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Discussion, tips, pictures, reviews and peer to peer support for current and future owners of the Spectra series of DTG printers.



Spectra 3000 review

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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 6:46:44 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Spectra 3000 review

I have been a long time reader of this forum. It has been invaluable in navigating and learning about the world of DTG printing. This is my first post, and as a start-up business myself I feel compelled to give a fellow start-up credit when deserved and the guys at Spectra DTG deserve it.

We bought a DTG M2 a few months ago. We have been mostly satisfied with the performance of the printer, although there have been issues with getting a consistent white. The underbase prints fine, but when white is part of the final design, we are rarely able to get a clean bright white.
I recently opened a second location and needed another printer. I didn't want to commit to another $25,000 printer, so I looked around at the available options under $10,000. I bought a Spectra 3000 and I couldn't be happier.

First because it is priced under $8,000. Second, the printer is based on the latest Epson technology, the 3000 platform with a pressurized ink delivery system, compared to a hybrid platform on the M2. The 3000 platform was introduced in 2011, the hybrid platform used on the M2, was introduced in 2007.

This pressurized system allows for faster printing, and the EK Print RIP software is much more versatile than the Rip Pro that the M2 uses. The Spectra r3000 platform uses a pressurized ink delivery system that allows you to control the actual size of both the white and color ink droplets. You can also choose how many times the printer repeats a particular line on the print and the ink volume. You can also print up to 1440x1440, the M2 allows only 720x720 or 1440x720. While you may never need this, it's nice to have the option

The pressurized ink system, when used with ink bags, does not allow any evaporation, which thickens your ink, and it also prevents the air from degrading ink quality. The CMYK containers on the M2 are pressurized, but it uses bottles that contain air. The 3000 eliminates the need for a WIMS system. All I do is flip my ink bags over once a day.

I like the preview screen that the EK rip provides because it shows your art on a grid, and regardless of how much space you left on the transparency above the art, you get a true read on where the actual art will print. The M2 rip shows the distance to the boundaries of the transparency. I have sometimes not cropped my art close to the top and ended up with a print lower on the shirt than I intended. This can't happen on the Spectra.

One of the reasons that this Spectra 3000 is faster than the M2 is because print head only travels where it is laying down ink, it doesn't have to go back and forth across the entire platen when it is printing just a small area.

And with Spectra 3000 and EK RIP, the print time of some of my designs has been nearly cut in half.

One other thing I like about the Spectra is that it doesn't have the automatic feature that raises or lowers your platen based upon the highest point. While it is fun to use the laser height adjustment, it has caused me more problems than it is worth. If I have an exposed seam on the platen or a wrinkle in the shirt, the M2 sees this as a high point and adjusts accordingly, leaving me with a fuzzy print. On the Spectra, since I only print t-shirts, I adjust the height of the platen once for the optimal distance from the print head, and even if there is a high point on the shirt, as long as it doesn't hit the printhead, I will still get a perfect print.

One other feature I like is that after the underbase prints, the Spectra requires you to push a button to begin printing color. I have at times experienced puddling of white ink while trying to get a good underbase and bright white in the design. The fact that the Spectra pauses between white and color printing allows the excess white ink to be absorbed into the shirt or evaporate, giving me a good base on which to lay down the color. If I get puddling on the M2, I either have to quit the print or let it finish and hope that the print was not ruined by the puddling.

Of course, if the underbase is fine, you still have to push the button to begin color printing, but it takes no time and I like to have the option.

The Spectra has also allowed me to print a better white when it is part of the final design.

While I am not unhappy with the M2, all things being equal, and for about the same amount of money, I think going with 3 Spectras instead of one M2 would have been the better way to go.

I'm sure that when I need a second printer at this location it will be a Spectra 3000.

Last edited by hoosier13; July 1st, 2014 at 07:26 AM..
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 9:05:00 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Excellent review,

Can you show a photo with the ink bag ?
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 9:10:03 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Great review and very thorough. May I suggest that you complement it with some pictures of your printers. Sometimes users of this forums are skeptical about new users that praise or complaint about a certain printer in their first post. I think this would be of great help for those users looking for information on the spectra printer.

Anyway, congrats on your new purchase.
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 10:36:40 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Welcome to TSF!! Nice write up on the Spectra 3000...it has been generating quite a bit of chatter around the TSF watercooler that's for sure. Like everyone else said...post up some pics comparing the M2 to the Spectra.
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:16:45 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekay317
Welcome to TSF!! Nice write up on the Spectra 3000...it has been generating quite a bit of chatter around the TSF watercooler that's for sure. Like everyone else said...post up some pics comparing the M2 to the Spectra.
I have no problem posting pictures, but I can't post a picture of them together since as I explained in my post, they are in separate locations. The M2 as you know is a very large printer, the Spectra, quite a bit smaller

It seems you may be skeptical since you work for a competitor of Spectra. How many many fingers would you like me to hold up in the picture? 1,2, 3, perhaps 4? I want to make sure that you are satisfied and my integrity remains intact.

Please let me know and I will post pictures of both tomorrow.
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:20:42 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier13
I have no problem posting pictures, but I can't post a picture of them together since as I explained in my post, they are in separate locations. The M2 as you know is a very large printer, the Spectra, quite a bit smaller

It seems you may be skeptical since you work for a competitor of Spectra. How many many fingers would you like me to hold up in the picture? 1,2, 3, perhaps 4? I want to make sure that you are satisfied and my integrity remains intact.

Please let me know and I will post pictures of both tomorrow.
Skeptical??? Absolutely not...a good friend of mine helped build the electronics and engineering of the Spectra. I think it's an excellent A3 printer - best available at the moment imo.
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:22:29 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgabby
Excellent review,

Can you show a photo with the ink bag ?
Thank you, I will post pics tomorrow
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:25:59 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekay317
Skeptical??? Absolutely not...a good friend of mine helped build the electronics and engineering of the Spectra. I think it's an excellent A3 printer - best available at the moment imo.
Sorry Agent E, my bad, I saw NeoFlex and made an assumption. And you know what happens when one assumes.

I really do love the simplicity, quality, and speed of the the Spectra. As I said to another poster, I will post pics of both tomorrow
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:28:26 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

No problem!

Where in Indiana are you located? I assume since your SN is Hoosier13 you either live in Indiana or went to IU or both.

I really want to see how much better the Spectra print quality is over the M2 as I believe the quality will be substantially different.
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 12:46:27 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier13
Sorry Agent E, my bad, I saw NeoFlex and made an assumption. And you know what happens when one assumes.

I really do love the simplicity, quality, and speed of the the Spectra. As I said to another poster, I will post pics of both tomorrow
By the way, I did not intend this review to be construed as denigrating the M2 in any way. It is a great printer, Coldesi has been very supportive, and I have gotten some amazing prints on this machine. A customer recently asked me to do a photo of Prince on a 6XL t-shirt. Attached is the finished print. I think it is amazing.

I simply wrote my Spectra review because I now can get results like this on a much less expensive printer with more speed
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 1:00:25 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekay317
No problem!

Where in Indiana are you located? I assume since your SN is Hoosier13 you either live in Indiana or went to IU or both.

I really want to see how much better the Spectra print quality is over the M2 as I believe the quality will be substantially different.
I'm not actually in Indiana, nor am I from there, and I did not attend IU. The derivation of the name is a funny story, but unfortunately, not one that is fit for a public forum.

The print quality is not substantially different between the two machines, except perhaps where it pertains to obtaining a more consistent white.

The main difference between the machines is cost and speed. The ability to get a high quality print at faster speeds for one third the price is why I am excited about my Spectra.

As you can see with the Prince photo tee I posted, the M2 is a very high quality printer.
 
Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 1:05:58 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Yes that Prince shirt looks very nice! DX5 Print engines can reproduce some amazing images with the right software telling it what to do.
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 2:13:10 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

I have Spectra 3000 for three months already and I can say its amazing. In those days, biggest disadvantage of the most DTG printers is speed. On holidays dtg printer can ruin all your sales. I had printer based on Epson 4880 and it's was too slow. Epson 4880 is outdated.

This one is so fast, and EK RIP works great. It saves a lot of time. All those ads on many DTGs promising 300 t-shirts a day is just a joke, its impossible. And on this one I got my record number of prints per day on Father's day sales. Just wanted to express my opinion.

The pressurized ink system really makes a difference. I will be ordering a second Spectra for the upcoming holiday season.
 
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 4:28:38 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by paata01
I have Spectra 3000 for three months already and I can say its amazing. In those days, biggest disadvantage of the most DTG printers is speed. On holidays dtg printer can ruin all your sales. I had printer based on Epson 4880 and it's was too slow. Epson 4880 is outdated.

This one is so fast, and EK RIP works great. It saves a lot of time. All those ads on many DTGs promising 300 t-shirts a day is just a joke, its impossible. And on this one I got my record number of prints per day on Father's day sales. Just wanted to express my opinion.

The pressurized ink system really makes a difference. I will be ordering a second Spectra for the upcoming holiday season.
Just curious, you said you were able to do a record number for Father's Day. How many were you able to do in a day?
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Old July 1st, 2014 Jul 1, 2014 4:40:59 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spectra 3000 review

On epson 4880 based I was getting 12 prints per hour on average. On this one I got 25 prints per hour on average. Printhead moves really fast and without sacrificing print quality I got more prints. It's really vital in dtg industry
 
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