Bluetooth Headset

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This article describes the configuration of Bluetooth headsets within Gentoo Linux.


The configurations for Bluetooth and ALSA must have been previously completed.



Following instructions from PulseAudio and BlueZ 5 should be sufficient to make Bluetooth headsets work (through pavucontrol for instance).

ALSA + Bluez 5

If you do not want to use PulseAudio, you can use bluez-alsa to provide integration between Bluez and ALSA.

  • Install bluez-alsa:
root #emerge --ask media-sound/bluez-alsa
  • In your ALSA configuration, /etc/asound.conf (system-wide) or ~/.asoundrc (user-level), specify the parameters of the Bluetooth connection (replace the MAC address with the MAC address of your device)
FILE /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc
# Bluetooth headset
defaults.bluealsa {
     interface "hci0"            # host Bluetooth adapter
     device "10:4F:A8:00:11:22"  # Bluetooth headset MAC address
     profile "a2dp"

A static ALSA configuration is also possible, make sure to change the device name in the below examples for aplay.

FILE /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc
# Bluetooth headset
pcm.btheadset {
        type plug
        slave.pcm {
                type bluealsa
                device "10:4F:A8:00:11:22"
                profile "a2dp"
        hint {
                show on
                description "Your description of Bluetooth Headset"
  • Make sure the bluetooth and bluealsa services are started. You probably want to add them to your default runlevel via rc-config.
  • Make sure the device is paired and connected to your computer. See Bluetooth for details.
  • Test with e.g. aplay, passing the PCM device 'bluealsa'
user $aplay -D bluealsa some_file.wav
  • For other applications, the precise option to set the output device may differ.
Changes to ALSA configuration files /etc/asound.conf and ~/.asoundrc are picked up automatically at application start, you don't need to restart the alsasound service.
  • Hardware volume control:
user $alsamixer -D bluealsa


  • Play a sound file.
user $mplayer -ao alsa:device=bluealsa filename

If it works, please add your device to the table of working devices.

Working devices

The capabilities of the device are dependent on the Bluetooth controller being used.
Device Headphone Microphone BlueZ Version Notes
Bose SoundSport Free (774373-0010) Yes Not tested 5.48-r1
Cellular Innovations HFBLU-ST6 Yes No  ?
Dell BH200 Yes Not tested  ?
Google Pixel Buds Yes Yes 5.49-r1
Huawei FreeBuds Yes Not tested 5.49-r1
Jabra MOVE v2.3.0 Yes Yes 5.39 If supported, AAC codec is selected, otherwise SBC
JBL T450BT Yes Not tested 5.43
JBL E40BT Yes Not tested 5.47
LG HBS730 Yes No  ?
Nokia BH-214 Yes No 4.101 & 5.39
Nokia BH-604 Yes Yes  ?
Parrot Zik Yes Not tested  ?
Philips SBH6201 Yes Yes  ?
Philips SBH9100 Yes Not tested  ?
Pioneer SE-MS9BN-G Yes Yes 5.50-r1 Microphone tested successfully with BlueZ 5.50-r1 and HSP/HFP profile. Volume and play-pause buttons recognized as Multimedia events in Xfce (XF86AudioNext - XF86AudioPrev - XF86AudioPlay). No special bluetooth configuration is required. You should only make sure that pulseaudio is built with native-headset useflag, and that pulseaudio spawns correctly from your X session.
Plantronics BackBeat GO Yes Not tested  ?
Prestigio PBHS1 Yes Not tested  ?
Sennheiser MM 550-X Travel Yes Not tested 5.27 Microfone tested successfully in 2011 with BlueZ 4.x/HSF
Sennheiser PXC 550 Yes Not tested 5.50-r1 Confirmed working with older versions, but not sure how far back. Tested with bluez-alsa (currently 1.3.1), not Pulse Audio. Media controls not tested.
Sennheiser URBANITE XL Wireless Yes Not tested 5.46 Volume swipes are working
Sony DR-BTN200 Yes No 5.39 All buttons except "Call" work and can be assigned shortcuts in the DE
Sony MDR-1000X Yes No 5.47 Volume, prev/next swipes don't work.
Sony MDR-ZX750BN Yes No  ? The change track and volume buttons work.
Sony MDR-ZX770BT Yes Not tested 4.101 & 5.25 4.101 requires Enable=Socket in /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf
Sony SBH20 Yes Not tested  ?
Sony SBH52 Yes Yes  ? The buttons work and can be assigned actions in KDE. Supported rate 4800.
Sony WH-1000XM3 Yes Not tested  ? The touch interface on the right speaker works.
Sony Ericsson HBH-DS200 Yes Not tested 4.101 & 5.43 BlueZ 4: software volume control via .asoundrc. BlueZ 5: BlueALSA
Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 Yes Not tested  ? Requires Enable=Socket in /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf.
Teufel MUTE BT Yes Yes 5.47


Can't open input device

Compile and load the uinput kernel module, when things don't work, and the logs show this error:

bluetoothd: Can't open input device: No such file or directory (2)
bluetoothd: AVRCP: failed to init uinput for 00:16:44:FD:6B:A0
bluetoothd: Unable to select SEP
Device Drivers  --->
   Input device support  --->
      [*]   Miscellaneous devices  --->
         <M>   User level driver support

No audio service is available

After updating to net-wireless/bluez-5.xx it might happen, that a Bluetooth headset is connected, but ALSA / PulseAudio fails to pick up the connected device.

An error message like this might be shown in the output of PulseAudio:

I: [pulseaudio] module-card-restore.c: Restoring profile for card bluez_card.00_16_94_0B_6F_DE.
I: [pulseaudio] card.c: Created 10 "bluez_card.00_16_94_0B_6F_DE"
bt_audio_service_open: connect() failed: Connection refused (111)
W: [pulseaudio] module-bluetooth-device.c: Bluetooth audio service not available
W: [pulseaudio] module-bluetooth-device.c: Service not connected
I: [pulseaudio] card.c: Freed 10 "bluez_card.00_16_94_0B_6F_DE"
E: [pulseaudio] module.c: Failed to load module "module-bluetooth-device" (argument: "address="00:16:94:0B:6F:DE" path="/org/bluez/31716/hci0/dev_00_16_94_0B_6F_DE""): initialization failed.

To fix this, the following needs to be done:

  1. Enable the audio socket of bluetoothd
FILE /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf
  1. Restart bluetoothd by doing one of the following things:
    • Turn the software wireless kill switch off and on again
root #rfkill block bluetooth
root #rfkill unblock bluetooth
    • Turn the hardware wireless kill switch off and on again
    • Reboot the computer
  1. Reconnect the Bluetooth headset

Audio device not visible when using GDM

If you are using GDM, but not logging into GNOME (e.g. i3 instead), GDM might block your headset, which will it not being available for PulseAudio. This will result in your headset being connected, but the applications won't see it.

As a workaround, you can switch to a different display manager (e.g. LXDM), or disable PulseaAudio for GDM[1]:

FILE /var/lib/gdm/.config/pulse/client.conf
autospawn = no
daemon-binary = /bin/true

If you have created the file, make sure that GDM can read it:

root #chown gdm:gdm /var/lib/gdm/.config/pulse/client.conf

See also

External resources


  1. Stanislav Naumuk. Bluetooth a2dp, Debian Wiki, June 13th, 2015. Retrieved on March 18th, 2019.