To determine the answer to the question of duplication versus replication of a CD or DVD is primarily a matter of understanding the difference between the two processes, as the end result will perform the same. Given that the end product of either process will perform in the same manner, the reason to choose one process over the other would be a matter of determining which one will fit best with the needs and requirements of your project.
The duplication process involves taking an existing disc (often referred to as a “master disc”) and retrieving the information—be it music tracks, movies, or other data—from it. The information is then written on a blank CD or DVD disc, making a copy that is identical to the original. The copy is then painstakingly compared to the master disc to ensure that the data was duplicated exactly.
Duplication has a few advantages. These include:
Of course, as with everything, there is another side to the story, and duplication has some disadvantages as well. For one thing, CDs and DVDs that are duplicated (as opposed to replicated) tend to cost more per unit. While this may not be a huge factor in small batches, if you are planning on running a large batch of several thousand units, this cost can quickly add up.
The replication process differs from the duplication process. Instead of beginning with an existing master disc, the manufacturer compiles the data that will be included on each disc. This set of data is then closely inspected to ensure that there is no data corruption present, as corrupted data in the master file would result in corrupted data in all the replicates.
After determining that no data corruption exists, the manufacturer will take the supplied data and place it on a glass master. This serves as a template to replicate all the other CD or DVD replicates. Using the glass master, the manufacturer will create a CD or DVD stamper; the stamper, in turn, is placed in a molding machine that uses it to create the replicates.
As each step of the manufacturing process is completed, the manufacturer will closely inspect the product to ensure 100% accuracy. Once the replicates come out of the stamper, they are coated with an extremely thin sheet of aluminum before being coated with a protective coating of lacquer.
The advantages of replication include a lower cost per unit than the cost for duplication. Further, many replicating manufacturers are able to offer more packaging and marketing options than they can for duplication. Disadvantages include a longer manufacture time and a large minimum order (many manufacturers will only accept an order of 1,000 or more units).
Given these considerations, the determination of which manufacturing process to utilize will depend largely on the needs of your business. Before choosing, you should obtain price quotes for both processes, and then consider them in light of your business’s individual needs.
If cost is a factor, and if you are considering purchasing large lots of CDs or DVDs, you would probably want to tend towards duplication. If you know for sure that your order will be smaller than 1,000 units you will probably not even be able to find a manufacturer for the replication process and you’ll default to duplication.
On the other hand, if you know that you will need a larger number, and if time is not an issue to you, you will save money by choosing the replication process. Likewise, if a large number of options relating to the packaging materials are important to you, replication will likely be the route that is best for your business.