I received a shiny new pair of Bose QC 35 II's for christmas -- bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling.

They're similar to the $500 pair my previous boss lent me at work. Lower quality, but much newer, and rechargeable! and bluetooth! Yay!

I paired them with my debian machine, and... it failed. No explanation given. I tried everything I could htink of, but nothing changed. Well, okay; bluetooth came out within the last decade or so, meaning it takes some extra effort in Debian. truth. So I did some reading on bluetooth connection issues, changed some configs, learned how to use the bluetooth cli, and used that to pair and connect them. Worked like a charm.

But! No audio.

Cue more research (on pulseaudio this time) and more configs. Did some fiddling, etc. No progress. Also discovered `pavucontrol`, a gui-only (😕) utility which lets you select audio output devices, among other things. It doesn't list the headset. Nor does `pactl list`, but that does list the correct bluetooth modules. It also lists Lennart Poettering's name many many times, for all the good that does. Bragging about building something as needlessly complicated and crappy and buggy as pulseaudio? I will never understand that egotistical doucheballoon.

I paired the headset with my phone in about six seconds. I'm now controlling my phone's music via spotify on my computer. yay. Doesn't work for games or movies, but I can always just plug them in.

But woo!
Noise canceling!
Yay, silence! At last!
and music! How I've missed you!

(systemd and pulseaudio can still die in a fire.)

  • 20
    Systemd is fine nowdays most of the time. But pulseaudio can die in fucking fire and i will gladly look at it and even add wood to the fire.
  • 3
    Remember to firmware update the headset.
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    I had problems with my Sennheisers and Debian as well. For me, blueman (GUI-only as far as I know) did the trick.
  • 2
    It pairs on 2nd, 3rd or so attempt. If pa does not use itnfor output - switch output to some other sink and then back to your bose. And set the ad2p protocol [mic disabled].

    Works for me all the time. Takes up to 10sec to do all of those steps
  • 10
    Have you considered that they were so good at noise cancelling that they cancelled out your music?
  • 0
    All that and no dice? Damn!
    But Bluetooth is 20 years old man, I've not had any trouble with my Sony headphones and Ubuntu on my ThinkPad. Maybe you'll figure it out in the new year :-)
  • 2
    Ah the struggles of using Linux as your desktop machine.
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    @AlgoRythm what a brilliant and creative insult on one's musical taste.
  • 0
    @stonestorm Yup, it would be great if more vendor support would come!

    Although, all hardware and such works perfectly fine on my machine.
  • 2
    @Root you seem to have experienced what I did with my Sony BT headset on Manjaro ... However, one difference was that I did have audio, but it was always set to 1/10th of the quality (bitrate, mono only, ridiculously compressed, etc) the reason was that it was getting set to some sh**ty audio sink instead of the high quality one. I had to wrestle with both the bluetooth CLI and Pulseaudio ... but that's besides the point. The weirdest fix that just seemed to "just work" was just turning it off and on again... or rather disconnecting and reconnecting.

    And when connecting from the GUI as @netikras said - it takes just repeatedly clicking the pair/connect button for it to get connected.
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    AD2P protocol -- MIC disabled, High quality stereo audio

    HSP/HFP protocol -- MIC enabled, shitty mono audio.

    The reason is that BT is too slow to support stereo and full duplex at the same time. Hence you either have mono+mic or stereo+noMic.
  • 1
    @theKarlisK PAVUControl also has this selector:
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    @theKarlisK In theory `blueman` GUI allows you to select audio protocol as you connect to the device. In practice it hardly ever works as PA more often than not chooses to disobey blueman's request to set desired proto
  • 2
    That's what happens when people abuse a server OS on desktop where it has no serious money and no serous stakeholders involved.
  • 1
    @netikras thanks for all the info but I've managed to get by with the "turn it off and on again" - I was having issues initially when I just got the headset. At this time I manage to get by with all the stock packages on Ubuntu 18.10 and Fedora 31 as I've rotated away from using Manjaro for the time being. Back when I was initially having issues I tried all kinds of tricks and suggestions, even PAVU control didn't help - when the headset got connected with the sh** audio sink it would lock that in and evwn if the HD audio sink showed up here and there any attempts to switch to it would be futile and ignored (at one point I even started suspecting the BT headset firmware and some shenanigans from Sony but this turned out not to be the case). I also tried some audio sink related packages from AUR and GitHub that specifically refferenced audio sink issues I was having but that was without any change.
  • 2
    because of this I usually keep a very mainstream distro on the side like ubuntu so I can how good is the out of the box support there.

    if it doesn't work, then I try to google for that issue with "ubuntu" as keyword. If I find a way to fix it, I do the same in my main distro.

    if it just works, then I try to find a way to replicate that on my distro.
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    When I had to compile keyboard drivers myself last year to get media keys working, I though that was ridiculous. But @Root you're taking the cake. 😀

    ... and it's gonna be the year of the Linux desktop when Poettering is done replacing everything with systemd. Except it'll be systemdOS instead of Linux.
  • 1
    If you're working with pulse, then you should learn the pactl and pacmd commands. They give very verbose, scriptable output for audio control.
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    @theKarlisK @netikras I tried to connect it 10-20 times before fiddling with configs. Probably tried another 30-40 times after that. Tried clearing the headset's bluetooth device list a few times, too. No dice. Leven after connecting it via cli, pulseaudio never saw the device, so it never created a sink for it.

    @M1sf3t I'll give blueman a try. I saw a few references to it during my research. Hopefully I'll have better luck. If not, I'm honestly okay with wired while at my computer.
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  • 0
    Linux HW support!
    nobody thought that anyone would use Bluetooth so it just throws a NotImplemented error
  • 1
    @Root do you have the pulse Bluetooth extension installed? Depending on your system, that's a separate package
  • 4
    @epse Yep. Checked that like twenty times!

    @jesustricks It would have, kind of. Also, I usually do look at Ubuntu (and Mint) solutions because they're only a couple of steps away from Debian. But the blueman suggestion would have solved it.

    @Fast-Nop Kinda true. It's usually more difficult to get things to work than on e.g. Ubuntu, but they're so similar that if Ubuntu can do something, so can Debian. Debian also breaks less frequently, which is great for me because I don't have much time anymore.

    @stonestorm Eh. They're honestly pretty infrequent. I'd you want everything to just work, go with Apple, and get good at cognitive dissonance. Or Windows and likewise pretend it doesn't have issues.

    @M1sf3t Blueman was the secret. Paired and connected in just a few seconds, added a sink, set it to high quality, and set it as default. Done! 😊
  • 2
    @Root yeah, I'm not too experienced with bluetooth but I had the impression that blueman is pretty much a must have in linux.

    good to see a happy ending
  • 0
    So do you like them? I'm picking these up soon as well. They have been on my watch for a while now but always too expensive...
  • 1
    @zankar Yes. I absolutely love them.
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