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?

“streamer users are fashion victims just like the first transistor users.”

Respectfully disagree, that’s a polite way of saying it....it’s all so subjective (room, system, etc.)...a few of us did a blind test where we listened to the same tunes from a CD and a streamer. We all picked the steamer.  Files were the same size. The high res files to me are Nirvana..  The tube system used was excellent stuff but not the penultimate. 

I have been giving away Cd’s after ripping then. I now listen to music files from what was on CDs on a fashionable Streamer in my uber fashionable cloths.

We can all love our music any way it’s piped in. 

Facts are always leading and tell the real truth. I work in audio now for over 20 years of time. And I have done thousands of tests. And since 2012 we have tested many new DACS, network players and other digital sources.

The question: Is it more than normal that still many people use a CD-player or turntable?

The answer is: Yes, but there is a clear reason why?

The human emotion works to a great extent almost the same way. Regarding music diversity (layering) in sound is by far the most influential aspect of sound. Of all aspects/properties of sound, it can influence your emotion during listening to music the most.

The facts prove over and over again that many network players and DACS are often limited in diversity (layering) in sound. It is even very simple and clear that most humans don’t like most network players and DACS these days.

When a network player or DAC is not able to reveal a high level in layering no human will use this source a lot. After a short time, they will start to use it less rather quickly. Your emotion overrules and tells you that it is not intense or emotional enough during listening.

The harmonics you will find on each recording. There are even over 100 different harmonics. When a source or DAC can reveal more layers of the harmonics the human emotion will become a lot more intense.

Most CD-players and also turntables can create a lot more easy diversity (layering) in sound. This is why people describe them as more emotional. Because they are a lot more emotional than most network players and the latest DACS.

What is the reason why so many network players and DACS are so limited in creating layers in sound?

Because the insight and knowledge of manufacturers are not getting better than in the past. I think even worse. When we ask manufacturers the following 3 questions almost none can answer them.

- Can you tell us all the different aspects/properties of sound?

- Can you tell us all the different aspects which negatively influence sound and stage?

- Can you tell us how human emotion works regarding music?

When you have no idea about these questions it becomes even clear why audio products differ so much from how music, voices, and instruments sound in real.

Besides diversity (layering) in sound, there are 7 more other aspects/properties of sound. From which each individual aspect can influence human emotion during listening to music. And this is why you need all those different aspects to hear and perceive the full emotion of each recording.

When an audio system can let you hear and perceive all the details and aspects of the music, the level of emotion will be the highest. This also means that each human will experience a high level of emotion during listening to their own music.

When we judge most network players and DACS on all aspects of sound, the facts (sound and stage) will prove that most can not reveal all the aspects of sound. With the result that people will miss the connection and emotion of the music.

We work by all the aspects of sound, this is how we reproduce sound. So we can reveal all the details and different aspects of the recording. This will always create a superior level of emotion and intensity.

Since we know that diversity (layering) in sound is the most important aspect of sound. We put the most focus on this aspect for all our different modifications. We always do this together with the best specialists in this area.

We are Lumin dealer for 4 years of time now. And are specialized in all their products. We created a level in analog sound and layering what goes beyond all CD-players. The Lumin products are great but they are not perfect. This is why we adapt each Lumin product for all the different aspects of sound. And diversity (layering) in sound gets the most attention

We will soon place different reviews of owners here at Audiogon. They will tell in detail how our modified products changed their thoughts about network players and digital audio. And what it did change to their experience with audio and their emotion.

When we invite new clients. We let them hear with their own music the differences between:

- streaming by Qobuz
- streaming by a Synology NAS
- streaming by a modified Lumin L1 music server.

We always use the same music at the same bit rate.

Question: are the differences big?

The answer is; yes they are even huge. And most new clients had no idea that the differences could be so big. Almost all our Lumin clients use a Lumin L1 music server. The distributor of Lumin in my country will visit a few of our clients with the people of Lumin.

We want to show them how much more you can get out of each Lumin product.

The modified Lumin L1 is over 70% better compared to streaming by Qobuz. It also outperforms the Synology Nas on all aspects of sound.

What does a modified Lumin L1 add to all aspects of sound?

When we use the same song with the modified L1 for the first time we directly see the big smile on people their faces. And often they say; this is not even comparable. It is a different world.

The level in layering is so much bigger, that all people directly experience a lot more emotion and intensity. The stage becomes, wider and bigger. Even the level in diversity in height (differences in height of voices and instruments) becomes a lot more apparent. The dynamics are bigger and you hear so much more details, Small recordings become a lot more intimate and palpable.

What are the differences between all Lumin network players?

We sold all different Lumin network players. So we know them all very well. And most we also modified. We even modify the Lumin L1.

The Lumin D1, D2, T1 and A1 all use the same DAC. We created the AudioFacts Pro modification for all different Lumin products. We even created a new modification for the T2. The T2 uses a different DAC and also a different power supply.

All D1’s and D2’s we sold with a modified Sbooster. For the D2 we have a special build external input for the use of a Sbooster. Sbooster has built this, especially for some Lumin network players.

It brings the D1 and D2 to a superior level when you connect a modified Sbooster to it. The D1 and D2 with a Pro modification outperformed the Lumin A1 even on all 8 aspects of sound. The parts we use are even superior compared to those which are used in the A1.

The Lumin T2 uses a new double Sabre DAC 9028 Pro. It is a lot less analog and involving than the D1 and D1 are. So we had to adapt it a lot to create a more analog sound. And also an improved level in diversity in sound. We also use a modified Sbooster with the T2. This makes a huge difference. In 3 weeks a client of ours will put a review of it here on Audiogon.

We were the first company in Europe who received the Lumin X1. Even no company in the US owned an X1 at that time. We modified the power supply. What brings the X1 to an even higher level in realism and coherent sound. Before we used the Lumin S1. What is still a great player. But the modified X1 comes from a different planet.

When I started in 2012 to test many network players and DACS I was very disappointed. I had sold my 25000 dollar Meridian DACv4 and thought it would become easy to surpass the Meridian. But it took us a long time to find and create a new level in the analog sound that surpasses CD-players. But now in 2019 after 4 years of being an official Lumin dealer, we are so blessed. Together with the best specialists in modifications, we reached a level we could only dream of.

Research and innovation are needed to bring network players to a much higher level in realism and emotion. It is always our goal to help people to bring them as close as possible to the emotion of their beloved music.

@ bo1972

I am thinking about upgrading my D2 and I like the idea of the L1 especially if the sound quality is better than streaming from a NAS.Do you connect the L1 directly to a Lumin streamer via usb, or with ethernet to the network?And is there any trick to use it as a Roon storage somehow?My Roon core is on the NAS, and as far as I know the only way is to connect the L1 directly to the core computer via usb, but that does not seem the best option considering the sound quality...?


You always connect the L1 into a network. Lumin works totally different than all other brands that sell network players. We are a company that shares a lot of insight and knowledge directly to manufacturers when this is possible.

We even have a network specialist who knows a lot about everything that relates to networks. First I used an IFI power supply on our network switch. But one day I tried to connect a modified SBooster (what is over 200% better than a standard Sbooster) to the Network switch. It was one of the biggest discoveries I ever did in audio.

These days most of our clients use a modified Sbooster on their switch. What I did I send a Sbooster to clients. Just to take a listen. I never got one back. It is difficult to understand. What it does is so impressive. We had discussions about this with different manufacturers. Sbooster said that the extreme benefit of a modified Sbooster put on a network switch only works for Lumin network players.

I am a music addict since I was 6. Now I have for over 25000 dollars of music on my Lumin L1. I spend about 200 dollars each month on new music. Music which is put on a modified Lumin L1 is far superior to any kind of streaming or Roon. I understand the convenience of Roon. But it is inferior to the same music played by a modified Lumin L1.

Most of our clients use both the L1 and steaming by Qobuz, Roon or Tidal. But they all agree that streaming with a modified Lumin L1 is from a different level. Our clients use the word addictive a lot when they talk about the modified Lumin L1. They often stream a lot less after they bought a modified Lumin L1.

The reason for this is the much higher level of emotion. This is why I often say: "Emotion is the only key to success and happiness in audio" . The USB of the Lumin L1 is only used for storage. USB is one of the main reasons why people experience music without emotion.

We talked to people who develop and create DACS and network players. They said that USB never should have been chosen for audio. All tests we did with the use of USB we hear that the level in diversity (layering) is limited. So it becomes clear why people prefer their CD-player or even turntable.

The reason why we modify network players with an inbuilt DAC is based on the fact that the level in layering is superior to even the most expensive DACS. We don’t sell any DAC at this moment. Because the tests prove that we easily can outperform network players with expensive DACS.

In our world, all choices are being made at the highest level in the end result we can achieve. It is always about effectiveness. In our word will never be room for second best or even less. It is our goal that each client will always get the best end result and quality for the money they spent.

You need to see the Lumin L1 as extra storage of your music beside streaming or Roon. We see also a lot of mistakes made with the settings of all Lumin network players. The unknown is still rather big in the world of audio.