Returning Marantz PM50

ScubaCollie

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For those who may not have viewed my last thread, a quick summary.

I have a Marantz PM50 from 1991, it's been a great amp, still sounds great and absolutely faultless.

However it doesnt have streaming or a remote.

I therefore purchased the WiimPro streamer, and thought I would treat myself to an amp with remote, therefore opted for the PM12 Special Edition.

I ended up returning the PM12 as didn't like the sound, compared to my PM50. Female vocals lacked emotion, and not as rich or detailed as the PM50.

I was therefore back in the market for another amp, and then realised the PM12 was a Class D, I therefore thought this may have been the reason for me preferring the PM50.

I therefore purchased the Marantz Model 50, and was sure this was going to be at least equal if not better than my PM50, as it's also a Class AB Amp.

Well nope, I've just arranged a return for this also.

Here's a few things I noted. (Whilst testing both Amps side by side by pulling the speaker plugs out of one and putting into the other).

Vocals are more upfront on the PM50 (but nicely balanced and not over powering), whereas they sound hidden away on the Model 50.

The Vocals really connect in an emotional way on the PM50, but they didn't on either the PM12SE or the Model 50.

Bass hits Stronger on the PM50, whereas it's more like a slap on the Model 50.

The PM50 has a much richer and detailed sound in the bass and mids with a nice sparkle to the highs compared to the Model 50, which sounds too soft and flat.

This PM50 has NEVER sounded under powered for my Monitor Audio 500 7G's, despite my room being approx 70ft in length, whereas the Model 50 definitely sounds under powered for these speakers/room, compared to my PM50.

This therefore brings me to the 'Why' ???

Why and how can an amplifier from 1991 out perform an Amp from today?

I'm wondering if this could be the reason......

Bit of a strange story, but if you look through some of my old posts from approx 2 years ago you will find it, but summary below.

My PM50 stopped working approx 2 years ago, powered on but no sound.

It had also suffered for a few years with the balance having to be shifted over to one side by quite some amount to balance the speakers.

The large volume knob was also loose and wobbly.

I was going to bin it, but thought would take it into work as there was a very clever guy, he was an Introvert, but one of the nicest most genuine people you could ever meet.

He repaired electronics for our industry and his office was like an Alladins Cave,.he spent all day in there alone repairing things.

I took the Amp in, asked him if he would mind taking a look before I bin it, and said I would pay for his time and parts expense if it can be saved.

Two days later, gets into work and the Amp was sitting on my desk, I went to see him and said its for the bin then is it?

He said he couldn't find anything wrong with it....he said may be I didn't have the correct input selected......and this I know was NOT the case!!

Anyway took it home, plugged it in, and it worked perfectly.

But not only did it now work, but it also no longer had a wobbly volume knob (was now nice and tight) but also the balance was spot on with the speakers, no longer needed to have one side turned up!

I also thought it sounded a lot better, but thought this was just because I thought he had done something to it.

I therefore went back into work the next day and asked him what he did, and how much i owed him, he claimed he didn't do anything to it......I said so what about the volume knob then? He said well I may have tightened that up whilst I was in there.....

Anyway he wouldn't take anything for it, but I made it up to him at Christmas, but he didn't know it was me, as I just said 'From Santa....' I thought we can both play that game lol

Therefore I'm wondering if he could have given this thing a boost or something whilst he was messing with it doing whatever he did?

All I do know is I'm now finding it difficult to replace this thing with a new one!!

And if it's nothing that he did to it, and just due to how these old Amps sound, then my advice to anybody in the market for an Amp is.....buy an old Vintage amp and not one of these new modern Amps!!
 
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I’m wondering if you can try an amp from another brand, as you’re not having much luck with those new Marantz models?

It’s a bit too simplistic to say that older amps are smoother or ‘warmer’, though maybe yours is, and so maybe this is highlighted when you hear a new model. Were the ones you heard at home brand new and fresh out of the box? If so, how many hours did you use them for?

There’s no way the new amps are underpowered, but you might be misleading yourself because they need more rotation of the volume control. Is that the case? If so, it’s nothing to do with power output.

Is your only source the Wimm streamer?
 
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DougK1

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I think your ears are wedded to a sound you have heard for years and anything else you listen to won't come close to its familiarity and cosiness. It's become like a nice pair of comfortable old shoes, but just like the old shoes it will eventually wear out and you will need to go through the break-in process all over again.

I doubt any brand of amp would suit your ear like the PM50. Stick with what you have because it is doubtful you will ever find another amp to truly replace it... but that day will certainly come.
 
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DougK1

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You have stated that all the amps you have tried so far nothing has had the bass your PM50 produces. A good friend gave me a tip once:
In the soundstage created between your speakers can you categorically place the positioning of the bass drum and the bass guitar - actually point at their placement in the mix? If you can't then what you have is bass without definition. Bass with definition can sound leaner due to its accuracy.

I have a Kenwood amp c1990, produces prodigious bass but it's just an homologous blob.
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
For those who may not have viewed my last thread, a quick summary.

I have a Marantz PM50 from 1991, it's been a great amp, still sounds great and absolutely faultless.

However it doesnt have streaming or a remote.

I therefore purchased the WiimPro streamer, and thought I would treat myself to an amp with remote, therefore opted for the PM12 Special Edition.

I ended up returning the PM12 as didn't like the sound, compared to my PM50. Female vocals lacked emotion, and not as rich or detailed as the PM50.

I was therefore back in the market for another amp, and then realised the PM12 was a Class D, I therefore thought this may have been the reason for me preferring the PM50.

I therefore purchased the Marantz Model 50, and was sure this was going to be at least equal if not better than my PM50, as it's also a Class AB Amp.

Well nope, I've just arranged a return for this also.

Here's a few things I noted. (Whilst testing both Amps side by side by pulling the speaker plugs out of one and putting into the other).

Vocals are more upfront on the PM50 (but nicely balanced and not over powering), whereas they sound hidden away on the Model 50.

The Vocals really connect in an emotional way on the PM50, but they didn't on either the PM12SE or the Model 50.

Bass hits Stronger on the PM50, whereas it's more like a slap on the Model 50.

The PM50 has a much richer and detailed sound in the bass and mids with a nice sparkle to the highs compared to the Model 50, which sounds too soft and flat.

This PM50 has NEVER sounded under powered for my Monitor Audio 500 7G's, despite my room being approx 70ft in length, whereas the Model 50 definitely sounds under powered for these speakers/room, compared to my PM50.

This therefore brings me to the 'Why' ???

Why and how can an amplifier from 1991 out perform an Amp from today?

I'm wondering if this could be the reason......

Bit of a strange story, but if you look through some of my old posts from approx 2 years ago you will find it, but summary below.

My PM50 stopped working approx 2 years ago, powered on but no sound.

It had also suffered for a few years with the balance having to be shifted over to one side by quite some amount to balance the speakers.

The large volume knob was also loose and wobbly.

I was going to bin it, but thought would take it into work as there was a very clever guy, he was an Introvert, but one of the nicest most genuine people you could ever meet.

He repaired electronics for our industry and his office was like an Alladins Cave,.he spent all day in there alone repairing things.

I took the Amp in, asked him if he would mind taking a look before I bin it, and said I would pay for his time and parts expense if it can be saved.

Two days later, gets into work and the Amp was sitting on my desk, I went to see him and said its for the bin then is it?

He said he couldn't find anything wrong with it....he said may be I didn't have the correct input selected......and this I know was NOT the case!!

Anyway took it home, plugged it in, and it worked perfectly.

But not only did it now work, but it also no longer had a wobbly volume knob (was now nice and tight) but also the balance was spot on with the speakers, no longer needed to have one side turned up!

I also thought it sounded a lot better, but thought this was just because I thought he had done something to it.

I therefore went back into work the next day and asked him what he did, and how much i owed him, he claimed he didn't do anything to it......I said so what about the volume knob then? He said well I may have tightened that up whilst I was in there.....

Anyway he wouldn't take anything for it, but I made it up to him at Christmas, but he didn't know it was me, as I just said 'From Santa....' I thought we can both play that game lol

Therefore I'm wondering if he could have given this thing a boost or something whilst he was messing with it doing whatever he did?

All I do know is I'm now finding it difficult to replace this thing with a new one!!

And if it's nothing that he did to it, and just due to how these old Amps sound, then my advice to anybody in the market for an Amp is.....buy an old Vintage amp and not one of these new modern Amps!!
If you like the sound stick with it. If you are streaming from the WiiM the only thing you would ever use the amp remote for is volume.

I have a Marantz from the early 2000s, like you I have tried newer models but like the sound. In comparison to more modern Amps the older Marantz seem to have slightly embellished bass given a big warm sound. Some other manufacturers, and newer amps don't always have that, what the give up.in that regard, they sometimes gain in detail and/or depth of soundstage.

In short the newer amps probably aren't better or worse they are just different.
 
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JDL

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For those who may not have viewed my last thread, a quick summary.

I have a Marantz PM50 from 1991, it's been a great amp, still sounds great and absolutely faultless.

However it doesnt have streaming or a remote.

I therefore purchased the WiimPro streamer, and thought I would treat myself to an amp with remote, therefore opted for the PM12 Special Edition.

I ended up returning the PM12 as didn't like the sound, compared to my PM50. Female vocals lacked emotion, and not as rich or detailed as the PM50.

I was therefore back in the market for another amp, and then realised the PM12 was a Class D, I therefore thought this may have been the reason for me preferring the PM50.

I therefore purchased the Marantz Model 50, and was sure this was going to be at least equal if not better than my PM50, as it's also a Class AB Amp.

Well nope, I've just arranged a return for this also.

Here's a few things I noted. (Whilst testing both Amps side by side by pulling the speaker plugs out of one and putting into the other).

Vocals are more upfront on the PM50 (but nicely balanced and not over powering), whereas they sound hidden away on the Model 50.

The Vocals really connect in an emotional way on the PM50, but they didn't on either the PM12SE or the Model 50.

Bass hits Stronger on the PM50, whereas it's more like a slap on the Model 50.

The PM50 has a much richer and detailed sound in the bass and mids with a nice sparkle to the highs compared to the Model 50, which sounds too soft and flat.

This PM50 has NEVER sounded under powered for my Monitor Audio 500 7G's, despite my room being approx 70ft in length, whereas the Model 50 definitely sounds under powered for these speakers/room, compared to my PM50.

This therefore brings me to the 'Why' ???

Why and how can an amplifier from 1991 out perform an Amp from today?

I'm wondering if this could be the reason......

Bit of a strange story, but if you look through some of my old posts from approx 2 years ago you will find it, but summary below.

My PM50 stopped working approx 2 years ago, powered on but no sound.

It had also suffered for a few years with the balance having to be shifted over to one side by quite some amount to balance the speakers.

The large volume knob was also loose and wobbly.

I was going to bin it, but thought would take it into work as there was a very clever guy, he was an Introvert, but one of the nicest most genuine people you could ever meet.

He repaired electronics for our industry and his office was like an Alladins Cave,.he spent all day in there alone repairing things.

I took the Amp in, asked him if he would mind taking a look before I bin it, and said I would pay for his time and parts expense if it can be saved.

Two days later, gets into work and the Amp was sitting on my desk, I went to see him and said its for the bin then is it?

He said he couldn't find anything wrong with it....he said may be I didn't have the correct input selected......and this I know was NOT the case!!

Anyway took it home, plugged it in, and it worked perfectly.

But not only did it now work, but it also no longer had a wobbly volume knob (was now nice and tight) but also the balance was spot on with the speakers, no longer needed to have one side turned up!

I also thought it sounded a lot better, but thought this was just because I thought he had done something to it.

I therefore went back into work the next day and asked him what he did, and how much i owed him, he claimed he didn't do anything to it......I said so what about the volume knob then? He said well I may have tightened that up whilst I was in there.....

Anyway he wouldn't take anything for it, but I made it up to him at Christmas, but he didn't know it was me, as I just said 'From Santa....' I thought we can both play that game lol

Therefore I'm wondering if he could have given this thing a boost or something whilst he was messing with it doing whatever he did?

All I do know is I'm now finding it difficult to replace this thing with a new one!!

And if it's nothing that he did to it, and just due to how these old Amps sound, then my advice to anybody in the market for an Amp is.....buy an old Vintage amp and not one of these new modern Amps!!
I think you're mistaken about Class D.
Before I got a Marantz Model 30, I 'd used first, a Marantz PM7200. As you probably know this is an AB integrated, with a Class A button type switch. That was a nice amp, purchased new from Richer Sounds in 2007. Incredible value for money I think.
Just over a year ago, I decided to replace it with a secondhand PM8005. I'd say the sound signature of this Class AB amp was similar to my previous one with added detail and punch, and it ran cooler.
About four months after that, I bought an almost new Marantz Model 30. There's absolutely no doubt, as far as I can tell, that the Model 30 is vastly superior to both my previous Marantz models. It certainly doesn't lack warmth by any means. Moreover, with the tone controls, that can be switched in or out via the remote control, one has the option of attempting to compensate for bad recordings or problems with room acoustics, etc. I can only attest to my own opinion that the Model 30 is a great sounding amp. I think any written review you care to read will agree.
As an aside, I recently swapped by bass guitar Combo amp for a Class D, Eden 200 Watt combo. It's a nice little small and light unit, but the depth and warmth of sound is great. Just as good or better sounding than any of my previous equipment. I've had Valve amps, class AB and D. The sound of the Class D, equals anything for depth and warmth. It beats the Valve amp (Orange AD 200B) hands down.
In my mind the Marantz Model 30 is a wonderful sounding amp. The detail, depth, everything. I really can't fault it. I've use it from 8am, until midnight every single day for months at a time since I got it and I've never heard anything other than a highly satisfactory amp. It reveals recording quality problems, source sound differences and the differences in speakers. A highly revealing amp that never runs beyond slightly warm to the touch, however hard it's pushed.
When I compared it's sound to a Musical Fidelity KW750 belonging to a gentleman I bought some speakers from, I'm convinced the Marantz beat this amp for realism, depth, detail hands down.
I will say I'm extremely fortunate with my room acoustics, I can't fault the sound achieved by my set up.
I'm saying all this, not as a boast but really, in defence of Marantz and their decision to use Class D in their power sections.
I did a pile of reading before purchasing my the Model 30. I came across a discussion on a forum.
An American guy had an older Class AB, PM10 and a new Class D, PM10 SE. His opinion was that the new one absolutely bettered his older one in every way. In addition scientific measurements have confirmed the truth of this superiority.
 
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JDL

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Jun 13, 2023
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I'm using a pair of B&W 805 Matrix from around 1990. I went and purchased a pair of B&W 802 Matrix Series 2s with stands about six months ago. I removed the Crossovers, sent them somewhere to be recapped and spent hours and some funds to completely restore the 802s. The Marantz is easily capable of revealing the similar but different sound signatures of these two sets of speakers.
I ended up deciding that I prefer the sound of the smaller 805s. After a week of listening, I took the 802s out and put them into storage.
The 805s have a faster bass response and I would say that they're just a little more neutral than the their bigger brothers.
What I didn't mention either which may or may not be of interest notwithstanding it's interest to me, is that I listen to CDs only.
I use my CD players over and over, recurrently, often for sixteen hours a day for days at a time. I don't own, and I don't watch the television. Furthermore I have no intention or desire to have one of these devices in my house hence music is my main form of entertainment.
Because of my reliance on CDs, I have collected a few CD players secondhand. They can be acquired very cheaply, and with careful choosing, I believe one can pick up some beautifully made older players for peanuts, relatively speaking.
I now have A Meridian 508.20. It's been completely rebuilt. New Lasers, full re-cap and service. My brother named this player "The Boss". I also have an immaculate perfectly working Meridian 206. A Sony XA30ES, an Onkyo Integra DX7711 and a JVC XL-Z555 SuperDigifine.
The Marantz Model 30, is very easily capable enough, to reveal the subtle differences between these CD players.
In addition, it is very easily capable of revealing the recording and mastering quality of the CDs I play through it, and very often I can hear the differences in the studios or halls in which a piece was recorded.
I listen now mainly to Classical music and I find it truly fascinating to analyse what I'm hearing. I have several recordings on CD, of some of my favourite pieces and I'm often in disagreement with critics and their opinions, of what are the best recordings available on CD of particular pieces, and who are the best recording artists.
Apologies for rambling on and perhaps widening the topic being discussed. However, my point, is that Class D has come a long way from it's beginnings. The perceived shortcomings of Class D Amplifiers have undoubtedly been successfully overcome. I think many people have misconceptions about Class D as well.
I notice furthermore, that Cambridge Audio, are about to replace their Class AB, CX Series amplifiers with Class D, using Hypex modules. Marantz use Hypex as well, modified by themselves. In my opinion very successfully. 🙂
I can't help saying, that I'm of the opinion that the problem that the Gentleman who purchased himself a lovely new Marantz PM12 SE, was not down to any shortcomings of this amplifier. I believe his problems were down to room acoustics, the 'warm' sound characteristics that he'd become accustomed to and quite possible speaker choice.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Every component adds or subtracts something. Every record is mixed differently. Anyone who thinks they are getting the perfect reproduction is kidding themselves. All you can ask for is a sound you like.
That's all true but the best distort the original less than ever - though some prefer a very obvious warming / softening of the original sound.

I don't think many here expect to ever hear perfect reproduction....especially those of us who've worked in live music venues 👍
 

manicm

Well-known member
I'm using a pair of B&W 805 Matrix from around 1990. I went and purchased a pair of B&W 802 Matrix Series 2s with stands about six months ago. I removed the Crossovers, sent them somewhere to be recapped and spent hours and some funds to completely restore the 802s. The Marantz is easily capable of revealing the similar but different sound signatures of these two sets of speakers.
I ended up deciding that I prefer the sound of the smaller 805s. After a week of listening, I took the 802s out and put them into storage.
The 805s have a faster bass response and I would say that they're just a little more neutral than the their bigger brothers.
What I didn't mention either which may or may not be of interest notwithstanding it's interest to me, is that I listen to CDs only.
I use my CD players over and over, recurrently, often for sixteen hours a day for days at a time. I don't own, and I don't watch the television. Furthermore I have no intention or desire to have one of these devices in my house hence music is my main form of entertainment.
Because of my reliance on CDs, I have collected a few CD players secondhand. They can be acquired very cheaply, and with careful choosing, I believe one can pick up some beautifully made older players for peanuts, relatively speaking.
I now have A Meridian 508.20. It's been completely rebuilt. New Lasers, full re-cap and service. My brother named this player "The Boss". I also have an immaculate perfectly working Meridian 206. A Sony XA30ES, an Onkyo Integra DX7711 and a JVC XL-Z555 SuperDigifine.
The Marantz Model 30, is very easily capable enough, to reveal the subtle differences between these CD players.
In addition, it is very easily capable of revealing the recording and mastering quality of the CDs I play through it, and very often I can hear the differences in the studios or halls in which a piece was recorded.
I listen now mainly to Classical music and I find it truly fascinating to analyse what I'm hearing. I have several recordings on CD, of some of my favourite pieces and I'm often in disagreement with critics and their opinions, of what are the best recordings available on CD of particular pieces, and who are the best recording artists.
Apologies for rambling on and perhaps widening the topic being discussed. However, my point, is that Class D has come a long way from it's beginnings. The perceived shortcomings of Class D Amplifiers have undoubtedly been successfully overcome. I think many people have misconceptions about Class D as well.
I notice furthermore, that Cambridge Audio, are about to replace their Class AB, CX Series amplifiers with Class D, using Hypex modules. Marantz use Hypex as well, modified by themselves. In my opinion very successfully. 🙂
I can't help saying, that I'm of the opinion that the problem that the Gentleman who purchased himself a lovely new Marantz PM12 SE, was not down to any shortcomings of this amplifier. I believe his problems were down to room acoustics, the 'warm' sound characteristics that he'd become accustomed to and quite possible speaker choice.

A big draw for me with Class D amps, excuse the pun, is the reduced power consumption. But you seem to have insider information on the new CX range? Cambridge Audio a few years back seemed to suggest they won't pursue Class D on standalone amps after they launched the Evo range.
 

ScubaCollie

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A few replies to some of the above comments.

I'm not a Base Junkie, I actually prefer mids and female vocals, however I also like a nice balanced sound, with good balanced rich fill in the lower frequencies.

I have the Wiimpro, however also have a Pioneer N50, the Pioneer seems to provide a slightly better conversion.

I also don't believe the hype about burn in on new amps, I personally believe its your ears that adjust to the new sound.

This is where may be I will have an easier transition to a new amp once my amp eventually dies.

Because I have been doing side by side comparisons between both Amps, I can tell which one I prefer.

To provide some perspective, I purchased a new car Jan 23, and the sound system was absolutely terrible, with the Infotainment System that most modern cars are now fitted with, despite what speakers or tune they claim to be fitted with I.e Bose, Harman Kardon etc, they are still terrible sounding.

I like good quality sound, if it doesn't make me smile listening to it, then I'm not going to listen just for the sake of listening.

I've spent the last year tearing my car to pieces, and have sound deadend every piece of metal in the car, apart from the roof and floor. I then used acoustic foam over the top to isolate the road noise from the car interior.

Together with a complete rewire of all speaker cables directly from the DSP/Amp to the speakers, therefore not running anything in the sound system from the OEM, I even ran separate 12V from the battery through the bulkhead to feed everything.

I then installed an Audison DSP/Amp, together with Audison VOCE 3-Way Front Stage running Active,together with a Sub in the rear just to fill in on those lower frequencies that the 6.5's can't reach.

I'm feeding the DSP/Amp Optical directly into the DSP from a FIIO DIgital Audio Player.

I've spent several months tuning that DSP and it sounds incredible.

I spend a lot of time in my car travelling for work, and I can lock myself away and immerse myself in sound, what more could I want.

However the PM12SE and Model 50 don't even come anywhere close to sounding like my car system.

I'm happy with the Marantz PM50 and will likely not try any other Amps until this dies, and then may be able to make the switch to another amp easier, although who knows I may at that point decide to buy a used PM50 off ebay!!
 
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Fandango Andy

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That's all true but the best distort the original less than ever - though some prefer a very obvious warming / softening of the original sound.

I don't think many here expect to ever hear perfect reproduction....especially those of us who've worked in live music venues 👍
Having spent a lot of time in music venues, I'm sure those who have worked in them are just grateful to hear anything.

Joking asid, while I cannot disagree with anything you say, I stand by my comment, and do believe the less distortion you describe, while true is overshadowed by different "colour" of different systems.
 
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Gray

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Having spent a lot of time in music venues, I'm sure those who have worked in them are just grateful to hear anything.

Joking asid, while I cannot disagree with anything you say, I stand by my comment, and do believe the less distortion you describe, while true is overshadowed by different "colour" of different systems.
We're in perfect agreement Andy (y) - definitely the tonal colouration of the sound, rather than any virtually unmeasurable noise figures - which is all that 'distortion' used to mean to me...until I read this definition - which says it all and covers colouration:
But some people prefer the true meaning of their music to be changed :unsure: and that's their choice.
 
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ScubaCollie

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I've always believed the same Scuba.

Obviously your car sound is important to you, but I'm puzzled as to why your hi-fi listening room doesn't get anything like as much acoustic priority.
Because I can do what I like to my car as its my car and only me who drives it, however a home is different and if you're married then you need to be considerate to those who share it with you, and reach a compromise 👍
 
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