Zoë Blade's notebook


Amiga 500 tech specs

The Amiga was a home computer released in 1985 by Commodore. Its main rival was the Atari ST.

While the Atari ST had built-in MIDI sockets, the Amiga had four channels of built-in 8-bit sample playback with direct memory access. As a result, while the Atari ST was more popular with professional musicians as part of a whole studio, the Amiga was a far better self-contained platform for making music.

Hobbyist programmers were eager to make use of this sample playback, making the Amiga most notable for being the birthplace of trackers, bringing the combination of digital step sequencer and sample player to the masses. Trackers were a big part of the European demoscene in the 1990s.

While musicians such as Dex and Jonesey,[2] Equinox,[3] and Venetian Snares[4] used it as a poor person's Fairlight CMI, CG artists such as Phil Wolstenholme[5] used it as a poor person's SGI workstation, to make 3D rendered artwork for 808 State and Warp Records.

Notable users





  1. "Silica Shop" Silica Shop (Vendor), Sound On Sound, Jan 1989, p. 39
  2. "Remixing With the Pros" CU Amiga Magazine, Jan 1998, pp. 30—32
  3. Early Works 93-94 Equinox, 2019
  4. "Venetian Snares Hates the Music Industry, Hates Fact Singles Club, and Hates You" Laurent Fintoni, Fact, Aug 2015
  5. "Collective Rendering: The Early '90s CGI Album Designs of Phil Wolstenholme" Oli Warwick, Nov 2017
  6. "Hitting the Big Time" Maff Evans, Gary Lord, Amiga Format, Aug 1992, pp. 24—26
  7. "'It Was the Poor Man's Studio': How Amiga Computers Reprogrammed Modern Music" Tamlin Magee, The Guardian, May 2022
    Note: Also note Sterling's rather stellar t-shirt in the accompanying photo.
  8. Amiga Railroad Adventures Legowelt, 2009

Commodore: Amiga

Home computers: Amiga | Beige box | ST