I have a RPi Zero W running Stretch and equipped with an Adafruit speaker bonnet. I have followed these instructions including points 1 and 2 mentioned in the comments. The result is a functioning BT speaker system so long as the sender is an iOS or Android device.

I would like to use the setup with another RPi; however, I am running into problems. I have two RPi 3B setups, one is running stretch, the other buster. On stretch, I have been able to pair the RPi Zero W speakers and they function properly when using a command such as:

aplay -D bluealsa:HCI=hci0,DEV=<BTADDRESS>,PROFILE=a2dp test.wav

However, despite successful pairing and setting the BT speakers as the output device in the Audio menu of the desktop GUI, I cannot get sound from youtube videos in chromium. With the buster setup, I can pair the device; however there is a timeout when attempting to set the RPi Zero W as the audio output. There's also something wrong with my buster setup as I am unable to perform the aplay command above.

I am looking for instructions on how to successfully send sound from a recent RPi distro (stretch/buster) to another RPi serving as a BT speaker receiver. I would also like some clarification on whether pulseaudio, alsa, or both are needed in order for this configuration to run properly.

  • @ukBaz Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I am obviously not alone in this problem. Are you suggesting that my question is a duplicate? Seems like it might be worthwhile to have a Lite and non-Lite solution (if available) since it's clear there are some big challenges with Raspbian Lite OS as well. Oct 17, 2020 at 18:45
  • Does your Buster Pi work with any BT speaker at all? It didn't for me. Nov 18, 2020 at 7:52
  • 1
    @DmitryGrigoryev I don't know yet since I don't have any BT speakers to test. Need to go shopping... Nov 18, 2020 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


My overall impression from your questions is you have it working when you use aplay because you can specify the output audio device (card) to use. When you can't specify the device e.g. YouTube, then it doesn't work. This suggests your Bluetooth source and sink are working correctly.

I suspect the issue is that you need to specify the output device (card) to use for audio.

Changing the default is covered in another question.

If you are using the desktop, then right-clicking the volume icon on the desktop taskbar brings up the audio output selector; this allows you to select between the different audio output.

For the issues on Buster, have you confirmed that you are not using the problematic firmware version as talked about in another question

  • By "problematic firmware" you mean Buster Lite? I'd rater call it "problematic operating system" then. Or do you mean "firmware" as in "binary blob which run on the device itself when a driver is loaded", stuff from /lib/firmware? Nov 18, 2020 at 8:03
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    @DmitryGrigoryev, thank you checking. I did mean "problematic firmware" not "problematic operating system". There have been a few updates this year to fix issues so it is worth people checking they have the latest.
    – ukBaz
    Nov 19, 2020 at 6:55

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