How to use a bluetooth headset?

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Thu Oct 25 06:29:18 BST 2012

Marcelo Magno T. Sales posted on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:03:34 -0300 as

> I have a bluetooth headset which I can use perfectly well with my
> Android devices, but can't make it work with KDE.
> The KDE bluetooth application sees the headset, pears and connects to
> it,
> but the sound is still sent to the speakers even when the headset is
> connected. No sound is heard through the headset, only through the
> speakers.
> KMix and SystemSettings does not seem to have any option to direct the
> sound to the headset.
> When I connect a wired headset, it is automatically used by the system
> (and the speakers are automatically turned off).
> How do I make KDE use the bluetooth headset?

There's a lot of levels at which this question could be asked... and 
answered.  Unfortunately, you don't provide a lot of hints as to what 
level your actual intent was, except the conflicting hints of (1) asking 
about kde on a kde list, which suggests you know the actual hardware 
(computer side, it's obvious the bluetooth headset is working) and system 
drivers level is working and it's just kde-based-apps that aren't 
working, vs (2) you compare to a fully integrated hardware/software 
system normally sold as such, android-based devices (the phone/tablet/
whatever normally comes with android), indicating you're treating it as a 
single unitary whole, to kde, just a GUI desktop layer on top of... 
normally Linux, but it could be MS Windows or one of the BSDs, and if 
it's Linux it could be any one of a huge variety of distros, current or 
old version, on current or old hardware, and further, you mention nothing 
at all about the distro/platform you're on or whether it works in non-kde 
apps on the kde desktop, or whether it works on other desktops (gnome, 
unity, xfce, MS Windows), again suggesting you're considering it a single 
monolithic whole, which it definitely is *NOT*.

The simple answer would just answer the kde aspects only, since this IS a 
kde list, you didn't provide any information about anything else, and 
addressing anything beyond kde could be argued to be a discussion for 
elsewhere in any case.

But I fear you didn't ask the question you actually wanted answered, and 
maybe I can at least help you a bit toward the answer I believe you 
wanted, even if it's not explicit in the question you asked...

Simple first:  If non-kde apps and non-kde desktops are already working, 
and all you need is to get kde working...

Then you need to look in kde's system settings (which are more kde 
settings than system settings, the kde3 name kcontrol thus being a more 
accurate name, but they decided to unhelpfully confuse things in kde4 and 
call it something it's pretty much not, system settings), under hardware, 
multimedia, phonon, and adjust the priority of the bluetooth sound device 
accordingly for the desired category (or for everything).

If you don't see any bluetooth sound devices in that list, then it's 
probably not a kde problem, but a system/platform problem.  That's really 
out of scope for this list, but I'm guessing it's what you're seeing.

Assuming you're running kde on some sort of Linux distro (or FreeBSD or 
whatever), you're probably best off finding the lists/forums/irc-channels 
for that distro/bsd and asking there.

But... when you do, please include a bit more info.

The distro release version (fedora 17, red hat 6.whatever, ubuntu precise 
pangolin, etc) will be extremely helpful.  Even here, with that 
information, people would have at least /some/ idea what they were 
dealing with and with a bit of luck there'd be someone else running that 
distro who might have exactly the info you needed.  As it is, for all we 
know you're running kde apps on MS Windows and the MS side is fine, but 
we DON'T know.

Add any information you have about other bluetooth devices (say 
keyboards, or for that matter your android devices, paired over bluetooth) 
you have and whether they work fine over bluetooth with the computer, or 

Also mention whether /any/ apps, not just kde apps, play sound to the 
bluetooth headset or not.  The common Firefox browser is gtk-based 
(Chrome/Chromium aren't kde based either, neither is Opera, all of which 
are browsers), for instance, so if it works with the bluetooth headset it 
may well be a kde problem.  But if they don't work either, it's probably 
lower in the system.

Anything else that you think might be helpful. (The above info that the 
headset works when paired against your android devices, so it's unlikely 
to be a problem with it, for example. =:^)

The idea here is to establish whether the problem's at the bluetooth 
layer, the audio layer (alsa, pulse if your distro uses it, gstreamer), 
the desktop layer (kde, gnome, xfce, etc), or an individual app problem 
(probably not the case here, unless you only tested a single app), then 
dig deeper into that area to find the problem and hopefully fix it.

This often takes quite a number of back and forth posts, and the more 
information you can provide up front, the less ping-ponging back and 
forth of question/answer you and they will need to do in ordered to solve 
the problem. =:^)

Hopefully that at least gives you more to work with than you had before.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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