Friday, July 1, 2016

How to Fix: No Audio with a bluetooth headset in Linux

Hopefully I can help some of your with this problem that I had a few months ago. Here was the scenario: everything seemingly worked fine with my bluetooth headset. It connected, played music flawlessly and everything on first connect... but as soon as I rebooted the headphones, nothing.

They still connected as a media device. The volume control on the computer still worked. But no sound at all would transfer between my computer and the headphones. Weird.

First Things First
Let's make sure they're configured in the first place. Consult your manual on how to sync your device. Then, from your desktop environment's settings (if you're not using a Desktop Environment, check out blueman), click "Bluetooth"

It should say "Connected". This is a sign that the bluetooth device is properly connecting to your Linux box, but not that audio is properly being transmitted. 

A Lesson in Linux Audio
Linux Audio is notirously painful to configure. There are 3 sound systems that distributions tend to use. These are Alsa, PulseAudio, and OSS, which really isn't used all that much.

How To fix
Okay, so now you have to install a package called pavucontrol, which is short for Pulse Audio Volume Control. It's not installed by default on most Linux distributions because it provides some more advances facilities for managing your audio. Once it's installed, run "pavucontrol" from a terminal to open it.

First, make sure that the audio isn't muted on your headset here (either on the bar or the speaker mute button). You should have your channels locked together, and it should be a fallback. Now, if all of this is set up (it was for me), there is one last step you need to do to fix your audio.

In the "configuration" tab at the top, go down to your headset. As misleading as it is, change your headset from either "Off" or "Headset head unit" to "High Fidelity Playback (A2DP Sink)"
Now, after changing that, you should be good to go. If you're not, there is one last thing you can try.

Install alsamixer if you don't already have it and run it in a terminal. If you see "MM" at the bottom, hit "M" to unmute that channel, and use the up arrow to turn the volume of it all the way to 100%. If it's possibly reading your sound card wrong, you can use "F6" here to change that.

Good luck. Audio issues are a true pain to work through, and are seemingly impossible to fix. Hopefully these steps solve your audio problems as they did mine.


  1. Hi Nate Pisarski,
    Thanks for sharing a nice article. Yous article on Bluetooth Headset helps me much.

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Dear,
    Your article is nice to read. I like your article on Bluetooth Headset so much.

    Thank You for sharing this

  3. Thank you. Worked with Asus BT400 and Ubuntu 14.04

  4. Nice article, thanks for sharing.

  5. Nice article, I found it very helpful and informative for Linux users. Well, if someone is looking to buy a bluetooth headset then I'd love to recommend this list of bluetooth headsets. I bet you will find the best one for your needs on this link. So, what about paying a visit then?

  6. A gigantic yell out to the essayist who emptied his spirit into this blog.
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