[pulseaudio-discuss] Pulse with a bluetooth headset

Leszek Koltunski leszek at 3miasto.net.pl
Thu Jan 24 02:24:18 PST 2008

Hello Pulse gurus,

I am a long time Debian user. My current audio setup:

- 1 Soundblaster Live ( snd-emu10k1x ) hardware soundcard
- 1 bluetooth headset to with I send audio with help of the recently 
developed audio subsystem of the BlueZ stack ( more info: 
http://wiki.bluez.org/ )

here's the bluetooth-related section of my ~/.asoundrc:

pcm.headset_hw {
    type bluetooth
    device 00:07:a4:b5:7a:bb

ctl.headset {
    type bluetooth
    device 00:07:a4:b5:7a:bb

pcm.headset {
    type plug
    slave.pcm "headset_hw"

I dont use any ESDs, jacks, artsds or OSSes - just plain ALSA with dmix.

Here are all audio related things I would like to accomplish:

1) be able to send sound from MPlayer to both sinks
   Current status: works with no problems  with 'mplayer -ao
   alsa:device=default' and  'mplayer -ao alsa:device=headset'

2) be able to send sound from Audacious to both sinks
   Current status: works, audacious can be graphically reconfigured to send
   audio either to headset virtual sndcard or default sndcard.

3) be able to send sound from FlashPlugin 9 to both sinks
   Current status: works wonderfully with 'default' ALSA sink; I dont know
   how to send audio to 'headset' ( maybe if I redefined 'default' to
   type bluetooth device 00:07:a4:b5:7a:bb in my ~/.asoundrc FlashPlugin
   would send sound there, but I haven't tried )

4) Be able to capture and send sounds from Skype to/from both the headset 
and the default
   Current status: capturing/sending audio to default works. To headset
   it does not. On Skype forums they blame bluez for this, on bluez
   forum they claim Skype's ALSA usage is incredibly weird.

5) I would also like to be able to send multiple sounds to the same 
soundcard simultanously
   Current status: lovingly works.

6) I would like to be able to dynamically change sinks, i.e. open up 
application X and be able to switch its audio sink frm headset to default 
while the application is running. I would like to be able to do this 
consistantly in the same way regardless of the application.
   Current status: doesn't work.

I don't care about Gnome system sounds, VLC, XINE or any other audio 


Looks like PulseAudio can help me with the issues, especially 6). After 
reading Pulse's documentation I have the impression that simply installing 
Pulse and adding the following section to my .asoundrc

  type pulse

  type pulse

will retain all my existing functionality and fix issue 6). Furthermore, 
looks like PulseAudio even has a tray app from where I can dynamically 
change sinks and adjust volume levels per app.

Is that correct? Any comments?

thaks in advance,


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