Having graduated from printed labels to an Epson R220 which prints direct on cdr discs, you can pretty much say I’ve been around a while. Born out of the need to remember exactly what I put on not dozens, but hundreds of discs scattered throughout my office, I have tried it all. Well, just about all that I could afford that is.
My first attempt to label a disc was the traditional Sharpe type pen. It was fine, but after a while, all the discs looked the same. I decided to move to the label system. After trying several and ruining dozens of discs and many hours of recording time, I found the right applicator that would get the label where I wanted it to be. One minor issue I found with labels was the fact some of the electronics out there are extremely sensitive to the balance and weight of the discs they play, thus they would give me intermittent playback problems. Considering at the time the only alternative to labels was a $3000 dye-sub printer, I made myself happy.
Four years ago Epson came onto the market with an inexpensive inkjet printer that had a tray that would allow you to print cdroms. I immediately purchased one. I was jacked! This is exactly what I needed. The first model of this printer turned out to have major issues, at least mine did. Best Buy was great and exchanged it for the next model that was just released, the R220.
I found with the use of high-end printable media (Ri-data), the Epson did a great job of printing nice clear images on my discs. After a few months though, and well out of warranty, I started experiencing issues with the tray system on the Epson. The tray was refusing to feed and sometimes would shoot all the way through the printer, bumping itself on the wall that was behind the unit. Top this off with a small accident where I spilt some water on my desk and it turned some of my disc masterpieces into a blob of unreadable goo, my enchantment with this printer was over with.
They always say the person that builds a better mouse trap… or is that cdrom printer? I first learned of the new Dymo Discpainter from the National Association of Mobile Entertainers or NAME as they like to be called, the largest association for DJs in the US. Always bringing new and innovative ideas to the DJ community, NAME saw this as a great new tool for today’s DJ. They were right!
The unit itself has a relatively small footprint and fits nicely on my desk. It has a sleek silver design which gives it a look that fits in well with my other office “appliances”. The physical setup of the Discpainter was straight forward. Plug in the power supply cable, USB cable, pop in the ink cartridge, and you are ready to go. Upon plugging in the USB cable to your printer, it immediately recognizes the Dymo as a new printer.
With a lot of printers, I have found they include some cheesy freeware or sample software that you can upgrade later. This was not the case with the Discpainter. The Discus software included with this unit was very complete. Out of the box, you can create and print most any design you wish, add text, and even import images. The software functionality was not limited to just printing discs, it will also allow you to design and print covers for DVDs, CDs, and more. I found Discus could even import layout designs created in Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, Quark Xpress, and other high-end graphics applications.
After becoming familiar with the software, I was popping out discs in no time, completely amazed at the print quality of just the normal settings. One issue I had back in the day with labels and even with the Eposon, was banding. This is what it is called when you see “stripes” where the ink just did not cover correctly or with enough density to make the print job look professional. The Dymo unit appears to have all but eliminated traditional print banding by shooting the ink onto the disc while it spins. The spinning print job not only eliminates banding, it also speeds ink dry time.
In a side by side comparison of my old Epson and the new Dymo Discpainter, with both units set to print normal quality, the Epson beat the Dymo only by seconds. The Dymo though came out ahead when comparing the two discs side by side. The Epson disc was still wet and the ink smudged. The Dymo printed disc was almost completely dry. The Epson disc lacked color that popped and also suffered from minor print banding. Even on the normal setting, the Discpainter gave me a disc with vivid colors and no printer banding. Missing the speed by only seconds, Dymo took the race hands down on quality.
As with any printing device, you need to look at the consumable costs. The ink cartridge in the Disc Painter is an all-in-one cartridge. In other words, if you run out of Red, you need to replace the whole cartridge. At $39 each, they are a little spendy, but we are told that in normal mode, one cartridge will print up to 100 discs, which works out to be about .39 cents each disc. Not a bad buy.
In closing, I would recommend the Discpainter to not only DJs, but to videographers, and most any business that does their own cd, cdrom or dvd recordings in short runs. The days of labels and clunky cartridge driven cd printers are over with. Being able to perfectly produce quality printed discs that are also waterproof at a very low cost is what the Dymo Discpainter is all about.