Speakers help for a newb...

Let me start off by saying I'm a total newb to the audio scene so if I sound like I don't know what I'm talking about it's because...I don't. A buddy of mine recommended I visit this site to get some expert opinions.

I have a $1000 budget and would like to purchase a pair of speakers (new or used). At the moment, all I have is a receiver (Rotel RSX 1056). My next purchase will be speakers if I can manager to not get so overwhelmed by all the choices out there.

Here are my criteria:

1. Must be at or under $1000

2. If used, must be in very good functional and cosmetic condition

3. Can be floorstanding or bookshelf.

4. The fact that my musical taste is all over the chart (from Bach to Morbid Angel) needs to be taken into consideration.

5. These speakers will be in our main living space (room size = 15 x 15). My wife would probably prefer something that doesn't visually overwhelm the space but that's not a huge concern for me.

Please let me know if I'm missing any important information for you guys to come up with some good recommendations.

I would suggest a pair of Magnepan MG12's. These can handle from rock to Classical and all in between. They are clean, pretty accurate but some may need a subwoofer to go with them and some not. You can usually find them here for around $650 to $800. Get the SN's and call Magnepan to see how old they are. Not to see if there are under warranty but some of the current Magnepan models have been on the market over 5 years. Not that it's a problem but My limit (knowingly is about 3 years or so).

Try and avoid speakers with foam surrounds especially if you live in a humid environment and if the speaker sat in in direct sunlight. Both cause foam surrounds to fail quicker. Take the same precautions with the maggies and keep them out of direct sunlight.
It is a very well balanced speaker and it's hard to beat at the used price.

Or opt for a pair of MMG's and a very good subwoofer like a Hsu and there are many others that are good and fit into your budget. The MMG's are smaller and produce less bass. The rest of the spectrum could be in the same ball park.

Good Luck and Happy Listening.
The glue holding the ribbons (? if that is what they are) on Maggies tends to dry out and the loose ribbon can "buzz" when driven. The fix is not expensive (glue-the correct type is readily available from on-line and local hardware stores) but is VERY time consuming, so beware. Personnaly I would recommend that you audition a pair of Vandersteins 2 Ci's. Huge bang for the buck. You will not need a sub, they do everything well, and, new outter "socks" for them are not expensive if needed. Check them out. I think you'll be glad that you did. PS. there is a nice looking pair of AR9's on this site for $600. They are a very nice speaker (my friend owned a pair driven by a Yamaha receiver and they sounded very nice). I don't think you can go wrong on that deal (if you don't like them you should have no trouble selling them). Check them out too, they would be a real bargain at the asking price.
The Magnepan MMG's
von Schweikert VR1's with their stands, around 750 tops....add a sub later if you feel like it, you can't go wrong....your amp has to put out 100 watts a side to power these.
Welcome. Sorry, but your 15 X 15 room (8' ceilings?) isn't the ideal place to start. Furthermore, I'd suggest you find speakers that work for you and then amplification that works for your speakers in your room, not speakers that work for your amplification.
You have to be very careful about speaker selection because your Rotel only outputs 75W per channel and many of the speakers today require more than that for clean sound. I was going to suggest NHT 2.5i's used, but you don't have enough power. I'm not sure you have enough power for the magnapan's that have been recommended.

I would actually look for a used pair of JBL L100's which would be a terrific match with your amp if you want great stereo for a wide range of music.
For a "newb" the Vandersteen 1C is an easy choice in the floor stand category.
For stand mounts, look at Quad 12L2.
Yes I have owned and enjoyed both.
While you can't go wrong with the Magnepan MMGs at under $600 new (especially because you can put the price you pay to a more expensive model), I agree with an earlier comment that 75w might not be enough for Maggies, With your power limits in mind I would second the Vandersteen 1C (if you like a speaker built from the low end up) and another good choice is the Monitor Audio RS-6. While new, the Revel F-12's are a little over your budget, used they would be a good choice.
A second for the Von Schweikert VR-1. They come up fairly regularly for sale here for $500-600.
Kxshook...you mention that all you have is the Rotel RSX 1056 receiver. Does this mean you have no source (CD, DVD, DAC, turntable, etc...)? You will obviously need something to play music on :-) so make sure you budget some funds for that if that is indeed the case. As for your speaker question, I would give the Aperion Intimus 5T ($990/pr) and 6T ($1,390/pr) some consideration. Prices listed are for new so you should be able to get them used for under a $1000, although I do not see them on Agon at the moment. Also, Aperion has 30-day free in-home trial with free shipping both ways, so you can audition them in your system at home. The 6Ts were favorably reviewed (and won a bunch of awards) in Stereophile, Soundstage, Enjoythe Music.com and Playback magazines (online zine associated with The Absolute Sound magazine) and numerous other Home Theater publications. While I have not heard them, the accolades at least merit a looksie. Here are some of the reviews:
Happy shopping and good luck.
You mentioned that you were interested in a pair of speakers, yet your receiver is a multi-channel home theater receiver. I will assume that you purchased the receiver with the intent of utilizing the multi-channel capabilities most likely for watching movies.

For best performance, it is important that your front speakers (left, center and right) are matched. The dialog blends better when the front three are matched. Also, movies these days are loaded with bass so the consideration of a sub woofer is prudent.

Now then, is your $1000 budget for all speakers, just the front three, or only the left and right mains?

My personal preference for speakers is towers. I don't think I've heard any of the speakers that have been recommended already, but they all are highly regarded on this forum. I’ve owned a pair of PSB T45s and loved them. For the money, I think they are quite good. You could purchase the T45s and matching center C40 new, Blue Jeans cables and interconnects and still have money left over to put toward a sub or the DVD player.
I would suggest a pair of PSB T65 new for $799. You can also buy matching smaller speakers for surround sound later on if you wish. If you need a source how about a
Oppo 980H for $169. It plays CD,DVD,SA Audio and DVD-A can do a search and find out more.

Just a note here... or two.

Some here feel quite strongly about how to go about setting up a system As was said previously, speaks first then find an amp... obviously such is not your case here... but that won't halt those who feel strongly about those things... their thoughts carry some weight, yet aren't always congruent to the circumstances at hand.

No matter. There is more than one way to peel a banana so just log that for future use perhaps. Same thing for the room size.

We all started somewhere and likely things weren't optimum then, and many aren't now as optimized as they might wish.

So we do what we can and when we can with what we have to do it all with. Front to back, Back to front, Or from the inside out. Doesn't matter one wit which way you go... so long as you get into it.

if monitors (bookshelf) you'll need stands to do them justice. Floorstanders will take up just as much sq ft as mons on stands. Hmmm.

If you're looking ahead, and wanting to go multi ch, getting a pair of floorstanding speakers first isn't a terrible thought... just see if a center ch is made which will match the towers, so you can get it later on, eg., same brand probably at least. Same voiced center model is better.

tons of good choices here already. Silverline SR15s posted here now are fine units for either music or HT... they will need stands though. A sub too will help. I have a pair myself.

My last bit is stay as current as possible or within your limits, and give some creedence to their sensitivity and minimum impedance numbers. For your current issue (s) 89db & up, with imp ratings of 6 or higher will sure help with what you are using now, and make things a bit easier later on if an amp is added or outright wholesale changes are then made, you won't have to be looking about for high wattage amps only.

Check out some of the magazines buyers guides, make a few stops about your area and listen to a few models.

The thing about anything here... CDP, amps, speakers, etc. is that they are such subjective items. They'll sound different to two people standing side by each to one another in the exact same room! You've gotta pull the trigger and all we can do is point to what we dig now or have enjoyed previously using our gear and our ears. Which actually may... and or not, suit you.

...and remember, in building a rig... EVERYTHING MATTERS!

Paradigm S2 (v1)...monitor - needs good stands. I've seen several pairs recently that have been offered within your budget.

Stereophile Class A monitor (find reviews online)
Stunning finishes (high WAF)
Easy to drive (better w/ SS amps)
Just the right speaker for a 15x15 room

Good luck! ...and welcome to A'gon!
Even though it was probably at least in part directed at me, Blindjim makes a fair point. That said, I'm guessing that your room is almost half a cube. Notoriously challenging, especially within your budget. I usually agree that floorstanders are usually offer the best value, and the footprint is typically the same as minimonitors with stands. In this case I suspect speakers with limited bass output might work better. In situations such as yours, I recommend that whatever speakers and amplification you purcahse make absolutlely sure you can get a full refund if they don't work for you, or at the very least be able to resell them at minimal loss. I think your in for an odyssey.
Under $3000 you'll likely get a better speaker in a stand mount than floorstanding; too much of the budget goes into the cabinet.

I would consider NHT Classic Three. You can add a subwoofer later.
the vs vr1s and paradigm recommendations above are certainly good ones, but you'll need stands. i'd also look at monitor audio rs6/rs8 or vs vr2 floorstanders, which are fuller range and won't take up any more real estate.
How about Totem Arro? Used under $1000 from time to time here at Audiogon. Definitely wife friendly.
I thought of offering the Arro as a recommendation, too...great speaker!...but ultimately thought it lacked the slam effect the OP would be looking for when in a Morbid Angel mood : )
Vandy 2CE ssigs will be at the top end of your range, now that the Mark 2 has come out.
Triangle Celius.
Paradigms are good.
If you are thinking about HT, 5 NHT superzeros and a good sub will come in under your number.
I'd vote for the Vandersteens, or one other. Richard has a terrific product. Also, if you are near a dealer or don't mind doing business by UPS, they have an in home audition. I would at least recommend auditioning the little Maggies.
Years ago, the wonderful founder of Magnepan, Jim Winey told me in Chicago, at the CES, (that's how long ago this was), "If you let anyone out of your store without at least playing the SMGA's for him/her, you're foolish."

He was so right, I can't tell you how many SMGA's therefore small systems I put together for 'starter audiophiles'. One beautiful young blonde came in one day, and as I tried not to notice her beauty, and stay focused on the sale, I almost by accident sold her Harmon Kardon and Magnepan. This was the old HK, with great current output.
This beautiful girl was an attorney, who later became a local judge, and the last I heard, still owns the speakers. The sale happened a quarter of a century ago about 1984.

Vandersteen or Maggies for my recommendation.
Good Listening,
The previous responders are correct with the Vandersteens.
You will NOT need a subwoofer. Your room should be large enough not to have bass bloat as I did in my 14'x13' room.
But your room isn't that much larger so try and find a friend that has some Vandersteens that you can borrow. The Maggies still have IMO better mids and more open mids than the Vandersteen. It's all a matter of opinion you know. The top end is pretty close and the bass in smaller rooms to me is much better with the Maggies and Bass bloat is not usally a big problem. The problem the gentleman mentions about the quasi ribbon I would call Magnepan to verify that.
I know several Maggie owners and none of them have had those problems over a 10 year period. Direct sunlight is a problem for any speaker that is a planar, electrostatic or dynamic with foam surrounds. But when you speak of balance and especially if you like listening to classical, jazz, and many other types of music Maggies will impress you. My listening room was too small to accomodate my MG12's and I ended up with a pair of Spica TC60's which are still there 1 year later. But... I still remember and miss the Magnepan MG12's. They gave a bigger
sound. You will experience the same thing with the Vandersteens but make sure you get the Sound Anchor stands and put the heaviest material in them and that will help also. Vandersteen also makes some filters to help you control the amount of bass that enters your room. Check into that if you choose to go in that direction.
I'll make a different type of recommendation: get speakers you LOVE. Your first impression should be bedazzlement.

I have MMGs and heartily recommend them. (Love at first sight.) Two observations: they are cheap but will end up costing you a lot of money as you upgrade your amps. On the plus side, these speakers are moddable up to world-class status so they could end up being your final purchase. They should go well in your room. But don't put the rational considerations ahead of the Love. That's the first step.