Why does my old CD player sound so much better than my new streamer?

Earlier this year I upgraded my system. Briefly, new Prima Luna Dialogue Premium HP integrated, new Lumin D2 streamer/DAC, kept my Tekton speakers, bought a 10 year old Muse Erato CD player, new Nordost Red Dawn cables all around.  After plenty of break in, the Lumin D2 streaming Tidal, even 24/96, does not sound close to as good as the Muse Erato.  I understand the Muse was about $10k new years ago, I paid $650 for it on Audiogon, is that the difference? It replaced my Naim I had for 20+ years and I bought it on the chance I want to listen to something not on Tidal, but now I'm going to CDs when I want to sit and listen instead of streaming. I considered upgrading to the Lumin T2, but will that be more of the same Lumin sound, which is accurate but thin and a little cold compared to the Muse.  I like the Lumin when just letting Tidal shuffle music as I move around the house, but from the opening note in an A/B test the Muse just sounds so much warmer, live and simply more enjoyable. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Showing 6 responses by geoffkait

Is Tru-Fi kind of the European version of Tuning? It sure sounds like it, on more than one level.
My mumbo jumbo meter just went haywire. 🧭 Yikes!
As I’ve oft reported on these fora the problem with digital playback originates in the CD player - specifically in the CD transport. The problems inherent in CD transport design occur in the first microsecond when the nanoscale laser beam reads the physical data carved into the metal layer of the CD. Yes, I realize Compact Discs have always been promoted to sound perfect, with extremely high SNR and Dynamic Range. But what instantly degrades the sound are external vibration, the vibration of the CD itself whilst spinning and background scattered laser light getting into the photo detector. 👀 These oft overlooked or ignored problems cannot be corrected downstream. Not by the DAC, not by jitter reduction boxes, etc. Can I be the only person in the world who’s heard what is actually recorded on CDs? You guys are missing about 50% of it. In terms of SNR, dynamic range and detail. I’m not hot doggin ya! 🌭It’s no wonder so many folks get on board the Audio Nervous train 🚂 and can never get off. We’re all bozos on this train. 🤡
I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. A cheap cassette player is more musical than most CD systems. It’s more dynamic, has better tonality, it’s sweeter and has more air.

Broken hands on broken ploughs,
Broken treaties, broken vows,
Broken pipes, broken tools,
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
Everything is broken
By the time the data gets to the DAC its too late. The damage is done in the first picosecond as the laser reads the physical data on the disc. There's absolutely nothing you can do to reverse the damage once it occurs. Sorry to be the bearer of bad gnus.
He who laughs last laughs best. 🤡