Carpet is fine. Keep the little lady happy !
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I have never been a fan of wall to wall carpet for aesthetic reasons, though it probably is best for sound, in your case, as you are located on a slab.
If you did the vinyl flooring, I would add an area rug.
In addition, I would add wall coverings, shelving, bookcases- anything to break up and diffract sound, regardless of flooring choices. They also make the room interesting.
I have found that a room with good 'Feng Shui', usually sounds good, too.
Some acoustical materials are pretty. GIK makes art panels where they will silk screen anything you want. Some diffusers can look like sculpture.
I'm not sure what you are asking. Did you think the vinyl was prettier? The cork is really for any occupants underneath, but I encourage you to get flooring that's good on your feet. Concrete sucks to walk on and reflects energy to your joints.
If you go with planks plus rugs, that should be fine, and help mix it up. However, if it's all or nothing, the vinyl will be a bad idea. When selecting rugs in the showroom, put your ear up to it, you'll hear the better material will make you feel like you are listening in a cave.
Don't forget your ceiling. You can add some drama and romance with carefully chosen ceiling panels, or curtains draped horizontally. I get it that you don't want a room to look like a padded cell, but a perfectly rectangular room in white is equally boring. All carpet or all wood floors is also boring. Mix it up with some rugs, larger sculptures can act as diffusers. Soffit traps can add depth and color.
If you do decide to go with wall to wall carpet please invest in a natural wool carpet. Synthetics do not sound as good, I've wasted a fair amount of money on synthetic rugs in my room and wondered why the sound became hard and unpleasant, a nice thick wool rug and all is good, I have to assume the same would hold for carpet. Alternatively if a 80:20 or above wool is too pricey get a plain carpet and look for some good wool rugs on sale to apply to the main area between listening seat and speakers
Folkfreak has a good point about natural wool. It has much more natural sounding qualities. It also is tons more comfortable, and lasts about 3-5 times longer. However if you have a lot of humidity in your area and your basement, if that is where you are talking about, I would not suggest wool carpet or even carpet in general. But if it is not highly humid and you do get wool, your wife will probably be really happy with it.
Laminate floors are super cheap, very easy to clean, nice looking and long lasting. They're neutral to sound. Area rug on top is good idea. Wool carpet is the worst for health. It releases the most of dust in the air that you breathe and they're hard to clean. The more I deal with any other type of floor, the more I'm fan of laminate.
Slowhand - Things will absolutely sound brighter and livelier (maybe too lively) going from carpet to vinyl plank flooring. We did a refresh on our finished basement. Removed berber w/padding over concrete slab. Installed modular subfloor moisture barrier, Bella sound absorbing underlayment and finally, engineered hardwood flooring. This caused a major change in sonics (though expected) as noted above. For me, large area rugs & GIK acoustic panels were essential for happy listening. Good luck with your changes.
Laminate floor is not expensive, it's easy to install and it can give a room a good look for the cost. But the sound to me is terrible - even everyday sounds like walking, dropping a pen, and watching tv. It has a strange artificial resonance which I really don't like. So for sound I give it a big thumbs down.
An engineered floor can be problematic on a concrete slab. For my basement music room, my builder's supply store recommended against any type of wooden floor, even hardwood. Condensation issues, flooding issues, etc. Don't know if that could be a problem for you, but it's something to consider.
I eventually went with granite tile, which of course sounds bright. I mitigated this with a textured ceiling and irregular walls. And a large persian carpet. The room sounds lively but natural with ESL's.