Amazon Echo as Bluetooth Speaker / Audio sink in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 18.10

I have tried several times to use my Amazon Echo as a Speaker for my Home Office Setup. After all it’s why I got it in the first place. However by default it would only connect as audio source which means I now get to hear Alexa’s voice through my Laptop’s speakers. Googling only gave me a few frustrated users and bug-reports. Here’s what works for me:

Delete Connections

Just to make sure we start from fresh.

  1. Open the Alexa App and remove the connection to your Linux-Machine
  2. Remove the connection from your Linux-Machine

Connect from the Linux Machine

I could present some semi-solid theory why it is the case, but let’s just cargo cult this: it’s important to connect from the Linux-Machine.

  1. Go to the Alexa App and start connecting to a new device.
  2. From your Linux-Machine connect to your Echo. It seems your device has to be visible to do this. It may also fail a few times, just be stubborn and retry.

I had no luck using bluetoothctl so I used the wizard.

Change profile to a2dp_sink

Open a terminal and enter pactl list cards short. You should see something similar to

0       alsa_card.pci-0000_00_1f.3      module-alsa-card.c
3       bluez_card.AA_BB_CC_DD_EE_FF    module-bluez5-device.c

Look for the card starting with bluez_card.

Now we need to change the active profile of our card:

pactl set-card-profile bluez_card.AA_BB_CC_DD_EE_FF a2dp_sink

Afterwards I had to change the default sink back to my internal speakers and then to the Echo again.

It works, but…

Enjoy your music!

While this survives a re-connect, you’ll have to do this after each reboot ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Maybe I’ll try to automate that some day…

Written on December 20, 2018
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