The New Audio Geeks – by Steven Kurutz

In his bachelor days in the late ’80s, Philip Elias lived in a town house in Pittsburgh wired for jaw-dropping sound. He owned a Bang & Olufsen Beocenter 9500 music system with three pairs of B&O Penta 3 tower speakers, each set up in a different room. Sometimes he would invite friends over and crack open a new album as if he were uncorking a great bottle of wine.

The speakers, which cost around $5,000 a pair and required months of saving to buy, were as breathtaking in design as they were in sonic quality, Mr. Elias said: “Architecturally, they were sensual. Almost something out of the Museum of Modern Art. That was important. They made a statement above the sound.”

These days, Mr. Elias, 58, is an advertising executive who lives with his wife and three children in a house in Pittsburgh with enough high-end audio gear to open a stereo showroom, including a...

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