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.
AMY Sound Processor was originally a chip designed for newer high end computer
in 1983 in the Advanced Technologies Group (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
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 procoessor. The AMY chip was now
slated for use in the 65XE series computer which was a direct
replacement for the Atari 800XL computer. It is unknown why
the AMY chip ran into issues nor why it was contracted or sold out
to S&S of Milwaukee.
AMY chip and technologies wound up in the hands of a Milwaukee based audio design
house called Sight & Sound. The company was
able to not only decipher the workings of the AMY, but created a newer
and more powerful version which they intended to market.
However Atari suddenly reappeared on the scene and initiated a law-suit
that apparently was so frightening that many of the former S&S employees
that have been interviewed for the research on the AMY chip would only
talk under anonymity. The AMY chip,
its technology and its enhanced replacement would not only never be used
by S&S, but Atari never utilized the technology either.
The designs, equipment and chips languished in a warehouse until 1998 when
the company was liquidated and everything was sold off or destroyed.
One of the original programmers of the AMY chips software 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. This
history is being actively researched as this time and hopefully more information
will be released as it is uncovered.
AMY CHIP NETLIST