My love for the Dali Zensor 3s is well documented. I think they are quite superb speakers and one of a very small number I would be happy with at a reasonable price. Also well documented is a lot of the swapping and changing I've done over the years. Most things have been sold on to fund changes but I have ended up with a small collection of different speakers.
Tonight I got inquisitive about exploring all the possibilities of the Marantz unit so I decided to see how it sounds with the Quad 11Ls which have been a permanent member of this household for years. These are the original 11Ls and have proved to be very sensitive to partnering equipment over the years. Get the amplification wrong and they can sound like there is a veil over the music. Get it right and they are wonderfully open, natural and detailed with superlative soundstaging and real depth for a speaker of their side.
I wasn't expecting much - probably a quick try-out and then back into the spare room the Quads would go. However, the combination sounds rather gorgeous and it isn't clear-cut which speakers will get the most use going forward. The Marantz seems to drive the Quads with real ease, producing a beautifully balanced sound even at low volumes (not always a talent of these speakers) and proving a very engaging and involving listen. They don't reach as low as the Zensor 3s and they aren't quite as up-front, but they have something really special about the sound, particularly in the way the midband is communicated. Strangely, last time I tried the Quads was with the Pioneer A-30 (which I am keeping as back-up for now) and they sounded really quite poor with that, even though it is a great amp.
Shows that system matching is as much of a black art as it always was. Will carry on listening and see where it takes me!