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.
magazine featured a news story on the 65XEM in April 1985:
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.
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."
from Compute - April 1985:
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, 3½-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
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.