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Honor Student
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎11-14-2009
Message 1 of 4 (6,543 Views)

HP Color Laserjet 5550 Postscript Driver Color Problems

I have recently acquired a Color LaserJet 5550hdn. I have updated all drivers and firmware available from the HP Website (Printer Driver, 5550 firmware and Jetdirect 610n firmware). The printer has been factory reset/cold reset etc. to purge any previous custom settings. I am using a PowerMac G4 Quicksilver (933mhz) and Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.11). I have made some test prints from both Preview and iPhoto and all have been dark and muddy with respect to colors. I have printed the same images from my wife's PC with HP's PCL 6 Driver for Windows XP and achieve satisfactory results with respect to color (that is to say, without fooling with any color settings in the driver, the image is at least within 10% of the color gamut compared to the screen image). Setting up the printer with the HP Postscript Driver for XP yields similar results as the Mac, dark and muddy colors. So is this a problem with the HP Postscript Driver? Is this a Mac OS X Tiger problem? Do users have color problems with the printer running the Leopard driver? 


I previously owned a HP Color LaserJet 8550 (utilizing the same HP Driver for Mac OS X that the 5550 uses) and had default images (no fooling with any color settings in the driver) that were acceptable, again within 10% or less of the screen image color gamut.


I have also downloaded HP's ICC color profiles (CMYK and sRGB) and put them in library/printers/hp/profiles.


With respect to the driver itself, there are two areas in the print dialogue box which seem to have a bearing on color. One is Colorsync and the other is Color Options. Colorsync has two choices ('Standard' and 'In Printer') and I chose 'In Printer' to I assume bypass any Colorsync Conversion. When 'Standard' is chosen the print summary shows the HP Color LaserJet CMYK profile being used. There seems to be no way of changing the default setting in the Colorsync Utility to HP Color LaserJet sRGB. Not sure if it matters as the output for both 'Standard' and 'In Printer' seem to yield the same results. The options under 'Color Options" in the driver under the 'Show Advanced Options' have choices (Basic, Text, Graphics, Photographs, Advanced) and I have played with these to some extent. Although they seem to have some effect on the image, the print is still dark and muddy with respect to colors.


On a final note I have tried a 'GutenPrint' driver to see if it would yield different results.....there was not one for the 5550 so I used a driver for the Color LaserJet would only print in grayscale....the resulting image did not look very promising even if it had printed in color.


Insights on any of the above from the community here would be most helpful!





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Honor Student
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎11-14-2009
Message 2 of 4 (6,508 Views)

Re: HP Color Laserjet 5550 Postscript Driver Color Problems

This is an update to my own post above. I downloaded the Mac OS 9 driver (yes OS 9!, but the QuickSilver is Dual Boot) for the Color LaerJet 5550 and printed (no changes to any of the driver settings) the same image (photo) as I used in Mac OS X. The image was still dark but not as poor from Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger). Although I prefer not to use color management, I used the Colorsync tab in the driver and chose to match to Colorsync with a generic sRGB output profile (no other settings were changed in the HP color options tab). The resulting image was +/- 5% within the color gamut of the screen image (yeah!!!) In Tiger the options under the Colorsync tab in the driver are 'Standard' or 'In Device' and regardless of the choice, the print result is the same, very dark and muted colors. There is no option for sRGB and if set to 'Standard' the print summary always shows a CMYK profile being utilized. Given that the HP Color LaserJet 5550 is an sRGB printer as per HP, perhaps that is a problem? I would assume the 'In Device' option would bypass Colorsync (since there seems to be no other way to turn it off) and use sRGB, but that does not seem to make a difference in the image being printed.


My good success with an OS 9 driver leads me to believe I have a driver problem in Tiger. However, I have no problems with other printers (HP All in One, DesignJet Color Plotter and wide format Epson inkjet....all of which are older) with respect to poor color output. Given this is a current model in the HP line-up and I believe in service during Mac OS X Tiger, it seems hard to fathom other users do/did not experience a problem.


Again, do Leopard users have a problem with color issues on this printer with default driver settings? Does anyone have driver settings/other insights they could share with respect to Tiger to at least get the print image somewaht close to the screen image? As it stands now, regardless of settings, the printed image is dark with muted colors.


Thnaks to anyone who can respond, even if it is to say they have no problems in Leopard/Snow Leopard as I am upgrading to a new Mac soon.



Honor Student
Posts: 4
Member Since: ‎11-26-2009
Message 3 of 4 (6,371 Views)

Re: HP Color Laserjet 5550 Postscript Driver Color Problems

I'm having similar problems with the Officejet 6500. Printing from Photoshop Elements on Mac 10.5.8 produces darker dark colors and muted bright colors. Photoshop on my work Windows XP using another 6500 produces a much better photo, which leads me to believe there is a problem with the Mac driver or the Colorsync profile. I've tried calibrating my color profile, using Adobe RGB embedded profile, using different paper, and using different controls (Printshop controls color and Printer controls color). I've tried Preview and iPhoto with the same results so it's not the application, it's got to be either the driver or the color profile. I got the 6500 for home because I've had such good results with it on WinXP at work. It never occurred to me that WinXP would have a better result than my Macs at home.


I'm out of ideas and frankly frustrated with wasting paper and ink... so I'll just keep using my thumb drive and print photos from the 6500 at work. Counter-intuitive but until HP and Apple figure this out, what else can I do?

iMac Intel Duo Core
Lion 10.7
Officejet 6500
Grad Student
Posts: 315
Member Since: ‎09-03-2009
Message 4 of 4 (6,302 Views)

Re: HP Color Laserjet 5550 Postscript Driver Color Problems

In general the PS color gammut is darker than PCL.  Also the PS driver will default to CMYK colors while the PCL driver is RGB only.  Both of these will generally lead to darker colors.  A lot will depend on what you are printing from.  I know you state that you do not want to mess around with color settings but you should try experimenting with the color options in the driver.  My first suggestion which has resulted in some luck is to disable colorsync when printing.  In the colorsync section of the driver try selecting Color Conversion In Printer instead of standard.  Also in the Color Options click on the Advanced button on the bottom.  Under Photographs try selecting Vivid or Device instead of default.  These may help with your color a bit.
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