Squeezebox: to FLAC or ALAC?
Mar 2, 2008 at 2:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16


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Feb 20, 2008
As I wait for my Squeezebox Duet to arrive I've been ripping CDs to lossless. On the Mac it is very easy to do ALAC in iTunes. No big deal to rip FLACs in Toast 7 either, but then I can't incorporate them into iTunes without a big hassle. The alternative seems to be to play FLACs via a not so great player and also end up schizoid with dueling music players.

Are there any real SQ advantages to supplying FLAC to Squeezebox from my dual 1.8 GHz G5 Mac to make me forsake ALAC?
Mar 2, 2008 at 4:41 AM Post #5 of 16
Well SqueezeCenter/SlimServer will lossless transcode automatically, so if you're like me and use iTunes for iPod, Apple TV, etc. just rip ALAC. Whatever format you choose you can change later with little hassle.

FLAC has the advantage of replaygain support if you need that, but otherwise they are pretty equal.
Mar 2, 2008 at 5:18 AM Post #6 of 16
they are both lossless, they can be transcoded one to the other, or to wav or aiff. as long as the rip was good they are bit identical. They sound the same, itunes is easy and that is why I use ALAC.

you should be fine with either one.
Mar 2, 2008 at 7:32 AM Post #7 of 16
Both ALAC and FLAC are lossless, so sound wise there are no difference.
Let features and software/hardware support be the main factor to choose between them.
Mar 2, 2008 at 3:31 PM Post #9 of 16
I use both.

And you can fast forward with ALAC on the squeezebox.

at least... im sure ive done it.
Mar 3, 2008 at 3:21 PM Post #10 of 16
I cannot I am afraid, just tried again, MP3 works, ALAC track doesn't. Can you try this again Duggeh, maybe it was a FLAC or MP3 playing when you tried it.
Mar 12, 2008 at 11:14 AM Post #12 of 16
A quick note on what's going on when you are using Slimserver/center for playing audio files on your SB :


Audio File => ALAC Decoder (not Apple's one but a opensource reverse engineered one) => Audio Stream (whose format depends on your slimcenter's settings) => plays on your SB


Audio File => Audio Stream (whose format depends on your slimcenter's settings) => plays on your SB3

So basically the only difference could come from the opensource ALAC decoder not doing its work properly. I was once sure I could hear difference between ALAC decoder and FLAC so I ran simple test : I did decode the same track (one ALAC and one FLAC) to AIFF using FLAC and ALAC decoder and did a simple diff between the 2 created files.........

.... and found no difference AT ALL !

As a consequence I can confirm that you can use either ALAC or FLAC without any sonic difference when played through SB.
Jul 31, 2008 at 7:52 AM Post #14 of 16

Originally Posted by alexdemaet /img/forum/go_quote.gif
All my tracks are in alac format (converted from wav to alac with dbpoweramp), and on the Squeezebox I can't fast forward either.

Guess you have reported the issue to the Squeezebox developers. Or at least made sure that they are aware of the issue.
Jul 31, 2008 at 10:30 AM Post #15 of 16

SB doesn't have native ALAC support and actually transcodes the files on the fly to wav during playback. This is why you can't fast forward or rewind. Also you will receive a slight cpu hit.

SB does have native FLAC support.

Quality wise there is no difference that I can hear despite transcoding (there shouldn't be unless they use an expectionally crappy decoder like winamp + flac).

Ripping to ALAC with iTunes is a cinch. Sure there are other ways to rip and advanced ways to rip to flac with eac but still...

Just confirmed no ff and rew in the 7.1 SB update as well regarding ALAC.

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