parrot zik3 linux


After long debating I got me the Parrent Zik 3 headphones. I was looking for a wireless set of headphones with good battery and good sound quality. I kept landing on the zik3 or the momentum2. I checked the momentums in a store but they seemed too small. I couldn't check the ziks so I ordered it. They are small too. Screw this "over ear" marketing bullshit.

Anyways, the zik 3 has some interesting software support, which was another reason for me to go with it. I didn't really think about linux, especially after the g933s just worked out of the box. Okay okay, turned out they needed a little tuning which was only possible on the windows app but who's counting. But of course the linux card has to be played once again.

These are my steps. Your results may vary.

This is on a Xubuntu 15.04 system with a white label bluetooth dongle (that seems to work fine). That dongle wasn't the problem either, btw.

One of the zik devs later told me this the headphones should work with linux out of the box and I encountered some kind of bug. So you may not need to do this at all. Either way, the app, his doing as well, allows you to configure some stuff so at least that's worth checking out!

After circlejerking for a little while I finally found on the Parrot forums, in a buried thread. It's a little ridiculous that they don't promote this somewhere more obvious. In fact they should pay the person who made this or at least an honorable mentions. I don't think the zik would work on linux without this gem. Turns out they're just not interested. So disappointing.

Anyways, the software is The Parrot Zik Manager, for linux. I'm pretty sure it's unofficial software. Says it supports all the ziks (1, 2, 3). I can only confirm 3. On my system that wasn't sufficient though. The software needed a little jolt before it would do anything.

It is built in QuickTime Qt (Thanks lainwir3d) and you'll need some libraries before you can run it. After installing the required quicktime stuff (see below) I had to manually set a shell variable to make the program work because I got this error:

"This application failed to start because it could not find or load the Qt platform plugin "xcb"."

Turns out I needed to find, because it was missing, and set LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/your/path/here . Basically you go to your root (cd /) and locate it (locate libQt5DBus). You'll get a few paths. I found mine in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ This is after installing the QT libraries, of course.

~/apps/zik-manager$ ./zik-manager
./zik-manager: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ sudo apt-get install libqt5quick5

~/apps/zik-manager$ ./zik-manager
./zik-manager: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ sudo apt-get install libqt5svg5

~/apps/zik-manager$ ./zik-manager
./zik-manager: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ sudo apt-get install libqt5bluetooth5

~/apps/zik-manager$ ./zik-manager
This application failed to start because it could not find or load the Qt platform plugin "xcb".

Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.
Aborted (core dumped)

~/apps/zik-manager$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ ./zik-manager


So to run the app from within ~/zik-manager (or wherever it is you unpacked the zip) I do:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ ./zik-manager

You pair the headphones like usual in the bluetooth manager. That part seems to work fine. It wouldn't play sound to me until I ran the app above once. Now it runs without the app.

A little pro tip: Don't click airplane mode too often. The phones disconnect the wireless connection. They would reconnect but not play sound until I tried again a few days later. Might have been a stroke of bad luck. The audio wheel doesn't seem to work for me at all. Maybe it's just supposed to indicate. Other buttons work fine.

Initial impression of the zik, btw, is that the audio is great. The connection seems a bit crappy, which may be related to the anonymous bluetooth dongle I'm using. It's a little disappointing that they don't supply a dongle themselves, though. The fit kinda sucks. Either they rest on my ears or I have to semi-fold my ears into the cup. Neither feels nice and I don't see myself wearing the zik 3 for super long without being annoyed. The noise cancellation works as intended and it's kind of nice that you can manually tweak its strength. I'm curious to see how they hold up in the air. Oh and the reported sensitivity, which was my main hold back at first, can be mooted by simply disabling the head detection through the software. This will disable it obviously but at least it won't accidentally do so.

So early verdict; sound is superb, feel is terrible, connection quality is tbd.

Eventually I ditched them because the cups were simply too small for my ears and they would hurt after using them for a long time. The sound quality, NC, and especially configurability of the ziks are great. But for me the comfort is unacceptable. Note that this may not be the case with smaller ears, as a friend of mine has no problem in this regard. The zenneheiser momentum 2 have the same problem for me. The bose qc 35's seem to be a perfect fit for me. So I've sold my ziks and got the qc35's :)

If you have troubles connecting the zik in (x)ubuntu (15.10) then here may be some steps to help.

// drops you into a bluetooth shell
scan on
wait a bit, turn device on and off, at some point it should turn up

In the bluetooth control panel ui thing now select the zik as "audio sink".

If you connected to the zik but can't get audio then you may have to restart pulseaudio so it picks up the new device. Stupid but it worked for me in one case:

// no sudo/root.
// it kills the PA which automatically restarts
pulseaudio -k

In sound panel (pavucontrol) in configure enable parrot, a2db

In playback you may need to switch the output device to get running audio. ymmv