CD – DVD Duplication Vs CD – DVD Replication – Choosing the Correct Disc Copying Service

Many professional disc duplication companies use both duplication and replication for your CD and DVD jobs. Depending on quantity, turn-time and quality, there are circumstances that dictate the most cost-effective way to copy your CDs and DVDs. Professional duplication service companies that do short run CD and DVD duplication, and large run replication services should use high quality discs to achieve the best quality and compatibility. There are also many different methods of CD and DVD printing. However many people question the two types of CD and DVD copying methods, the following information should help you to determine the best copy method for your job.

As I outline the differences between duplication and replication services, keep the following in mind:

  • When mastered and duplicated correctly, a duplicated disc has the same quality as a replicated disc.
  • Different print options can be used on the two duplication processes to give your disc the best appearance.
  • Depending on your disc duplication service, you can choose all the same packaging and shrink-wrapping options.
  • Quality checks are used with both copying methods to ensure quality.

CD / DVD Duplication

Duplication is typically used for a smaller “short run” quantity or quick-turn copying jobs. Duplication is typically used as the standard method when copying quantities of 1 – 1500 discs. Using duplication, a master disc is used to burn (digitally transfer) your data to blank recordable discs (CD-r or DVD-r). The information is verified and the copy then accepted or rejected. Because disc-burning speed has increased greatly over the years, a professional disc duplicator will use the appropriate speed while duping different types of CDs and DVDs. For example, CD Duplication for music will be slowed to ensure playback quality.

Depending on the amount of CD and DVD duplication and printing equipment you or your duplication service providers have on hand, generally duplication is a faster method to produce 1-6000 discs. A quick-turn is more manageable because the set-up time is minimal. When provided the correct content and print ready artwork (see our next article), a duplicator can start producing burned and printed discs immediately.

DVD CD Replication

Replication is used to produce mass quantities (starting at over 1,000) of disc’s. The replication process is equipped to handle large quantities and keep costs low because the process does not start with an already manufactured CD-r. The process starts with a “glass master” of your original content. Having a glass master made can take up to 1-3 days. The glass master is then used to stamp out or replicate CDs or DVDs from bulk poly-carbonite. The disc is then either screen-printed or offset printed.

Replication generally takes longer then duplication because of the extra steps of creating a glass master and creating screens for printing to complete your job. The process does take longer, but if you have a large quantity and a few extra days to spare, replication is a cheaper and better alternative for your CD or DVD copy job.


*Key tip for perfect mastering and burning a duplicated disc:

When creating your master disc, using the proper mastering format will ensure that a duplicated CD or DVD is identical to a replicated CD or DVD.

Use the below format’s:

CD – Mode 1 closed, disc-at-once
DVD – UDF closed, disc-at-once

There is little difference in the CD / DVD duplicated and CD / DVD replicated finished product. In older DVD Players, there has been a slight compatibility issue between the two processes. A replicated disc will work on all CD and DVD players and computer drives. A duplicated disc will work on players that will read a DVD-R or CD-R disc. Almost all new CD and DVD players can support a duplicated CD or DVD. In Today’s world, there is minimal to no difference between a duplicated or replicated disc. Customers are usually tied to one method or the other based on their quantities. However, requesting either replication or duplication based on cost, time saved and the decreasing compatibility issue can help the consumer make an educated decision.

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