In this article, we will explore various methods to fix choppy Bluetooth audio on Ubuntu using PulseAudio. If you are experiencing skipping or choppy audio with your Bluetooth devices, this guide is for you.
To fix choppy Bluetooth audio on Ubuntu with PulseAudio, you can try adjusting PulseAudio’s nice priority, adjusting the buffer size of the Bluetooth device, editing the ALSA configuration file, using the PulseAudio Volume Control GUI tool, or using Blueman. These methods can help improve the audio quality and reduce skipping or choppiness. However, it may require some experimentation to find the optimal settings for your specific setup.
What is PulseAudio?
PulseAudio is a sound server for POSIX and Win32 systems. It’s a good sound server that offers advanced audio features, such as adjusting sound levels on a per-application basis. However, it can sometimes cause audio issues with Bluetooth devices.
Method 1: Adjusting PulseAudio’s Nice Priority
One of the ways to improve the audio quality is to adjust the nice priority of the PulseAudio process. This will give PulseAudio higher priority over other processes.
To do this, you need to edit the
/etc/security/limits.conf file. Open the terminal and type:
sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf
Add the following lines at the end of the file:
* hard rtpio 0 * soft rtpio 0 @audio hard rtpio 20 @audio soft rtpio 20 pulse hard rtpio 20 pulse soft rtpio 20
These lines set the real-time scheduling priority for the PulseAudio process. The
@audio lines give any user in the
audio group a higher priority. The
pulse lines specifically target the PulseAudio process.
After adding these lines, save and close the file. Then, add yourself to the
audio group using the following command:
sudo usermod -a -G audio $USER
Finally, restart PulseAudio:
pulseaudio -k pulseaudio --start
Method 2: Adjusting Buffer Size (Latency) of the Bluetooth Device
Another way to improve the audio quality is to adjust the buffer size (latency) of the Bluetooth device. This can be done using the
First, find the necessary info about the Bluetooth device by running the following command:
pactl list | grep -Pzo '.*bluez_card(.*\n)*'
This command will output the details of the Bluetooth device. Note down the
PORT of the output device.
Next, set the buffer size (latency) of your card using the following command:
pactl set-port-latency-offset <NAME> <PORT> <BUFFER_SIZE_MICROSECONDS>
<BUFFER_SIZE_MICROSECONDS> with the appropriate values. The buffer size is in microseconds, so you might need to experiment with different values to find the optimal latency value.
After setting the buffer size, restart the Bluetooth service to apply the changes:
sudo service bluetooth restart
Method 3: Editing the ALSA Configuration File
Another method to improve the audio quality is to edit the ALSA configuration file. ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is a software framework and part of the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers.
Open the ALSA configuration file using the following command:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
Add the following line at the end of the file:
options snd-hda-intel model=generic
This line tells ALSA to use a generic model for the sound card, which can help improve compatibility with Bluetooth devices.
Save and close the file, then restart the Bluetooth service:
sudo service bluetooth restart
Method 4: Using the PulseAudio Volume Control GUI Tool
PulseAudio Volume Control is a powerful GUI tool that allows you to control the audio settings of each application and device.
To open the tool, press
CTRL-D in Unity or the
Windows-Key in Gnome and type “Pulse” or “Volume”. Open the “PulseAudio Volume Control” tool.
Select your Bluetooth speaker and click on “Advanced”. Here, you can set the latency value to a suitable value. Apply the changes and check if the audio quality improves.
Method 5: Using Blueman
Blueman is a GTK+ Bluetooth Manager that provides a better user interface for managing Bluetooth devices.
To install Blueman, use the following command:
sudo apt-get install blueman
After installing Blueman, disconnect the Bluetooth device from the system Bluetooth settings. Then, re-pair the device using Blueman. Check if the audio quality improves.
Fixing choppy Bluetooth audio on Ubuntu with PulseAudio can be a bit tricky, as it requires a bit of experimentation. However, by adjusting the nice priority, buffer size, ALSA configuration, or using tools like PulseAudio Volume Control and Blueman, you can significantly improve the audio quality.
Remember to always backup your system before making any changes, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you encounter any issues. Happy listening!
You can check if PulseAudio is causing audio issues with your Bluetooth devices by trying to play audio through other devices, such as your computer’s built-in speakers or headphones. If the audio is clear and not choppy, it is likely that PulseAudio is the culprit.
Yes, adjusting the nice priority of PulseAudio can affect the performance of other processes. By giving PulseAudio higher priority, it may take up more system resources, potentially impacting the performance of other applications running on your computer. It’s important to find a balance and monitor the overall system performance after making these adjustments.
To find the necessary info about your Bluetooth device using the
pactl command, open the terminal and run the command
pactl list | grep -Pzo '.*bluez_card(.*\n)*'. This command will output the details of the Bluetooth device, including the
PORT that you need to note down for adjusting the buffer size (latency).
Yes, adjusting the buffer size (latency) of the Bluetooth device can improve audio quality. By setting a lower buffer size, you can reduce the delay between audio playback and the Bluetooth device, resulting in smoother and less choppy audio. However, it’s important to find the optimal buffer size for your specific device, as setting it too low may cause audio distortion or other issues.
To restart the Bluetooth service on Ubuntu, open the terminal and run the command
sudo service bluetooth restart. This will stop and then start the Bluetooth service, applying any changes you have made to the configuration files or settings.
ALSA stands for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture and is a software framework and part of the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers. Editing the ALSA configuration file can help improve compatibility between your sound card and Bluetooth devices. By specifying a generic model for the sound card, you may resolve any potential issues that could be causing choppy audio.
To install Blueman on Ubuntu, open the terminal and run the command
sudo apt-get install blueman. This will install the Blueman GTK+ Bluetooth Manager, which provides a better user interface for managing Bluetooth devices.