[pulseaudio-discuss] bluetooth headset found but not showing in pavucontrol

Peter Hurley phurley at charter.net
Wed Sep 23 07:22:44 PDT 2009

Brian J. Murrell wrote:
> Hi all.
> I have a bluetooth dongle on a machine with PA 0.9.18 (Ubuntu Karmic) on
> it and a headset paired successfully.  From the PA debug (-vvvv) output,
> it appears that PA sees the headset but then removes the bluetooth
> module, for whatever reason:
The reason PA unloads the BT device module is here:

I: module-bluetooth-device.c: FD error: POLLERR 
D: module-bluetooth-device.c: IO thread failed

This is happening because there is some problem setting up a SCO 
connection (bluetooth transport protocol specified by headset 
profile/hands-free profile) to the headset.

Your options moving forward:

1)  Troubleshoot bluez for why the SCO connection is failing.  Start 
with the very newest bluez (there have been a few audio-related bug 
fixes in recent weeks).  Debug logging of the user-level daemon (where 
much of the audio-related BT support resides) is enabled with:
    sudo kill -USR2 [process_id of /usr/sbin/bluetoothd]
and logged to /var/log/daemon.log on Ubuntu.  Also running,
    sudo hcidump -t -X -V
can be helpful in the diagnostic process (look for the result code in 
the "Synchronous Connect Complete" packet and what happens after).

If the above seems like a hassle, that's because it is.  Unfortunately, 
there is no way via configuration in pulseaudio to have A2DP be the 
preferred profile for discovered bluetooth devices (presumably because 
HSP/HFP is more common).

2)  If you only want A2DP and don't want pulseaudio connecting via 
HSP/HFP, you can only do it per-device and must sacrifice BT device 
discovery.  Comment out the load of module-bluetooth-discover in 
/etc/pulse/default.pa and add the following line to the same file 
(replace xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx below with your headset's BT_ADDR):
    load-module module-bluetooth-device address=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx 
You can do this via the command line as well:
    pactl list      <-- to find module # of module-bluetooth-discover
    pactl unload-module [module# of module-bluetooth-discover]
    pactl load-module module-bluetooth-device address=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx 

3)  Modify & build a custom version of pulseaudio that prefers A2DP 
rather than HSP/HFP.  Hint:  Look at add_card() in 
pulseaudio/src/modules/bluetooth/module-bluetooth-device.c.  You can 
change the profile priority values...

1)  The headset has to already be on when module-bluetooth-device loads 
or it selects the off profile.
2)  Selecting a different profile can be done with pavucontrol via the 
"Configuration" tab or within the quasi-shell pacmd via the 
set-card-profile command.
3)  pavucontrol 0.9.8 terminates with pulseaudio 0.9.17+.  It's looking 
for a headset icon that doesn't exist.  (you can fake it by stuffing a 
audio-bluetooth-headset.svg file in $HOME/.icons).
4)  The terminate bug above has reportedly been fixed for a while but 
only just released in pavucontrol 0.9.9.  pavucontrol 0.9.9 is not yet 
packaged for Ubuntu.  Good luck if you want to get that working on your 

Peter Hurley

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