For many facilities — studios, publishing houses, churches, etc. — it is becoming commonplace to have the capability to produce high-quality CDs and DVDs in-house. This can help with production costs, especially with lower-quantity product runs, and allows for quick turnaround of finished media. XLNT Idea has developed a few new products especially for this purpose, including the Nexis 100AP.
The $1,595 Nexis 100AP CD/DVD publisher is an all-in-one unit for burning and printing ink jet-ready CDs and DVDs. The unit includes a robotic arm to handle all of the loading and unloading of the media from the loading basket, which can handle up to 50 CD/DVDs and has an optional upgrade to double the capacity.
The inkjet printer uses non-proprietary inks (Lexmark #26 and #27), which are widely available and provide for a cost-effective printing solution. The 4800 dpi print resolution makes for ultra crisp and clean printing — especially when using glossy coated media — and is capable of printing all standard ink jet-printable media types, including Watershield, Waterguard, waterproof and smearproof CD/DVD media. Business card and mini disc printing is possible with optional add-ons from XLNT Idea.
Two software titles are included with the package: Disc Direct, the interface for burning media with some advanced customization options, and Disc Studio, a straightforward design program for the artwork including clip art, text and graphic tools. Disc Studio is not required to use for the layout, but I found the best results by importing any graphics into the software before printing; this assures that the layout lines up correctly with the media.
The standard burn types supported by the Nexis 100AP include Data, Audio, Mixed, Disc to Image, Disc to Disc, Streaming and Auto Insert. Disc Direct also allows the linking of a Disc Studio image to the file, so the printing and burning are managed from one interface. Its software also offers standard options for formatting and verification. File Tree modes include ISO9660 Level 2 and Joliet, and there is an ISO image mode that includes Sub Channel Repair, which will attempt to repair any errors found on the disk.
The unit ships with all necessary cabling, including USB cable, ink cartridges and some blank sample media.
Studio, Duplication Facilities, Houses-of-Worship
Four-color photo-quality printing; 4800 dpi resolution; USB 2.0 connection; one-button tray load mechanism; included media adapters; non-proprietary inkcarts; one year warranty
XLNT Idea | 800-479-1689 | www.XLNTidea.com
- Non-Proprietary Ink Jet Cartridges
- Robotic Arm was very accurate - no mispicks
- Hands Free operation
- Print alignment graphics hard to read
- Disc Direct application occasionally locked up when canceling a job
- Print-only functionality for Apple users
- No networking capabilities
The Nexis 100AP is an ideal automated duplication system for an audio and/or video workstation where the look of finished CD or DVD media is important.The unit fits nicely on a desktop measuring in at 9.5- x 19- x 17-inches, and weighs only 16 pounds — only a slightly larger footprint compared with a standard ink jet printer. There are only two external buttons on the unit: error notification and power on/off. Although I could not see a speaker, there is clearly one in there; the unit has alert levels that would rival an alarm clock as I could hear the notification alert from down the hall. Compared to the alternative of not knowing the machine was waiting on my intervention, the loud beeping is a plus. If the noise is not a good fit, its sonic prompt can be disabled via the software interface (like many other features on the unit).
USB 2.0 is the communication interface for the unit, and the installation of the Nexis was as simple as installing any USB printer. The drivers and necessary software were included with well laid out instructions.
Once connected to the computer, the CDR/DVD-R drive and printer appears on the local computer. For Apple users, only printing is supported: burning is currently not possible. The built-in Sony Optiarc AD-5170A burner is stated to provide a maximum of 18X for DVD±R, 6X for DVD±RW, 8X for DVD±R DL and 48X for CD-R. Slower speeds are available via drop down menu, if necessary. The on-board buffer for the Nexis defaults to 160 MB, but can also be customized to meet a user’s specific need.
The alignment process for the ink jet cartridges was a bit difficult, only because the arrow images that are used for alignment were a little hard to read. I looked at the book to see what the recommendations were, as when looking at the disc it was hard to see the differences between the closest options. Fortunately, the defaults seemed to be match up and no fine tuning was necessary.
Under the hood, the Nexis 100AP consists of a supply basket on the left and a receiving basket on the right. Each basket is easily removed and notched to help assure the user has reinstalled correctly. Even with the notch, I did have a couple of instances where I thought the basket was in correctly until I heard a very unhappy robotic arm jamming. Only once did I have to run the utility to realign the arm, and after doing so I had no problems. Extra care was then taken to verify the baskets were seated correctly.
At the center of the unit is the DVD/CD burner, and above that is a tray for printing the media. Once a job had been queued, the robotic arm does the work for you by picking up the media, dropping it in the appropriate location (depending on if the job requires burning, printing or both) and then places the media in the receive tray. I tested with many styles of media and not once did I experience an inaccurate pick. If the burn or print fails in any way, the arm places the media in the middle — not in the receive tray. This happened only once with me, and I was glad that the error was caught then placed in a different location. I sent many duplication jobs to the unit, both DVD and CD, and each time it performed as expected.
A major plus of the Nexis 100AP is that there were no misfires with pulling the CDs through the unit. I have had this problem using glossy media on belt-driven units. On the Nexis 100AP, the mechanism that picks up the disks actually grabs them from the center point, so the finishing surface of media is a mood point.
The Nexis 100AP would be a good candidate for a facility where having the ability to do a quick one-off or a longer run with a hands-off approach is a major plus. And the color printing at 4800 dpi resolution will quickly become a favorite over other options, especially the old paper label or faithful standby black Sharpie.