Bluetooth Headset and Lenovo T-61 on Debian 7.0

Charles Curley charlescurley at
Thu Sep 19 10:24:43 MDT 2013

On Thu, 19 Sep 2013 08:07:56 -0600
Levi Pearson <levipearson at> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Charles Curley
> <charlescurley at> wrote:
> > I have a Lenovo T-61 running Debian 7.0 (Wheezy). It runs Alsa
> > rather than PulseAudio. I just bought a Bose AE2w headset, which
> > operates by Bluetooth, including the A2DP profile.
> >
> >
> > The Lenovo has a bluetooth adapter, a Broadcomm BCM2045B (BDC-2).
> >
> > Bluez is version 4.99-2.
> >
> > I am new to bluetooth.
> Bluez doesn't require anything special of a bluetooth adapter in order
> to do the A2DP profile. It handles the codecs in software, and
> otherwise it just uses the base bluetooth protocols that all adapters
> support. You shouldn't have a problem here, possibly aside from
> configuration issues.

Thanks. I suspect it is a configuration issue, involving bluez-alsa. I
installed mplayer, which gives some diagnostics when it fails. I get:

Selected audio codec: MP3 (MPEG audio layer 3) [libavcodec]
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, floatle, 192.0 kbit/6.80% (ratio: 24000->352800)
bt_audio_service_open: connect() failed: Connection refused (111)
[AO_ALSA] Playback open error: Connection refused
Failed to initialize audio driver 'alsa:device=bluetooth'
Could not open/initialize audio device -> no sound.
Audio: no sound
Video: no video

With a .asoundrc like so:

pcm.bluetooth {
        type bluetooth
        # Bose
        device "xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"
        profile "auto"

bluez-alsa has a reputation for being finicky, and one page I saw
indicates that it is not well maintained.

I am not wild about shifting to pulse-audio, but may try that.

Meanwhile, this morning I paired the headset with a friend's
fondleslab. It work immediately and very nicely. So the headset is
known good.

> >
> > If I understand the Blueman Device Manager 1.22 and the LEDs on the
> > headset correctly, the two paired. The "headset service" also
> > connected. I see data going by in the Manager, at about "16 B/s".
> > However I get no sound on the headset. I do have sound on the
> > Lenovo's speakers as usual.
> The headset service is not used for A2DP, it's for the lower-quality
> audio used for phone calls. It uses a completely different route
> through the bluetooth stack.  You'd want to use it if you want to
> accept calls while using your headset.

Thanks for that clarification.

> >
> > I called Bose' technical support. I was told that the profile
> > support must also be supported by the hardware of the laptop.
> > Broadcomm's web site does not indicate hardware support for any
> > profiles.
> >
> >
> > Suggestions?
> Bluez and PulseAudio are connected at the hip these days.  I'm
> guessing the configuration you need is going to be in PulseAudio.
> Make sure the bluetooth A2DP profile is enabled in bluez and that it's
> creating PulseAudio routes that you can route your sound to in the
> PulseAudio control panel. Most of this can be done via command line or
> DBUS scripting interfaces as well, but that's a bit more involved and
> not particularly well documented.

Is there any documentation out there on how to do this? Bluez end user
documentation is as rare as honest politicians. Bluez/PulseAudio
documentation seems more common than Bluez/Alsa documentation.

> I'm actually using bluez as an A2DP sink, which is a bit more
> involved, but I did play with setting up a headset earlier.  I've got
> a bluetooth headset I can play with a bit later when I get off a
> conference call and get into my office if you still have issues.

Thanks. I'll try some things this morning, and maybe shift to
PulseAudio. If those two don't produce useful results, I may call on

>        --Levi
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