I need 'decent' speakers for my cheap system

First, I should probably admit that I still have most of the 'hi-fi' gear that I acquired in the early '80s - which means, of course, that I do not have anything that would be considered 'hi-fi' these days.

Now, to try and make a long story short - I just purchased an almost-new Rotel RA 1070 and RCD 1070 for a VERY attractive price. I was actually looking around for a used Creek integrated amp and a quality CD player, but a friend-of-a-friend was willing to sell this Rotel stuff CHEAP.

So, now I'm looking to replace my old JBLs. I'll need a tuner and some other stuff too but new speakers are first.

I have spousal approval to spend $1K on speakers, which I can probably stretch to $1200 or so. I am hoping to buy a used pair of loudspeakers that will stay with us when I do (eventually) upgrade the amp and CD player. I realize that some of you will say that I should have bought a higher quality amp/source and went for better speakers later - but there is no going back for me now...

I listen to classic rock, blues, and some jazz in my carpeted living room (approx 18X20). I would prefer floorstanding models, but I will audition anything.

What are the most appropriate used loudspeakers in my price range? What about 'affordable' cables?

I would appreciate any assistance!
Paradigm Studio 60's version II are a good match to Rotel in that price range. Also look at Soliloquy 5.3 or Meadowlark Swift, both selling on Audiogon. Kimber Kable 8TC or Analysis Plus for speaker cables.
Not used but home brew so you get a very good deal. Dave Ellis 1801s. Hard to audition but I've heard them and they are very nice. These are a far cry from "decent" and your system won't sound "cheap" either. On top of it the woodworking is beautiful. He is a perfectionist.

Lots of choices out there.

I remain,
There is a pair of Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures for sale right now here on Audiogon (see the featured ads at the top of the sales listings). They're priced at $980, and you won't do any better for the price.
I second the Vandersteen recommendation.
I'm using NHT speakers with Rotel power amps, and I like the combo a lot. For around $1000, you should be able to pick up a used pair of 2.9s -- Stereophile Class B, which should last you beyond that Rotel as long as you avoid amps that are on the dry side.

Alternately, you could buy a used pair of 2.3s or early 2.5s if you don't like the metal tweeter sound, and get em for about $500.
Do you need spousal approval on the style and looks of the speaker too? Because in that case, you might want to look at smaller minimonitor speakers, such as those from Totem, the Dynaudio contour series, Revel m20, Amphion Argon2 (very high wife acceptance factor!) All of these speakers should produce excellent bass despite their small size. They should be available in the just over $1000 range on Audiogon. I agree that the Vandersteen 2ce's are great, but that mass of charcoal grey/back mesh look just doesn't fit my living room.

I'll jump on the Vandersteen bandwagon as well. Even if you pay full list price for the 2Ce Sigs, you will still have your self one hell of a bargain.

About 2 months ago, I auditioned the Vandersteen 2Ce (not the Sigs). At that point, I really didn't know a thing about the Vandersteen line. The imaging was excellent, the bass was full and satisfying, the high end was properly placed. There was something magical about the Vandersteen / Rogue / Sony setup I was listening to. As I would listen with my eyes closed, I could feel my pupils darting back and forth "looking" at the soundstage.

When the dealer asked me what I thought, I told him my nitpicks, and my praises. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "For a $6k speaker, they sound pretty good." It wasn't until I got home and started to research to what I had listened did I discover the cost of the components.

And mind you, these wern't the Sig line.

If you find a pair of the 2Ce Sigs for under $1k, snatch them up and dance a jig.
I agree with the Vandy recommendations, they will fill a room with very pleasant sound with decent quality solid state gear. A friend had a Vandy system with all Adcom gear and it sounded very nice on all music. They sound especially good biwired, maybe it has to do with the passive woofer but the bass tightens a great deal biwired.

Also do not cut corners with wire, I believe you will get better sound with cheaper speakers (maybe Vandy 1B's) and better wire than the other way around (within reason)
Totem Sttaf floorstanders used in this price range and you can upgrade source/amplification later and the Totems will run right along.
My recollection was that when I looked at Vandy's years ago, they were a lot more sensitive to room placement in the sense that they really didn't like being in corners or, for that matter, anywhere *near* a corner. I know, ideally, most speakers are supposed to be somewhere like 1/5 to 1/3 of the room width away from the side walls, but my sense was that (at least the 3s) weren't as tolerant as, for example, minimonitors to accommodating the realities of most people's living spaces. I keep seeing recommendations for the 2Ce's and 3's on A'gon forums, but I got driven away by the compromises I had to make in my life at that time placement-wise. Maybe some Vandy owners can chime in if I'm right, because its something to consider if my memory is right (its generally pretty bad, frankly). They sure sounded good tho'. Also, if you do go the minimonitor route (might look at the ProAcs as well), you should budget some funds for some good solid spiked stands.
Spendor sp3/1p you will own for life, moving them around the house as you develop a ref system someday. Used for about $800, a STUNNINGLY realistic apeaker. I use 'em in a second FM/HT system with NAD 5.1 receiver and am VERY pleased. Good Luck.
There are hundreds of speakers that fit your needs. I have put many systems together for myself and friends. Always take your room size,layout and flexability of speaker placement into account first. Your rotel equipment is really not to bad and you said your going to keep it for awhile. Your room is really a plus for you size wise because it will let you use floor or stand mount speakers with very good results. ( as long as your wife is not to fussy.) Some are. You will need some speakers that are not to hard for you amp to drive and fill your nice size room with sound. Your Rotel can sound vary good if you do not over work it. You and I can not afford speakers that do it all so get some speakers that will do most of what (YOU) want them to do. Classic rock does not sound good on hyper detailed speakers. Get a good all around speaker for your music tastes,something with easy and good resale value. Get something that will make you happy now but will only get much better if you upgrade your equipment down the road. The vandersteen fits the bill and so does the spendor line of speakers. Also: Psb,snell,vmps, and alot more.
These are on audoigon: Vandersteen 1,2 and 3's-Mirage M5si-B&W 804-Snell typeA,type EII, and snell CV- Dunlavy SCII-B&W 604s3- Paradigm studio 60-snell type D-Spendor SP100. They are all in your price range. There are a lot more.
Sogood51, I have to disagree on one of your points...there are plenty of (what I consider) reasonably priced speakers out there. The Vandersteen, Theil, and Dunlavy lines are perfect examples. You can spend less than $1000.00 or more than $10,000.00 (a stupid amount IMHO). However, each of these lines (no matter the price) use 1st order crossovers, are time and phase aligned, and will basically not be out-classed by any hardware you match with them.

I'm not a believer that expensive hardware automatically sounds better than inexpensive hardware. Also, I'm not the type of person to attempt to acquire the last 5% of audio nirvana with a cost-no-object fervor. I guess that's where I draw the line.

However, I don't believe that you can emphasize the following enough: Always take your room size, layout and flexability of speaker placement into account first. I have B&W Nautilus 805s driven with Rotel hardware. Until I have a better physical space for my toys, I have no desire to upgrade. Well, I have a desire....but I can't justify it.
I had Vandersteen 2ce for a while and got a great used deal on them but I like my current Paradigm Reference 100.2s better in may aspects but especially soundstage presentation which is #1 one in my book.
Wow! I am pleasantly surprised at how many responses have been posted, and I do appreciate it!

I expected a couple of people to mention Paradigm, and a coworker told me about Meadowlark. I had heard the Vandersteen name, but never actually seen any of their products. It looks like I have a bit of research ahead of me...

There is a gentleman across town with a pair of Coincident Conquest floorstanders for sale. I know nothing about Coincident but I have the feeling that they're geared toward tube amps - is this correct?

Should I even take the time to audition them or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Everyone - Thanks again!