Westminster Lab Monologue phonoamp - a new 2023 product

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2011
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Hong Kong
I am not an vinyl audiophile but came across this excellent new Westminster Lab Monologue phonoamp when I visited the WL headquarter listening room a few days ago.

Here is WL HQ listening room :
IMG_20231115_174215.jpg

Able to spot the new component-mix?
:D
IMG_20231115_183452.jpg

They are : two Quest preamps in mono mode, Rei poweramp 4-pieces in bridge mode, MSB Reference DAC, Techdas Air Force 3 Premium and a hidden Lumin streamer.

Most attractive were the DS Audio Master3 optical cartridge on a Ikeda 12" stainless steel version tonearm :
IMG_20231115_183344.jpg

IMG_20231117_083655.jpg

And of course the new WL Monologue phonoamp (there were two Monologues, one for the DS cartridge and the other with mono card) :
:cool:
IMG_20231115_183147.jpg

IMG_20231115_183255.jpg

Angus, boss & designer of WL told me that the Monologue was so new that marketing had not been started.
However it's on WL website already.
https://www.westminsterlab.com/monologue

It's modular and there are 3 plug-in cards for MM/MC ; Mono ; DS Audio optical cartridge.
IMG_20231117_075615.jpg

Here is the DS Audio cartridge card I auditioned during the visit :
IMG_20231117_075649.jpg

I would like to share with you some thoughts of mine. I auditioned that vinyl setup for about an hour only but I liked it very much.

To be frank, optical cartridges had not been my cup of tea. IMHO they were clean, quiet and gave excellent performance in all hifi aspects.
However they couldn't "touch" my heart as much as the traditional cartridges.

In the contrary, the Monologue gave the Master3 cartridge back the Musicality!
I enjoyed the audition very much.
I asked Angus about that and he said he had tuned the Monologue in that direction specifically, according to his own taste.
He is a good friend of Mr. Tetsuaki Aoyagi of DS Audio but Angus does have his own thoughts. Great!

I'm certain that Monologue will be very competitive in its price range.
Definitely not to be missed when you are shopping a phonoamp at around usd13k (tax excluded).
;)
 
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I am not an vinyl audiophile but came across this excellent new Westminster Lab Monologue phonoamp when I visited the WL headquarter listening room a few days ago.

Here is WL HQ listening room :
View attachment 119997

Able to spot the new component-mix?
:D
View attachment 119998

They are : two Quest preamps in mono mode, Rei poweramp 4-pieces in bridge mode, MSB Reference DAC, Techdas Air Force 3 Premium and a hidden Lumin streamer.

Most attractive were the DS Audio Master3 optical cartridge on a Ikeda 12" stainless steel version tonearm :
View attachment 119999

View attachment 120000

And of course the new WL Monologue phonoamp (there were two Monologues, one for the DS cartridge and the other with mono card) :
:cool:
View attachment 120001

View attachment 120002

Angus, boss & designer of WL told me that the Monologue was so new that marketing had not been started.
However it's on WL website already.
https://www.westminsterlab.com/monologue

It's modular and there are 3 plug-in cards for MM/MC ; Mono ; DS Audio optical cartridge.
View attachment 120003

Here is the DS Audio cartridge card I auditioned during the visit :
View attachment 120004

I would like to share with you some thoughts of mine. I auditioned that vinyl setup for about an hour only but I liked it very much.

To be frank, optical cartridges had not been my cup of tea. IMHO they were clean, quiet and gave excellent performance in all hifi aspects.
However they couldn't "touch" my heart as much as the traditional cartridges.

In the contrary, the Monologue gave the Master3 cartridge back the Musicality!
I enjoyed the audition very much.
I asked Angus about that and he said he had tuned the Monologue in that direction specifically, according to his own taste.
He is a good friend of Mr. Tetsuaki Aoyagi of DS Audio but Angus do have his own thoughts. Great!

I'm certain that Monologue will be very competitive in its price range.
Definitely not to be missed when you are shopping a phonoamp at around usd13k (tax excluded).
;)
Thank you for visiting! It was a really enjoyable chat and music session. We are very new to the vinyl world and we have been working really hard for years to find our own approach to vinyl reproduction. Technical side, the DS Audio card has a custom signal circuit and also power supply compare to DS's reference design, and of course we used our own custom capacitor in the signal path in the DS card as well.

The Monologue in a sense is just a bespoke dual mono power supply and output buffer for the Quest-Phono module, just the power supply takes up more than half of the area ( A total of 7 sets of power supplies ). We put a lot of effort in shielding different parts within the unit and we even have a separate tunnel within the chassis of the unit to complete isolate the high voltage AC input.

Existing customers with a Quest can migrate their existing phono card and install it in the Monologue chassis as an upgrade ( yes, is a very big upgrade ).

_ANG9833-HDR.jpg
 
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Interesting. I’ll assume the unit has to be powered off before a module can be pulled and DIP switches adjusted? No live swap?
 
Interesting. I’ll assume the unit has to be powered off before a module can be pulled and DIP switches adjusted? No live swap?
Yes, it has to be powered off.
 
Thank you for visiting! It was a really enjoyable chat and music session. We are very new to the vinyl world and we have been working really hard for years to find our own approach to vinyl reproduction. Technical side, the DS Audio card has a custom signal circuit and also power supply compare to DS's reference design, and of course we used our own custom capacitor in the signal path in the DS card as well.

The Monologue in a sense is just a bespoke dual mono power supply and output buffer for the Quest-Phono module, just the power supply takes up more than half of the area ( A total of 7 sets of power supplies ). We put a lot of effort in shielding different parts within the unit and we even have a separate tunnel within the chassis of the unit to complete isolate the high voltage AC input.

Existing customers with a Quest can migrate their existing phono card and install it in the Monologue chassis as an upgrade ( yes, is a very big upgrade ).

View attachment 120010
CK I remain amazed that you continue to scoop the entire audio world in bringing new things to light. And to Angus , kudos to you and your creative mind.
 
CK I remain amazed that you continue to scoop the entire audio world in bringing new things to light. And to Angus , kudos to you and your creative mind.
CK you scooped me dammit! Of course you have a 12,000 kilometer advantage:)

Thanks for a great write up. Our Monologue will be arriving stateside soon. We will be premiering it at Axpona along with an exceptional vinyl rig using DS Audio and other exceptional carts. I have already talked Angus into spinning some vinyl for a few hours while there and telling folks how after being a dedicated digital guy he has fallen hard for vinyl.:)

Perhaps you will consider coming to the show? I know there are many WBF fans that would love to meet you!
 
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Gary,
Angus' track record with me is first class. Of course I am interested, especially with the ARS Machine and suspect there is even more potential within the TT.

I look forward to getting together and hearing the new setup, connecting and looking for new room layouts from the famous Gary and Deb Leeds design combo... Keep me posted.

r
 
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We did distill our idea and our approach to music playback to the Monologue and the sets of individual cards. The approach to the DS eq of ours is very different from the reference design from DS, from the power supply for the LED, the gain stage is all different. And of course we put our secret capacitor into the DS card as well.

My fav card will defiantly be the dedicated MONO MC/MM phono card, which only has one input. Designed specifically for the purist. We insist using only one set of input, we then duplicate the signal after the RIAA and converted to a full balanced signal for output. The layout of the board is different and most important of all, some of the components selection is a bit different to reflect on the different "tone" of those vintage recordings.

In terms of different curves, we did bought quite a few early mono records and found out that the variations between different curves are not that significant and decided to opt it out ( is very difficult not to degrade the musicality when having lots of switches and relays at the RIAA circuitry ).

We are still at the final stage of testing our MONO phono card, but we think it is a product where it shows our commitment and love towards music and mostly important to the reproduction of music.

IMG_5571.jpg
 
We are still at the final stage of testing our MONO phono card, but we think it is a product where it shows our commitment and love towards music and mostly important to the reproduction of music.

View attachment 120289
Wow!
A Glanz with the Miyajima Infinity mono cartridge!

Angus : I have to visit you again!
:D
 
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CK, my understanding was you are a dedicated digital man. Are you falling for the charms of vinyl playback? As you know, two years ago Angus was a pure digital listener and today as a tool to advance Westminster's designs and for the pure joy of it he has embraced advancing the art of vinyl playback as few have.

US based Members interested in an at home audition of the Monologue Hear This unit is expected shortly. We will have both the MC/MM and DS Audio modules available for that purpose, along with WestminsterLab's Ultra phono cable in a balanced version available as well.
 
Gary,
Angus' track record with me is first class. Of course I am interested, especially with the ARS Machine and suspect there is even more potential within the TT.

I look forward to getting together and hearing the new setup, connecting and looking for new room layouts from the famous Gary and Deb Leeds design combo... Keep me posted.

r
Hello Russ! Thank you for your support! Look forward seeing you again in the USA!
 
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Wow!
A Glanz with the Miyajima Infinity mono cartridge!

Angus : I have to visit you again!
:D
Thanks Angus for your hospitality!

I visited the Westminster Lab HQ in Hong Kong again yesterday.
IMG_20231217_083830.jpg


My target was the. Glanz 10" tonarm with the Miyajima Infinity mono cartridge.

The Ikeda & the Glanz on Techdas Air Force 3 Premium :
IMG_20231217_083925.jpg

The Glanz 10" was beautiful :
IMG_20231217_084019.jpg

Are there any Glanz users on WBF?
It's one of the best Gimbal mechanism tonearms I have ever listened to.
Should be the best choice other than the astronomically priced SAT. :p

The Monologue phonoamp + mono card enabled the PRaT and purity of every mono LP we played to shine yesterday.
IMHO it must be considered and auditioned by all mono LP lovers.
;)
 
CK, my understanding was you are a dedicated digital man. Are you falling for the charms of vinyl playback? As you know, two years ago Angus was a pure digital listener and today as a tool to advance Westminster's designs and for the pure joy of it he has embraced advancing the art of vinyl playback as few have.

US based Members interested in an at home audition of the Monologue Hear This unit is expected shortly. We will have both the MC/MM and DS Audio modules available for that purpose, along with WestminsterLab's Ultra phono cable in a balanced version available as well.
The Monologue looks very good, I just shared to my FB group DS Audio USA
 
The Monologue looks very good, I just shared to my FB group DS Audio USA
I just got one in to review for Tracking Angle.
 

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Has anyone heard the Monologue in showrooms or in home systems?
 
Keith, currently, we have one unit in Dave McNair of Tracking Angle and another one arriving soon. For those who are interested, we are arranging in-home demos so feel free to PM me. The Monologues' first public showing will be at the Home Entertainment Show in Irvine, CA, in June appearing in the Evolution Acoustics suite.
 
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I'm almost finished with the review. I can tell you one thing, the DS decoder module with a DS W3 cart is outstanding!
 

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