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?
If you're tired of vinyl, you're tired of life
My experiences in digital do not include streaming or downloads. My CD rips are to CDs via the Alesis Masterlink. I still prefer the original DAT recordings from the 90s played back through my all tube/analog audio system. I can’t get the bass and dynamics from the DAT (Tascam) machine through it’s outputs. However, CD copies through Masterlink using only MAM-A and JVC audio CDs sound as good as the original CDs. My high end (not SOTA) CD players are very analog-like and certainly provide immense emotional satisfaction and layering of sound. Due to great mastering/remastering of many of my CDs, those CDs become my preference. Occasionally, an LP will surpass the well remastered version. I am speaking of Jazz and Classical, well mastered original rock LPs generally sound better their CD counterparts.

I was thinking of upgrading my best CD player to a COS Engineering H-1 DAC.  I am pending hearing it in my system.  In my friends system, it sounds twice as good in resolution and soundstaging.  I just wonder if it has the tonal richness and pacing of music as my own.
We did spend a lot of time in the diversity (layering) of sound in digital audio. We compared and listened to many DACS and network players. I started with it in 2012. I can say now in 2019 that by far most DACS and network players are all not able to create a satisfying level in emotion.

The level of diversity (layering) is often so limited. For no human being, this will ever create an emotional feeling. Sound has 100% nothing to with any silly kind of personal preference of it. The music which is recorded owns the emotion. So it makes sense that an audio system needs to reveal the details and different aspects of the music on the recording.

Besides the fact that most DACS and network players are poor in the harmonics of the music. They even miss more aspects/properties of sound. This will bring down the level of emotion even more. When manufacturers know very little about sound and music. And even know little about the different aspects which influence both sound and stage negatively.

You all understand now (I hope) why most products can never make you become happy. Because only emotion can lead to happiness in audio. I used and owned the most expensive CD-players in the world. When I started to look in 2012 to find a substitution for my CD-player, I found out that even regardless of money there was nothing I could live with.

An extreme perfectionist is always looking for things that need to be superior. So I made a lot of contacts with people who develope them. After different conversations, I knew that regardless of money I could never become happy. When we became Lumin dealer for the first time I had a feeling that it could be better than CD-players.

But I wanted more, so I wanted to outperform all CD-players and even turntables. So I started to find the best people in modifications in digital sources. I had a lot of ideas to improve digital audio to a new level in sound quality and emotion. Our modifications are not only focused on superior parts. But also focused on the influence of electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism on sound and stage. People have no idea how extreme the negative influence is of all these aspects on your digital source at home.

Now in 2019, our world has become a very promising and happy one. We made a lot of progress. I could never expect that we could even outperform turntables in layering in sound. When we compare a 180 grams Patricia Barber LP played on an expensive turntable I can outperform it on layering in sound with our DSD recording of it on each modified Lumin. We don’t even need to use our modified Lumin X1.

Dedication and innovation are needed to create new levels in digital audio. I think most manufacturers have been sleeping for many years now. When I compare 2012 against now, the facts still prove that most DACS and network players are very limited in layering in sound even today.

Money will never help you in audio. Regardless of money, most audio products can still not reveal all aspects of sound. Without all aspects of sound no audio system can ever make any human being satisfied for a longer period of time.


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. 🤡
Yes, the level of the jitter is a lot higher when you use a CD-player. The other problem almost all people make is the fact that they (wanna) believe that a separate DAC is always the best solution. This is only based on an assumption people want to believe. Only because it has been said. DACS still loses too much diversity (layering) in sound. Even the most expensive ones show the same limitations.


You can read whatever you want and think whatever you want. But these words and thoughts have no meaning when they are not the truth. Trial&error is the main reason why audio in 2019 has created a decreasing market. When I talk with manufacturers about the decreasing market in audio, they even agree with me that trial&error is ineffective and the reason why the market is decreasing.

But in the past, they all could get away with it because everyone believed in it. Now they all see that they can not change it anymore. The other important limitation can be found in the fact that humans can only perceive 1 to 3 aspects of sound at the same moment. You need to be able like I am to perceive all 8 aspects of sound within 1/10 of a second.

This is why money will never save and help you. When your brains are not fit to reveal all 8 aspects of sound you can never make the right decision in your choices in audio. I talked with hundreds of people. They all had similar experiences that trial&error makes them never find the sound and stage they hope for.

Trial&error is just like an illusion. Based on the 100% fact that it is not possible to understand what each individual part you change for another part does to the end result. It has no real foundation. In all the discussions I had with manufactures they all agreed that trial&error has no foundation.


You need to explain in detail what the full DNA (aspects/properties of sound) are of each individual part within your system.

After this, you need to explain in full detail what the influence is of electro-smog, the acoustic, magnetism and high-frequency noise on your sound and stage independently. When you are not able to do this, it is 100% impossible to understand what you are doing regarding your choices in audio.

Trial&error is nothing more than pure gambling in choices. This is why you keep on buying until you die. And still, your system is incomplete in aspects/properties of sound. So the level of emotion will always be limited. The money will never solve or help you to create an ultimate level in audio.

Because almost all produced audio products can still not reveal all aspects of sound. Everything you place into your system that is incomplete (lacks different aspects/properties of sound) will always create a negative influence on the end result. So the level in emotion and realism will stay low.