Wanted: Real Bluetooth Audio Management

21 01 2008

Okay folks, I’m looking for help here.

I’m looking for the Right Bluetooth Setup. It consists of two setups:

  • Bluetooth Headphones
    I had a set of Blueant X5 headphones for a while, trying to get them working with my Treo 650. While that experiment failed, it set the tone for what I was trying to do. So, first, I need a good set of BT headphones + unobtrusive mic. Stereo headphones with A2DP support to talk to whatever streaming device I have. Which brings me to:

  • Bluetooth source devices
    I’d like the headphones to be able to take multiple BT sources. For instance, allow me to listen to music streaming from my iPod, but interrupt the music stream to answer my cell phone call, listen to that, then go back to streaming from the ipod. If that’s not possible, I’ve come up with a sort of hybrid arrangement, that has a number of very strong advantages…

  • Bluetooth HFP for Laptops
    If I can’t necessarily switch between Bluetooth feeds, why can’t I have my laptop act as a ‘Bluetooth Audio Manager’? Install a bluetooth HFP profile into the bluetooth stack on the laptop, so the mic and headphones I attach to the laptop become my wireless headphones for my cell phone. Now, before you laugh too hard about this, think. When I’m sitting in Starbucks working away, listening to Radio Paradise via my laptop, what happens when my cell phone rings? A lot of times, I miss the call – even with vibrate. But if I do get a call, I have to take off my headphones, answer the phone, and try to be heard over the general clatter of the coffeehouse. Why not have the laptop pop up a “A call is coming in”, and then I tap [Answer], and the mic in my headset (or on the laptop) goes active, my audiostream switches to the phone call, and the music pauses. I can have my conversation, then ‘hang up’, and RadioParadise returns.

I’ve STFW’ed for this, and apparently there is no HFP profile for Windows or for Linux. I’m sorely tempted to finally break down and buy a Nokia N810, which has quite capable bluetooth support, and see about rigging up an HFP profile for it. Listening to music from the Nokia, and having it switch over to handle my phone calls, then switch back at the end of the call, would be just about perfect. In that case, I wouldn’t need the wireless headphones at all, the N810 would act as my ‘communications client’ to my audio devices.

Any suggestions? I just gotta geek more!

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9 responses

22 01 2008
ckd

I have a MyBlu, which I use as a remote for my iPod and a BT headset for my phone. It’s not quite as good as having multi-source BT headphones, alas, but it has the distinct advantage of actually working. (Though I must also note that my phone isn’t running PalmOS, which also gives the distinct advantage of not being built from an ancient pile of duct tape.)

22 01 2008
Perley Mears

OK, I realize the N810 has other things going for it, but I can do what you describe with my RAZR V3xx, and often do. I load up music on the MicroSD card, have some playlists setup, and listen away via my Motorola H700 Bluetooth headset. When a call comes in, I tap the button on my headset, the music pauses and I get my call. When my call is done, back comes the music. I admit that the H700 is just a plain old mono headset, which is fine for me, but the same should work with stereo I would expect. Just a data point in case you didn’t want to spend as much for a new phone. 🙂

22 01 2008
dbs

@ckd :
Ahh, MyBlu looks like a great idea… and it looks like it can use generic headphones. The only drawback is the microphone would be on the little dangly wire thingy, right? As opposed to up on the headset. That might be okay though – at least I’d hear the phone ringing and take appropriate action.
Course, it also requires a newer ipod than I have. Ahh, upgrades.
Thanks for the pointer!

22 01 2008
dbs

@Perley
Well, that sort of defeats my purposes there. I’m quite the music snob, and listening to anything in mono in one ear would drive me batshit. I usually use music to help me focus, and having some beautiful orchestration in mono in one ear… *shudder*
Thanks though!

22 01 2008
dbs

Hmmm, the google ads on this article just pointed me at:
iMuffs at Wi-Gear.com. They seem awfully close to what I want. Hmmmmm.

23 01 2008
Perley Mears

I knew you wouldn’t care for mono, which is why I suggested that a stereo headset should work the same. As much as I like Palms, perhaps they don’t make great phones. 🙂 And the N810 may not be your only new phone option.

9 03 2008
Ron

If I understand you correctly, you want to be able to use A2DP Stereo mode to listen to music on your Laptop. You also want the same Headset paired with your cell phone to accept and make calls. And when a call comes in on the cell phone, the music is paused automatically so you can take the call and resume music when the call has ended??? With the ability to reject a call from the headset. I can say I am using the Southwing SA505 headset and it just that. Has controls on the headset for audio, ie play, pause, forw, rew , volume and a retractable (hidden) mic. Respectable sound quality and bass. Paired easy and supports this same setup using Skype calls too. I am using Windows XP Pro with the WIDCOMM Bluetooth Software 5.1.0.3400 Bluetooth stack that came with my new Dell Vostro. Hope this helps.

14 04 2008
Brendan

I ran across your post while searching for something similar. As a Nokia n800 user (with the same software as the n810), I can definitely recommend the tablets. Mine is great, and I love being able to carry around a proper Linux system in my pocket. Having said that, Maemo (the Linux distribution on the tablets) is running bluez 3.22, which is the same protocol stack used on a lot of desktop Linux distributions. As far as I know, you’ll run into the same problems with HSP/HFP client support… I want to do the same thing myself though, so there’s at least some demand. I’ve looked at the code for bluez, and I think most of the work would actually be in setting up the audio pipeline, outside of the bluetooth system.

15 08 2008
DeadlyDad

I’ve been using the Helium Digital HDBT-750 Bluetooth Headset & Transmitter(http://www.heliumdigital.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=66&bc=no) for a couple of months now, and they are awesome! Pair the headset up with both the transmitter (A2DP) and your cell phone (Handsfree/Headset), then plug the transmitter into your iPod/Laptop/DVD player/etc. When a call comes in, you merely have to tap a button on the right earpiece to take the call. When the call is over, you go right back to your music. The sound quality is amazing, too. The solid bass and clear treble puts it on par with my CX-300’s.

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