need 5 speaker setup; have 1200

A friend has bought my Yamaha 2095 and is looking to purchase a 5.1 speaker system and he has approximately $1200 to spend. He is new to home theater. His system will go into an 12 x 20 combo living/dining area with wood floors. He will be setting up the system along the long walls (viewing and listening across the narrow dimensions of the room). He will audition speakers in town but will purchase on audiogon or other similar site.

Two questions:
1) What price (retail) speakers should he audition and realistically be able to purchase on audiogon or ebay for around $1200?; and
2) What would you recommend he audition in that price range?

If you're gonna audition the speakers in a shop then you should buy them from that shop. leo.
Its not ethical to Audition at a dealer with no intent to buy.
Go to BEST BUY and the likes.Please dont waste the time of Hi End dealers if you only plan on using them and will buy from here.
Tell your friend to buy on recommendations and to not waste retailers time if he is not planning on purchasing from them. They are not there to let online shoppers help decide what speakers to buy used, they are there to provide service and advise real customers.
Without commenting on the points already made, I'd suggest your friend consider the PSB Alpha line. Another option is to contact Audio Advisor (Web:; phone: 1-800-942-0220) which sells several very good, inexpensive speakers, including the Sound Dynamics RTS-3, which has gotten very positive critical reviews. The RTS-3 is currently on sale at Audio Advisor for $200 per pair (normally $280/pr). They also have a sale price of $250 per pair on the Mission 771 (normally $400/pr). The third speaker on sale at AA for $500 (normally $750) is the JMLabs Opal 607, which would make good main speakers. Audio Advisor is an excellent retailer, and will provide your friend with very good advice plus a good price. The sale speakers are in limited supply, so your friend may want to act fairly soon if he's interested in any of these units.
Ignore the chippy responses above and chalk them up to the fact that many who post here work in the industry and have a financial axe to grind. An audio dealer, as much as any other business person, has an obligation to earn your patronage. I would not waste time going to a "high-end" audio salon given that you are looking for HT gear and your stated budget, as you are likely only to encounter more of the attitude of entitlement displayed above and shabby treatment. What do you think has driven so many of these dealers out of business?

Regarding your initial query, I would say that A-Gon is not the place to look for such gear as 5.1 speaker packages seldom appear here and buying multiple sets of speakers in the same finish is problematic. I second Sdcampbell on the Mission suggestion and would also add the KEF Crestas as a low price yet decent sounding alternative. Buying from Audio Advisor gives piece of mind via their return guarantee, although at a price premium. If you know that you definitely want a specific package without the return option, you can generally find a lower price on Yahoo Shopping.
Another option would be to dump the whole $1200.00 on a great pair of stereo speakers. You would be surprised how far down the road that will get you. Most audiophile minded people would start there, and then add on piece by piece. This is a slow going process but one that will pay off in the long run.

One plus is having more time to think, research and save for your next purchase.

Anyway, just some food for thought :~)
Glen has the idea. Sometimes less is more.
A pair of 1200 dollar speakers will ALWAYS sound better than 6 for 1200. you can get SO much good used for 1200 bucks, including a great pair of magnepan 1.6. Heck you can probably get a pair of 1.6 AND a sub for that if you are careful!
Docwarnock, I have absolutely no affiliation with any audio sales. Check my feedback... all purchases. The only time I go to audio stores is with my friends who always purchase new and locally. I hardly ever purchase new and I never purchase locally. BUT, I also never go to high end stores to audition without the intent of buying. It's not ethical. You said the dealer has to earn your business and they do but Dwwhitley's intent is just to waste the dealer's time. Want to pick your favorite shop from a few choices? Go ahead. Wanna pit one's prices against the others? No problem. Not planning at buying at either one? Don't even enter a store.
BTW, what drove "all those dealers" out of business is irrelevant. No one is forcing you to buy from any particular dealer. Even wasting their time probably won't drive them out of business since you were never a present/future customer to begin with.

Wow! what a lot of respect for audio stores! They must be a different group in your neck of the woods! I use the old 10 question test. You know, the dumb like a fox routine. Ask 10 questions that you already know the answer to when you walk in. My sad experience is that 9 of 10 audio stores fail miserably and would sell you whatever they need to move. I'm into ethics but it's nice when it moves both ways. Maybe I just have had bad luck!
Clueless, it's not respect for audio stores. It common decency as a human being. I've been in Tweeter a few times looking for random things because Radio Shack is further away. Not one salesman has ever passed the 10 question test (I use it for all kinds of stores). Actually I don't remember one passing a 5 question test. But just because they're stupid doesn't mean I should try and take advantage of them. leo.
try the kef package KHT2005---NEW
its a sattalite sub combo good for small rooms and sounds a million bux for what it is---it also has proper gold binding posts--sounds like a good match for a yamaha dsp amp....
i wouldnt personaly put a $1200 ''pair'' of speakers with a yamaha set up-----if i had a$1200 pair of speakers i'd put them in a dedicated music system------i think the kef 5.1 rig would sound good and be tidy and more than ample for home theatre considering the budget....
just my opinion/cheers
Leo, I did not get the idea that the salesman were stupid, rather, they thought I was stupid and were willing to say whatever it took... there is a difference.. I agree with you about common decency, except it just isn't so common anymore... especially in retail. I do understand what you are trying to say about simply respecting other people and I agree. Maybe I was being a little flip and thanks for the good words. Being a realist maybe I should use the 2 question test. I'll ask their name and one question and if they pass, I'll buy. Just kidding and thanks for the reply.
Clueless, you're right about the common decency not being common. I can't say "not common anymore" as I'm not that old (26) but I prefer to take the higher ground so I can sleep well at night. I have to agree with you about the stupid part too. I didn't say it right. What happens to you is exactly how it happens to me. I'm glad at least two of us agree on the being honest and ethical part. Thanks!