Help I have not bought equipment since mid 80's

I am new to the hi-fi world. My old stereo was purchased in the mid 80's when I was young and poor, therefore Lo-Fi (it survived a divorce, the ex didn’t even want it). I listen to music most of the day, so I want to hear music that makes me feel alive. Recently I decided to purchase a new stereo. Talk about overwhelming, and what a strange trip it has been. Going to the local stereo dealers is like walking onto a used car lot. They raved about B&K, and I ended up purchasing a PT5 and 4420. This thing sounds terrible, or at least it is not what I am looking for. When I told the guys at the local stereo shop this they look at me like I lost my mind. They are difficult to work with, they would like it if I just walked in, made a purchase, went home, shut up, and accept the crap I’ve bought. Anyway, this is what I currently have:

Pre: PT5
Amp: Krell 2250 (owned less than 30 days and can still return it)
Interconnects: audioquest viper
CD: Krell 280cd (owned less than 30 days and can still return it)
Speakers: Energy Veritas 2.4
Speaker cables: audioquest double bi-wire CV-6

I like the Krell sound, but I am willing to check other brands. I am considering a Krell 2250, 280p, and a 280cd. Is it worth the extra money or would a used 250a, 250p, and 250cd be a better choice? Or perhaps a mix of the two? Or would some other line of Krell be a better choice? Another brand perhaps? Any advise for a novice?
If you like the Krell, then why look for something else? Keep it. Remember, you have to live with it. Kudos on not being browbeaten into accepting the B&K, you're on the right track. Trust your ears. It seems to me, that instead of changing the components you already know you like, you should get rid of the B&K preamp first, and perhaps replace it with a Krell. It certainly sounds to me like you've found your brand, IMHO.
The pieces you describe are Krell mid fi they sound better than most equipment but not their high end stuff. I would return it asap depending on your budget. To buy the real Krell stuff your talking signiicantly more. You could look at Classe, Audio Research, McCormack, and many others.
Audioquest wire is generally very nuetral, I haven't heard the stuff you own.
I have not heard the Energy Veritas speakers either.
Let me know what your budget and goals are (home theater vs. two-channel or both. Also a budget
Slow down! Take it all back and find a dealer in your are that you can work with. Then work with them to put together a new system based on some used and new components (to fit whatever budget you want to spend) that you like the sound of. It seems to me like youu have just been running through a dark forest and buying whatever components you happen to run into. You need to get a simple system put together that you like. Listen to that for several months until you really know how it sounds, then start to audition new things one at a time and see if they help or hurt.
Its a mine field out there! You really have to invest some time in planning out your system before you start buying stuff. You need to address (1) What kind of sound do you want to hear such as warm, euphonic, neutral to the source, highly detailed (usually coolish in tone) etc. Then you should determine if you are going to make a one time purchase and just listen to music or if your coing to make this a hobby (you choice will determine the quality of the seperate pieces of equipment that you want to buy) and you have to set a budget. Buying piece meal, based on store recommendations, will lead you to the poor house quickly. There is a massive amount of info available on this site and on Audio Asylum - once you have some inclination about the type of sound you want you can start asking specific questions - for example, since you already have your speakers you could ask what type of amp works best with them and will produce a tone that you want. Then work backwards thru the chain til you have your system on paper. Then ask questions about your prospective system as a whole. Good luck.
Krell is good, but too much overpriced to get it new.
Try out McCormack gear that I consider much more bang for the buck.
Pre-amps are much more important than many people originally think. If you were to put something better than B & K in I think you would be much happier.

I'm not a real big fan of AudioQuest cable. I used to have all AudioQuest, but I got rid of it.

Those two are the weakest links of your system, IMO. It would sound better with other cables and a better pre-amp.

Krell is expensive, and sounds great.
I was gonna say what Newbee said, but he did it sooner and better.
Welcome to the minefield! As Lee Gomes wrote in today's "Wall Street Journal" in an excellent article in which he tells of attending T.H.E. Show to see how his iPod would sound through a $150,000 system, "A little sonic education might well lead to desire, which as every Buddhist knows, is the cause of all suffering".
I am in complete agreement with Rhum Runner. What you need is a competent guide through the crowded electronics marketplace. In the absence of a trusted friend with expertise in audiophilia, a good salesperson can be invaluable. A good salesperson can guide you toward identifying your musical priorities, and then setting up systems for you to audition that won't surpass your financial and domestic limitations. They should be patient while you educate yourself, and even encourage comparisons between their most suitable systems and those from other dealers. The best salespeople realize that helping a customer find happiness with a music system will mean return business and referrals, even if that means that the customer purchases an item or two from another dealer. Finding such dealers and salespeople can require patience, but the reward is substantial. It can even lead to gratifying longterm friendships.
1. Budget?
2. 2 channel or Home Theater(if so, what percent music vs movies)
3. Happy to buy used & demo to save 40-50%?
4. Where do you live...we can recommend dealers
5. Describe your sonic priorities

Lots of good advice here but here is where to start. Bring along your favorite music (a variety to listen to) and pick out a pair of speakers that you like first. Once you hear the pair you like then you can find out from other Agon members with the same speakers what amp to mate the speakers with. You DO NOT have to spend big bucks to get great sound, just system synergy. The Krell amp is very good for the used prices they go for but not for the $4K list price. Once you have the speakers and amp matched up, then focus on a source and then a preamp. There are some who will tell you that the preamp is critical for great sound and they are right but you need to hear what a good source will do first and then see what peramp will provide the best sonics and not reduce the sonics of the source.

Hope this helps.

So how did the iPod sound?
Thanks for all the advise. The equipment I have now has either been bought as demo, used or basically a couple months old. I would prefer not to pay retail. So far this is what it looks like:

PT5 - demo $400
2250 - demo $2600 (new $4000)
280cd - demo $1900 (new ($3500)
Energy Veritas 2.4 (used a few months)(new $3600) and a new set of Monster Z200i XLR interconnects (new in package and seal not broken) - $1800
interconnects: Vipers - demo $100 a set
CV6 - used $200

About my budget, it depends. I have a wonderful caring wife who does not care what I buy. Lets just say, I need to feel like I am getting what I am paying for. I could spend perhaps $10,000 or so on these items (used or demo).
I do not know the terminology to describe the sound I want, but I want to ease back, listen, and feel totally into the music. I am not looking for a rough ride. I do not want to feel tense while listening. I would like to enjoy the music, and at the same time not be aware that it is there. For now I would likely keep the speakers, but I am open to a different Amp, Pre, and CD, if it would give me better results.

I am looking for a 2-channel system mainly. BUT, my wife saw the plasma TV's when I took her to the local stores one day, and now she says she wants one. So, I will likely be thinking of a home theater system to add with the 2-channel in the future.

I am totally in agreement on ditching the PT5. In response to the advise on just purchasing a simple system and checking it out for a few months, that is basically what I had in mind. I bought the PT5 and 4420, and have been using my old pioneer cd player so I could add gear to it and check it out. I figured I could either put the B&K in my bedroom, the garage, or sell it when I am done with it.

I have also taken the following gear home and auditioned it.

Parasound A23 and P3
Energy Veritas 2.3
Monster HTS 5100
KAV 500
Krell HTS7.1
Bigbluebarnacle, according to the author, many of the audiophiles said it "sounded pretty good for digital", and they said 99% of the public wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But, the author also said he listened to "Take Five" sourced from the iPod and the same tune sourced from vinyl, and he could definitely tell the vinyl playback was superior. Really interesting column if you can track down a copy of today's "WSJ".
WTS, yep they've re-invented the wheel several times since 1985. Not to worry. My guess is you have too much of a good thing going there. I like the Energy sound alot but I'd say it's better suited to making softer electronics shine. You might try tempering your you-are-there Krell stuff with a more musical speaker. ProAc and Soliloquy are my faves.
Rockvirgo is right, in my experience. I have tried the stand mounted Veritas (I think 2.3) and liked it quite a lot but tried it with a Conrad-Johnson 60 watt amp. I think you may want to think about getting into tubes as most equipment is now very easy to maintain and very musical. I have never liked the SS sound of Krell but am really quite prejudiced - have been using tubes since 1982. Another thing to consider is a tube pre-amp and a non-mechanical sounding SS amp. But again, the Veritas is a very detailed speaker and needs attention as to what drives it; can sound a bit thin and bleached out with wrong amp. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it seemed somewhat easy to drive. There are lots of good used tube amps for 500.00 - 2,000.00 that could make the Energy shine. I'll stick with my ProAcs and SETs, though.
If you want to keep the Energys, then I'd ditch the Krell and either go all tubes, or at least a tube preamp.

To me, your description of what you want is often referred to as a "laid-back" sound, where soundstage often appears relatively behind the speakers, vs. a more "forward"-sounding system that makes it seem like you're in front row. Forward sounding gear is often initially engaging & exciting, but can be fatiguing & grating over time. IMHO, both the Energy & Krell are usually described as more forward than laid-back. Not a great match together. You really need to hear some systems with tubes, and get a general feel for the differences above.

Your Home Theater comments, really throw a monkey wrench, because these qualities often provide the spark that makes action movies really pop. Nonetheless, my advice is to make the music sound right, and movie sound will always be okay. Optimizing for film will leave you fatigued when listening to 2 channel music.

Whoa! A lot of Krell bashers here. Krell seems to be a very polarizing brand, for some reason. I was in the same boat as you. I had 20+ year old stuff that I wanted to replace as well.

I can point to some analagous buying experience that might help you out. I bought the B&K PT3 last year and mated it first to a B&K amp and then to an Odyssey amp. The B&K combo sucked. That didn't last long. The B&K/Odyssey combo sounded pretty nice, but I knew there was better out there. There were sound artifacts in the presentaion that just bugged me. I just replaced these two pieces w/ the new Krell integrated, frankly I'm thrilled. I found the B&K to be a warm, fairly smooth, but with degrees of "tizziness". The odyssey didn't have a firm grip on my woofers, it presented a looser base response then I liked. Maybe it would have benefited from a better preamp. The Krell sounds terrific in comparision. IMO of course.

If I were you, I'd try out the Krell pre-amp to match your other Krell components or try the itegrated that I got. This would be a cheaper alternative. All balanced too.
So many replies to the original post...
I'm just going to add my two cents on the original message:
First, the Energy speakers need a long, long break-in period, start listening at 100 plus solid hours, they really change.
Second, Cardas cables (all around) may be a nice choice to tame the Energy aluminum dome sound, giving a little warmth. Also, I have found Bryston is a good match to many electronics products; Cardas cable w/Bryston has good synergy.
Finally, a good source is paramount! I'm using Muse for my front end, but so many other good pieces are available. For cheap, the Rega gear comes to mind.

Best of luck -- hope you find musical enjoyment soon!

*Have you heard Vienna Acoustics speakers? My favorite!