Loud volume causes distortion with bluetooth headphones


I switched over to Manjaro KDE Plasma from windows, and everything has been going great (for the most part), but I have one problem that I would really like help with as I use my headphones all the time.

So, here’s the problem: The audio threshold coming through my headphones is really quiet, and if I try to turn the volume up higher than the normal in PulseEffects (smart gain), app volume (in sound settings), or Alsa (150% volume), it just causes distortion.

I have a Comet Lake PCH cAVS (Intel Corporation) audio chip, and I am using Bose QC35 II headphones
that does not experience distortion at all when connected to windows or my phone.

Here's the result of inxi -Fazy:

Kernel: 5.10.30-1-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 10.2.0
parameters: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-5.10-x86_64
root=UUID=574d97fa-48ba-45c0-b1ea-27443846de07 rw quiet apparmor=1
security=apparmor udev.log_priority=3
Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.21.4 tk: Qt 5.15.2 wm: kwin_x11 vt: 1 dm: SDDM
Distro: Manjaro Linux base: Arch Linux
Type: Laptop System: Micro-Star product: GF75 Thin 10SEK v: REV:1.0
serial: Chassis: type: 10 serial:
Mobo: Micro-Star model: MS-17F3 v: REV:1.0 serial:
UEFI: American Megatrends v: E17F3IMS.50F date: 11/19/2020
ID-1: BAT1 charge: 50.3 Wh (97.5%) condition: 51.6/51.3 Wh (100.5%)
volts: 13.0 min: 11.4 model: MSI Corp. MS-17F3 type: Li-ion serial: N/A
status: Charging
Info: 6-Core model: Intel Core i7-10750H bits: 64 type: MT MCP
arch: Comet Lake family: 6 model-id: A5 (165) stepping: 2 microcode: E2
cache: L2: 12 MiB
flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
bogomips: 62399
Speed: 2477 MHz min/max: 800/5000 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2477 2: 2259
3: 1915 4: 2172 5: 1611 6: 2255 7: 2035 8: 1544 9: 1871 10: 1918 11: 1865
12: 2231
Vulnerabilities: Type: itlb_multihit status: KVM: VMX disabled
Type: l1tf status: Not affected
Type: mds status: Not affected
Type: meltdown status: Not affected
Type: spec_store_bypass
mitigation: Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl and seccomp
Type: spectre_v1
mitigation: usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization
Type: spectre_v2 mitigation: Enhanced IBRS, IBPB: conditional, RSB filling
Type: srbds status: Not affected
Type: tsx_async_abort status: Not affected
Device-1: Intel UHD Graphics vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: i915 v: kernel
bus-ID: 00:02.0 chip-ID: 8086:9bc4 class-ID: 0300
Device-2: NVIDIA TU106M [GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile] vendor: Micro-Star MSI
driver: nvidia v: 460.67 alternate: nouveau,nvidia_drm bus-ID: 01:00.0
chip-ID: 10de:1f15 class-ID: 0300
Device-3: Acer HD Webcam type: USB driver: uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-11:7
chip-ID: 5986:211c class-ID: 0e02
Device-4: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 type: USB
driver: snd-usb-audio,uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-4.3:10 chip-ID: 046d:082d
class-ID: 0102 serial:
Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.11 compositor: kwin_x11 driver:
loaded: modesetting,nvidia display-ID: :0 screens: 1
Screen-1: 0 s-res: 3840x1080 s-dpi: 96 s-size: 1013x285mm (39.9x11.2")
s-diag: 1052mm (41.4")
Monitor-1: HDMI-0 res: 1920x1080 hz: 60 dpi: 70 size: 698x392mm (27.5x15.4")
diag: 801mm (31.5")
Monitor-2: eDP-1-1 res: 1920x1080 hz: 144 dpi: 128
size: 381x214mm (15.0x8.4") diag: 437mm (17.2")
OpenGL: renderer: N/A v: N/A direct render: N/A
Device-1: Intel Comet Lake PCH cAVS vendor: Micro-Star MSI
driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel alternate: snd_soc_skl,snd_sof_pci
bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:06c8 class-ID: 0403
Device-2: JMTek LLC. LCS USB Audio type: USB
driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid bus-ID: 1-3:2 chip-ID: 0c76:2018
class-ID: 0300 serial:
Device-3: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 type: USB
driver: snd-usb-audio,uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-4.3:10 chip-ID: 046d:082d
class-ID: 0102 serial:
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.10.30-1-MANJARO running: yes
Sound Server-2: JACK v: 0.125.0 running: no
Sound Server-3: PulseAudio v: 14.2 running: yes
Sound Server-4: PipeWire v: 0.3.26 running: no
Device-1: Intel Comet Lake PCH CNVi WiFi driver: iwlwifi v: kernel
port: 5000 bus-ID: 00:14.3 chip-ID: 8086:06f0 class-ID: 0280
IF: wlo1 state: up mac:
Device-2: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: r8169 v: kernel port: 3000 bus-ID: 03:00.0
chip-ID: 10ec:8168 class-ID: 0200
IF: enp3s0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac:
Device-1: Intel type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8 bus-ID: 1-14:8
chip-ID: 8087:0026 class-ID: e001
Report: rfkill ID: hci0 rfk-id: 1 state: up address: see --recommends
Local Storage: total: 476.94 GiB used: 81.16 GiB (17.0%)
SMART Message: Unable to run smartctl. Root privileges required.
ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 maj-min: 259:0 vendor: Samsung model: MZVLQ512HALU-00000
size: 476.94 GiB block-size: physical: 512 B logical: 512 B speed: 31.6 Gb/s
lanes: 4 rotation: SSD serial: rev: FXV7000Q temp: 25.9 C
scheme: GPT
ID-1: / raw-size: 150 GiB size: 146.59 GiB (97.72%) used: 81.14 GiB (55.3%)
fs: ext4 dev: /dev/nvme0n1p6 maj-min: 259:6
ID-2: /boot/efi raw-size: 300 MiB size: 296 MiB (98.67%)
used: 25.8 MiB (8.7%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1 maj-min: 259:1
Alert: No swap data was found.
System Temperatures: cpu: 68.0 C mobo: N/A gpu: nvidia temp: 51 C
Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
Processes: 342 Uptime: 1h 00m wakeups: 1 Memory: 15.46 GiB
used: 5.14 GiB (33.3%) Init: systemd v: 247 tool: systemctl Compilers:
gcc: 10.2.0 clang: 11.1.0 Packages: 1404 pacman: 1393 lib: 382 flatpak: 0
snap: 11 Shell: Bash v: 5.1.0 running-in: konsole inxi: 3.3.04

Hope you can help me!

Turns out that my headphones have volume control buttons on the side of them, and normally when I use them with my phone they just change the phone’s volume, but I tried them today with my Linux PC and they apparently are separate from the Linux volume.

So, I went ahead and turned the volume on my headphones all the way up and turned my Linux volume down, and now I can turn the Linux volume up as much as I want without any distortion problems.

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