The AVE-5 is – in my opinion – the best vintage video mixer for generative visuals. It can produce interesting shapes and patterns and is quite affordable (depending where you live). Unfortunately it was made for home video post-production, so in its original state the device can not react to incoming audio signals. This is crucial for using it in live applications and luckily it is pretty easy to add this function to the mixer. It is a simple and great modification.
I decided to document this circuit bend, because I could not find any information about it online and I think these functions really improve the usability of this device. I did not add the RAM-Glitch (as seen by Karl Klomp and Lushprojects) to my unit, because I do not really need it the way I operate the Mixer.
How to do it:
Most video effects in this mixer are processed digitally by ICs and controlled by voltages defined by the variable resistors (faders and joystick) on the control panel. These control voltages range roughly from 1 to 3 Volts, a perfect range to modulate it with headphone to line level audio signals. The whole procedure is pretty straightforward: solder the audio signal with a potentiometer to the appropriate contact, ground to ground, and you are good to go. Soldering to the back of the control panel works great. I also soldered to the in- and outputs on the back of the connector panel, which was a little bit sketchier.
These are the respective contacts of the faders, joystick and the IC:
You can decide, whether you want a separate input for each or one input for all effects. I chose the second, because it is more useful in my use cases. You change the internal routing of the audio capabilities, so you can control two of the effects with the built in audio faders (you can click on the schematics below). Adding switches for internal feedback also comes in pretty handy.