Atari 65XEM Computer System  











The Atari 65XEM

(and the AMY-1 Chip)

 The Atari 65XEM Personal Computer System. This unreleased computer was a standard Atari 65XE computer fitted with a special  Audio Processor called "AMY"   Shown at the 1985 CES, the 65XEM was touted as having remarkable capabilities for sound/voice synthesis.

 The AMY Sound Processor was originally a chip designed for newer high end computer systems in 1983 in the Advanced Engineering Division (also referred to as the Atari Corporate Research Lab) in Sunnyvale, CA.  AMY was part of a new chipset called "Rainbow." The graphics portion of the chipset consisted of two chips called Silver and Gold.    Together these chips created a formidable computer system capable of graphics and sound rivaling many computers which came out years later.   Unfortunately these computers would never see the light of day due to the sale of Atari in 1984.

 AMY was demonstrated in 1983 performing a demonstration of a Female Opera singer, then on the fly was instructed to perform the same opera in a Male voice.

 Seeing the potential of this new audio chip, Atari's chief engineer - Shiraz Shivji intended to implement it into the new "RBP" projrect.  "RBP" was the acronym for "Rock Bottom Price" and was to be a new high end 16 bit computer system that would rival the Apple Macintosh but would cost under $1,000 for a color version of the system.  With a very demanding deadline schedule to have a working demonstration system readied in only 5 months after the purchase of Atari by the Tramiels, the AMY processor's viability was in doubt so it was quickly removed from the Atari ST specifications and replaced with a Yamaha sound processor.  The AMY chip was then slated for use in the 65XE series computer which was a direct replacement for the Atari 800XL computer. 

 One of the original programmers of the AMY chips software in 1983 was Jack Palevich (who earlier had wrote a game called Dandy as part of the APX (Atari Program Exchange, a division of Atari that published high quality software from independent programmer), which was an amazing D&D type game that Atari would later base its Atari Gauntlet franchise on.    John also did Atari Dark Chambers which was another Dandy variant for the Atari home consoles ) and some of his original software still exists on some demonstration and development disks that came with this 65XEM prototype. 


To read all about AMY, its history and to access a large amount of technical documents, IC design files and the software to generate the Harmonics and sythensis with the AMY, please follow the link below:



The Atari AMY Sound Processor



Content to be added, updated 3/23/2020