Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

Whether you’re a band putting out an album, a fledgling director distributing your first epic movie, or a trade show director combining dozens of seminar presentations onto a single disc for attendees, Primera’s Bravo is in a class by itself when it comes to cranking out truly professional-looking CDs or DVDs. In about four minutes, Bravo duplicates a CD and prints a full-color, high-resolution, 2400 dot-per-inch inkjet label on the discs’ special printable white or silver coating. Design a classy, colorful label and your discs will look nearly as professional as anything you can buy in a store. No more miserable adhesive paper labels. The Primera Bravo should be the next piece of gear your band buys.

 

Price

$1,995, with 52x CD-R;
$2,495, with 4x/16x
    DVD-R/CD-R

 

Accessories
Tricolor ink cartridge, $42.95; Black ink cartridge, $42.95;

 

Blank Media with printable surface
 CD-R: 50, $32.50; 500, $225
 DVD-R: 50, $225.50

 

Primera Technology
Plymouth, Minn.

 

Competition

Well, here we usually list a bunch of companies that make the same kind of product. But not this time. There really isn’t anyone else with a direct competitive solution for simultaneously burning and printing discs. For long production runs, Primera, and several other companies, offer high capacity disc duplicators.

 
Key Specs

4Disc capacity
25 disc input/output
50 discs with kiosk mode
 

4Recording speeds
CD-R: Up to 52x
DVD-R/CD-R: 4x/16x
 

4Recordable formats
CD: CD-R, CD-RW, CD-Audio (CD-DA), Video-CD, MP3 to CD-Audio, most other industry-standard CD formats
DVD: DVD-R, DVD-RW; other formats to be added as they become standardized
 

4Print method: Inkjet
 

4Print resolutions (dpi)
2400 x 1200, 1200 x 1200, 600 x 600
 

4Maximum print width
4.724" (120mm)
 

4Color matching
PrimaColor color matching software included
 

4Label software
PC: SureThing CD Labeler Primera Edition
Macintosh: Discus Labeling Software
 

4Media types
Printable-surface CDs and DVDs
 

4Minimum system requirements, PC:
Pentium III processor at 700 MHz or higher, 512MB RAM, one available FireWire (IEEE 1394) port, one available USB port;
DVD-R system requires Windows 2000 or XP with an NTFS drive partition.
 

4Minimum system requirements, Macintosh:
700 MHz PowerPC, G4 processor capable of running Mac OS X v10.2 or later, 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB free hard drive space (6 GB for DVD version) one available USB port, one available FireWire port (IEEE 1394)
 

4Operating systems
PC: Windows 2000, XP
Macintosh: OS X, v.10.2 or later

 

4Weight: 18 lbs. (8.2kg)
 

4Dimensions
17.25" W x 7.25" H x 16" D
 

4Interfaces
Control and printing - USB
Image data - FireWire (IEEE 1394)
 

4Options
FireWire (IEEE 1394) PCI Adapter Card

Bravo Business Card Adapter Kit - includes templates and input trays for:

80mm mini-CDs; 59mm x 85mm rectangular business card CDs; 63mm x 80mm rounded (“hockey rink”) business card CDs; Bravo Kiosk Mode Kit (includes 50-disc output bin, metal tray, software and instructions)
 

4Warranty: One year limited
 


Cool hardware

Primera Bravo CD Burner and Label Printer


Rating:

By Joel Shore

August 4, 2003

Hey kids! Starting a band? Already in a band? Even better!

It’s time you take those shred guitar perfor-mances and publish your own album. Right? The big problem is, you gotta burn CDs one at a time in your computer, print labels on the old inkjet and stick them on—hoping you’ll get them straight. Talk about a pain in the butt. Wanna make 50 copies? You’ll be there all weekend, and you might even miss the one gig where a record-label scout just happens to be in the audience. That’s no way to get dangerously happy.

Well, here’s a way better idea. Check out the Primera Bravo combination CD burner and label printer. Yep, believe it or not, you can actually do both at the same time. Even better, you can load a stack of 25 blank CDs, push a button and forget about it. You’ll have more time to crank the feedback and blast the bass.

In case you’re not up on the latest music news, Clear Channel, owner of dozens of concert venues around the country, is recording rock concerts and then selling discs of that very performance to concertgoers as they head out to the parking lot. So why not do the same thing with your band? Since you’re already mixing and recording onto that multitrack, digital, hard-disk-based mini-recording studio, you can add a Bravo system and, poof—sell your own concert CDs on the spot. That’ll pay for that gorgeous Gibson or Rickenbacker guitar you’ve been dying for!

Bravo prints your label designs at high resolution on the printable surface of special CDs. You can forget about printing paper labels and trying to adhere them centered on the disc.

USB and FireWire. Bravo is two separate products combined into a single unit. There’s a high-speed CD burner (52x) or a DVD burner, depending on which model you choose. And there’s also a high-resolution, 2400 dot-per-inch inkjet printer, not really any different from what you might already have sitting on your desk. Since it burns one disc while simultaneously printing the label on another, the Bravo requires two cable connections to your PC or Macintosh. The IEEE 1394 FireWire connection handles the large amount of data being burned onto the disc while the USB connection manages the much smaller data stream being sent to the printer.

Hooking up the Bravo is easy. You connect the USB and FireWire cables to your PC or Mac and plug in the power. If your PC doesn’t have a FireWire port (Macs all do), you’ll have to buy an expansion card to add that capability. Take a trip to the local mega-consumer-electronics store (Fry’s, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) and pick one up. Next, you install the software. That includes drivers needed to make the darn thing run, and the label-design application.

We checked out the PC version of the label software, called SureThing. Plenty of templates are included, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not a great artist. It didn’t take long to get the hang of it. SureThing isn’t nearly as powerful as Adobe Photoshop, but for everyone except those with very exotic design requirements, SureThing is a sure thing. For the background image on our disc, we used a photo of the band whose music we were burning.

From initial set-up to full operation, Bravo was simple to use. You install the black and tricolor (cyan, magenta, yellow) ink cartridges just like any inkjet printer you already have. The CD/DVD burning software from Veritas allows virtually any digital information to be duplicated. Keep it legal.

 

If there’s more than 25 people in your band’s fan club, adding the kiosk option to the Bravo lets you can pump out up to 50 burned and printed CDs or DVDs in a single batch. You’ll wind up saving hours of time, and that’ll help the Bravo pay for itself pretty fast.

4

Fun to watch. Watching the Bravo do its thing is a whole lot more fun than watching reality TV. Really. Once your label design is finished, and you’ve followed the instructions for creating the data to be placed on the discs, you’re ready to rock.

First, a robotic arm swings to the right side of the unit and picks up a blank disc. Next, it swings to the center, where the disc burner is located. The drawer opens and the disc is gently lowered into position. About three minutes later (for CDs, longer for DVDs), the drawer opens, the disc is picked up, and it’s moved to the printing station. While the label is printing, the arm gets another disc for burning. The great thing is that the Bravo can burn one disc at the same time it’s printing the label on another. How cool is that?

6

Bravo uses the same disc burning and printing technology as professional service bureaus

5

We listened to a disc that we burned. The music wasn’t exactly what we usually listen to, but it was burned perfectly nonetheless. More important, the printed label was spectacular. Colors were bright and vibrant. Blacks were rich and dark. That’s because the discs are coated with an opaque white surface designed for inkjet printing, kind of like applying a coat of primer before painting the finish coat on your house. And printing at 2400 dots per inch is as good as it gets. You’ll be thrilled with the results. You can even make your disc labels shimmer: you can buy discs with a lustrous silver-colored printable surface.

We also really liked the idea of getting rid of those miserable paper labels. Unless you buy the expensive high-gloss labels, the images always look washed out. And then you have to peel the label, and hope that you’ll have it properly centered when you stick it onto the disc. Printing directly on the disc looks light years brighter, and since there’s no paper that can be peeled off, the results are truly professional.

Bravo has a capacity of 25 discs. Like the man says, just set it and forget it. If 25 isn’t enough, you can buy an add-on “kiosk” that doubles the capacity to 50 discs. Load it and go to lunch. And if you insist on creating those odd-ball business-card shaped discs, you can buy an add-on option for that, too. But I’d never stick one of those strange discs in my PC. I’m afraid it might never come back out.

Bravo gives you the same disc burning and printing technology used by professional service bureaus, but at a fraction of the cost. Of course, you’re not pumping out discs by the thousands. If you distribute your own software, have an album or video, or any other legitimate reason to create lots of copies of the same disk, the Bravo Disc Publisher from Primera Technology is a must have. <

 
Yeas & Nays

Yea:

4Sensational 2400 dpi print quality

4Easy operation

4It’s just fun to watch

4Sleek design

4Great conversation piece

4Record your live gig then burn, print, and sell CDs on the spot!

Nay:

4Requires FireWire and USB connections

4You may be locked into Primera for buying blank discs and ink cartridges, though other sources do exist

4Warning! Be sure to duplicate only authorized content; this gizmo makes it really easy to become a pirate and break federal copyright laws. We won’t come visit you in prison.

 

In the Box

Base unit

Input, output bins

Power supply and cord

Tricolor ink cartridge

Black ink cartridge

Software Disc

FireWire cable

USB cable

Two blank discs

Operator’s manual, quick-start guide, warranty card

Copyright Law

We all make copies of our favorite audio and software CDs. Be sure you understand what’s legal, and what isn’t. Don’t use the Bravo to make pirated copies of music or software.

Recoding Industry Association of America

Legal Information Institute

U.S. Copyright Office

Software Piracy and the Law from the Business Software Alliance (BSA)

BSA software antipiracy quiz

   

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