What you describe is likely an accurate depiction of your experience in your system.
An average cd player likely outperforms a sub-optimally implemented streaming setup. The cd player is plug and play and the designer made his or her decisions and then sealed the box. You made the technical and qualitative decisions in your streaming system: software, cables, power, ethernet delivery, file/source selection etc, etc.
No offense intended but if your Carver cd player is outperforming your streaming setup, even a modest streaming setup, then you might consider revisiting your decisions on the streaming side of the equation. Many here have enough experience streaming that your original premise is fatally flawed.