Duplication vs Replication

 
Updated 3/25/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

CD / DVD duplication and CD / DVD replication are two common ways of copying CDs and DVDs. In short, duplication is the process of burning information onto a blank DVD-R media and replication is the process of burning the exact information of the original CD/DVD onto ablank CD/DVD-R. (think of the differences between a printer and a copy machine.) This condensed definition may be easy to grasp and it’s easy to settle on this simplified explanation. However, understanding the deeper differences will help you determine the best way to implement your project.


CD and DVD Duplication

cd/dvd duplcation

Most of us are familiar with CD and DVD duplicators, as they operate in similar ways to CD DVD burners on our computers. As mentioned above, CD / DVD duplication is the process of copying data onto a recordable media (such as a CD / DVD-R). To be precise, data is digitally extracted from your mast source and transferred to blank discs. The newly transferred information will typically be verified to determine whether it's “accepted” or “rejected”. With the advent, popularity, and reduced cost of writeable media, savings are not only available to customers who burn large quanitites of data, but customers with smaller quantity needs can enjoy high quality, low cost duplication as well. In summary, CD DVD duplication refers to the creation of discs by burning data directly to pre-existing DVD-R media, something most of us do with CD/DVDs on our personal computers.


CD DVD Replication

CD DVD Replication

CD and DVD Replication (also known as 'pressing' or 'molding') is the original method of manufacturing CD/DVD’s. Raw materials enter a large CD/DVD molding machine from which a basic CD/DVD is created. The data or audio information is physically stamped onto the CD/DVD using Stampers made from a Glass Master which is created from the source master. Hence, these discs, like the audio discs you buy at the music store, are silver in appearance. The silver tone is the aluminum that is used to reflect the laser used in use. However, most of this process is automated. The cost per unit becomes factored in and very affordable on orders generally greater than 1000 or 2000 pieces. In other words, replication is normally used for higher quantities where it's important to attain a per disc price near or below $1.00 each.


 

Are There Noticeable Differences?

Both CD/DVD duplication and CD/DVD replication extract data from the master copy in the same manner. In other words, there is no data difference between a processed duplication and a glass mastered replication disc. One difference between CD/DVD duplication and CD/DVD replication is CD/DVD replication is a professional process which creates a CD/DVD by molding the disk into an exact copy of the original master; data cannot be added or changed in this case. CD/ DVD duplication, on the other hand, refers to burning data to a disk, as we do on our home computers.


In addition, the biggest noticeable difference between a replicated disc and a duplicated disc may be the surface appearance. It is fairly easy to tell if a CD/DVD has been duplicated or replicated, as duplicated DVDs have a colored bottom side, due to the purple or brown colored dye below the reflector. Also, a replicated DVD supports up to 19GB of recorded data, while a duplicated one has a limit of 4.7 GB per recorded side.


  Duplication Replication
minimum quantity 1 1000
maximum quantity not cost effective for more than
1000 CD-Rs or 300 DVD-Rs
no max.
turnaround 1-5 days 2 weeks
technology each pre-formatted media is laser
burned in a CD/DVD recorder
each media is pressed from
a glass-mastered stamper
audio quality perfectly equivalent
data integrity
label printing hi-res ink jet printing silkscreen for solid colors
offset for pictures
inserts printing color laser
on 100lb gloss paper
offset on 100lb gloss paper
(magazine quality)
packaging sleeves, jewel cases, mailers any
best for rush, short run, demo, promo mass production, retail

 

Which one do I need? Duplication or Replication?

Many organizations and companies choose CD/DVD duplication to effectively distribute content. Compared to replication equipment, CD/DVD duplication equipment is inexpensive and easy to operate. In other words, Duplicating CDs in low quantities is inexpensive, convenient, and is sufficient for most home users who need CD/DVDs for private use or professionals who have lower volume needs of CD/DVDs. In addition, CD/DVD burner and software are widely available to provide people with the ability to duplicate and burn CD/DVDs. Many people use burners and software for transferring music or data to CD/DVD-R (recordable) or CD/DVD-RW (rewritable) discs.


Therefore, it's important to know that there is no real quality difference between duplicated or replicated discs. Both are quality controlled and verified bit for bit to ensure it's an exact copy of the original. The choice between duplication and replication is more a function of quantity and/or turnover time rather than quality. If you only require a few copies, CD/DVD duplication is more cost effective than CD/DVD replication, as the set-up costs are comparatively minimal. That's because the CD/DVD duplication tower has a very low project-start-up-cost and a somewhat higher per-unit-cost. So burning is most efficient (and therefore economical) at volumes under 1000 units. Therefore the only cost for duplication is the price of blank CD/DVDs and your time. In contrast with CD/DVD duplication, the extensive project-start-up-costs and the low per-unit-cost of replication, this process is most efficient (and therefore economical) at volumes of 1000 units or more.


Benefits of CD/DVD Duplication

1. Quick Lead-Time!

Without the need of longer machine set-up times or Glass Mastering delays,a stand alone DVD duplicator or CD Duplicator is ideal for quick lead time or short run requirements.


2. Lower Costs!

Without Glass Mastering, the cost of smaller quantity runs can often be more affordable compared to small run replication costs.


3. Widely available!

CD/DVD burners and software are widely available to provide people with the ability to duplicate and burn discs. Many people use burners and software for transferring music or data to CD/DVD-R (recordable) or CD/DVD-RW (rewritable) discs.


4. Best choice for a lower volume of CD/DVDs!

Duplicating CD/DVDs in small quantities is inexpensive, convenient, and is sufficient for most home users who want CD/DVDs for private use or professionals who have the need for a lower volume of CD/DVDs.


5. Ideal for short runs!

Duplicated discs are great for short runs. Duplicated CD-Rs will play in just about any drive, and duplicated DVD-Rs will play in most newer DVD drives.