Thanks everyone. Without explaining everything I'm doing, I know there are too many variables. I said there was more grain than I expected, but honestly I didn't know what to expect. It is substantially less and with a smoother look to it than HP5+. I think it looks great.
I'm not sure I was completely clear... I'm really happy with the results and am just curious why they seem to be easier to print. Whatever the explanation is, I like it very much! Until now I have not had this amount of control in the mid-tones during a print... it felt like I could dial in exactly the way I wanted the tones to look. The highlights are not blown out... it's all good!