Skip to main content

Peavey Invective MH review

This feature-rich, Misha Mansoor-designed head is one of the best high-gain amps you can buy

Peavey Invective MH
(Image: © Guitar Center)

Our Verdict

With harmonically complex high-gain tones that rival amps costing double or triple the price, and a host of pro features, this is simply one of the best amps you can buy under $1,000.

For

  • Built-in attenuator allows users to set their chosen output to 20-, 5- or 1-watts.
  • Gate, Tight and Boost switches provide “big amp” tones and performance.
  • Excellent price point.

Against

  • Nothing.

The Peavey Invective 120, designed with considerable input from Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor, is one of the most exciting amp heads to come along in the last few years. As great as that amp is, it may be too much of a good thing as most players these days don’t need 120 watts of output power and prefer smaller, lighter amps that are easier to haul to gigs. 

Fortunately, Peavey and Mansoor have collaborated on a sequel of sorts - the invective MH, with the MH standing for “mini head.” About half the size and one third the weight of the invective.120, the Peavey invective MH also delivers 100 watts less of output power and cuts more than $1,000 from the price, while retaining most of the bigger invective’s innovative features and awesome tones.

Features

Peavey Invective MH

(Image credit: Guitar Center)

The Peavey invective MH may be housed in a mini head configuration, but it’s packed with more features than many full-size heads can boast. At its core, the invective MH is a 20-watt, two-channel amp driven by a pair of EL84 power output tubes (compared to the stock four 6L6 tubes in the mighty invective.120) and three 12AX7 preamp tubes (compared to six in the 120). 

The Clean channel provides Gain, Low and High controls, while the Lead channel offers Pre Gain, Low, Mid, High and Post Gain controls plus switches for Gate, Tight and Boost functions.

Master section controls consist of Resonance and Presence for fine-tuning bass and treble characteristics, respectively. A pair of LEDs do double duty as indicators for the Standby and Power switches and as TSI (Tube Status Indicators) for each of the power output tubes, changing from green to red when tube performance is not as strong as it should be.

You’ll find that the invective MH’s rear panel is similarly feature-packed, providing a voltage selector switch, an attenuator switch for 20-, 5- or 1-watt output power, a single ¼-inch speaker output jack with 8/16-ohm switch, the sophisticated MSDI (Mic Simulated Direct Interface) section with an XLR output jack, speaker engage/defeat switch, ground/lift switch and 1/8- inch headphone output, buffered effects loop, two footswitch jacks for controlling channel switch/tight and boost + gate/loop functions and a USB Type B jack that provides mic-simulated digital audio output. 

A single two-button footswitch unit is included with the head for use with either of the footswitch jacks.

Performance

Peavey Invective MH

(Image credit: Guitar Center)

The invective MH’s list of features is impressive, but what is truly remarkable is how well all of those features perform. The Clean channel delivers stellar clean tones that are perfectly matched with closed-back speaker cabinets (whether 1x12, 2x12 or 4x12) to produce tight, round, full-bodied tones with ample sparkle and snap. 

With high-output humbucking pickups, this channel subtly transforms to overdrive with the Gain control around 6, but even with the Gain at 10, immaculate clean tones are summoned either by playing more gently or by backing down the guitar’s volume knob slightly. 

The Lead channel is a beast that generates the most harmonically complex distortion I’ve ever heard from a 20-watt EL84 amp, with rich saturation that rivals boutique heads costing thousands of dollars more. Although this channel’s gate feature only has an on/off function, it’s dialed in so perfectly most players won’t mind not being able to tweak it further. Fast-picked riffs explode from the speakers with tight, percussive attack, delivering astounding definition and clarity.

The individual EQ controls for each channel, added performance flexibility courtesy of the Tight and Boost switches, and powerful MSDI output section, which delivers stellar direct tones to a sound system, all make this a great choice for players seeking a compact rig for playing live. Paired with a 4x12 cabinet, it’s more than loud enough for clubs, but is also easier to “tame” in the studio, delivering “big stack” tones through a 1x12 cabinet at lower output levels.

Specs

Peavey Invective MH

(Image credit: Guitar Center)
  • STREET PRICE: $699.99
  • MANUFACTURER: Peavey
  • AMP TYPE: Valve
  • EFFECTS LOOP: Yes
  • FOOTSWITCHABLE: Yes
  • NUMBER OF CHANNELS: 2
  • POWER AMP VALVES: EL84
  • PREAMP VALVES: 12AX7/ECC83
  • SPEAKER SIM: Yes
  • WATTAGE RANGE: 11W - 30W