|The big ring. Big and smooth. Uhm... yeah.|
One of the guys I sometimes ride with mentioned the other day that he preferred riding in the big chainring as often as he could. Yes, part of it was vanity. But part of it was that he felt that the drivetrain felt smoother on the big ring than the small, even when the gearing was equivalent. He couldn't figure out why.
I'm not an engineer or a scientist, nor am I an artist (as you're about to see in the following diagrams), but I do have an explanation about why you feel smoother on the big ring. And no, it's not because you think you have impressive quads.