Bluetooth audio pains


Getting my Bluetooth headset to work on Linux reliably has always been a problematic adventure. There’s always some kernel issue, power management issue, Bluez issue and then getting Pulseaudio to deliver the audio or capture the mic. And then I wanted AAC instead of the standard SBC codec for audio


It seems that the kernel issues are finally fixed for now, at least until someone again decide to meddle with the firmware handling code.

Power management… Need to disable that for my Bluetooth adapter with the btusb.enable_autosuspend=n kernel parameter. Otherwise my headset hiccups from time to time. And that also makes my Bluetooth mouse to wake up faster from sleep, which is nice.


What about Bluez? A couple config changes from the defaults, that seem to improve things. But I don’t know for sure.

Certainly, disabling the LE mode fixed things for this guy during the previous Bluez apocalypse. I don’t need the LE mode for now, so I’ll stick with it. I don’t even know if my bt adapter supports dual bredr/le configurations. It is a laptop from 2010, so probably not.

Another knob is MultiProfile setting, which I set to multiple. Apparently it helps with devices who have more than one operational mode. I guess, headsets fit the bill because they have HQ audio mode and the poorer quality, well, headset mode with mic.

So the config looks like this

ControllerMode = bredr
MultiProfile = multiple
Experimental = true

The Experimental flag is just for fun, if something breaks again I’ll probably disable it.

Pulseaudio and codecs

Pulseaudio offers the standart SBC codec for A2DP profile and CVSD the default codec used with HSP a.k.a headset profile. You can live with SBC but the CVSD is interesting (brings back dial up memories).

Better codec support is in the works , supposedly

So, I set it up and it works most of the time. But because I use KDE’s Bluedevil for managing my bt devices there are interesting bugs. Like my headset always dropping to the HSP mode upon reconnect. To fix that you, apparently, needs some hacky scripts. Or you need to uninstall any fancy Bluetooth managers and use the Bluez’s vanilla bluetoothctl control centre for all your Bluetooth needs. That’s more like Arch way, hehe. But even that turned out buggy sometimes and I eventually figured I need to get rid of Pulseaudio.

Meet Pipewire

So I read the Arch wiki again and find this:

PipeWire acts as a drop-in replacement for PulseAudio and offers an easy way to set up Bluetooth headsets. It includes out-of-the-box support for A2DP sink profiles using SBC/SBC-XQ, AptX, LDAC or AAC codecs, and HFP/HSP.

Install pipewire-pulse (which replaces pulseaudio and pulseaudio-bluetooth).

I swear this was some new edit but maybe it was a long time ago read it, but OK I went ahead and installed pipewire-pulse.

I turn on my Headset and it connects. Whoo! I open up YouTube and start playing 1999 and I get beautiful audio. Nice! Then I check audio settings and Pipewire is using AAC! I didn’t configure anything, it just did what I wanted out of the box!

Changing to headset mode and testing the mic worked too. I don’t talk much over the internet anyway but, at least, it is there when I need it.

So, yeah, no config, just works…

PS. If your headset supports it, there is a config for the experimental mSBC codec that you can enable for better mic audio