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This review first appeared in the May 2009 issue of hifi & stereo magazine You can also read this review of the Trigon Recall II in its original German version. We translated it through a syndication arrangement with our German colleagues. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of or Trigon. - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Sources: Fonel Simplicité (variable outputs), Audiomeca Obsession II, Wadia 170i Transport & Apple iPod & Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: pre/power - Myyrad MXA 2150, Funk LAP-2.V2, Octave HP 300 MKII; integrated - Accuphase E212, Lua 4040C
Loudspeakers: Thiel CS 2.4, Sehring S 703 SE
Cables: Low-level Straight Wire Virtuoso, high-level HMS Fortissimo, Reson LSC 350
Review component retail: €2.190/2.330 without/with Director remote

First impressions. Scientists claim we take a mere 1/10
th of a second before a subconscious judgment on someone or something prompts a spontaneous thumbs up or down. Supposedly responsible for such speed is a brain area called Mandelkern (almond core) which spits out nearly instantaneous results while other areas are still processing data. Though subsequent observations and conclusions may override this instinctive first reflex, it never evaporates entirely. Psychologists call that the halo effect. Early impressions continue to influence subsequent, perfectly conscious deliberations.

First impressions. They aren't rational proof but potent determinators nonetheless. For product developers of any stripe, how we collect these sympathies and render involuntary judgment must approach a lottery gamble. It explain why, as I read recently, more than two thirds of all product launches fail quite catastrophically. Relative to hifi, experience confirms how a very casual superficial impression is sufficient to either create or destroy interest in a formal audition. I even observe that with friends and the occasional visitors to my home and system. Clearly, a no-nonsense design unencumbered by gratuitous excess is bound to offend the least. Hence the even cosmetically 'factual' Trigon Recall II CD player netted good first impressions during its temporary stay.

The first specific impression in matters fit'n'finish confirmed things beyond a 10mm thick aluminum fascia. Completely made in Germany, the remainder of the sheet metal chassis is 2mm steel internally damped to ace the knuckle rap test without the usual ringing. A lovely back is attractive also on hifi kit. It might admittedly seem trivial and geeky to mention quality connectors but I've never managed to correlate the reasonable advice for quality cables and electrical contacts with loosely mounted RCA connectors on even expensive components whose contacts are nothing more than high-resistance patches of cheapness. With my admittedly yeoman amplifier mule by Myryad, removal of the interconnects routinely causes a very disagreeable - um, liaison between plug and socket.

None of that is to be feared with Trigon. Even the XLRs of the fully dual-differential Recall II don't go cheapskate but Neutrik, i.e. a professional supplier whose parts enjoy a very robust reputation. No less reputable though more unknown is Trigon's transport section by Austrian StreamUnlimited. Compared to the Philips CDM12 1/15 of the Recall I, Trigon claims "higher resolution i.e. more information, less losses, hence more realism across the board. Whatever is lost during the read-in process can't ever be recovered." Besides such claims for inner virtues, this spin mechanism also impresses externally with its drawer's metal guides. Down below, Trigon's own resonance-absorbing footers catch the eye. They operate like concentric springs and in conjunction with the chassis damping are said to attenuate resonance and microphony effects.

Many an audiophile alights upon mentions of fat toroidal iron. A switch-mode power supply on the other hand garners little kudos for its far lighter weight (made possible with high switching frequencies typically in the 2 or 3-figure kHz range over 50Hz AC power) and higher operational efficiencies. Trigon systematically applies SMPS across its range not to save on weight or energy but for sonic reasons. Experiments with load tolerances suggested to these folks the superiority of switch-mode supplies. They counter arguments of deleterious side effects from high switching frequencies with a special low-pass filter. Additionally -- and this is certainly debatable -- "a CD player basically deals with ones and zeros to be less sensitive to distortions from super-fast switching".

Less open to contrarious reactions are the included ancillaries. There's a quality power cord with proper polarity markers also on the power inlet, a shorting plug for the digital output and a fancy metal remote dubbed Director which can operate the entire Trigon fleet. Those who are cold on fancy wands can refuse the Director inclusion and save €140. Trigon in turn refuses to cheap out on the ubiquitous plastic affair. Reactions to that will go either way. To outfit the 'stripped down' Recall II with an after-market plastic clicker seems ill-advised however. No major matter either but worthy of mention is that certain excessive button pushery on the remote caused the occasional lock-down to where even the machine's own command buttons no longer responded. A complete reboot (power down just like with computers) always neatly solved that.