However, your post did make me think of something. If they didn't destroy my old drop, perhaps that could be a cost effective way of making the return better. Take off the new, put back the old, add a filter box horizontally, and a new transition where the filter box is now. I'll call tomorrow and see if that is still a possibility. No doubt I'll have to pay a few hundred dollars for the modification, but that is perhaps a small amount among the five figures I've got into a total rework of the basement infrastructure.
What price happiness anyway?