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ATARI 65XEM + AMY CHIP - CURT'S UPDATE


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#26 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 12:35 PM

If this is really how it happened, then there must have been some kind of strings attached or Atari sued for reasons outside of the product they were developing.  I don't put anything past the Tramiels, but I agree that the story seems fishy.



#27 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 1:25 PM

If this is really how it happened, then there must have been some kind of strings attached or Atari sued for reasons outside of the product they were developing.  I don't put anything past the Tramiels, but I agree that the story seems fishy.

 

Yes I agree it wouldn't be the first time the Tramiel's did something shady. However the problem with trying to research this further with public records is that since a lawsuit was only threatened and not actually filed, there would be no record of that. And I don't know if anyone other than Curt possibly have access to the original agreement between Atari and S&S, because I have my doubts about whether any of the details of that agreement were ever made public.

 

Just checked ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast and found no interviews with anyone from S&S, or much of anything about the AMY chip. If anyone who worked for Sight & Sound around the time this alleged lawsuit was being threatened would agree to an interview, I think that would make for a great story.

 

In my original quote from the Atari Museum: Atari 65XEM article I left off the last sentence in the paragraph about Sight & Sound...

 

The 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.

---

 

Apparently they are no more. Or at least not owned by the same people. So it could be challenging to find someone in the know about those earlier times.

 

- Michael



#28 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 3:36 PM

Then Sight & Sound makes an even more powerful version for a totally unrelated product and supposedly get sued and issued a cease and desist order. How the heck does that happen? if anyone has more information about this law suit I would love to hear it  :)

 

More information:

 

Current Date: 1/3/2017
Source:           U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Court: U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Case Title: ATARI CORPORATION v. SIGHT & SOUND MUSIC, ET AL

Case: 2:87-CV-00711

Date Filed: 06/10/1987

CASE INFORMATION

Case Number: 2:87CV00711

Nature of Suit: CONTRACT: OTHER CONTRACT (190)

 

Unfortunately, there are no filings (much less a decision) available in Westlaw. If anyone wants to actually read the Court documents, it is off to the Federal Courthouse for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 

 

Edited to add the following named individuals were who associated with the lawsuit; presumably as either Counsel or Corporate Officers:

 

BRIAN NAHEY

ZEB BILLINGS

 

 


Edited by jhd, Tue Jan 3, 2017 3:41 PM.


#29 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 3:47 PM

 

More information:

 

Current Date: 1/3/2017
Source:           U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Court: U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Case Title: ATARI CORPORATION v. SIGHT & SOUND MUSIC, ET AL

Case: 2:87-CV-00711

Date Filed: 06/10/1987

CASE INFORMATION

Case Number: 2:87CV00711

Nature of Suit: CONTRACT: OTHER CONTRACT (190)

 

Unfortunately, there are no filings (much less a decision) available in Westlaw. If anyone wants to actually read the Court documents, it is off to the Federal Courthouse for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 

 

Edited to add the following named individuals were who associated with the lawsuit; presumably as either Counsel or Corporate Officers:

 

BRIAN NAHEY

ZEB BILLINGS

 

 

 

Nice find  :thumbsup:

 

Anybody live close to the Federal Courthouse ?  ;)

 

- Michael



#30 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 5:34 PM

This means it was more than just a threat.

 

Brian Nahey, is the CEO of Venturedyne in Pewaukee, Wisconsin

 

http://www.venturedyne.com/home/

 

http://archive.jsonl...-280995322.html

 

Zeb Billings died in 2010.

 

http://archive.jsonl.../111646419.html



#31 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:09 PM

This means it was more than just a threat.

 

Brian Nahey, is the CEO of Venturedyne in Pewaukee, Wisconsin

 

http://www.venturedyne.com/home/

 

http://archive.jsonl...-280995322.html

 

Zeb Billings died in 2010.

 

http://archive.jsonl.../111646419.html

 

Yes a very good point that already changes what has been documented at other sites. They really were getting Sued by Atari  :-o

 

It still doesn't make sense, but does strongly suggest that there were conditions attached to the sell that Atari felt had been violated by Sight & Sound. It wouldn't have been for stealing the design, since they sold it to S&S, or at least that is how the story has been told. This is definitely getting interesting...

 

- Michael



#32 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:36 PM

Found this...

 

InfoWorld - Jan 28, 1985 - Page 16

 

U8y6NH7.png

 

This might suggest that instead of Atari selling the AMY chip technology to Sight & Sound, that perhaps instead the technology was 'shared' with them in order for them to write a music application for the upcoming 65XEM release. Now if I let my imagination play out, what if after Atari abandoned the idea of releasing the 65XEM, Sight & Sound decided to implement their own version of the chip in a new MIDI product they were developing. If Atari had shared all of the details pertaining to the AMY chip hardware, it might not have been too difficult for someone like Billings to create his own version. And of course if Atari found out, that would be grounds for a lawsuit.

 

Now please keep in mind that this is only an 'imagined' scenario, and could very well be entirely wrong.

 

- Michael


Edited by mytekcontrols, Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:41 PM.


#33 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:37 PM

Rather than speculate further, perhaps someone can contact the Federal Court in Milwaukee and arrange to obtain a copy of the file to share.

http://www.wied.usco...rchived-records

 

There would probably be a charge for the copies. 

 

Ok, photocopies are $.50/page (or $.25/page if it is DIY). 

 

To retrieve a box of records from storage is $64. 

http://www.wied.usco...rt-fee-schedule

 

I am unclear exactly what records exist or how extensive the file is; at the very least there would be a Statement of Claim (or whatever it is called in Wisconsin), which is the document that is used to start the whole process. It outlines the basis for the lawsuit. If the matter settled quickly, that may constitute the whole file. 


Edited by jhd, Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:49 PM.


#34 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 7:00 PM

Rather than speculate further, perhaps someone can contact the Federal Court in Milwaukee and arrange to obtain a copy of the file to share.

http://www.wied.usco...rchived-records

 

There would probably be a charge for the copies. 

 

Ok, photocopies are $.50/page (or $.25/page if it is DIY). 

 

To retrieve a box of records from storage is $64. 

http://www.wied.usco...rt-fee-schedule

 

I am unclear exactly what records exist or how extensive the file is; at the very least there would be a Statement of Claim (or whatever it is called in Wisconsin), which is the document that is used to start the whole process. It outlines the basis for the lawsuit. If the matter settled quickly, that may constitute the whole file. 

 

In American courts, the first document that typically starts a lawsuit is something called the Complaint. For some specified causes of action, the initiating document may be called a Petition or some other variant. I'm not local to Wisconsin or I'd go up there and get copies myself. I'll tell you that given the age of the case and the fact that courts are essentially under-funded government agencies, it's quite possible that you'll end up with bad photocopies of microfilm negatives. Most stuff in the 21st century will have been scanned and digitized and may even be available electronically through the U.S. federal courts PACER system, but nothing that old.


Edited by DrVenkman, Tue Jan 3, 2017 7:34 PM.


#35 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 3, 2017 7:32 PM

Maybe we need a Status Update directing someone from Milwaukee to this topic.



#36 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 4, 2017 10:04 AM

 

In American courts, the first document that typically starts a lawsuit is something called the Complaint. For some specified causes of action, the initiating document may be called a Petition or some other variant. I'm not local to Wisconsin or I'd go up there and get copies myself. I'll tell you that given the age of the case and the fact that courts are essentially under-funded government agencies, it's quite possible that you'll end up with bad photocopies of microfilm negatives. Most stuff in the 21st century will have been scanned and digitized and may even be available electronically through the U.S. federal courts PACER system, but nothing that old.

 

Thank-you for the information. My legal education is Canadian (obviously), but I figured that the general principles of Civil Procedure would be the same -- even if the terminology is different.  ;-)

 

It looks like electronic record keeping (PACER?) started in 2005 in this District. I agree about copies from poor-quality negative microfilm; I had to routinely access old court (Canadian) records in a previous job. 



#37 philipj OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:02 AM

Hi... I've always been curious about the "AMY" sound chip and how it works; particularly how it may sound so tonight I did a couple of hours of research on it just browsing around online and made pdf files out of every website that mention the AMY chip or that's closely related. Found out that the tech comes from or is inspired by, based on, or influenced by a music synthesizer  called the "Hall Alles (Alice) Synthesizer" created by "Bell Labs".. More details can be found on the pdf and other files I've been collecting/downloading where as I haven't read through all of them yet. It would be nice to see this chip on an fpga fully functioning or greatly improved upon. I hope all of this helps out for what it's worth. Below are a couple of YouTube featuring the "Alles Synthesizer" demonstrated. Now that doesn't mean that the AMY chip will sound similar where as there's probably a lot of added features on the Alles. It does however give an idea of possible sound range of some sort the AMY might can do minus the effects and what-have-you... The Alles was a 16bit hardware made public around 1977 (see YouTube) thus could be affordably made into a chip by 82/83; in AMY's case, around $8 a chip. Whatever the case, the Alles by Bell Labs is the mojo behind the inspired tech for the AMY sound processor. What would be interesting is finding the spec sheets on the Alles synthesizer... You find that and you'll get a logistic of what the design philosophy for the AMY was about by comparing the two techs.

 

 

Attached Files


Edited by philipj, Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:38 AM.


#38 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:32 PM

U8y6NH7.png

 

This is SO what made me hate the Tramiels. This arrogance !!! ~But THEY were TOO STUPID to get it working......I mean....to have the PATIENCE to make it work.....I mean TO KEEP THE BRILLIANT people on-board to make it work.



#39 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:23 PM

It was working and did work... Trameils didn't want the 8 bit to go on, He wanted to push his ST out... period... Didn't even take ideas about putting AMY in the ST line either....



#40 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:16 PM

They would have blown the Amiga to shreds with AMY and a LITTLE bit better graphics in the ST. The combination with the mono-mode monitor (which was brilliant) and MIDI on board (which cost about 50 cents in parts, that's probably the only reason it survived the Tramiels...) would have made it the nr. 1 system for sure.


Edited by Level42, Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:16 PM.


#41 philipj OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:23 PM

To be quite honest... I always use wonder why they never used the AMY in the Atari 7800 system instead using the regular old TIA. It would've been a near arcade system at home for it's time having the kind of graphical capability it did. But I've been biased about the 7800 versus the rest of the 8bit lines. As far as the ST having the midi ports and all; the AMY could've been the highlight of the Atari product line out shining whatever Amiga had to offer. But to be honest man... That could've, should've, would've scenario is all too frequent in the Atari community with the Tramiels getting a lot of "flac" in the end. I'd rather keep it focused on the new stuff for today; you know that positive energy thing, know what I mean? lol 



#42 Standard User OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:24 PM

A recreation of the first truly functional digital modeling of an analog synth (awkwardly stated, but you more knowledgeable folks can wade around my inept attempt ;) ), re implemented (might have some differences, but the gross specs seem to match) on a single chip? This is pretty significant and not just for Atari history.


Edited by Standard User, Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:44 PM.


#43 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:33 PM

Mr generic off the shelf parts cost cutter didn't see the argument that way... very sad...



#44 philipj OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:40 PM

I guess sometimes the more immediate need becomes more important then catching a big vision... It's hard to catch a vision when a person is caught up in their own thing whatever that may be. Things will just fly right over your head and you don't even know that it did so until long after the fact. Sometimes business need to be balanced enough to allow for the creative edge flourish; money simply isn't everthing unless you're going out of business; then that artsee fartsee stuff can look bad in comparison to the reality of shutting down (or at least the thought of it). lol

 

Steve Jobs pulled it off nicely though.

 

Ok... Back to the topic. :D lol



#45 philipj OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:44 AM

Ok here's some more video's I found on a keyboard that's based off of the Bell Labs Hal Alles Synthesizer... I think this keyboard was called the "Synergy", which was produced from 1982 until 1985 around the time the Atari ST was released. I find this to be some very fascinating stuff. Some some degree the keyboard almost sounds like the "Casio CZ 5000" keyboard in some ways (Casio's answer to the DX series), while sounding very much like the old FM Yamaha DX stuff like the ym2151 used in the old Atari arcade boards. The AMY, might have had a broad range of sounds with a library already built from the previous keyboards inspired by the Bell Labs architecture. I think these videos might shed a little light on what could've been possible on the AMY give-or-take a few features based on the individual synthesizers before AMY's existence.

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by philipj, Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:49 AM.


#46 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:16 PM

....

Edited by Level42, Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:19 PM.


#47 philipj OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 1:21 AM

Ok... I'm going to put one more YouTube concerning the "Synergy Synthesizer". This particular keyboard used cartridges to load various sounds, which means that there's probably a library of sounds out there somewhere. Just a quick note to post for reference sake.

 



#48 Standard User OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 4:55 AM

Ok... I'm going to put one more YouTube concerning the "Synergy Synthesizer". This particular keyboard used cartridges to load various sounds, which means that there's probably a library of sounds out there somewhere. Just a quick note to post for reference sake.

 

 

The uploader of that video, towards the end, offered a compilation cart of all of the sound banks available to him, 21 in total, so it appears he has much of it, if not all known.



#49 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 10:27 AM

U8y6NH7.png

 

This is SO what made me hate the Tramiels. This arrogance !!! ~But THEY were TOO STUPID to get it working......I mean....to have the PATIENCE to make it work.....I mean TO KEEP THE BRILLIANT people on-board to make it work.

 

 

It was working and did work... Trameils didn't want the 8 bit to go on, He wanted to push his ST out... period... Didn't even take ideas about putting AMY in the ST line either....

 

 

They would have blown the Amiga to shreds with AMY and a LITTLE bit better graphics in the ST. The combination with the mono-mode monitor (which was brilliant) and MIDI on board (which cost about 50 cents in parts, that's probably the only reason it survived the Tramiels...) would have made it the nr. 1 system for sure.

 

 

This is all very true, and the story of AMY is tragic, but I remind myself that if the Tramiels hadn't arrived, there'd be no 7800, ST, Lynx, Jaguar, Portfolio, and we'd be typing about the A8s in a subform with twenty threads on MSXage.In PETscii. Gah! And now I'm defending the Tramiels.

 

On an unrelated note, Zeb Billings is the coolest name ever. He should at least have made it into a Sierra game.



#50 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 11:24 AM

actually there would still be all that minus the ST and probably even more including the Atari AMYGA, short for AMY and Graphics Architecture... lol


Edited by _The Doctor__, Tue Dec 5, 2017 11:24 AM.





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