Difference between revisions of "Bluetooth headset"

From ArchWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Install Software Packages: dependencies are handled automatically by pacman)
Line 125: Line 125:
The core software components are [[ALSA]], Bluez5, [[Pulseaudio]].  However there are additional libraries which are required. As well as a player which can play audio files.  The following section lists the software packages installed in order to connect the headset and play audio over the headset.
The core software components are [[ALSA]], Bluez5, [[Pulseaudio]].  However there are additional libraries which are required. As well as a player which can play audio files.  The following section lists the software packages installed in order to connect the headset and play audio over the headset.
==== Install [[ALSA]] and associated libraries.====
==== Install [[ALSA]] and associated libraries.====
Line 138: Line 137:
| alsa-tools || alsa-utils
| alsa-tools || alsa-utils
==== Install Bluez5 ====
==== Install Bluez5 ====
Line 151: Line 149:
| bluez-utils ||  
| bluez-utils ||  
==== Install [[PulseAudio]] ====
==== Install [[PulseAudio]] ====
Line 171: Line 168:
| audacious || audacious-plugins
| audacious || audacious-plugins
==== Install [[Python]] and associated libraries ====
[[Audacious]] and the [[PulseAudio]] mixer {{Pkg|pavucontrol}}  require [[Python]] and [[QT]].
{| border="1"
|+ Packages
| python || python-dbus || python-dbus-common || python-lxml
| python2 || python2-beaker || python2-cairo || python2-dbus
| python2-gobject || python2-gobject2 || python2-mako || python2-markupsafe
| python2-pyqt4 || python2-sip || python-pyqt4 || python-sip
| python-xdg
==== Install [[QT]] and associated libraries ====
[[QT]] provides GUI capabilities used by [[Audacious]] and [[PulseAudio]].
{| border="1"
|+ Packages
| libdbusmenu-qt || phonon-qt4 || polkit-qt || poppler-qt4
| pyqt4-common || python-pyqt4 || python2-pyqt4 || qt4
| qtwebkit
=== Procedure ===
=== Procedure ===

Revision as of 08:51, 27 December 2013

Before you get started, you have to make sure that bluetooth is set up and working.


It is much easier to set up your bluetooth headset today, with bluez >= 3.16. You may want to try the out-of-box python script in this blog (you need edit the script to work with gconftool-2). There is also a piece of equivalent bash script here.

The following method is out-of-date and obsoleted.

NOTE: This method is also outdated as with newer versions of BlueZ. Anyone know what the exact version number when this stopped working is?

You need your headset's bdaddr. It is of the form 12:34:56:78:9A:BC. Either find it in the documentation of your headset, on the headset itself or with the hcitool scan command.

Install btscoAUR.

To load the kernel module, type:

# modprobe snd-bt-sco

There will now be an extra audio device. Use alsamixer -cN (where N is most likely 1) to set the volume. You can access the device with any alsa-capable application by choosing the device BT headset, or with any OSS application by using /dev/dspN as the audio device.

But to actually get any sound, you have to connect your headset to the computer first.

Connecting the headset

If you connect your headset for the first time, read the section about pairing first. To connect to your headset to the computer, use the command

$ btsco -f <bdaddr>

for example

$ btsco -f 12:34:56:78:9A:BC

Pairing the headset with your computer

The first time you connect the headset, you have to pair it with the computer. To do this, you need your headset's PIN. Depending on your headset you may have to reset the headset and repeat the pairing everytime you used the headset with another bluetooth device.

There are two ways to pair your headset with the computer:

Using bluez-gnome

Install the bluez-gnome package from the community repository. Then start the bt-applet program. Once you try to connect to the headset, a window will open and ask for the PIN.

Using passkey-agent

Before connecting to the headset, enter the command

$ passkey-agent --default <pin>

where <pin> is your headset's PIN. Then try to connect to the headset.

Headset and Alsa Devices

1. First if you have not already, install bluez from the official repositories. 2. Scan for your device

$ hcitool (-i <optional hci#>***) scan

3. Pair your headset with your device:

$ bluez-simple-agent (optional hci# ***) XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
  and put in your pin (0000 or 1234, etc)

4. Make sure your /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf allows A2DP Audio Sinks. Place this line just bellow the [Genera] heading:


5. Add this to your /etc/asound.conf file:


pcm.btheadset {
   type plug
   slave {
       pcm {
           type bluetooth
           device XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX 
           profile "auto"
   hint {
       show on
       description "BT Headset"
ctl.btheadset {
  type bluetooth

6. Check to see if it has been added to alsa devices

$ aplay -L

7. Now play with aplay:

$ aplay -D btheadset /path/to/audio/file

or Mplayer:

$ mplayer -ao alsa:device=btheadset /path/to/audio/or/video/file
      • To find hci# for a usb dongle, type in
$ hcitool dev

Headset's multimedia buttons

In order to get your bluetooth headset's multimedia buttons (play, pause, next, previous) working you need to create /etc/modprobe.d/uinput.conf containing uinput.

PulseAudio method

This one`s much easier and more elegant. PulseAudio will seamlessly switch between output devices when the headset is turned on. If you have ALSA as the sound server, you need the following packages installed: pulseaudio and pulseaudio-alsa.

Now, to configure the audio output to use bluetooth, just install pavucontrol and run it to configure the audio output:

$ pavucontrol

See [this blog] for futher explanations. Make sure to take a look at the PulseAudio wiki entry for setting up PulseAudio, especially if you are running KDE.


Audio sink fails

Bluetooth headset is connected, but ALSA/PulseAudio fails to pick up the connected device. You will get "Audio sink fails". According to gentoo wiki, you have to verify than in /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf there is Enable=Socket under the [General] section heading.

Just do a # systemctl restart bluetooth to apply it.

Page timeout issue

If you receive this error whilst trying to pair your headset with your system using bluez-simple-agent, then you can try to restart your system and use the graphical bluez applet of your desktop environment.

ALSA, Bluez5, and PulseAudio Method

ALSA, Bluez5, and PulseAudio work together to allow a wireless Bluetooth headset to play audio. The following method works with a Lenovo T61p laptop and SoundBot SB220 wireless bluetooth headset. The required software stack is extensive and failure to include all components can produce errors which are difficult to understand. The following list of software packages might not be the minimum required set and needs to be examined more closely.

Install Software Packages

The core software components are ALSA, Bluez5, Pulseaudio. However there are additional libraries which are required. As well as a player which can play audio files. The following section lists the software packages installed in order to connect the headset and play audio over the headset.

Install ALSA and associated libraries.

ALSA works with the linux kernel to provide audio services to user mode software. The following packages are used with the Bluetooth headset.

alsa-lib alsa-plugins
alsa-tools alsa-utils

Install Bluez5

Bluez5 is the latest Bluetooth stack. Supposedly bluez5 unlike bluez4 requires PulseAudio to interface with wireless headsets. During testing this requirement seems true.

bluez 5 bluez-libs

Install PulseAudio

PulseAudio interfaces with ALSA, Bluez and other user mode programs. The PulseAudio package from AUR has capabilities not provided by the stock PulseAudio package. The additional capabilites are required by Bluez5. More info regarding the differences between Bluez5 and PulseAudio are here.

pulseaudio-git libcanberra-pulse

Install Audacious

Audacious is a program which plays audio files. It can work directly with ALSA or with PulseAudio. Install Audacious to test audio playback.

audacious audacious-plugins


Once the required packages are installed, use this procedure to play audio with a bluetooth headset. The high level overview of the procedure is to pair the headset, connect the headset, configure the player and pulse audio controller and then play audio.

Start the bluetooth service as root or use sudo

 # systemctl start bluetooth

Verify Bluetooth is started

# systemctl status bluetooth
bluetooth.service - Bluetooth service
  Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/bluetooth.service; disabled)
  Active: active (running) since Sat 2013-12-07 12:31:14 PST; 12s ago
    Docs: man:bluetoothd(8)
Main PID: 3136 (bluetoothd)
  Status: "Running"
  CGroup: /system.slice/bluetooth.service
          └─3136 /usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd

Dec 07 12:31:14 t61p systemd[1]: Starting Bluetooth service...
Dec 07 12:31:14 t61p bluetoothd[3136]: Bluetooth daemon 5.11
Dec 07 12:31:14 t61p systemd[1]: Started Bluetooth service.
Dec 07 12:31:14 t61p bluetoothd[3136]: Starting SDP server
Dec 07 12:31:14 t61p bluetoothd[3136]: Bluetooth management interface 1.3 i...ed
Hint: Some lines were ellipsized, use -l to show in full.

Start the pulseaudio daemon. This must be done after X windows is started and as a normal user.

 $ pulseaudio -D

Verify the pulseaudio daemon is running.

$ pulseaudio --check -v
I: [pulseaudio] main.c: Daemon running as PID 3186

Start up bluetoothctl as root and pair and connect your headset. As a regular user, bluetoothctl will pair but not connect. Perhaps this is related to the config file (shown below) which is setup for what appears to be the root user. Note: the procedure shown below is for an initial pair and connect of the headphone. If the headset is already paired, then the procedure below can be shortened to: power on, agent on, default-agent, connect <ip address>. The ip address can be seen from the devices command output.

 $ bluetoothctl 
 [NEW] Controller 00:1E:4C:F4:98:5B t61p-0 [default]
 [NEW] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 SoundBot SB220
 [bluetooth]# show
 Controller 00:1E:4C:F4:98:5B
       Name: t61p
       Alias: t61p-0
       Class: 0x000000
       Powered: no
       Discoverable: no
       Pairable: yes
       UUID: PnP Information           (00001200-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Generic Access Profile    (00001800-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Generic Attribute Profile (00001801-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: A/V Remote Control        (0000110e-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: A/V Remote Control Target (0000110c-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Audio Source              (0000110a-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Audio Sink                (0000110b-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       Modalias: usb:v1D6Bp0246d050B
       Discovering: no
 [bluetooth]# power on
 [CHG] Controller 00:1E:4C:F4:98:5B Class: 0x0c010c
 Changing power on succeeded
 [CHG] Controller 00:1E:4C:F4:98:5B Powered: yes
 [bluetooth]# agent on
 Agent registered
 [bluetooth]# default-agent
 Default agent request successful

<power on your headset in pairing mode. Eventually you will see what appears to be a mac address.>

 [bluetooth]# scan on
 Discovery started
 [CHG] Controller 00:1E:4C:F4:98:5B Discovering: yes
 [CHG] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 RSSI: -61
 [bluetooth]# pair 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
 Attempting to pair with 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
 [CHG] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 Connected: yes
 [CHG] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 UUIDs has unsupported type
 [CHG] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 Paired: yes
 Pairing successful
 [bluetooth]# connect 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
 [CHG] Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9 Connected: yes
 Connection successful
 [bluetooth]# info 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
 Device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
       Name: SoundBot SB220
       Alias: SoundBot SB220
       Class: 0x240404
       Icon: audio-card
       Paired: yes
       Trusted: no
       Blocked: no
       Connected: yes
       LegacyPairing: yes
       UUID: Headset                   (00001108-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Audio Sink                (0000110b-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: A/V Remote Control Target (0000110c-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: A/V Remote Control        (0000110e-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)
       UUID: Handsfree                 (0000111e-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb)

Start up alsamixer, for simplicity un-mute all your outputs. (Oddly enough some can be muted though. The ones I had muted during playback were):

  • Headphones

Start up audacious. Use the menu to select pulseaudio as your output. Somewhere I read that bluez5 requires pulseaudio-git and this jives with my experience.

Startup up pavucontrol in a terminal. In the Outputs tab select the bluetooth headset.

screenshot of application settings

Miscellaneous Configuration Files

For reference these settings were also done.

ALSA /etc/asound.conf

The settings shown at the top of this page was used, but the additional modification for intel laptop soundcards.

 pcm.btheadset {
    type plug
    slave {
        pcm {
          type bluetooth
          device 00:1A:7D:12:36:B9
          profile "auto"
    hint {
      show on
      description "BT Headset"
 ctl.btheadset {
   type bluetooth
 options snd-hda-intel model=laptop

The settings here seem to be enabled for root only. See the policy user="root" section. However, if a regular user is specified here, the system fails to start. Someone with more knowledge could explain why.

 <!DOCTYPE busconfig PUBLIC "-//freedesktop//DTD D-BUS Bus Configuration 1.0//EN"
   <policy user="root">
     <allow own="org.bluez"/>
     <allow send_destination="org.bluez"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.Agent1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.MediaEndpoint1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.MediaPlayer1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.ThermometerWatcher1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.AlertAgent1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.Profile1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.HeartRateWatcher1"/>
     <allow send_interface="org.bluez.CyclingSpeedWatcher1"/>
   <policy at_console="true">
     <allow send_destination="org.bluez"/>
   <policy group="lp">
     <allow send_destination="org.bluez"/>
   <policy context="default">
     <deny send_destination="org.bluez"/>
Tested Apps

As noted above this will work easily with audacious. Youtube videos with chromium and flashplayer will work on some videos. If the video has ads it will not work, but if the video does not have ads it will work. Just make sure that after audacious is working with bluetooth headset, start chromium and navigate to youtube. Find a video without leading ads and it should play the audio. If the settings icon has the a menu with two pulldown combo boxes for Speed and Quality it will play.

Switch between HSV and A2DP setting

This can easily be achieved by the following command where 2 needs to be changed with the correct device number.

pacmd set-card-profile 2 a2dp

A2DP not working with pulseaudio

If pulseaudio fails when changing the profile to A2DP with bluez 4.1+ and pulseaudio 3.0+, you can try disabling the Socket interface from /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf by removing the line Enable=Socket and adding line Disable=Socket


Tested Headsets

The following Bluetooth headsets have been tested with Arch Linux

  • Philips SHB9100 - Confirmed NOT TO WORK well. Have tried everything after a while they cut out. Pause and resume too is flakky and basically the whole wireless bluetooth experience is horrible. The following forum post[1] explains an underlying issue and describes a temporary solution which can be used to improve the audio quality pending a proper fix.
  • Parrot Zik - Confirmed to work out of the box with firmware 1.04! The MIC however is detected, but does not work at all. Sometimes it can lag behind (not stutter) but most of the times it is not noticeable unless you playing a game, in which case I would switch to wired which resolves the issue.
  • Sony DR-BT50 works for a2dp both with bluez4 and bluez5 (instructions here[2], subject to change)
  • SoundBot SB220 works with bluez5 and pulseaudio-git.
  • Auna Air 300 works well with bluez5, pulseaudio-git, and e.g. also mocp when running the latter through padsp. For some reason, a few restarts and re-tries were required, and eventually it just started working.
  • Sennheiser MM 400-X works out of the box with bluez5 and pulseaudio 4.0-6

See also

Alternative method of connecting a BT headset to Linux:

Using the same device on Windows and Linux without pairing the device over and over again