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While music was once restricted to symphony halls and home parlors fortunate enough to have a piano, it's now everywhere. And whether you're on the go, or in the comfort of your own home, you need the proper equipment and services to enjoy your tunes. We've rounded up a free trial of Google's music streaming service, a $37 Apple iPod, $150 bookshelf speakers, and more in this week's best audio deals.
Is It Worth It?: The streaming music wars are blazing, and Google's latest volley is this Editor's Choice freebie. Chromecast owners who set up their device can take advantage of three free months of Google Play Music All Access. That's a $30 savings and the best free trial period we've seen from Google Play Music.
All Access offers ad-free, unlimited music listening with unlimited skips. Note that you'll need to cancel service before the trial ends, otherwise you'll be billed $9.99 per month afterward.
Is It Worth It?: Listen to music on the go with this nifty Velcro armband, made to fit most major MP3 players, including iPods. In this Editor's Choice deal, Sears has dropped the price to $12.97, and thrown in a $19.82 credit in Shop Your Way Rewards points. Assuming you skip the $5.99 shipping charge by choosing in store pick-up and take advantage of the credit, that's the lowest price we could find by $20.
Is It Worth It?: Reviewing the Able Planet NC300B, Slashgear praises the headphones' active noise cancelling technology, comfort, and most of all, their price. "That's a bargain," Slashgear writes, "and while you might get more complex DSP from more expensive rival systems - Bose, we're looking at you - semi-frequent fliers will find the Able Planet price much easier to swallow."
Available in Black or Silver, these Editor's Choice headphones feature an adjustable headband, in-line volume control, LINX audio technology, and 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response. At $29.99 with free shipping, they are tied with our April mention for the lowest price we've seen.
Is It Worth It?: CNET calls Apple's 4th generation iPod shuffle "adorable" and "shockingly small." Though the tiny control might not always be practical, this device is great for exercise, if you want your iTunes but don't want to bring your iPhone along.
This Editor's Choice deal is the best price we've seen for a new 2GB iPod shuffle and a current price low by $11. The iPod features VoiceOver, playlists, a rear clip, up to 15 hours of playback, and more. Shipping will add $10.
Is It Worth It?: If you want to listen to music with better quality and you're not on-the-go, you'll need speakers for a home audio system. Audio retailer Crutchfield says the Compact 350s "deliver deep, rich bass that you wouldn't normally expect from bookshelf speakers." And the users at Newegg, which offers this deal, have given the speakers a 4/5 rating in 64 reviews.
Each speaker features a 5.25" bass/mid driver, 1" dome tweeter, 8" bass radiator, and 26Hz to 30kHz frequency response.