So I have Ubuntu 18.04 installed on both my personal and work laptops and I am experiencing the same issue on both of them.

I have Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones and they are paired, everything is fine and working, the only problem is that whenever I turn them on and the auto-connect of the Bluetooth on Ubuntu kicks in and connects to them, they start sounding weird.

By weird I mean it's like Ambient sound is turned on, although the headphones are on Noise cancellation and the sound is really bad and quite.

The Issue, however, disappears when I disconnect and reconnect them manually.

Thanks in advance!


  • Using the solution that switches to A2DP solved nothing. The headphones do connect, but then it doesn't switch to them, the sound keeps playing on the speakers of the laptop. Trying to switch from and to the headphones couple of times also doesn't solve the problem.

  • Using the other solution with editing the /etc/bluetooth/main.conf results to the same issue. I did try even removing the device and pairing it again.

Relative SOLUTION:

  1. I had to install some other packages: sudo apt install libdbus-1-dev libudev-dev libical-dev libreadline-dev
  2. Install bluez-5.52 by building it from source. For details see the README + you have to run sudo make install http://www.bluez.org/release-of-bluez-5-54-and-5-53/
  3. systemctl daemon-reload
  4. sudo service bluetooth restart

Also note that this was on re-freshed Ubuntu 18.04, I kinda screwed up some dependencies and had to fix my OS by installing it fresh on top of the old one, before that I had some other old dependencies that didn't allow me to install bluez-5.52

  • I am experiencing exactly the same on Ubuntu MATE 18.04 with the 1000XM2 headphones.
    – marosg
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 13:51
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Bluetooth headset with poor sound quality on Ubuntu
    – Fabby
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 10:22
  • I have the exact same issue, unfortunately.
    – Gianluca
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 18:43
  • yeah, I am dealing with the same issue just like that — by removing the device (which is by default recognized as a headset) and then connecting it (it's recognized as "Bluetooth output" then). Quite a nuisance to do it every time when the headphones were powered off, but at least that works. Not sure I want to risk breaking my Ubuntu. I wonder, though, maybe it is possible to automate that remove-reconnect routine.
    – Passiday
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 18:25
  • 1
    I had the same problem on Ubuntu 20.04, switching to A2DP sink solved it
    – rivu
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:36

9 Answers 9


The "ambient noise" you're hearing is a loopback from your computer's mic coming out through your headphones.

This is apparently due to a bug with A2DP's implementation.

I fixed this in Ubuntu 19.04 by installing Blueman and pairing my headphones as an Audio Sink rather than a headset:

  • Unpair your headphones, if they're currently paired.
  • sudo apt install blueman
  • Open Blueman, click on "search".
  • Select your headphones, right click, select "Setup"
  • Make sure they're paired as an Audio Sink rather than a Headset
  • Select your headphones as an audio output in your sound settings

If you have Spotify open throughout the process you have to restart it.

  • Worked for me on 18.04 as well. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 11:32
  • For me it didn't (18.04). It still autoconnects as headset... Is there anything else I need to disable as a service once I've installed Blueman?
    – elpiel
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 11:13
  • @elpiel disconnect through blueman, right click then click on a"connect - audio sink". Make sure A2DP is selected as the audio profile as well. Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 12:18
  • 2
    @PedroPalhares still doesn't work. The first time I set it up it connects as audio sink, but then when I restart the headphones it gets recognised as Headset and "Bluetooth authentication" to accept it as headphones. I tried multiple times to set it up as Audio Sink, but this works only initially once I restart them it goes back to Headset and acts like no headphones are connected (Same as just using the Bluetooth setting from Ubuntu and setting it up with A2DP)
    – elpiel
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 15:16
  • Thanks, it worked for 18.04 with Sony wh-h900n
    – Suraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 6:18

I had exactly the same issue in Ubuntu 18.04 with Sony WH-CH700w. I used the solution offered by @Luiz: I installed bluez-5.52. Since I didn't want to spend my time on resolving dependencies, I just compiled it from scratch.

Step-by-step solution:

  1. download bluez-5.52 (or later) from here;
  2. unpack: tar -xf bluez-5.52.tar.xz
  3. go there: cd bluez-5.52
  4. configure: ./configure
  5. here I had libical missing. I installed it via sudo apt-get install libical-dev
  6. since my previous configuration failed, I did it again: ./configure
  7. compile: make
  8. install: sudo make install
  9. restart bluetooth machinery: sudo service bluetooth restart or just reboot your computer if you have a possibility: sudo reboot

That's it!

Important note: before restarting I returned my /etc/bluetooth/main.conf into the initial state, i.e. I commented out everything I've ever added there. In fact, I commented out everything.

  • Sadly since I use Ubuntu 18.04 there are dependency issues. I tried to fixed them and it ended up in breaking Ubuntu.
    – elpiel
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 6:28
  • As I mentioned in the other comment, after my re-fresh/install of ubuntu over the old one (after screwing dependencies) I managed to install bluez-5.52 by compiling it! I did have to install other dependencies though. This is not a full answer, but I will still mark it as solved! I installed: sudo apt install libdbus-1-dev libudev-dev libical-dev libreadline-dev In order to be able to compile bluez-5.52 from source.
    – elpiel
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 8:02
  • 1
    Also useful to run dmesg | grep -i bluetooth | grep -i firmware to check for firmware issues and install any missing firmware if that is part of the problem.
    – richardr
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 18:32
  • A question for Yury, I'm using Kubuntu 18.04 with the WF-1000XM3 and have installed that version of bluez but I have the problem where the audio is fine but the microphone is unusuable especially when trying to use it with Skype. Commented May 14, 2020 at 12:33
  • @SteveMapes unfortunately, I cannot recheck right now because of coronavirus (WFH, you know :-) But I cannot remember any issues with the microphone. Commented May 14, 2020 at 14:10

I had a similar issue. I had to disconnect the Headphones, remove the headset, redo the setup and than switch to A2DP in the sound setting. Disconnecting and reconnecting them was the crucial part - just switching the profile didn't change anything. I had to do this twice until it eventually worked.

Note that apparently A2DP is unidirectional, so you can't use the microphones with A2DP - if you need to use the microphone as well, you are stuck to crappy sound.


No workarounds needed

This problem is related to BlueZ and was fixed at version 5.52

Create a temporary folder, then download and install the updated packages using the following commands:

wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bluez/5.52-0ubuntu2/+build/18277594/+files/bluez_5.52-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bluez/5.52-0ubuntu2/+build/18277594/+files/libbluetooth3_5.52-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bluez/5.52-0ubuntu2/+build/18277594/+files/bluez-cups_5.52-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bluez/5.52-0ubuntu2/+build/18277594/+files/bluez-obexd_5.52-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb 
sudo dpkg -i *.deb

Worked just fine with my wh-1000xm2 at ubuntu 19.04.

For further information about the bug, see here

  • Do you know how to fix it on ubuntu 18.04, because I get dependency issues bluez-obexd depends on libc6 (>= 2.28); Version of libc6:amd64 on system is 2.27-3ubuntu1. bluez depends on libreadline8 (>= 6.0); Package libreadline8 is not installed.
    – elpiel
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 18:11
  • Thanks to @Luiz, problem kinda solved (in Ubuntu you never know what the next update will bring). In Ubuntu18, I downloaded the latest blues (5.52) and compiled and installed it. Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 12:56
  • @YuryKirienko I tried, but I have those deps. problems that I don't know how to fix.... Any clue?
    – elpiel
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 6:29
  • Ok.... I tried compiling it myself after fixing dependency issues. I actually screwed up my whole Ubuntu last week in order to try and install it, now though, it worked (probably because of the reinstalled/fixed Ubuntu I didn't have the same dependency issues as last week)
    – elpiel
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 8:01

I recently bought a pair of sony wh1000xm3 and had similar issues, where either the sound was bad , or the sound in a2dp was in mono, coming through the left earpad only. Disconneting and Reconnecting did not worked for me.

this are the 2 things that i did that helped

1) ive disabled the touch controls through the mobile app, it did improve the chances of not going in low quality mode

2) install blueman via apt and set the device to connect to the a2dp sink

eventually the most stable solution was what other documented in this thread which is:

3) install bluez 5.52 which it will be default in ubuntu 20.04 but for the time being you can download it from the website http://www.bluez.org/ and follow the install instructions inside the zip file.

enjoy good quality sound!


Sorry... my english ir very bad! First, connect your sony wh1000mx3 to the phone and go to the sony app's (headphones) and put Quality Sound Mode.

This active the quality sound that ubuntu need.

Then, connect the Sony Headpones to the bluetooth and select, in the sound configuration Hight Fidelity Playback (LDAD, aptx, the one you prefer).

This is all. And yotu enjoy the Wh 1000mxx


I had a similar issue with my Sony headset. On turning the Computer Bluetooth ON and trying to connect the Headphones I kept seeing the Unable to Connect error. On further investigation, I found that the PulseAudio module and Bluetooth Manager were missing. I performed the following steps and it worked fine for me:

  1. Install the PulseAudio module on Ubuntu - sudo apt install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth
  2. Install Bluetooth Manager - sudo apt install blueman
  3. Start the Bluetooth Manager GUI - blueman-manager
  4. Switch ON your Sony Headphones and enable pairing mode. You will see your Headset listed within the BlueMan GUI
  5. Right click on the device within the BlueMan GUI and say Trust Device
  6. Right click on the device and choose Setup
  7. Go through the 6-step setup wizard to finish pairing your Headset.

All of the above is the initial setup and needs to be done only once. Every subsequent time the bluetooth connects automatically whenever you switch your headset ON.


Regarding the issue of the sound still coming through the speakers - you can select which playback device sound should come from in the sounds settings.

See the screenshot in this question: How do you set a default audio output device in Ubuntu 18.04?

  • The problem with the headphones is that this does not work. It works with a speaker I have, I can just switch the output and it works. The headphones on the other hand seems like when I try to switch nothing happens. Headset is highlighted, but the Profile doesn't change and the sound continues coming from the speakers.
    – elpiel
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 11:19
  • Does it work if you connect it with the cable instead of bluetooth? I bought myself a Sony WH-1000XM3 after answering this question actually, and they work perfectly for me on Manjaro over bluetooth. I had a Sennheiser PXC 550 before, and couldn't get it to work over bluetooth no matter what I tried, on various distros. I had to resort to using the cable instead. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:08
  • It works using a cable. It also works using Bluetooth as I mentioned, it's just having some issues on the first connection. So it's definitely a bug or some manual configuration needed issue.
    – elpiel
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 8:22

The PulseAudio Volume Control software seems to work for me. I am using Ubuntu 22.04 with Sony Wh-1000xm3.

First install the software with sudo apt install pavucontrol.

Then, open PulseAudio Volume Control and switch the Codec from LDAC(High quality) to LDAC(mobile quality).


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