Certainly not using an Epson 9900 for almost a year can lead to a host of issues and problems. If you did the replacement of the head recently and flushed out all the old ink etc prior to that - you should be in good shape. But, if the printer has been sitting for a year, this model has a very delicate print head and your printer will probably have a lot of settled pigment in it. This is not a good scenario - and I would advise that you do preventative maintenance prior to trying to print a project. This would not be a good scenario on an Epson 9880 - but that print head is easily recoverable. The 9900 is well known for issues. If the case is that the printer has been sitting nearly a year since you did the replacement - let me know and I will give you some sage advice.
The profiles we make are made with about $12,000 in gear, and are very good. But, they reflect a well maintained printer using fresh inks. If your printer is well maintained and your inks have not been sitting in the printer for weeks on end without use - these profiles will be very good for you. Otherwise, making a custom of the current conditions of your printer may be better warranted in your case.
ErgoSoft are not RGB profiles as you know, nor is the RIP an RGB rip as is the Epson printer driver. So with skilled use of the GPS profiler you can get superior results. ErgoSoft can help you with getting the best linearization and producing the best CMYKOG ICC profile.
We do use some vintage Arches Watercolor from time to time that was tub sized with gelatin - and we find that it does not have the saturation of a paper that has a pre-coating for inkjet. But it still is very beautiful - especially when high chroma is not desirable. We do not print on uncoated BFK since the days of IRIS printing. We do not think its light sizing is sufficient for most of our customers. The Arches made today may be different from the stash we have on hand. But, I do understand that others use it quite a bit. You should download the ErgoSoft GPS manuals to understand ink bleed and ink linearization. You really need to get that bit perfected prior to trying to make an ICC on these papers. Stop the bleed. Get the best density you can with Cyan and Magenta without their going bluish or reddish - and also yellow. The Orange and Green are less problematic. As I recall the GPS sets the total ink limits while you are doing the bleed tests. Peter Supry may have some magic numbers for you concerning the CMY densities that are desirable.
After not using my Conecolor inks for my Epson 9900 for almost a year after some initial issues like a split cartridge and ink levels not reading plus print head clogs leading to a replacement of printhead, assembly etc etc, I am now trying to finish the left over ink by doing a small project for a friend.
She has original etchings of which she likes to make some prints. She would like to use Rives BFK or Arches Watercolor paper, for which I do not have a custom profile. I noticed the Canson Rives BFK/Arches Watercolor paper profiles that I can download from your site. The originals do not contain bright colors, more neutrals/blacks, greys with some browns, blues, reds and gold. My Epson 9900 is setup for color printing. I’ve used Ergososft in the past for printing and made custom 6 color profiles using the GPS profiler.
1 - are the profiles on your website the best possible profiles? or will a custom made profile be better - whats your experience with this? again, I am using Ergosoft and can linearize the printenvironment and then make/use 6 color profiles or can use ergosoft to print directly through the Epson driver using Espon screening (instead of user defined dot settings and ink levels like when i would create a GPS 6-color profile, by importing icc profiles and by not using the linearization but the Epson screening instead.) I partly used Ergsoft because you guys had experience with this rip and were recommending it for a while.
2 - have you guys experimented using your inks with the uncoated Arches Rives BFK papers/Arches Watercolor paper, and what were your findings? In a way I would prefer to use the uncoated papers, because of how they look and feel, and like the deckle edge for this project. Could you give some recommendations re making a custom profile for this if using ergosoft (dot settings, ink limits etc) - i hear Jon experimented with all this for a while?