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 cancelling 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, dissapers 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.


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. – Kay Lamerigts Aug 16 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 Aug 23 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. – Pedro Palhares Aug 24 at 12:18
  • 1
    @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 Aug 28 at 15:16
  • Thanks, it worked for 18.04 with Sony wh-h900n – Suraj Nath Oct 8 at 6:18

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.

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