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My printers (3!!) are all dead

Carl H.

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Distinguished Member
With the insanity that is the current state of ink jet printers I have decided to go laser. I have given up on $50 printers that require a $60 ink refill and will be tossing all my printers to the curb.

I figured that folks around here know a bit about computers and music and might have insight into the current crop of laser printers suited to printing manuscript from Finale.


Criteria:

#1 - inexpensive to operate. If I have to pay a bit more to get a lower operating cost I am fine with that - within reason. My printer will sit inactive for extended periods and then be asked to print out modest quantities (20 - 150 sheets per job) for personal use and for use by various ensembles I work with. I want it to function without needing new supplies every time I need it. I have had it with ink jets drying out with 85% full cartridges installed.

#2 - black only, unless there is some spectacular deal on a color printer. I seldom use color - I can't think of a time I ever needed color, though it is nice to have.

#3 - wireless hookup. I'd like to be able to print from my ipod without plugging in to anything. I see most current printer lines offer this on models and think it might be handy. I have the real book on my pod and it would be nice to be able to print out a chart directly.


Those are the things I'd like to have covered, but I have grown fond of my stand alone copier printers. There are times where it has been handy to have a copier in house and not have to drive anywhere in the middle of the night or during a snow storm. Printing both sides might be nice too, but seems like a luxury at this time.

Any suggestions or recommendations?
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Mr. Laser responds...

I own not one, not two but a total of three laser printers, along with a large format inkjet, a postage/label printer and a plastic label printer. (There's a portable inkjet kicking around somewhere as well.)

Of my lasers, the workhorse is a Canon MF6530, a hydra that (if you own a PC) will print, copy, scan and/or fax. It's what I use to handle my music book needs as well as my day to day printing and copying needs. It cost me about $350.00 when new, and takes a Canon 106 cartridge at $130 a pop from Costco.

I've been happy with it except for two things. The first is that it won't scan or fax with a Macintosh system computer, at least not that I can figure out. The fax is definitely no, the scan is a provisional no, as I've never found a working driver. Also, it is not networkable as far as I can tell, at least not with a Mac and a Time Capsule.

The manual is printed in Japlish, that curious hybrid of English language with Japanese word order. Very hard to follow, even more poorly indexed. It took me a hour to find what an error message meant once.

The second issue is that it came with a $100 rebate offer, but my lovely wife threw away the box with the UPC code needed for the rebate. Bummer.

Other than those issues, it's a workhorse. I regularly copy seventy page arrangements onto heavy paper that I use for the charts using the pass through auxiliary tray. The main paper supply holds a whole ream of the stuff. It copies well on two sides with the sheet feeder, handles reductions and "paste up" of reductions onto legal sized paper. It turns itself on and off. It is rather bulky, sitting on its own desk shelf made of an Ikea cabinet door with four Ikea legs.

Otherwise, I have a Brother HCL 3070 CW, which resides on an Ikea Malm dresser that I use for office storage. It cost me all of $220, and takes four cartridges, each running about a hundred bucks (when you can find them). It does decent photos, very good color print work, but only has one paper tray and only does two sided copying if you finesse it (copy one side, let cool, then flip and copy the other. It is both wireless and wired into the household network - I pulled one of my rare Ethernet cables under the carpeting to hook it all up.

One problem that I have noticed with the Brother is that it slightly distorts the pages when it runs up a copy. Once so processed, the paper will not lay flat enough to be taped up for an arrangement. It took me a few failed copies to learn this.

At least the manual is laid out well.

Then, there's the living room laser, which sits off to one side of where I sit in the living room. It's a Canon LPB 6000, and cost me all of $99.00 new. Cartridges are hard to find, and about $110.00 each. Black only, one paper tray only that will hold three-quarters of a ream. Quiet and efficient, but direct connect only.

I bought it just because I wanted to say that I had a $99.00 laser printer, plain and simple. I use it when I'm proofing stuff, but seldom for anything else. One side only, no scanning, no faxing, but what do you want for a single Benjamin?

The inkjet in the office is an Epson Stylus Photo 1400, which I got for printing color CD inserts and the actual CDs. It works, and doesn't eat cartridges like earlier printers that I have used, but good God almighty, it is a long drink of water. It too is on a long Ikea door made into a shelf, under which resides a lot of my other office equipment. It will print on monstrous 11 x 17 paper.

And, the ink cartridges don't dry out, keeping fresh for over two years at some points. Since I got the color laser, it doesn't get that much use. But, it has always answered the bell when I needed it.

I've got an extensive computer network that integrates all of this with the backup setup. Lotsa USB cables, a couple of powered hub, and all of it kept out of sight under the desk, which is a two wall assembly of modernistic Ikea stuff. When I retired, one of my presents to myself was a well-set up office, so I converted the boy's bedroom into same. I could vanish into there for a week, so well set up is it for the stuff that I do.
 

saxhound

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Staff member
CE/Moderator
When my trusty 9 year old Brother 4450 laser multifunction croaked 4 years ago, I went on a quest for a laser that would print 11" x 17", so I could get out of the scotch tape business when printing multi-page parts. I decided to go with a rehabbed HP 8000 series. This is a serious business class printer that sold for over $6,000 when new. I found a guy in New Berlin, Wisconsin who sold me an 8150 DN (duplex / network) for $299. It only had about 60,000 clicks on it. These things are rated for that much volume in a month. Re-manufactured toner cartridges can be had for about $50 with a 20,000 page rating. The thing is built like a tank, and has worked flawlessly. The only downside is the size and weight. It takes up a substantial chunk of my studio desk, and weighs over 100 lbs. No wireless, but it has a standard 10/100 JetDirect card, so I suspect that you could get a wireless USB adapter for it. I did lose the fax / copy / scan capability I had with the Brother, so I picked up a low end Panasonic KX-MB2030 multi-function laser for that. Nice little machine for under $130, and a 5000 sheet toner cartridge costs about $35.

Flea-bay is full of guys selling used HP printers, but the shipping cost can be more than the cost of the printer, so your best bet is to find someone local who does the rehab thing and pick it up.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
First, and I'm absolutely serious, I wanna say that I always love Terry's posts because he's got so much discussion material in there. There are at least three or four things he brought up that I'd love to talk about.

Second, laser printer. That'll be an incredibly dense topic. Let me work around to it.

For a couple of years, I went out and bought a brand new printer every time I needed to get ink because, as you point out, Carl, printers were cheaper than ink cartridges. I got a little tired of this. Too much waste. I decided to look for the cheapest ink refills at Office Max/Staples and buy a printer that had all the features I wanted that could use that specific ink. It was also important to me that I could just run on down to Office Max or Staples because you'll always run out of ink in the middle of an important job and you'll need it NOW.

I ended up with two printers: an HP Officejet 4500 (printer/fax/copier/scanner) and an HP Officejet 6000 wireless. My wife and younger daughter beat on the 6000 and occasionally make copies or fax on the 4500. I've replaced all the ink in both twice in two years.

Now, I do know that if you want to print from an iDevice, you have to get a printer on Apple's AirPrint 101 list or you have to get a third-party iDevice app, like this. And note that the app I link to, which is called "Print: Print to ALL Printers," has this little bit of fine print: "[Our software will] will enable you to print direct to most WiFi printers without additional software." Emphasis mine.

Anyhow, after some brief checking on the AirPrint list, you get to the HP LaserJet Pro P1102w Printer. It's about $130. The HP-compatible cartridges are about $60 and the page yield (remember: that's only 5% of the page covered) is 1600 pages. All that's fairly decent. However, I've seen some of the P1102's in person and they look and feel kinda flimsy. YMMV; it's pretty well reviewed.

Ranty point: yes, I know you can get knock-off toner carts a LOT cheaper. However a) you've voided your warranty, b) even "high quality" brand knock-off toner can be hit or miss, c) you can destroy your printer.

Comment: back in 1987 when I was using Finale 1.0, there was a significant difference in print quality between the Imagewriter dot-matrix printer and a LaserJet. Similarly, there was a big quality difference between inkjets and laser printers when the inkjets first came out. Now? If I print at 2400ppi on my inkjets, it'll look crisper than some laser printers. And print pretty quickly. So, you might want to look back on the inkjets. Compare the page yields and stuff, too. Higher-end inkjets can last for a very long time, too.

Tip: you might want to check both Newegg.com (or Newegg.ca) and Amazon.com for either refurbished printers that are the step up from the new printer you were looking at OR you might see if there was a model that was just discontinued. That generally means lots of savings.
 
I'Ve hada couple of Brother 2000 series lasers, wouldn't have another. Both packed up.

Net result was that looking for another I bought a samsung ML 2850 through Amazon. Has a duplexer, cheap to run, just works. Fast, great print quality and really easy to set up on the lan. Two cartridge sizes available, so check what you're getting and the prices, some guys here want as much for the small cart as the others do for the large one.

I liked it so much that when we went to a colour laser for the kids school stuff, I bought another Samsung. And the network drivers picked up both printers seamlesly without screwing anything. Good work Samsung!

Although they're not expensive, they're both rated for heavy office use if I should need it.

I don't use knock off carts, too many hassles (especially for ink jets). Problems like ink colours being wrong, fast fading, and in some cases, really bad wear problems on the print head. But the printer makers are screwing us over ink prices.

I'd be a bit careful goign for an older HP office printer. We use them at work, and although they're reliable, super quality, sometimes they develop problems that just can't be fixed. And, as HP don't make as much on ink sales, parts can be expensive. You may find that a wireless lan card is more expensive than a home laser, for example.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Okay...I got a Samsung ML2570N mono laser that is attached to the network which in turn has a wireless outlet, so I can print from any laptop in the house. Plus, as it also supports PostScript, I can print from exotic operating systems as well.

Then, some day last year my fax/answering machine died, so I found a Brother MFC790CW inkjet with scanner, copier, fax, answering machine and printer. Works off the wireless. Has separate ink cartridges so you don't have to throw away everything just because yellow is empty. It also has USB/CF/SD card slots and allows scanning to either of these media. Plus it has a document feeder for about 10 pages, which is neat for larger jobs.
 

Carl H.

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Are the Samsung laser printers generally a good purchase or is it only select models which do well?
 

pete thomas

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Are the Samsung laser printers generally a good purchase or is it only select models which do well?
Don't know but the one I have has been brilliant.

One thing I notice is that samsung say the toner waste thingy should be replaced with a new one when it's full, we found that it's fine to just clean it out which saves some money.
 
Just to add something on the wireless side:

If you've already got a wireless lan, and have a spare ethernet port on the modem or on a repeater, you can use an ethernet cable connected network printer, saves paying the premium for wlan on the printer. Both my lasers are connected this way, via the wlan extender.

Some of the Wlan routers/repeaters have a USB port into which you can connect a normal USB printer and share this via the Wlan. Haven't tried one of those, though.

For the ipod, make sure there are drivers for your printer for it... I've no experience of Apple devices.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
The Apple wireless networks (except for the bare-bones, plug in the wall one) offer Ethernet and USB ports to connect printers or other devices. In our case, it's pretty much plug and play now, with searching for drivers a thing of the past.

(I have had to seek out drivers for unusual devices, and it can be a bit of a bother, but not for printers.)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
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Administrator

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
As I mentioned earlier, just make sure it's on Apple's list or you could be in for a rough time ....
I checked apples list, and a good number of their approved printers are no longer being made. A number of printers on the shelf say they are compatible, yet they are not on the list.

I'm thinking they don't keep the list updated with current market offerings.

According to Amazon, it should be good on that respect, though there may be other issues. Then again I worry about the eye D tentee errors that aren't reported on the reviews and the way they can skew reports on difficulty of installation.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Probably a year after this thread was started, I bought a Epson WF-3530 all-in-one (aka multifunction: prints, copies, faxes, scans). Unfortunately, it's been having problems with the print heads for a couple months. Rather than sinking money into a printer that has well outlived my expectations, I decided it was time to get a new one.

I've been doing 90% of my non-grocery shopping at Amazon for years, now. What I generally do is type in some keywords for what I want ("multifunction printer"), click on one of the results at random, then click the link for the Best Seller in that category, which takes you here. In this particular case, though, there was something a bit odd: the number one product is the HP OfficeJet 4650. Take a look at the reviews: 56% say it's a 5-star product and 17% say it's 1-star or lower. That's an awful lot saying it's bad. Next one is 50%/14% and the next is 36%/22%. Quite a drop off!

I then decided to check online for reviews from "reputable" sources. None of them agreed on their top 5 printers. Two had the HP OfficeJet 8710 in their top 10. Amazon does have it in their top 10, too -- for inkjet printers. However, it's got a 51%/23% rating. That's pretty bad.

I essentially decided to ignore everyone and search for printers that had the features I wanted and in the price range I wanted. I ended up with the HP ENVY Photo 7855. It's somewhat more expensive than the 8710, but the ink cartridges aren't $90 a shot (note that the ink cartridges for the 8710 last 5x longer, though -- but I live somewhere with 1% humidity and the cartridges will dry out in 3 months no matter how much I print). It's newer than the 8710 model. Has a lot of the same specs, though. I'll see how it does!
 
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