PulseAudio 15 Lands mSBC Codec Support To Enable Bluetooth Wideband Speech

Written by Michael Larabel in Multimedia on 6 April 2021 at 03:30 AM EDT. 49 Comments
While PipeWire is being increasingly looked at by desktop Linux distributions as the future of audio/video stream handling on the Linux desktop, aside from Fedora most Linux distributions are so far being cautious in replacing PulseAudio. In any event, PulseAudio is showing no signs of letting up and continues seeing new feature development.

The latest work to land on Monday for the PulseAudio sound server was mSBC codec support for its Bluetooth native headset backend. This mSBC codec support in turn allows for wideband speech to be supported for capable Bluetooth headsets interfacing with the Linux desktop by way of PulseAudio.

This mSBC codec support will be used by default for headsets claiming to support it but can be optionally disabled by the user.

After the initial merge request was opened a month ago, this Bluetooth mSBC support was improved upon and has been tested with the likes of Apple Airpods Pro and various other Bluetooth devices from the likes of Bose, Sony, and LG. This work should yield better sound quality for modern Bluetooth headsets with PulseAudio.

See the merge request for more details if interested. This will be part of the upcoming PulseAudio 15.0 release.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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