Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Hi Boo, I think your question VERY 'on topic', especially considering the fact that "Print Directly to CD" look a lot more professionally presentable and marketable for music CD demos & albums offered for-sale at gigs.
I too have been seriously considering switching to purchasing a printer which can prints directly to CDs as my handwriting (with sharpie pen) admittedly sucks. In the distant past, I used CD adhesive labels for my demoCDs, but then discovered from reports, that they can frequently became unreadable (over time) on a number of players. Don't know if it's the adhesive used (chemical change?) or the added thickness of the paper that causes this.
I too am very interested in hearing from experienced Printable CD printer experts here about 'which' specific printer(s) , and including model numbers, offer the best balance between print quality & cost effective consumeables prices as well.
I have made demo cds for long time and I had the same problem with unreadable copyes. I think that the problem was the speed of recording. Since that I switched my cd recorder to a low speed (max 12x ) the problem was solved. Another tip:Try Pimaco that are thicker than other labels and you can print with photo quality. Chico
I use the Epson R-200 for printing on the Music CD's I produce. It has been a little gem as far as I am concerned... with one minor exception. When it's time to replace the ink cartridges, they end up costing more than the printer did when I purchased it at Fry's Electronics in Arlinton, TX.
My buddy has an R-300 which cost considerably more and works well but is clumsy to load. It does not print much faster then the R-200. Paid $99.00 for the R-200 about a year ago. I have seen them listed for even less since then.
Loc: Louisiana, USA
I have studied this subject for a long time. Epson R200 and R300 (maybe others) are consistently considered the best. They make CD blanks that you can print directly to. Except... ink can/will smear if wet. Hand sweat, water... a mess. I know guys who spray clear lacquer over but others say oh my, could damage a CD player.
The best, by far, is the LightScribe CDRW by Hewlett Packard? I think that's the company. Anyway, LightScribe uses the same laser that burns the CD... you flip it over and then it will burn a very classy looking label on the other side of the disc. Requires special CD blanks. Not too pricey but way more than regular blanks. But for demo's cost per unit is not too important.
The look is great but the drawback is time to burn. Not good. You'd have to do it when you're doing other things. Looks great though. I don't know of another solution that produces as a good a result with no side effects. We're talking about 1-at-a-time burns, as opposed to a company doing 50 for you. Which would be the best way if you knew your music wouldn't change.
Loc: Fruita, Colorado, USA
I suppose if you get someone to make them for you, you're back to the copywrite issue. I'd be lucky to sell 20 a year here where I live. I don't play that much for copywrite to be worth while to me. Scott if you get a CD printer of any kind, I know you will keep us informed.
I'm not prejudiced, I hate everybody!! Ha ha! My Sister-In-Law had this tee shirt. She was a riot!!!
Loc: Bentonville, VA USA
I have the Epson R-300 ($109 at Costco) and I love it. The CDs look very good. I also like that it uses separate ink cartridges for each of the 6 colors. So if you are going through lots of red, you won't be throwing away lots of other ink when the red runs out. I can't comment on what happens as far as smudging when wet since I haven't used it that long. But I always found Epson ink jet printers to have by far the best quality.
Loc: Shakopee, MN, USA
Id be really interested to see the quality that thses budget CD printers do. One thing though is dont you need special cdrw-printables? im sure they arent as cheap as the budget 10 bucks for 50 generic cds.
Loc: Bentonville, VA USA
I bought 50 printable DVDs from Costco for 43 cents each. discmakers.com sells white printable cdrs for 44 cents for $100 plus $5 shipping. It goes down to 36 cents if you buy a LOT. The quality is excellent. Almost like a photograph. I did a CD at a bar and sold it with a picture of the bar's sign on the CD and its looks fantastic, in full color.