With how things going nowadays, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have started to become a common fixture in my daily, Work From Home way. While I have a pretty decked desktop audio setup with a dedicated microphone and DAC/Amp combo on my work corner, sometime I want to work down stair at my dinner table, or my newly renovated back porch. Thus I got myself a nice pair of Bluetooth headphone and earbuds.

Unfortunately, Bluetooth has always been Linux Achilles’ heel. In fact, the only way for the Bluetooth module on my Envy X360 to work after waking up from hibernation is to upgrade the kernel to an unsupported version.

So the box can detect and connect to my Bluetooth headsets just fine, and listening to music and watching movies works out of the box. The problem starts when I need to join a Zoom call or a Teams meeting. I can’t use the headset’s mic because Ubuntu doesn’t want to switch to headset to HFP/HSP profile. The issue here, as every audio related issue on linux, is Pulseaudio. Apparently the current version of Pulseaudio does not support Bluetooth headset profile out of the box. You can, however add the support by through oFono, a free software project for mobile telephony on linux. But to do that, we need to fool our box to think that it’s a phone, because oFono only works with the device that has GSM modem on it.

Sound complicated? Yes, it is. Which is why I instead, opted to remove Pulseaudio and replace it with Pipewire. This guide is made with Ubuntu and Gnome Shell. We’ll start by adding the PPA for the current version of Pipewire

$sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipewire-debian/pipewire-upstream

Update the box repository

$sudo apt update

..And then install Pipewire and other packages that we will need to run Pipewire

$sudo apt install pipewire gstreamer1.0-pipewire libspa-0.2-bluetooth pipewire-audio-client-libraries

Reload the list of SystemD daemons

$systemctl --user daemon-reload

Disable Pulseaudio

$systemctl --user --now disable pulseaudio.service pulseaudio.socket
$systemctl --user mask pulseaudio

…and enable Pipewire

$systemctl --user --now enable pipewire-media-session.service
$systemctl --user restart pipewire-pulse.service

To see if we are successful, do

┌─[✗]─[surfer@M5-NXN]─[~]
└──╼ $pactl info
Server String: /run/user/1000/pulse/native
Library Protocol Version: 34
Server Protocol Version: 35
Is Local: yes
Client Index: 105
Tile Size: 65472
User Name: ikhsan
Host Name: M5-NXN
Server Name: PulseAudio (on PipeWire 0.3.30)
Server Version: 14.0.0
Default Sample Specification: float32le 2ch 48000Hz
Default Channel Map: front-left,front-right
Default Sink: bluez_output.64_23_15_68_7E_D1.a2dp-sink
Default Source: alsa_input.pci-0000_04_00.6.HiFi__hw_acp__source
Cookie: 0824:e8da

As you can see, Pipewire is now active. Connect your Bluetooth headset, and open the sound setting for your distro, here’s for Gnome Shell on Ubuntu.

Sound Setting – Output

We should now able to pick “Headset Head Unit (HSP/HFP)” to switch the headset to …headset mode. Another way is to switch your input device to the headset. It will automatically switch the active microphone of the system to the Bluetooth headset as well as switch it to HSP/HFP profile.

Select your mic

When you’re done with the meeting and would like to continue binging the 3rd season of “The Rookie”, open Sound setting again, ensure the Bluetooth headphone is selected as Output Device, and change the Configuration to “High Fidelity Playback (A2DP Sink)”

Back to A2DP

So, we’re done, right? Well, not quite. Unfortunately in my case, Pipewire’s A2DP performance is not as good as Pulseaudio as it introduces severe delay when playing movies. If you’re facing the same issue, the delay offset can be configured through ..ironically, Pulseaudio Volume Control module, which you can install with

$sudo apt install pavucontrol

Once installed, open Pulseaudio Volume Control and switch to Output Devices tab

Pulseaudio Volume Control

Find the Bluetooth headset, and expand the Advanced portion and adjust the latency offset until the video and the audio properly synced.

Sources:

By ikhsan

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