Sound files not playing in the iNaturalist player

NB this is partially related to this post :
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/some-wav-files-wont-play-in-firefox-desktop-browser/3502

I encounter some problems to play some sounds in the iNaturalist player while I can read all of them if I download the file locally on my machine.

My config :
Xubuntu 18.04
Firefox 68.0.2
Chromium 76.0.3809.100

Examples :

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30299971
.mpga file
Both Firefox and Chromium are unable to read them.
I can read them locally (VLC + the system default player called “Parole”)

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30896040
.m4a file
Firefox is not able to read it but it is OK with Chromium
Reads fine locally

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24986109
.wav file
Firefox is not able to read it but it is OK with Chromium
Reads fine locally

Strangely I can read without problem the following sound that is also a .wav file :
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31966759
I can also read the following one that is a .x-m4a file :
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31962376

Most audio files seem to be in .mp3 and I can read them without any problem.

I have found FF to be a useless for audio playback - endless problems on several sites. I have found Brave to be splendid in all regards, including much faster page loading and no problems with playback (on Ubuntu Studio 19.04). Give it try! {It’s a fork of Chromium.}

I tried a few of the above examples, and the only one that doesn’t work is the .mpga file. But that may be an issue with the file type not being web-compatible or iNat-compatible?

FWIW, we just rely on the browser to play sounds, so results will vary based on browser capabilities. Some things we could do to address this include

  • Prevent people from uploading sound formats we know won’t play in most browsers (we already do this for some formats, but clearly we’re missing others)
  • Try to convert all sounds to a relatively universal format like WAV or MP3 (harder for us since we don’t always know if conversion will succeed).