Primera Bravo SE DVD Duplicator Review

Burn, Print, Show!

The Primera Bravo SE CD/DVD duplicator and printer combo is labeled by its maker as an entry-level product, we assume, because of its single-drive configuration and small, twenty-disc feed capacity. After using it for the past few weeks, we’re here to tell you that that’s the only thing entry-level about the Bravo SE. The system contains a single Pioneer DVR-111 CD/DVD duplicator with robotic feed transport and a max. 4800 dpi resolution printer packaged in an attractive 15″W x 14.75″D x 7″H desktop enclosure.

What? No Quick-Start?

Impatient techno-geek wanna-be that I am, I was a bit miffed when I couldn’t find the “quick-start” instruction sheet that every computer peripheral seems to come with these days and had to refer to the dreaded user’s manual for installation instructions. Actually, a true techno-geek would forego all instruction and skip straight to slapping the cables on and installing the drivers, but age and bad experiences has mellowed me a bit. The process turned out to be easier than expected. You just load the installation disc and the installer guides you through every step from plugging in the power and USB cables to software installation.

Speaking of software, the Bravo SE comes with Primera’s own PTPublisher to handle the disc automation duties and, to manage printing, SureThing CD Label Software Primera Edition for PC and CharisMac Engineering’s Describe for Mac OS 10.2 and above. For this review, we used the PC software versions.

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Okay, We’re Impressed

Once we had the Bravo SE loaded and powered up, we started PTPublisher and, using its very intuitive interface, built a play list from songs stored on our hard drive. We had a music CD burned in a matter of minutes. As soon as it finished, the SureThing CD Label Software took over and prompted us to specify a saved label or to compose a new one. We built a quick one using one of the many provided templates and, not more than fifteen minutes after we were lamenting the lack of a quick-start guide, we were admiring the print quality of our first duped and printed disc. Impressive.

Very Impressed

The print quality is spectacular. Using Primera’s TuffCoat with WaterShield glossy finish media, with the resolution set at its highest, the print quality really is amazing. The glossy finish looks more like an over-coating than a printed-on surface. There was no banding or color-stepping visible to the naked eye… just a very professional and expensive-looking image. Primera also states the inkjet printable surface of these discs is highly water-resistant and protects them from snow, rain and spilled liquids. They are a bit more expensive, but you can’t dispute their very high-end finish. We tried several printable discs we had lying around from other manufacturers and got similarly great results.

The Mechanical Stuff

So, we think we’ve adequately communicated that the print quality is really good. But what about the mechanics? Here’s a run down of how it works borrowed straight from Primera’s website:

  1. Bravo SE’s robot arm picks a blank disc from the input bin.
  2. The disc is placed into the integrated Pioneer DVD/CD recorder.
  3. The disc is burned.
  4. The robot moves the disc to the built-in, 4800 dpi direct-to-disc inkjet color printer.
  5. The disc is printed.
  6. The robot picks the disc from the printer, places it into the output bin and starts over again.

And all this takes place smoothly and quietly behind Bravo’s smoked plastic cover. The robotic arm is smaller than other entry-level duplicators, making it rather compact and easy to fit into existing shelf or desk space.


Paying the Toll

Yes, it’s not cheap: $1,495. But that’s MSRP, so you should be able to shop a better deal. Ink cartridges run $38, and we were concerned that it must blaze through a whole bunch of them cranking out that beautiful imagery, so we placed a call to Primera’s main office up in Minnesota. It turns out that, worst case scenario – printing at high resolution with a lot of one color on your label – they claim you can expect to print about 114 discs with one ink cartridge. That’s worst case scenario. Not bad compared to printing the sticky, peel-off curse-on labels you could make with your current desktop inkjet.

More good news: If you don’t need the duplication part of the system, you can buy the Bravo SE AutoPrinter. Same great print quality, same robotic-arm disc feeder, no drives – $995 MSRP.

TECH SPECS

Models: Bravo SE DVD/CD Publisher & Bravo SE AutoPrinter (No drives, for printing only)

Number of Drives: 1 Pioneer DVR-111

Disc Feed Capacity: 20 discs

Print Method/Resolution: Inkjet/Print up to 4800 dpi

Maximum Print Width: 4.724″ (120mm)

Ink Cartridges: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow cartridge, Primera P/N 53332

Colors: 16.7 million

Software For the PC: PTPublisher SureThing CD Label Software Primera Edition

Software For the Mac: CharisMac Engineering’s Describe

Media Types: Printable-surface DVD-R and CD-R; standard or water-resistant

Minimum System Requirements For PC: Windows XP/2000, Pentium III processor at 1GHz or higher, 512MB or more RAM, available USB 2.0 port, NTFS drive partition

Minimum System Requirements For Mac: OS X v10.2 or higher, 700MHz PowerPC G4 or higher or Intel Solo or Duo Core processor, 256 MB or more of RAM, available USB 2.0 port

Dimensions: 15″W x 14.75″H x 7″H Weight: 11.5 lbs.

Data Interfaces: USB 2.0

Warranty: One year parts and labor; optional extended warranties available

STRENGTHS

  • Eye-popping print quality
  • Looks good on your desk
  • PC and Mac friendly software package

WEAKNESSES

  • A little pricey

SUMMARY

The Primera Bravo SE is an elegantly engineered light to medium duty CD/DVD duplication system that delivers heavy-duty print quality.

Richard Gray has 22 years experience in broadcast television production.

$1,495

Primera Technology, Inc.

Two Carlson Parkway North

Plymouth, MN 55447-4446

www.primera.com

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