FWIW-I currently own Muse 2+ and Muse 5. I told my dealer I wanted to upgrade to the 8 transport and 296DAC and he told me go for the Levinson 360S. He is a dealer for both lines.
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I owned the 296 combo for several months and found them to be very difficult to match cables with using the single-ended output. I can't recommend them unless you are using a balanced setup. To me the soundstage was reproduced in a miniaturized fashion, which made retrieval of microdynamics very difficult. Your welcome to a different opinion should you audition them yourself. Regards.
British mag's: Bad review in a Brit mag on a Non Brit product? Wow! That's a first! Wake up. I have had the 296/8 for about 1.5 years. It is the best there is (although the remote is not going to impress anyone with its looks, but it works). ML360S? Yes, it has a nicer looking face plate, and that's where it ends.
Brian, I haven't heard the Muse, but you have no way of knowing whether it's the best since you can't possibly have listened to all the alternatives. More importantly, however, your perceptions of the best won't necessarily correlate with anyone else's views since they have different equipment, tastes and a different room.