What is all this talk about Duplication and Replication, and what's the difference?
Simply put, duplicated discs are blank CDRs or DVDRs burned one by one in a machine similar to that of a computer CD/DVD drive. Replicated discs are fabricated from scratch by melting the plastic and stamping the information onto the disc.
Starting with pre-manufactured blank recordable discs, also known as CDRs or DVDRs, the data is "burned" onto the discs one by one using a laser inside a CD/DVD writer. If you have computer with a CD or DVD writer, also known as a CD or DVD burner, you can duplicate discs.
Although we employ the same technology as a CD/DVD burner found in your home computer our machines (picture to the left) are capable of handling much larger quantities at a far greater speed while verifying the discs at the same time to ensure quality.
If you want to know if a disc has been duplicated or replicated flip it over and if the data side has a slight color to it, yellow, green, blue, or purple, depending on the type of media, your disc is duplicated.
Replication is a much more labor intensive process, thus the longer turn around times.
We take the master disc and create a glass master in a "clean room". This clean room is really important because the slightest piece of dust, lint or dirt can flaw the glass master and carry over to every stamped copy. From this glass master we create a metal stamper.
The stamper is loaded into our molding machine and molten poly-carbonate, a clear plastic, is injected into the mold thereby stamping the data into the disc.
A reflective aluminum layer is then applied and the discs are printed with artwork.
By contrast to the duplicated discs if you flip over a replicated disc the data side has a shiny silver/aluminum colour with an almost prismatic quality.
What does this all mean?
The bottom line is duplicated discs are great for short runs, they have a faster turn around time and are generally more economical at quantities less than 1000. The trade off is some CD and DVD drives have trouble reading duplicated discs.
Industry experts estimate that among the current global drive base, computers and players, about 98% of CD players will play duplicated CDs and about 94% of DVD players will play duplicated DVDs. Additionally duplicated discs are somewhat vulnerable to sunlight and less resilient to scratches.
Replicated discs are tough and 100% compatible. If you plan to put your disc in a retail store they will require the discs be replicated.