Test Bench:Primera Bravo Disc Publisher

$2,495

Primera Technology, Inc.

Two Carlson Parkway North

Plymouth, Minnesota 55447

(800) 797-2772

www.primera.com

$2,500 is a sizable chunk of cash for a printer. And $2,500 is quite a lot to spend on a DVD duplicator. But when the two features are merged with a robotic arm, $2,500 suddenly starts to seem reasonable. If you are a small to medium sized operation with production runs of 50 to 300 DVDs, we believe the Primera Bravo Disc Publisher will very quickly pay for itself. In fact, the professional quality of your distribution discs will almost certainly generate more business and more profit very quickly. Printed discs are definitely the hallmark of a professional operation and if you want to be taken seriously, handwritten Sharpie labels are not going to cut it.

Professional Printing

The 2400×1200 dpi full-color discs produced by the Bravo are very impressive. Based on an Lexmark printer engine, the ink jet printer only prints to disc (not to paper) and it only prints on specially coated printable discs. These white-surfaced discs cost anywhere from 20-100% more than non-printable discs. (Depending also on how aggressively you hunt for inexpensive blank media. As-of-this-writing low price: $1.09 each.) You’ll also need to consider the price of ink, which costs around $40 a cartridge. The number of discs you’ll be able to print with a single cartridge varies widely, depending on the complexity of your label design and the quality settings of the printer. If your label uses color across the entire surface of the disc (a behavior that is encouraged if you use the flashy label templates that come with the software) and you use the highest quality settings, the ink might run dry after only 100 discs. A more discrete logo and title on a white background might allow you to go through 500 discs. Final cost per disc estimate: $1.50-$4.

Go, Go, RoboBravo

The Sure Thing CD labeler software was fun, fast and simple. It comes with a number of attractive templates that you can modify with your text, company logo and background. The templates tend to use gaudy full-color backgrounds, which, while attractive, soak up ink like a sponge.

The DVD duplicator that came with our Bravo was the Pioneer DVR-104 (the DVR-105 may be shipping in the Bravo by the time you read this). We stacked 25 discs (50 can be used in an alternate mode) into the right side of the machine and put the DVD we wanted to duplicate into our computer’s DVD-ROM drive. After the Prassi software copied a disc image to the drive, the robot arm on the Bravo sprang to live, lifting a blank disc from the top of the stack and dropping it into the burner’s tray. The burner connects to the computer via a FireWire cable. After a successful burn, the drive’s tray opens and the robot arm grabs the disc and drops it into the printer’s tray. Each DVD took about 30 minutes to duplicate from start to finish, including printing. When the drive detects a bad disc during the burn, the robot arm picks the disc up and drops it down a slide and the duplication process continues. We put a garbage can on the floor in front of the machine to catch the rejects. We got one or two rejects out of 50 discs.

Home Automation

If your typical distribution runs between 50 and 300 discs, this product may be just what you need. For larger jobs, a professional duplication service will be easier and more efficient. The resulting discs from the Bravo are beautiful and will definitely impress your clients.

TECH SPECS

Disc Capacity 25 discs (50 discs in “kiosk” mode)

Recordable Formats CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW

Recording Speeds CD-R: 48x, DVD-R: 4x

Print Method Ink-jet

Print Resolution 2400 dpi x 1200 dpi

Color 16.7 million

Ink Cartridges Dual CMY color and black monochrome

Minimum System Requirements

PC 700MHz , 256MB RAM minimum

Mac G3, 64MB RAM, available USB and FireWire port.

Operating Systems Windows 2000, XP and Mac OS X

Included Software (Win) Prassi PrimoDVD, MicroVision Sure Thing CD labeler

Weight 18 lbs. (8.2kg)

Dimensions 17 1/4-inches (w) x 7 1/4-inches (s) x 16-inches (d) (438mm x 184mm x 406mm)

STRENGTHS

  • Beautiful quality printing
  • Automatic duplication

    WEAKNESSES

  • Needs FireWire and USB port

    SUMMARY

  • For small production houses, this product may be the difference between amateur and professional.
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