Bluetooth Headset

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This article describes the configuration of a Bluetooth headset.


This article assumes that Bluetooth and ALSA have been previously configured.



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


This ALSA (non-PulseAudio) setup currently only works with BlueZ 4.
  • Add one of the following code snippets to /etc/asound.conf (system-wide) or ~/.asoundrc (user-level), and substitute the MAC address with the MAC address of your Bluetooth device.
FILE /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc
# First try autodetection:
@hooks [
		func load
		files [
		errors false

# Specify your device if autodetection doesn't work for you:

## To redirect ALL output to the headset
#pcm.!default {
#type bluetooth
#device 00:16:44:FD:6B:A0
#profile "auto"

## OR: to create a new, additional output channel
#pcm.bluetooth {
#type bluetooth
#device 00:16:44:FD:6B:A0
#profile "auto"
  • Restart ALSA.


root #rc-service alsasound restart


root #systemctl restart alsasound


  • Play a sound file.
user $mplayer -ao alsa:device=bluetooth 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
Cellular Innovations HFBLU-ST6 Yes No  ?
Dell BH200 Yes Not tested  ?
Jabra MOVE v2.3.0 Yes Yes 5.39 If supported, AAC codec is selected, otherwise SBC
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  ?
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
Sony DR-BTN200 Yes No 5.39 All buttons except "Call" work and can be assigned shortcuts in the DE
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 Ericsson HBH-DS200 Yes Not tested 4.101 Software volume control via .asoundrc. BlueZ 5 not tested
Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 Yes Not tested  ? Requires Enable=Socket in /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf.


Audio socket

Some setups (non-PulseAudio) need Socket enabled, if there's no sound.

FILE /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf

BlueZ 5

Non-PulseAudio setups need to skip BlueZ 5 for now, as the ALSA plugin has been removed.

FILE /etc/portage/package.mask

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

See also

External resources