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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentTechnology(Moderator: john sandhagen) Looking for an All-in-One Printer that Prints Well
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Steven

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« on: Aug 24, 2017, 08:24AM »

I'm tired of how badly my printer prints music.  It does well with text, and ok with mathematical diagrams, but when it prints music, there is a tendency for the lines to be uneven enough that the music is hard to read.  Given how much of what I print is music, I probably should have a printer that does it well.  I don't need great speed or volume capabilities, just a home printer that prints even lines.  It probably makes sense to get a multi-purpose printer, since I do need to scan from time to time.

What do you have that works well?  Thanks!
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Matt K

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 24, 2017, 08:29AM »

Gotta go with a laser printer.  Clean lines every time.  Brother are the best home ones in my opinion.  We have an MFC7860 that's worked great for almost a decade. Not sure if they make it anymore but you might be able to find them used.

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« Reply #2 on: Aug 24, 2017, 09:00AM »

Agree with Matt.  Brother laser printers work well, are pretty robust, and are very reasonably priced (for both printer and toner).  Got mine at Staples. 

Make sure you get an All-in-One Laser so you can scan and copy, and spend a few extra bucks to get auto-duplexing so you can print 2-sided when you want to.  A few more $$ will get wireless connectivity.  They make about 8 models like this - depending on speed and features, prices range from ~$150 (MFC-L2685DW) to ~$250 (MFC-L2740DW) for a suitable home-sized version. 
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 24, 2017, 09:05AM »

When the kids were in school and had color homework we used an ink jet, but as you say there are some limitations.  In periods of disuse they tend to either clog or run out of ink clearing the nozzles.

So I moved to a black and white laser.  It scans and copies and I'm still on the first toner cartridge.  If I really need color I take a thumb drive to an office supply and print it there.  Mine is a Canon but there are lots of good brands.  One thing to watch for is sometimes you can't get a driver for an older machine.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 24, 2017, 09:31AM »

I almost mentioned the color thing. That's exactly what I do with mine if I want to print color. Though there are color models that are all-in-one (my parents own one) that work very well too. Those cartridges are expensiev though. Its like $300 to replace all 4. But then again, I don't think they've ever had to replace any of them except the black one.

Duplexing is nice though I've not had too much music where I wouldn't rather have single sided sheets... and the few times I have, it was fine to manually duplex. Though I was only printing my own stuff.If I had to do a whole ensemble that would have been a different story. 

The one thing I wish mine did was duplex scanning.  I use NAPS2 on Windows and something like PDFScanner on Mac... both have a faux 2-sided th ing where you scan all the even numbered pages and then the odd numbered pages and it merges them into the correct order. But I'd much rather just have it scan front, then back instead of needing to worry about it getting all of the pages and then the order being off because it missed one... or something.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 24, 2017, 10:20AM »

Another Brother user here, but mine is an Ink Jet (MFC-J6710DW).

I bought a Ledger size because I often have to scan music that is larger than 8 1/2 x 11.  It's also handy to be able to print a double page on a sheet of ledger paper (I hate taping stuff together).  Mine is WiFi enabled, so we use it with all the computers in the house.  We even send faxes with it (but we have to disconnect the WiFi to do it, so it doesn't receive faxes).  It comes with Scan software to receive scans and I can direct which computer in the house to send to (mostly my laptop).

I don't have too much trouble with the lines as you mention, but if the scan was tilted slightly it can really happen.  Also, look at the dot resolution: I've had good results at 300 dpi but some allow even finer resolution and this helps with tilted scans.

If your scans are phone images on a music stand, there's not much that can be done to fix them, even with a laser printer.  You need some kind of image massaging software (is it even available?).

Life hasn't been idyllic with this printer.  Sometimes it jams when I use standard 20 lb paper.  Most of the time I use 24 lb.  The ink can run if the music is in the rain.  If you don't use high quality image printing, music doesn't print that well.  Also, some of the plastic parts are not as durable as I'd like (I'm missing a pin on the document feeder; it still works, but you have to constantly realign the feed tray).
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 24, 2017, 10:55AM »

Brother Laser printers, all the way. Color inkjets dry up or clog when you need to use color, which may not be as often as you think. Take your color printing to a shop that can do it way better than you'll be able to with a consumer device. Scanning? Get a dedicated flatbed scanner for ~$100 or less. Fax? The nineties tried to call to get their technology back, but they got a busy signal.

20 years as an IT guy, I've never seen a multi-function device that didn't do all things poorly... and, the cost of a total cartridge replacement usually costs more than the original device did.
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Matt Hodgson
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 24, 2017, 11:05AM »

...Color inkjets dry up or clog when you need to use color, which may not be as often as you think....

I've had this problem with newer HP ink jets.  I used to use a black and white HP Ink Jet and it worked great.  Of course if you leave the cartridge in for a year without using it, even that will dry up.  And now getting the old HP 45 or 26 cartridges is nearly impossible.  What I really don't understand about the HP ink jets is how you can get a "clog" that is still there after you replace the cartridge even with cleaning the contacts.

The Brother ink jet does aperture cleaning before and after each print.  Even though I may let it sit for a few weeks between jobs it still seems to work OK.  Until the cartridge goes relatively low.
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 24, 2017, 11:09AM »

Unless you use your ink jet a lot avoid them. Lasers are so cheap now it makes no sense to buy an ink jet.
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 24, 2017, 12:42PM »

Does anyone know a reliable, not-too-expensive ($300? Less? More?) black and white laser that easily handles legal size paper in a stack (Good for scores) or even larger sizes?

S.
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 24, 2017, 01:06PM »

Does anyone know a reliable, not-too-expensive ($300? Less? More?) black and white laser that easily handles legal size paper in a stack (Good for scores) or even larger sizes?

S.

Sam,

http://www.brother-usa.com/Printer/ModelDetail/1/HLL2300D/Overview

This Brother model claims, in several places on the description, to have a tray that handles legal paper. I have a 2140, that appears to have the same footprint, that I don't believe can hold legal paper except at the manual feed tray, so I'm a little skeptical.

This page lists all the B/W Brother Laser models in order of increasing capability with MSRP. I don't believe any of them handle larger sizes of paper, but I didn't do an exhaustive reading of the list either.

http://www.brother-usa.com/Printer/BW_Monochrome_Laser_Printers/

The last time I was in an Office Depot or Staples, they had a pretty good selection of Brother Lasers, so you might be able to get eyes on one to verify the paper handling capabilities.



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« Reply #11 on: Aug 24, 2017, 01:21PM »


I agree with all the recommendations for a laser printer.  Only way to go.  Best of all, the ink doesn't run when your part falls off your stand into the puddle from your water key.  ;-)

If you own a smartphone with a decent camera, consider using it in place of a scanner.  I have a perfectly good HP all-in-one, but I haven't used it as a scanner for months.  I use an app called Scanner Pro on my iPhone 7 to scan documents, including sheet music.  It identifies the rectangle of the document, clicks the shutter, and compensates for keystoning automagically; all I have to do is point the camera.  For scanning photos I use an app called Photo Scan that, after taking an initial shot, overlays the image with four large dots; moving the camera so these dots align with a target ring causes four more shots to be taken (also automatically, i.e. you need not click the shutter manually), and from these five images a high resolution composite image is produced.

At a rehearsal this week a section mate had to read from his neighbor's 3rd/4th divisi part.  Someone offered to take the part home, scan it, and return it at the next rehearsal.  In under a minute I scanned it with my phone and e-mailed the PDF file to him on the spot.  Couldn't be easier.  This also solves the problem of scanning oversized 9" x 12" parts that don't fit easily on a conventional flatbed scanner.
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 24, 2017, 02:27PM »

Sam,

http://www.brother-usa.com/Printer/ModelDetail/1/HLL2300D/Overview

This Brother model claims, in several places on the description, to have a tray that handles legal paper. I have a 2140, that appears to have the same footprint, that I don't believe can hold legal paper except at the manual feed tray, so I'm a little skeptical.

This page lists all the B/W Brother Laser models in order of increasing capability with MSRP. I don't believe any of them handle larger sizes of paper, but I didn't do an exhaustive reading of the list either.

http://www.brother-usa.com/Printer/BW_Monochrome_Laser_Printers/

The last time I was in an Office Depot or Staples, they had a pretty good selection of Brother Lasers, so you might be able to get eyes on one to verify the paper handling capabilities.

Thanks, matto, but I need hands-on verification. I've been fooled a couple of times. Plus, lots of low-cost printers are balky and almost without exception have awful support from their makers. And...their laser replacements are where they make up the money. i just don't have the time to futz around with badly translated directions full of incomprehensible images anymore. My Lexmark E232 was like that, and I'm glad that it has finally died.

I'll keep looking...

S.
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 24, 2017, 03:09PM »

Lasers do the best job by far if you are content with legal or letter size paper.  I use my laser (HP M402dne) whenever possible.  I recommend the HP 402 series, several models with different capabilities all using the same marking engine, some of them very inexpensive (especially on sale).

I have not seen any laser in recent years that would not handle legal paper.

However, lots of times I am printing parts for a brass quintet.  The parts are typically 2 8x11 pages.  They are most conveniently printed 2-up on B-size (11x17) paper.  When I last looked (couple years ago), I could not find a reasonably priced laser that handled B-size.  Instead I got an Epson WF-7520 inkjet multifunction printer.  This has turned out to be a problem-free and very useful printer for me.  I got it on a real good sale too.

Printing 2-up on B-size is a lot less nuisance than taping music together!
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 10, 2017, 11:18AM »

If you are prepared to do some research and have an idea what you are looking for, then a 2nd hand desktop copier (or MFD asthey are called now) is a viable and cheap option.
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