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Atari 65XEM (AHS Collection)

The 65XEM, which donated "music" was never released, but a number of working prototypes were produced.  A new polyphonic AMY super-sound chip was being worked on at Atari, and was a parting legacy by Warner-Atari computer engineers.  Atari Corp. pursued development of the AMY, and early design notes for the ST actually mention this as the chip that the ST would utilise for its sound system.  Unfortunately, the engineers who knew the AMY architecture no longer worked at the new slim and trim Atari, and the project was eventually axed. 

Compute! magazine featured a news story on the 65XEM in April 1985:

"The third new 8-bit machine is an interesting variation of the 65XE called the 65XEM (XE Music computer). It's a 65XE with an additional sound chip, the new eight-voice "Amy". Unfortunately, this was the only new computer Atari didn't exhibit at the show.

However, those who have heard Amy say it outperforms even the SID synthesizer chip in the Commodore 64. Amy has a dynamic range exceeding 60 decibels, a frequency range of nearly 11 octaves from 4.8 hertz (far below human hearing) to 7.8 kilohertz, frequency resolution of 1/64 semitones, 64 harmonics, and many other features. Reportedly it can synthesize almost any musical instrument sound. The 65XEM will sell for about $150."

Also from Compute - April 1985:

"The XE series includes the 65XE, a 64K enhanced version of the 800XL, to sell for $99; the 130XE, a 128K version for under $200; the 65XEP, a transportable version of the 65XE which includes a built-in monochrome monitor, 3-inch disk drive, and battery pack, to sell for under $400; and the 65XEM, essentially a 65XE with an eight-voice AMY sound chip that includes 64 oscillators. Reportedly, the AMY chip can be programmed to simulate any musical instrument. This machine will be offered for under $200."

Atari 65XEP

The 65XEP was first shown at the CES show in 1985.  It was part of the Atari Corps' new range of 8-Bit computers, and just as the XEM, the XTC-1411 Colour Monitor and other initial CES display products, would never go into full production.  The XEP was a very basic mock-up of a portable 65-XE, with a black-and-white CRT and rough initial case design.  It was most probably prototyped to gauge initial interest, and interestingly, Commodore had a portable version of their C64 called the SX-64, which may also have spurred Atari to show a similar unit at the show.

 

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