How to improve print quality from PSE9 on Mac?

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Is there a combination of various options in the Photoshop Elements 9’ and the HP Photosmart (C7180) printer’s dialogue boxes (on a Mac, OS 16) that would result in acceptable photo prints? I’ve browsed around in both the corresponding HP and the Adobe forums and found numerous inquiries with similar problems. Thus, this issue may impact larger audience. Therefore, I am describing my problem in more details below with the hope that someone will offer a satisfactory resolution:
I’ve used earlier versions of Photoshop Elements in a Windows environment to print photos on my HP printer – with quite good results. I wanted to improve quality, so I bought a Mac (after all, “Mac’s forte is graphics, photos, etc.”, isn’t it?) and also upgraded to Photoshop Element 9. Well, to say that the result is a disappointment would be a great understatement. I’ve wasted countless hours, ink and paper in trying different PSE - printer options combinations. The prints are not even close to the quality that I used to get with my earlier setup. Is it possible that a conflict exists between the PSE’s and the printer’s Color Management?
In my earlier setup (under Windows), there was an explicit option to turn Color Management off if I wanted PSE to manage colors (which I still want). In the Mac version of the printer menu I do not find this option (although PSE 9 still gives a warning: "Did you remember to disable color management in the printer preference dialog?"). In the PSE 9 print dialogue box (under “Color Management” – “Color Handling” in “More Options…”), there are three options: “Printer Manages Color”, “Photoshop Elements Manages Colors” and “No Color Management”. In the printer’s dialogue box, there are only two options: “ColorSync” and “Vendor Matching”. There is no “Printer Color Management off” – as it was under Windows setup. Anyway, these options seem to be irrelevant, because they are predefined in accordance with selections in PSE. If either the second or third options is selected in PSE, the “ColorSync” button is preselected in the grayed out Printer dialogue box. If the first option (“Printer Manages Color”) selected, the “Vendor Matching” is preselected in the grayed out HP Printer dialogue box.  Of course, I do NOT want the printer to manage color.
Thus, is there any way to turn of the printer’s color management if I want Photoshop Element to manage color? Is it necessary (or “ColorSync” automatically takes care of that)?
Anyway, this is all very confusing. The bottom line is: Is there a combination of various options in the PSE9’s and the HP Photosmart printer’s dialogue boxes (on a Mac OS 16) that would result in acceptable photo prints? What would be this combination?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I wonder if you ever solved this problem.
I have a very similar problem with Photoshop CS5 on Mac OSX 10.6 + HP Photosmart C7180.
If I choose "Photoshop Manages Colors" the results are lousy.
If I choose "Printer Manages Colors" the results are OK. not necessarily great.
I believe I have all the correct settings after going through books and web advice (and wasted a lot of paper and ink).
As far as I can see, "ColorSync" is the internal Mac management which is the only option available with "Photoshop Manages Colors" and "Vendor Matching" appears to mean the printer vendor (ie HP) will provide the matching. Either can be selected if "Printer Manages Colors" is used. It seems the type of paper can be set in three different places. if That's all a bit academic as the results are poor regardless.
My wife suggests I buy a new printer - Epson's looking good.
Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
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