Peavey Invective MSDI recording output – Why it’s unique

Peavey Invective MSDI

Guitar amplifiers with in-built recording outputs are truly not the latest invention. Mostly these are just grabbing your guitar amplifier’s preamp signal and apply a filter to sound somewhat like a real guitar cabinet, recorded with a microphone. The results usually sound quite good, but still far from being perfect. However, the Peavey Invective MSDI feature changes the game. Let’s have a closer look!

How most amplifiers do it, and why it sounds bad

Most guitar amplifiers – if equipped with a direct recording interface – usually grab the raw preamp signal and apply a filter to it. The filter tries to simulate a generic guitar cabinet, with a generic speaker and microphone combination. This is a really simple idea, but this is the issue at the same time: It sounds simple.

The static filter on most DI recording outputs just cuts some of the higher frequencies to make it sound somewhat close to a signal being sent through a guitar cab. As you can probably imagine, in most cases this is not going to sound even close to a well-made recording of your amplifier. There are also a couple of other things missing here, such as the power section and its tube saturation, power amp SAG, power-tube distortion, physical effects such as speaker breakup at high volumes, and many more.


Peavey Invective’s MSDI does it right

The difference is that the MSDI output of the Peavey Invective does include everything important for a good tone:

  • The output of the MSDI includes the entire amp circuitry, not just the preamp. This means that tube saturation and effects such as compression, SAG, and power tube distortion are audible in your recording. Even presence and resonance knobs work because they are part of the power amp circuitry. Not to mention that power tubes color your tone, no matter where you set the amp’s volume.
  •  Using the full and appropriate signal of your guitar amplifier, Peavey’s MSDI now applies a filter similar to a Shure Sm57 one inch off the cone. This position is pretty much standard when recording electric guitars and yields good results for most situations.
  • This is the point that impresses me the most: The MSDI of the Peavey Invective actually reads the impedance curve of your connected guitar speaker. This impedance curve is applied to the filter by means of the ohms law. It is different for each speaker model, thus representing it’s voicing.


What this means for your tone

Peavey Invective 120

The Peavey Invective 120

It means that using the MSDI output of your Peavey Invective, it will sound and respond like a real recording. The entire tube amp is captured, thus you’re able to make use of presence and resonance, power-tube saturation, compression, SAG, power-tube distortion, and much more. All of this is missing on regular onboard solutions for direct recording. On top of that, the Peavey Invective and it’s MSDI read the character of the connected speaker and apply it to the filter. So when you connect your amp to a guitar cab loaded with V30’s, the MSDI will output a sound similar to your Peavey Invective running into V30 speakers, recorded with a Shure SM57. It does not just sound like a random, lifeless cab simulation. It rather represents your actual connected guitar cabinet!


Peavey Invective MSDI – How it sounds

John Fields, Amplifier Engineering Manager at Peavey Electronics, spotted my demo of the Peavey Invective using its MSDI output. I pinned this comment so you can find it easily. Here is the video:

 Final thoughts

The Peavey Invective and it’s MSDI output really surprises me. Honestly, I went through a lot of different guitar amplifiers during the past two decades. I eventually tried a lot of the offered onboard recording solutions built into these guitar amps, but I almost never liked the sound. When I bought my Peavey Invective I ignored this feature until a viewer on my YouTube channel asked me to make a video about it. I’m glad he did!

The idea of mixing a simulation of a Shure SM57 together with a “tone snapshot” of the connected guitar speaker is unique. On top of that, Peavey is using the entire amp circuitry, which means the entire superb tone of the Peavey Invective is accurately captured with this feature. In my opinion this is a really good solution for recording guitars in your home studio, or for playing live without worrying about microphones and mic placement. And Peavey didn’t even brag about this feature in the manual. But they should – because it’s amazing.

What do you think about the Peavey Invective and it's MSDI recording output? Drop a comment below!
Tobias Just

My name is Tobi and I'm a guitar nerd ever since. I spend most of the time creating informational content for guitarists and musicians who want to learn more about guitars, songwriting, music theory, and music production!

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  • Reply Arend T.

    11. May 2021, 16:23

    Quick question. I just got the invective mh and am running an xlr into my audio interface and the signal is so low. I have to crank the input gain and there is still no dynamic range. Are you seeing that as well or do you think I’m doing something wrong? Thanks.

    • Reply Tobias Just

      12. May 2021, 21:21

      Hi there!

      On the Invective MH the regulation of the MSDI signal level is a little different. If you turn the amp louder (the master volume on the front panel), does the signal get louder as well?

      If yes, you could run the amp in 1-watt mode and turn up the volume of the amp to get a louder signal for recording. Or you use the internal dummy load, so the amp is completely silent – then you can crank the volume up even more.

      Otherwise, you might want to check if the XLR cable is acting a little weird? I once had similar issues running my Marshall into a reactive load – the signal was gone all of a sudden. I thought the Marshall broke down, but in fact, it was the speaker cable breaking. I swapped the speaker cable and everything was fine again.

      Maybe you can try this and let me know if something changed. Then we’ll keep looking for a solution.



  • Reply Arend T

    13. May 2021, 15:21

    Thanks for getting back to me so fast.
    Cable is brand new and seems to be working well. At the advice I found on a forum I switched from a mono to a stereo tip on my xlr to 1/4 cable and that seems to have helped slightly with the low signal issue. I can definitely bring up the volume by turning up the post gain volume knob but I still need the input gain turned up almost to max.
    It sounds decent, although it definitely lacks the dynamics of what comes out of using amplitube 5. I guess that should be expected. The amp is always producing noise even when I’m not playing, unlike a sim which has a lower noise floor?
    So still not ideal but works so so. I tried recording directly from the effects send and it was terrible. No power amp section. 🙂
    Anything else you think I should try? Thanks again.

    • Reply Tobias Just

      13. May 2021, 22:39

      Absolutely no issue! I know how frustrating things can be if you want to do something but it’s just not working. 🙂

      I was just reading the whole Invective MH manual to see if I can find something hidden about the MSDI volume. But there is absolutely nothing. John Fields, an engineer at Peavey commented on one of my YouTube videos. Let me ask him in the comment section – maybe he knows an answer on this issue. AFAIK he is the chief engineer who developed the Invective together with Misha.

      In the meanwhile you could try the following:
      – If your audio face has a PAD button, make sure to disengage it. This could be the reason why the signal is so quiet
      – If you have an instrument button for the input, you can try enabling this. It’s meant to be used for something different, but it also makes the input level louder, so it might help.
      – Try running the Peavey Invective MH in 20-watt mode
      – Crank Post Gain on the lead channel
      – Make sure to have the EQs around noon. Turning the EQ knobs down will also lower the volume as you reduce frequencies from your signal
      – Did you try the USB recording method using a USB cable? You could try it just to see if the volume is better on this one. You just need to plug the Peavey into your computer and then you can select it as a microphone using windows or directly record from it inside your DAW. Because if this is loud, there might be an issue with the MSDI? Just a thought…

      About the dynamics: It might be related to the Invective MH. It’s working a little bit differently than the big Invective 120. Different tubes, transformers etc – the entire circuitry is different. But it might also be related to the volume issue.

      I’ll try to have a chat with John Fields from Peavey – he once explained everything I wrote in this article on my blog.



    • Reply Tobias Just

      13. May 2021, 23:40

      Hi again,

      so John Fields from Peavey has one more time proven to be a super nice and helpful person. He replied:

      @Tobias Just unfortunately, the control wouldn’t fit, but it could be modded for more, if really needed. The intention is that you could adjust the level on whatever you’re feeding it into…. it’s nominally hot, for that reason. Thanks again!

      Let’s take a moment and appreciate the chief engineer from Peavey taking the time to respond to peeps like me on YouTube. 🙂

      Anyway, this means that the level of the MSDI XRL jack should be fairly hot (loud) because you can always turn down the gain on the audio interface or whatever equipment you’re using. So if none of my previous points help you get a proper signal level, you might consider sending the amp to Peavey to have them take a closer look. You might also try to go to the music store you got the amp from and swap it for another Invective MH. Maybe you’ve been out of luck and got an Invective MH with a faulty MSDI. I haven’t played the MH, but the MSDI on the Peavey Invective 120 works perfect in any way, so the MSDI on the MH should work fine just as well.



  • Reply Arend Thorp

    14. May 2021, 4:33

    Thank you so much for all your help and for reaching out to John. I came across his posts and couldn’t remember where. It must have been your video. I asked him a couple of questions as well. Very cool that everyone is so helpful and responsive.

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