mcintosh 501 with Audio Research Ref 3

Does anyone have experience running Mac amps with a Audio Research Preamp Ref 3? I am wondering about the synergy or if there are mismatches.
I had these amps with my Cary SLP98P and they were not a good match, but a buddy bought them to go with his other Mac gear, and they are amazing now. I wonder though, if they were just not a good match with my speakers, Maggie's. He has B & W 801s and as I said, they are amazing with those speakers and with his Mac C2200.

Doesn't everything sound good with ARC gear? I really need to breakdown and buy and ARC preamp. They are stellar.
Yes there is synergy with these two, I had my REF3 paired up with these actual amps driving Eggleston Andra 2's and then moved onto PASS X600.5's and prefered. IC's connected in balance mode, XLR