What enhances the distortion of electric guitars?

A little preface, I was using the Emotiva DC-1 Stealth Dac with the Ansynchronous filtering mode on and I just wasn’t happy with how Rock and Metal sounded. I turned the feature off and the guitars sounded more like they should, distorted / crunchy.

My question is this, what aspect of a stereo system enchances the pleasing effect of distorted guitars. Is there something specifically I should be looking for? Cleary the “Advanced ASRC (asynchronous sample rate converter)” on my DAC was having a negative effect but I have no idea why.

Any help is appreciated.


It’s more “what preserves more of the incoming data?” The better fidelity your DAC has to it’s inputs the better a distorted guitar will sound - it will sound more like what the performer/masterer, etc. were aiming for. ASRC basically encodes incoming jitter into your datastream so it doesn’t hurt too bad with a very low jitter setup, but hurts more and more as incoming jitter rises.
I’ve also experienced systems that otherwise sound find going nuts with a distorted guitar…


Thank you Ted, I presently use a Bluesound Node2i with a IFI IPurifier2, I figured the jitter was pretty low but perhaps it could be even lower.

Follow up question, what exactly is the ASRC doing, I know its supposed to “reduce jitter” but you are saying it “encoded jitter into your datastream”. What does this all mean in laymens terms?

ASRC has low jitter on it’s output (if it’s clock is accurate) so it appears to lower jitter, but it does it by (in effect) reconstructing the input with the input clock and then resampling it with the output clock. Usually these two clocks are different, e.g. going from 44.1k to 96k, or for video purposes 44.059 to 44.1 (or vise versa) But when the input and the output are nominally the same rate you are in essence swapping the effects of how the ASRC handles input jitter compared to how your DAC chip proper handles jitter. The early or late incoming clocks can make the wave form a little to high or too low (assuming it’s changing) when the output clock samples things so you are in effect encoding the incoming jitter into the datastream. For many people (but by no means all) this sounds less bad than the way many DACs handle that jitter: having a ASRC on or off is purely a choice on what you think sounds best.