Positive Feedback Logo

A Mini-Impression: The Epson LW-600p Label Printer

10-24-2015 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 82


This review is short, and to the point.

And yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. This is something really different, and what does a label printer have to do with high-end audio, anyway?

Well, the connection is actually pretty clear once you think about it, and realize what the Epson LW-600p does in a particular application.

Fine audio's digital domain is moving increasing towards the more sophisticated and longer-range capabilities of Ethernet as the medium of choice. I covered the reasons for this in my recent review of the Merging Technologies NADAC elsewhere in Issue 81. In sum, much longer cable lengths (e.g., up to 100 meters per cable run, vs. the two to at most three meters of USB), better timing and flow control via TCP/IP, the ability to construct audio networks of multiple nodes, the ubiquity of gigabit Ethernet ports and TCP/IP…it's an impressive list. And USB, while fine for the quick two-meter run, does not have the same sort of power and flexibility that Ethernet does.

We're already seeing a number of audiophiles (including this one) adding multiple devices (computers, DACs, music servers, network attached storage (NAS), streaming bridges) to the local area network (LAN) in order to be able to access and play digital files in multiple rooms. We also want the ability to put NAS or music servers in closets or otherwise out of the way, so that we can cut the clutter/noise floor/grim looks from a spouse.

This means that our Ethernet needs are growing significantly, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This means more devices, more cabling…and more confusion!

In my LAN here at Positive Feedback Central, with its brand-new Comcast 300 mbps Internet connection (smokin'!), I have two router-switches with wireless and three switches alone. This handles a network of three workstations in my office, plus the Merging Technologies NADAC in our reference stereo listening room down the hall, and our iPad3 used for the JRemote control of our Media Center 21 computer. There is also another notebook computer in the stereo room dedicated to our LampizatOr Golden Gate DSD DAC, which connects wirelessly to our main wireless router-switch.

In addition, our LAN is connected to our downstairs domain, where we have multiple Ethernet-based devices:  Two more computers, several iPhones and an iPad Air, TVs, Oppo Digital Blu Ray players, a PS/3...not to mention two more wireless router-switches, and two more switches. You get the idea, I hope. It's not just audio driving the show…video and multimedia are actually really pushing the tidal wave of Ethernet devices.

The result is that I have cables galore, and they're getting harder to track. Sticky notes are messy, usually hard to read, and don't remain in place, and Sharpie pens are a mess. What's an Ethernet-based audiophile going to do?


Enter Epson, with its spiffy LW-600p label printer. This compact device hooks up to a computer via USB, and allows you to make very neat labels on an adhesive tape. This tape can range in size from ¼", 3/8", ½", to a full 1".

Epson sent me a review sample a few months ago, and I've had a chance to use it with our proliferating LAN here. This brought back memories of my many years in collegiate IT administration; we had wiring arrays in our server rooms that would have shocked Einstein.

The LW-600p arrived in a compact box. Epson had also sent sample of the four tape widths listed above. The printer, wall wart, USB cables, and documentation were there. Following the manual, I loaded the ½" tape (my preferred size for cable labels), plugged in the unit, inserted the USB cable, but did not yet plug it into the computer. As is common with Windows devices, the software and drivers needed to be loaded on the computer first, before connecting the live LW-600p.

I went to the Epson download site listed in the documentation, downloaded the application, which Epson calls Labelworks, the Windows drivers, and installed them on our big HP i7-based notebook. This had been recently upgraded to Windows 10, and so this would be a compatibility test for the Epson system, as well. As it turned out, there were no problems at all with the Labelworks installation or with the driver load in Windows 10. The installation system put them both in quite nicely.


In the dragon's den:  Order out of chaos! (Photograph by Robinson)

Labelworks makes it simplicity itself to design clean, clear labels for your LAN cables. Once you've got the LW-600p installed, you can choose the width of label that you're using, and then simply choose your font and type it in the window. You can save that for future use, and then print out your label. The LW-600p clears its throat of a tiny bit of header…a good idea for clean cuts…and then prints out your label. You peel the label off by folding the label lightly lengthwise, and then snagging the backing paper with your fingernail. Works slick!

Epson LW-600p test print from iLabel via Bluetooth

The Bluetooth wireless printing from my iPhone 6+ worked very well. (Photograph by Robinson)

Better yet, the LW-600p also supports IOS and Android devices for wireless printing. By turning on the Bluetooth capability of the label printer, and then downloading the Epson iLabel app (or compatible Android app), you can print wirelessly via a mobile version of Labelmaker. I did so, and it worked flawlessly. A key point, though:  Remember that if you want to print wirelessly, you must disconnect the USB cable first. Otherwise, even though your iPhone will tell you that you've connected, iLabel will tell you that it can't find the printer. Only one connection at a time! And that includes other wireless devices, too….

What else is there to say? The Epson LW-600p is a little wonder of a workhorse. It's already helping me to bring labelled order out of my audio-video Ethernet chaos. It's a definite keeper, and will be for anyone with a complex Ethernet LAN growing up around them…and that includes us audiophiles. At the price, it's a simple choice, and an easy addition to Ye Olde Editor's "Recommended!" list.

Spot on, Epson!

Price:  MSRP $129.99, although online prices range all the way down to $89.99

Epson America, Inc.


Photographs courtesy of Epson America, Inc., unless otherwise indicated.