ZOA — Living MIDI Sequencer 4+

Generative melodies for synths

Ryan Robinson

    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings
    • $7.99


ZOA is a creative MIDI sequencer that is both immediate and immense.

ZOA uses a custom, musical implementation of John Conway’s Game of Life to generate melody, harmony, and rhythm. Up to four voices move through an evolving landscape of living cells, playing notes as they go. Each voice can move in a unique way, with its own pace and rhythmic pattern. ZOA includes unique features, such as note values based on the golden ratio for maximum generative fun.


- Interact with the Game of Life by touching the grid to toggle cell states
- Define your musical palette by configuring the grid settings
- Create a complex dance between four independent voices
- Free your hands to explore your synthesizers as ZOA plays them for you
- Includes ten factory presets to give you a feel for what ZOA is capable of
- Explore a focused, yet deep set of parameters
- Grid Settings
- Root note
- Octave shift
- Scale (see below for available scales)
- Octave range
- Game of Life Settings
- Grid size (8x8 and 16x16)
- Auto or manual generation advance
- Rate of new generations (in beat time from 16 bars to 32nd T)
- Auto or manual grid respawn
- Voice Settings
- Four voices with independent settings
- Enable/disable
- Rate of play (in beat time from 16 bars to 32nd T)
- Includes unique note values based on the Golden Ratio for maximum generative fun!
- Length of note (10% to 100%)
- Variety of rules for moving through grid (see below for list)
- Pitch offset
- Unique pattern control for creating rhythms and polymeters, now with step options
- Easily add holds, ties, accents (positive and negative!), ratchets, and trig conditions
- MIDI velocity and channel
- Flexible Connectivity
- Use in a compatible audio unit host like AUM, or in standalone mode
- Control multiple instruments at once with five MIDI outputs
- One for all voices together, and one for each voice by itself
- Set the key and octave shift on the fly with MIDI input
- Sync to the tempo of other devices using Ableton Link or MIDI clock (standalone)
- Send MIDI clock to external synths (standalone, experimental feature)
- Connect to Bluetooth MIDI devices
- Modulate ZOA's parameters in a compatible AUv3 host (audio unit)
- Eight unique MIDI CC outputs derived from ZOA’s game of life simulation
- Population density, fertility, mortality, stability, and per-voice random
- Includes macOS app!

ZOA can be used as a standalone app or as an AUv3 plugin. There are some important differences between the two. The standalone app features a simple, toggleable "Sidekick Synth" so you can quickly experiment with ZOA. Of course, you can also send MIDI from the standalone app. Meanwhile, the ZOA AUv3 plugin does NOT generate sound. Instead, you use it to send MIDI (note messages) to other apps, plugins, or hardware instruments that do the actual sound generation. AUv3 plugins must be used inside a compatible host.

Available Scales
- Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic, Major, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Minor, Locrian, Blues, Whole Tone, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Chromatic, Diminished, Whole Half, Spanish, Super Locrian, Bhairav, Hungarian Minor, Minor Gypsy, Augmented, Prometheus, Pelog, Major Hexatonic, Minor Hexatonic, Hirojoshi, In Sen, Iwato, Kumoi

Available Voice Rules
- Up, Down, UpDown, DownUp, First, Last, Random, Walk, Rise, Fall

View manual: https://www.audiosymmetric.com/manuals.html
View tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Uka-nFom-pgTB-DftgDvA

What’s New

Version 1.3

New in ZOA 1.3:
- Add 16 new scales! See description for complete list.
- Share your user presets with friends and other devices using AirDrop!
- Refactor sequencer engine for better accuracy, stability, and to eliminate hung notes.
- The standalone now restores the last grid state across launches.
- Add right-click alternatives for gesture-based actions on macOS.

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

cmruko ,

Fantastic AU Midi Sequencer

I really enjoy using this app to sequence up to 4 different apps inside a host, like AUM. It can send all the midi to one place or up to 4 individual places. I love semi-generative apps where you can set certain parameters, and let the app create some interesting things. This app is pretty intuitive, and easy to pick up right away. It’s not only fun, but it is capable of creating unique musical sequences that can repeat or evolve over time. Developer is responsive and open to suggestions as well. 5 Stars!

Developer Response ,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review! So glad you like ZOA.

Diana.McCall ,

Very cool generative app

The special feature of Zoa, compared to other generative sequencers, is that there are two layers. The upper layer is the Life, which selects a complex sequence of notes to use, and which evolves slowly. The lower layer is the playheads which dance different patterns through the selected notes. These create plenty of motion even if the Life pattern only updates every few bars. You can configure the playheads appropriate to different instrumental styles. I was able to create a credible-sounding jazz trio this way.

Developer Response ,

Thanks for the kind review! So glad you like ZOA.

Joe Rollins ,

Absolutely Stunning!

This is exactly what I’ve been wanting for quite some time, thank you!

Instead of trying to describe the endless possibilities that ZOA offers, I strongly suggest to anyone that is looking for a generative ipad synth to take it for a ride through the Milky Way and beyond… you’ll be glad you did!


Developer Response ,

Thanks for the kind review!

App Privacy

The developer, Ryan Robinson, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Collected

The developer does not collect any data from this app.

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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