toner usage for music vs. text

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John Ruggero
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toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Mon May 02, 2022 8:19 pm

Does printing music on a laser printer use more toner than printing text?
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

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BuonTempi
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by BuonTempi » Tue May 03, 2022 6:52 am

I've heard it suggested that average/typical 'coverage' for text pages is around 15% of the page. (E.g. how much of the page is covered in toner.)
Toner cartridge manufacturers base their estimated page count on an industry standard of 5% coverage per page, naturally.... :roll:

Like most things: it depends. If you're printing out some typical 'milennial' digital engraving, with thin staff lines and big white spaces, then you'll probably achieve a similar, or even lower coverage. If you're achieving a heavier, 'darker' page, with several 'voices' per staff, and lots of black, wide noteheads, then you might well go higher.

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Tue May 03, 2022 12:13 pm

Would you guess 20% for a page of a Beethoven piano sonata? In which case, a toner cartridge with an estimated page count of 2000 pages would actually be 500 pages of piano music?
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by BuonTempi » Tue May 03, 2022 2:43 pm

I used to keep a spreadsheet with the page count of my laser printer every time I changed the cartridge.

I would do an average of 6,500 pages for a cartridge that was 'rated' at 10,000 pages. That suggests only 7.5% coverage. Obviously, there's blank pages in there (printing booklets) and prelim text pages; as well as other non-music content.

So perhaps 20% might be a too high an estimate.

If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro, then there are tools there to calculate the ink coverage of a given page.

Here's a text page example with 5% coverage. So, 15% might actually be quite full.

Image

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John Ruggero
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Wed May 04, 2022 7:12 pm

I find it very difficult compare the ink density on a page of text with a page of music.

I checked out the tools in Acrobat Pro and also InDesign, but could make nothing of it since I know nothing about separations etc. Will it actually analyze a page and tell you what percent of the page is covered in black ink? The percentages given, like 300%, mean nothing to me.
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by BuonTempi » Thu May 05, 2022 6:56 am

Separations are for more than one ink, which you wouldn't normally use for a sheet of music.

Use Acrobat's Output Preview panel. Choose a Simulation Profile that is just Black ink, if there is one. I haven't got Acrobat anymore, so I can't test it. It's possible the "Show" drop down options might also allow you to test just Mono.

The percentages for each ink plate will show for the bit of the page where the cursor is.

If it's showing values for the 'other' inks, then that because it is pretending to 'share' out the Black colour across all four inks, which is a trick that printers use to reduce the amount of Black ink used in colour printing. A figure like 300% means 3 inks at 100% (or parts thereof).
If there's too much ink on the page, it can cause the paper to warp or even tear.

You can de-select the other inks, which should give you the coverage just for Black. If the Black is showing something like 80% for 'solid' black objects like a notehead, then you'll need to proportionately increase the coverage amount.

Is there a reason for your interest? Purchasing a new printer?

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Thu May 05, 2022 12:28 pm

Thanks for this help. I am indeed considering getting a new printer. I use my printer for proofing only and need only a basic laser printer, but I'm tired of the perils of hand duplexing and also concerned about the waste produced by the use of cartridges.

I did get to the point where Acrobat was showing percentages where the cursor was, but is that what one needs? I thought 5% meant that 95% of the page was white. And that the 5% was covered by ink that was solid black and not gray. So one would need to know how much of the whole page is covered in solid black ink. Can Acrobat do that?
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by BuonTempi » Thu May 05, 2022 4:13 pm

To be honest, I think you won't be able to accurately gauge how many pages you'll get from a given cartridge until you use it.

Printers often have settings to control toner density, essentially using more or less toner per unit of area. So you may need to increase the density to get a decent result, or you may be able to get away with a lower setting.

Some third-party cartridges can be grey and not fuse to the paper readily; others can give a better result.

Obviously, a cartridge that is rated "10,000 pages" will give you more pages than one rated as "5,000 pages". And you can investigate what price you can buy particular cartridge types from, and work out the price per page -- be that the rated page or the actual page count.

I would buy a printer that:

a) has the features you need
b) works with your computer
c) is still 'contemporary' so that the toner cartridge type is commonplace.

Laser printers tend to operate at a few pence per pages, and you can find recycling for the cartridges. Some companies, like HP, let you return the empty cartridge freepost (though the price is built-in).

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by motet » Thu May 05, 2022 8:07 pm

The edges of things are gray.

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Thu May 05, 2022 10:54 pm

I use an HP Laserjet 1022 and generic Linkyo cartridges. Its fine for my purposes, except for the duplexing. I'm going to look around online to see if there is an app that can calculate the percentage of white space on a page.
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by Jay Emmes » Fri May 06, 2022 11:55 am

Could being frugal with ink/toner be the veritable inspiration for 4'33"? It's plausible, at least.
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by motet » Sun May 08, 2022 3:30 am

I've gone through dozens of laser printer toner cartridges over the years. I don't really keep track of how many pages of music they've done, though--I just put in a new cartridge when needed. Why are you going to the trouble of trying to figure out what percentage of the page is black or white?

One thing you can do when the printer reports "toner low" is shake it gently from side to side, then rock it forward and back a few times. You can get quite a bit more out of the cartridge that way.

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Sun May 15, 2022 9:50 pm

I'm just interested in knowing if printed music uses more toner than text and how much more.

I do shake the cartridge every time I use the printer, since my old printer doesn't show toner levels. This is another reason I probably need a new printer even through this one is perfectly functional and we generally try to go easy on the planet.
Last edited by John Ruggero on Tue May 17, 2022 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by motet » Mon May 16, 2022 12:38 am

My HP 5000 is ancient.

I would say music uses way more toner than text. I'm often surprised at how short they last, and my printer takes giant cartridges.

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Re: toner usage for music vs. text

Post by John Ruggero » Tue May 17, 2022 2:37 am

motet wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 12:38 am
I would say music uses way more toner than text.
That is also my impression. I still haven't had time to search, but surely there is a tool that can determine the amount of white space on a printed page.
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