What equipment do professionals use to listen to music? Is it really all mp3 these days? Do they use bluetooth? I am mostly interested in classical music.

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    Aside from being present (usually performing in) at more live shows than most people, musicians have the same life situations in which they want to listen to music. So they drive their cars and may want to listen while they drive, and therefore either are using the radio, satellite radio, swapping CDs, or hooking up bluetooth or some kind of MP3 player. Maybe more pro musicians are also audiophiles, but at that point they are listening the same way audiophiles do, which is highly varied. In short, I don't think there's a dramatic difference in how musicians listen across the board. – Todd Wilcox Nov 13 '17 at 17:49
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    with his ears just like everyone else. – Neil Meyer Nov 14 '17 at 12:46
  • I humbly disagree with the moderators. This is not a topic primarily based on opinion, and there are facts and references to back up statements here. They are merely not yet presented in the answers. A considerable amount of market research exists that answers the original question (in the direction that my own answer supports). And, an industry worth billions of dollars is built around sound reproduction (e.g. one product is studio monitors, which focus on clarity more so than consumer audiophile equipment) for musicians and others who create sound professionally. – C Pat Str Nov 14 '17 at 18:32
  • I should add, market research shows that with the advent of home-based recording over the past 15 years, musicians are much more likely to use that related equipment (over consumer audiophile equipment) even for casual listening. – C Pat Str Nov 14 '17 at 18:40
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    @CPatStr - the stated reason is not the best one. The best reason to hold this question is because it's off topic. See Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. If you have a question about... - This question clearly has nothing to do with any of the topics enumerated there. – Stinkfoot Nov 14 '17 at 19:30

I am a professional musician. Based on my own experience, anecdotal observation, and articles I’ve read, we professional musicians are actually less likely to be audiophiles in the sense of being on a quest for the highest fidelity recordings.

Chosen formats are usually based on convenience or habit, whether MP3 or ones collection of old records. The important factor, typically, is clarity and differentiation of the instruments. A muddled recording won’t do, but that is rarely a problem these days—nor was it a problem in the old days after the introduction of “hi-fi” in the 40s.

The reason why many musicians are not concerned with format or finding the highest fidelity recordings may be because we have a skill of recreating music in our heads. For any recording I know well, I can isolate instruments, change dynamics, or make any number of changes while merely recalling the recording from memory.

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    Also, there are many scenarios where high-quality recordings simply aren't available, and one must make do with what exists. For a couple months I spent a lot of time transcribing/studying live recordings of Brad Mehldau at Sculler's in Boston. Terrible sound quality, but I just can't get enough of those solos. Bebop recordings from the 40s and 50s are often pretty bad quality, but that's what we have to work with. – jdjazz Nov 14 '17 at 5:10

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