With the proliferation of CD burners on the market today, just about anyone can create their own compact discs. But if you are a professional or run a small company, using consumer-based CD burners can be a hassle. Even with multiple burners running simultaneously in a single PC, you still need to swap discs at the end of each burn. And you cannot get a professional looking product by using CD labels. On-disc printing is the only way to go here, but a special CD printer or printer attachment is required for this task. And again, youíll need to deal with disc swaps. Primera Technology has recognized this problem, and has aimed to solve it with the introduction of their new Bravo Disc Publisher.
The Bravo Disc Publisher combines automated, robotic disc duplication and full-color printing into one complete package. The Bravo can produce up to 25 discs per job totally hands-free and unattended. This means no more single-disc swaps. The Bravo comes in two different models Ė one for CD duplication and another for both DVD and CD duplication. The CD unit includes a 48x speed burner and can produce a full 650MB CD in approximately 3 minutes. The DVD unit can produce DVD discs at 4x speed and CD discs and 16x speed. Of course the DVD unit also costs a bit more because of the added functionality it provides. In addition, you can purchase an optional kit for either unit if you would like to duplicate business card shaped and mini-CD format discs.
At the below $2,000 price point, most automated disc publishers only provide duplication, but not the Bravo. It also includes full-color, high-resolution on disc printing. Using ink-jet printing technology, you can print photo-realistic, 2400 dpi print resolution graphics directly onto the surface of any printable-surface CDs and DVDs. I tested the unit with both white and silver printable-surface CDs, and I couldnít tell the difference between my own discs and other professionally duplicated discs. The results were that good. And it sure beats the heck out of having to deal with sticky, cumbersome labels. Of course, youíll have to pay for print cartridges, and at approximately $84 per set, they arenít cheap, but tests revealed that you should be able to print about 100 discs per set, which is pretty good. The only downside is that the cartridges are proprietary, so you canít use cheaper, generic products. You must purchase them from Primera, but since the company isnít likely to be going anywhere any time soon, you can be safe in knowing youíll have the supplies you need well into the future.
Setting up the Bravo is literally a snap. Simply plug it into an available Firewire port and USB 1.1 port (yes, you must have both), pop the QuickStart disc into your Win2000- or WinXP-based PC (or G3+ Power Mac with OS X), and youíll be up and running in a few minutes. I had no trouble getting the unit installed. Be aware, however, that with the DVD unit, you must use an NTFS drive partition. In addition to the Bravo Printer Driver, the QuickStart disc includes the Prassi Primo disc duplicating software and the SureThing CD Labeler software. These packages are easy to use and provide just about everything you need to duplicate and print your own discs. If you need to produce special formats, such as mixed-mode CDs, you wonít be able to do it with this software.
So is the Bravo worth the cost? In a word, yes. Even with the price of discs and print cartridges, youíll only pay about $1 per published disc. This is, of course, an approximation since you can find discs for various prices and different graphic images require different amounts of ink. But if you take into account the time you will save not having to constantly monitor the duplication process as well as print and apply labels by hand, and the increased professionalism of your final product, youíll see the advantages of this system. That and the fact that you cannot find a combined and automated solution such as this for under $2000 anywhere else, make the Bravo a sure winner for anyone needing professional in-house disc publication.