Review: Peavey Invective .120 Amp Head and .212 Cabinet

Peavey’s invective .120 head has a three-channel design

Peavey’s invective .120 head has a three-channel design (Image credit: Peavey)

Misha Mansoor, one of the most influential guitarists to emerge over the last decade, has played an important role in shaping the sound of modern, progressive metal as a guitarist in his djent band Periphery and in the studio as a producer and engineer for Periphery and other bands, including Animals As Leaders, Veil of Maya and the Volumes.

Thanks to his reputation, it makes perfect sense that he’s collaborated with Peavey on a signature-model amp, the new invective .120 head and complementary invective .212 speaker cabinet with one Celestion Vintage 30 paired with one Celestion Creamback H 12-inch speaker. Unlike most signature amps bearing the names of relative newcomers, the invective .120 is not a slightly modified version of a pre-existing model but rather an entirely new guitar amp designed from the ground up with Mansoor’s input and including features not found elsewhere. As a result, the invective .120 offers guitarists exciting new tonal and performance possibilities that are as bold and visionary as Mansoor’s playing.

The Peavey invective .120 features a power amp section driven by four JJ 6L6 tubes to provide 120 watts of output (as suggested by its name). The 6L6s can be swapped for EL34, 6CA7, 6550, KT66 or KT88 tubes for different tonal personalities and performance, and the bias is easily adjusted by removing the rear panel cover and using the bias test points and bias adjustment pot top loaded on the chassis. Six 12AX7A tubes provide gain for the clean channel and crunch/lead channels (with six gain stages for crunch/lead) and phase inverter and loop driver functions.

The invective has a three-channel design, but that doesn’t mean it’s limited to three basic overall tones. The Clean channel section consists of Pre Gain and Post Gain controls, low, mid and high EQ (passive) and a Boost function with an on/off switch and tone and drive controls. The Crunch and Lead channels are configured in a separate section that provides individual Pre Gain and Post Gain controls for each channel, shared passive EQ controls (low, mid, high), a Boost function also with on/off switch and tone and drive knobs and a noise gate with on/off switch and Threshold control. The amp’s Master section features Resonance, Presence and Volume controls. A single ¼-inch input jack, manual channel select switch and standby switch round out the invective .120’s front panel features.

The rear panel is loaded with useful features, including a full/half power switch, speaker output impedance switch and a pair of ¼-inch parallel speaker output jacks. The MSDI (Microphone Simulated Direct Interface) section provides a balanced XLR output, ground/lift switch and tone and level controls for dialing in optimal direct output tones for recording or connection to a mixing console. There’s a Master Boost Level control, two effects loops with individual ¼-inch send and return jacks, a pair of 9VDC @ 500mA jacks for powering effect pedals and MIDI Out/Thru and MIDI Footswitch In jacks.

One of the invective .120’s coolest features is the included MIDI controller with 10 footswitches that provides access to nine user-programmable presets or individual features like effects loop 1 and 2, Gate, Drive Boost (channel), channel 1, 2 and 3 and Master Boost, plus MIDI control change 4 that enables the controller to control external MIDI devices.

(Image credit: Peavey)

As anyone familiar with Mansoor’s playing might expect, the invective .120’s tones are familiar but refined in exquisite detail, providing a range from the cleanest cleans to densely layered high-gain harmonic overtones with percussive attack and tight decay. The Clean channel is exactly that, remaining absolutely clean even with the Pre and Post Gain cranked all the way up. If you want overdrive crunch, engage the Clean channel’s Boost section, which is tonally and texturally flexible enough to almost be a separate channel.

The Crunch and Lead channels are aggressive, but even with the Pre gain maxed, individual notes in chords retain definition and clarity. The noise gate section is essential for replicating the machine-like blasts of Mansoor’s rhythm playing, and for this application or just killing unwanted hum it works like a charm. The amp can push high-gain distortion to extreme levels, yet the sound never turns to mush or becomes overly compressed into a flabby, mushy mess.

LIST PRICE: invective .120, $1,899.99; invective .212, $750
MANUFACTURER: Peavey Electronics,

● Four 6L6 power amp tubes provide 120 watts of output while six 12AX7 preamp tubes provide up to six stages of gain.

● The Clean channel remains clean even at the highest gain settings, while its Boost function can dial in varying levels of overdrive.

● The Crunch and Lead channels feature a noise gate function for dialing in tight, noise-free decay for playing responsive, percussive rhythm patterns and riffs.

● The included footswitch can control individual channels and functions, provide instant access to nine user-programmable presets or control an external MIDI device.

Packed with an outrageous variety of tones, from the cleanest cleans to impressively dense distortion textures and providing extremely versatile functions and performance features, the Peavey invective .120 truly satisfies the needs and desires of today’s modern progressive metal guitarist.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.