Budget - $500 shipoed, can go up a tad with good justification, but would like to be at or below this point.
Room size - about 350-400 square feet or so. Open on one corner to a small entryway (roughly factored in to that estimate, can measure it when I get home).
Use - 95% HT with a little games thrown in. For music, I usually just go 2.0 with my front towers.
Sub size - My current sub is the typical squarish, slot ported 12 incher. I probably need to keep the footprint to this range, though taller isn't necessarily a problem.
The twist - I'm more concerned with appearance in this case than performance, which is odd for me and most here, even a bit lame. BUT, with the size of the room, the neighbor factor and my expectations; I think I will be happy with the performance of most subs in this class for the listening environment.
I currently have an Acoustic Audio HD 12 that does the job to my satisfaction. A bit finicky about placement and slightly boomy with some content, but overall I'm relatively content, especially considering I bought it as a cheap, temporary sub that I'll retire to bedroom use. What I'm not content with is the quality of the enclosure, which I knew going in, but now want to remedy. So, I'm looking for opinions on the most attractive sub in my price range and more of a furniture grade cabinet, while of course still being a solid performer with regard to my expectations.
Though I've been looking at DIY and hope to do some in the future, it's prohibitive at the moment due to where I live and lack of access to the necessary tools, etc. I simply can't handle a full build currently. That said, I'm more than open to kits (cabinet only, or full kits) that only require assembly or potentially having a baffle cut. I can deal with stains, etc. but don't want to get into applying vaneer right now.
Though some will clash with my current speakers, I'm still open to all finishes: wood grain (as long as it's at least a real vaneer, no vinyl), gloss black or even white, whatever you have seen up close and know to be quality materials and nice looking. I just want something that will not be out of place in a modern living room with quality furniture. If I really can't get there on this budget, fair enough. Please point me to an example of where you think I need to be.
I've read through scores of posts on here about decisions like this... love them... strangely addicted to them. All are informative and helpful, so I'm familiar with most of the typical subs in this range. I just haven't come across much that addresses the asthetic issue directly for subs in particular and with the usual suspect, it's difficult to see many in person with all the ID companies, etc. What looks nice online may just be another vinyl covered cube...nothing wrong with that, just not what I'm looking for for this room.
Thanks a lot for any input.