Questions about tweaking Squeezebox software


I was playing around with my Squeezebox and noticed something. I was in the advanced settings, under "file types" and decided to disable everything that I don't use. Since all of my files are in AIFF format, I disabled everything else.

While in this section, there is a column which lists various file formats and in a corresponding column there is a selection of stream formats associated with the file format.

For the Aiff file format, they list Aiff, Flac and MP3 stream formats. I left the Aiff stream format as native. I then disabled the Flac stream format (the other option being ffmpeg) and the mp3 stream format. When I do this and play an Aiff file, all I get is static. When I re-enable the Flac stream option and set it to ffmpeg, the music plays fine.

My question is, why is this? Why would disabling the handling of flac streams having anything to do with playing files in Aiff format? Am I getting a flac stream from my Aiff files?

I dont't believe the Squeezebox hardware can natively decode AIFF like it can with FLAC or MP3, so it likely needs to get dynamically transcoded as FLAC to send to the Squeezebox.

That's my speculation.

Well, your speculation, at the least, offers an explanation that makes sense. Thanks.
That is correct; AIFF is NOT native to squeezebox. Go to the forums or check the specs on SB.
More info than you'll ever want to know about SB there.
FLAC is a lossless compressed format. SB uses FLAC by default I believe to stream higher res files for better bandwidth over the network, in particular WiFI networks that can become a bottleneck for transmitting data fast enough if uncompressed high res data streams were used. SB system is prone to fewer dropouts while playing as a result of limited network bandwidth. SOund quality does not suffer because lossless compression is used in FLAC.
Thanks for the info guys. I guess I should have checked other sources before asking here; but, I tend to consider the information that I get here to be more reliable than information that I get elsewhere.

Anyway, this is what I discovered, for those that may be interested.

First, the SBT does natively support AIFF files. The problem is that there is a bug in the software that prevents the SBT from decoding (if that's the proper word) AIFF files of greater than 16 bits and/or 48khz. I verified this using a 16/48 file with only the AIFF stream enabled. The 16/48 file played fine, but the 24/96 file only gave me static.

Second, (from what I read) you must enable the Flac stream under AIFF file types to get the 24/96 and greater AIFF files to play. They will play but a down conversion to 48khz occurs. Although I was able to verify that enabling the Flac stream works, I wasn't able to verify the down conversion part. I am, however able to hear the difference between playing a 24/96 flac file vs a 24/96 AIFF file. The 24/96 flac file has a more full bodied sound. Perhaps the down conversion thing is true or, of course, I'm fooling myself.

Third, and a offshoot of the above, is that the SBT does indeed fully support flac in native format. I converted some of my hi rez AIFF files to uncompressed flac and noticed an immediate improvement when doing an A/B comparison.

I don't think that this is so much of an example of flac being better than AIFF, but more of a work around to a limitation of the SBT.

I think that you guys lead me to my answer. Thanks.