Need advice for physical printing

For a score and parts what do you folks do for printing in the US? I can buy a larger format laser but it seems you have to get up to several thousand dollars for this, anything in the 1k range?

Otherwise

  • Whats the best paper size to use?
  • Paper quality?
  • Binding?
  • Who are good printers?
  • How is FedEx (there’s a local store)
  • Likewise same question for parts

Thanks

Check on Music Engraving Tips on Facebook. There are lots of folks who are printing their own stuff (even 9x12) with great results. I think that’s often a better bet than paying to print on demand.

Most of the time I do all my printing myself. I use a Ricoh SP 6330n oversize B&W laser printer, but I’ve owned HPs before in the past. My standard parts paper is 9.5" x 12.5" which is the size many older manuscript brands used such as Associated Music in NYC. 9.5x12.5 is a particularly convenient size because 25x38 is a common size for paper suppliers, and they can cut one sheet of that into 8 sheets of 9.5x12.5 without any waste. 9.5x12.5 is also a MOLA approved size, while 8.5x11 is not.

There are about 20 of us copyists/arrangers/composers in the NYC area who all go in on a bulk order a couple of times a year in order to get a better rate from the supplier. I’m not the one placing the order so I don’t remember all the details exactly, but I seem to recall the supplier gets the 25x38 paper in 500 sheet cases, so our order of 9.5x12.5 is in multiples of 4000 sheets, which the supplier boxes up 2000 sheets to a box. I think we’re using 100lb Text weight (remember paper weights are not equivalent) off-white paper for accordion-style parts. The brand has changed a couple of times so I don’t recall which one we are currently using.

Some people prefer to print 2-up on 19x12.5 paper as it is less binding. I just use 9.5x12.5 (we don’t order any 19x12.5) and then use acid-free artists tape for accordion-style parts. For 11x17 scores and ring bound parts I usually use Hammermill “Color Copy” 32lb paper and just cut it to size myself if needed with a paper cutter.

When I’ve had to send scores out for saddle-stitching, I’ve used Subito before: https://www.subitomusic.com/services/printing-production/
I’ve heard good things about Black Ribbon but have never used them personally: https://blackribbonprinting.com/

If you’re fortunate enough to have one nearby, check a used office supply store. In my town we have a “used and ‘seconds’” office supply store. We were able to get a $3500 Samsung 11x17 duplex laser printer for $600 because it was open box. Now I can use Dorico’s built in booklet printing function to print 2up (2 letter per one 11x17), booklet order, double sided booklets that I can then staple in the middle. It’s great! I’ll also say that you can often find older copy machines on craigslist, often functional, if old, which might be worth checking out too.

Great suggestions guys, appreciate it.

Did some research and also came across the HP CP5225DN Business color laserjet which will do up to 18x12! $1700 but that’s under $2k at least.

The problem with color laser printers is that the toner cartridges are quite expensive. I would check the cost of consumables before purchasing.