Debian Squeeze & bluetooth audio

As I just got my hands on a new bluetooth headset – a Sennheiser MM100 – I wanted to make it work with Debian Squeeze (worked like charm with my Android phone out of the box). My notebook Samsung R780 does not come with bluetooth equipped so I use my old Belkin mini bluetooth adapter F8T016 to connect and I guess it should work with any more or less current bluetooth adapter (of course it has to support A2DP).

After a very short Google search it became clear that making bluetooth headsets work would become a lot easier with pulseaudio installed – which is not the default in Squeeze (still using alsa). So, let’s first get the required packages (at least those are the ones I installed by just guessing 😉 ):

# apt-get install pulseaudio pulseaudio-module-bluetooth pulseaudio-module-gconf pulseaudio-module-hal pulseaudio-module-jack pavucontrol

maybe optional:

# apt-get install pavumeter paprefs

Once installed pair the headset with your bluetooth adapter. This is peace of cake using the gnome bluetooth applet. Make sure bluetooth is switched on and your bluetooth adapter is temporarily visible. Get your headset in paring mode and then select “Setup new device” by clicking on the gnome bluetooth applet. Follow the instructions and you should be fine. Once the headset is paired, you may turn your bluetooth device to “invisible” again.

Now we have to configure the sound system. In Gome menu go to “Applications -> Multimedia” and select the “pulseaudio volume control”. Change the device to the correct “PulseAudio Mixer” (sorry, all screenshots in German…):

Next open the mixer by clicking on Gnome’s mixer applet and choosing “Open volume control”. Go to the “Configuration” tab where you should see your newly paired bluetooth headset. Change it’s profile to “High Fidelity Playback (A2DP)” and keep the window open:

Start your favorite media player (in my case it’s Rhythmbox) and start playing an audio track. Go back to volume control, choose the “Playback” tab and change the output device of your media player to your bluetooth headset:

Listen and enjoy!

One more step though: make pulseaudio the default. I found the solution at stderr.nl (thanks to Matthijs Kooijman!!).
Create a file called “.asoundrc” in your home directory and copy these two lines into it:

pcm.!default.type pulse
ctl.!default.type pulse

If not already installed, install “gconf-editor” and then open it (i.e. just by typing gconf-editor). Set the value of
/desktop/gnome/sound/default_mixer_device
to
alsamixer:default

This all worked very well for me. As soon as I connect my bluetooth headset Rhythmbox is switching from internal speakers to the headset and vice versa. Very nice!

2 thoughts on “Debian Squeeze & bluetooth audio”

  1. Stephen Angelico

    I did all of this for my Laser AO-BTHD, and it doesn't appear in the list of sound devices.

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