Easy BlueTooth Audio on the Pandora. Finally !

bluetoothbose

The bluetooth function of the Pandora must have been one of the most underused ones since its launch. There’s only one time that I think I was able to use it: for connecting it to a bluetooth GPS. And… that’s it. BT Audio never worked for me (even in Slackware) despite the Pandora managing to connect and pair with other devices. With the new firmware 1.74, we finally get working bluetooth for audio streaming. YES!!!

It’s not easy as, let’s say, “Smartphone-kind of easy”, but for us Pandora owners, tweaking around with config files a little is not something out of the ordinary. The first thing you need to do (after installing the new firmware 1.74 via, for example, the update-OS menu) is to declare that you have a bluetooth companion hardware somewhere in your vicinity in the asound config file (you can do sudo mousepad /etc/asound.conf in your terminal).

pcm.btheadset {
    type plug
    slave {
        pcm {
            type bluetooth
            profile "auto"
        }
    }
    hint {
       show on
       description "BT Headset"
    }
}
ctl.btheadset {
  type bluetooth
}

Once you are done, you can now pair with your device, and start an audio player such as Audacious, QMMP or Deadbeef – and ensure that you select ALSA output in the preferences (tick software volume control for Audacious as well), and select the BT-Speakers or BT-headset (whichever you called it) in the output device field.

2

In the above screen you can see the configuration I am using in the ALSA preferences.

On the boards some users were also using the old VLC build on the repo (VLC2) and it seemed to work fine with it too. In the beginning I had Audacious hanging sometimes, but now with the above options (“work around drain hangup”) it seems to have done the trick. I had problems with DeadBeef losing the bluetooth connection as well, but since Audacious works fine I am using it mainly for bluetooth output now.

After that, you should be on your way to enjoy wireless audio with your Pandora. It’s a huge benefit since the Pandora can have tons of storage with large sized SD Cards – like oh, what’s that 128 Gb card doing in the right SD Slot… ?

And the Pandora battery lasts for hours and hours… even with bluetooth on. Awesome.

I have been using the BOSE SoundLink Mini Speakers in tandem with the Pandora and it worked just fine. If you want my opinion of this speakers system… well it’s decent for a portable set, maybe a little too strong on the bass to my taste. It can last for several hours once charged so it’s practical and loud enough if you want to show a movie, or use it for background audio for an evening, let’s say.

4 thoughts on “Easy BlueTooth Audio on the Pandora. Finally !

  1. TrashyMG

    It works well on the Kodi PND, you just need to specify the BT Audio device in Setting -> System->Audio Output

    Reply
  2. KickAss

    Hi,
    why do you think bluetooth audio only works after an update to 1.74?
    What changes does 1.74 bring which would affect bluetooth functionality?

    Reply
    1. ekianjo Post author

      Yes, the socket mode was not activated so far in previous Super Zaxxon which prevented BT audio to work as expected. It’s now supported.

      Reply

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