in the thread that means you can program actual analog filters. I’m so tempted to order a Zrna right now, but I should wait for something that integrates with the hardware I want to use it with.

They’re also looking at ditching the Java patcher and switching to USB-C. Between all this and the Hydrasynth it’s like the gods have decided to tick all the boxes on my synth wish-lists. (Only remaining item is a decent physical modelling synth and I think the Osmose might just be that.)

This especially. It’s worth noting thetechnobear has been all up in both the Axoloti and Organelle scenes and I reckon others.

Wow, I wasn’t even aware Zrna existed… Another thing to add to my wishlist! The Osmose however might be out of my price range for a while.

You’re right about Technobear, he’s been doing great work with ORAC. That’s the one thing that really makes me want to get an Organelle.

I really hope the new Axo board brings more people into the community, not maybe people posting over there these days.

Yeah, ORAC is a point in Organelle’s favour (to get back on topic for a moment, sorry for the hijack @Ayodejii.) Afaik Zoia can’t load multiple patches at once, but ORAC lets you do that on the Organelle. IIRC there’s a few layouts, one serial and a few that run parallel chains up to about 10 patches.

I probably shouldn’t but I’m this close to pulling the trigger on a pre-order for one. Deep down I feel a need for physical modelling and very few alternatives are much cheaper than the Osmose pre-order price (only one I found is Plonk but I don’t do modular), so if I’m willing to wait for a few months I get a fancy keyboard too.

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Having owned both, and currently owning the ZOIA - I’d say the ZOIA wins in my book.

Build quality was a huge factor for me, when I picked up the Organelle, it very much feels like a very empty and light shell with a Raspberry Pi sitting inside. Zero heft. Whereas the ZOIA feels like I could handle it without worry, or toss it in my bag and it won’t get crushed.

The patching on ZOIA is pretty insane, feels more intuitive than patching with ORAC (though ORAC has interesting benefits of ports of the Mutable Instruments modules) though the 80+ modules currently on ZOIA sound very wonderful and visually patching them in ways that you couldn’t otherwise patch in ORAC is nice too (I want 5 LFOs all modulating X!)

The new Organelle solved all my big problems too - built in speakers, battery etc etc. Those are my biggest issues with ZOIA, but it’s also a guitar pedal and I’m coming from the OP-1 when it comes to the form factor of the Organelle, so battery/speaker seem expected.

And lastly. And this may be solved with the new Organelle was having a “Shutdown” menu item. Running off a little system on a chip/microcontroller with a shutdown menu, I felt like I reallllllly had to be careful and perhaps if my power got unplugged when a patch was writing or something that it would simply corrupt itself. The idea that you can plug it into a monitor, keyboard and mouse and hack on Pure Data is truly amazing, but at the end of the day, I don’t have time to hack around that much and ZOIA earned the spot on the desk with the rest of my gear.

Organelle is still very amazing though and used original model might be a steal for what it can do. Just having WiFi and being able to sync up with Ableton Link if you jam with friends is pretty neat. But I was often getting lost in menus or losing track of where sounds were being generated. Hasn’t been an issue with ZOIA, seeing the pulse of audio through the chain of modules on the grid, or visualizing the wave forms or modulation at any given point. Oh, and I can patch my ZOIA into my modular as well, that’s a big plus…

Sorry for the long all over the place post :). Enjoy whatever you end up with, I’m sure you’ll have a blast with both!


It’s nice to hear your perspective on both the Zoia and Organelle. I have an Organelle and really wanted to dig deep into Orac, but I found the patch saving and recall workflows very unforgiving and somewhat confusing. There was a number of times that I lost a patch I was working on because I didn’t follow a very specific Sequence/order in how I saved that.

I also ran into problems / bugs when trying to use program changes to switch patches on the Organelle from other devices. That, and I couldn’t resolve some midi mapping conflicts and didn’t have the patience to try and debug. Without experience in Pure Data, I don’t really feel that I can really dig into what the organelle is fully capable of.
The fact that Zoia offers more visual feedback seems like a big help when making complex patches. The menu driving on the Organelle is a bit mind numbing for me.

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No need to apologize! Comments like these will help me make my decision :slight_smile:
How would you compare the sound engine or quality of sound of the ZOIA’s synth and effects patches vs the Organelle’s?