You might enjoy comparing the http://piezography.com/
image showing their new (what I call "variable tone") inkset to where MIS Associates (www.inksupply.com
) was a decade ago -- https://www.inksupply.com/bwpage.cfm
. The "variable tone" B&W inkset approach is one that works very well.
I'm a big fan of carbon based, dedicated B&W inksets in general. To my knowledge, none of the OEM inksets have 100% carbon gray inks. They are blends or carbon with some color to make them more neutral. Some, possible all, are very good, but once you add color pigs to carbon, the lightfastness and color stability goes down. "Carbon is king" (to steal an old phrase) when it comes to lightfastness and lack of color artifacts, but it is also warm -- thus the need to add some color for a neutral print.
Particularly if one is familiar with QTR, the "variable tone" approach is very easy and flexible, and with some inks (like the MK carbons diluted with the generic dilution base) can lower ink costs by two orders of magnitude compared to the small cart, desktop OEM prices.
I started the "variable tone" inkset pursuit with the original Piezo B&W setup. I added a light blue (cyan + magenta) toner to pull the warm inkset cooler.
I started with a single, separate light blue toner, then tried a number of inksets with the color pigments blended into just some of the carbon inks, and now I'm back to using just a single position for the light blue toner. There are arguments on all sides of all the various approaches. It comes down to what works best for you.
for an explanation of my current toner approach. It turns out that the same toner mix would work for both matte and glossy carbons. So, there can be a rather "universal" toner for carbon inksets (and MIS has picked up on that).
Note that if I want to print only matte paper, I won't use a glossy compatible inkset because the same coatings/binders that stick the pigments to the slick glossy paper also stick them to the heads. On the other hand, as long as a printer is used every week, clogging is not an issue with any modern inkset I've used. When I'm gone for a couple of weeks, however, I do notice the difference. The matte only (generic base) inks are way more likely to give a perfect nozzle check upon returning.
Although I started with Pieizo inks, I soon began to to buy MIS carbons and experiment with lots of different approaches over the years. MIS would pick up some of my formulations, which I published as open source inkset mixes (with profiles for the papers I was interested in). Some of these were similar to Jon's new inkset, including the one MIS marketed as "UT14," aimed at the Epson 1400. I have not used it since soon after the 1400 family was introduced, but it has had a good following -- that is, lots of people found the approach worked well for them and continued to use it over the years.
After using many approaches to "variable tone" B&W, I'm back to my original approach -- all carbon except for a single light blue toner. This keeps all the print tones using all the ink positions, unless one is printing 100% carbon warm. Then there is no toner. The approach is also very Epson driver compatible, which allows printers that are not supported by QTR to use them. With the toner in the yellow position, the Photoshop curves can control it (though QTR is always what I recommend if the printer has support). An ICC "color managed" (Lab L only) workflow is very feasible with the approaches I use, however. The single toner approach is simple and works for me.
The open source approach I use is not for everyone. Piezo is going to have a much more turnkey system. I do not work for MIS/inksupply.com (including no royalties, etc.) and do not make profiles for vast numbers of papers for all of the printers for which this approach works. I simply publish/document what I do in PDFs. My B&W pages -- http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/
and many non-linked PDFs -- are, in effect, my cloud storage of what I do. I need and use Google searches to even find my own information. It's simply a resource for open source types, not, from my perspective, a commercial venture. I have allowed MIS to use my name on one of their pages if and only if they include there only the inputs I use, or, with the latest MIS light blue toner, have tested and found to be plug-compatible with the Canon-based blue toner I use.
(I use the Canon Cyan and Blue pigments with either the generic base [c6b as described in http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/Ink-Mixing.pdf
] or the glossy base that MIS markets as its "amber" base. The Canon OEM color pigments give me the most lightfast solution I've found. The issue with neutralized carbon prints is that the color pigments fade differentially, usually causing a tone shift toward the cyan -- over many years of display. As a practical matter, the third party color toners are stable enough for the vast majority of uses.)
Once the OEMs came out with the K3 inksets, life for the third party B&W companies became, from what I can see, more difficult. I hope we B&W types will always have two independent competitors/suppliers to push the envelope and keep the B&W market competitive. While what I use is carried by MIS (I actually buy from STS, their main wholesale supplier), when it comes to things that affect the health of the dedicated B&W market, I'm a fan of both companies. B&W has always been a niche where the enthusiast could and can still experiment with unique and different approaches. These independent B&W carbon ink suppliers help keep that true.
Good luck to the Piezo group with their new inkset.