What is the Difference - CD Replication or CD Duplication?
Replication (Disc is Made 'From Scratch')
Replication is usually used for CD runs of 500+ units. It involves a more advanced process where the disc is actually made from raw plastic material and the data imprinted on to it from a glass master. The whole system uses multiple machines. Actually it is quite amazing how these big bags of raw plastic at one end of the factory come out as shiny CDs on the other end. After processing the disc is then printed (usually with a higher quality silk screen printer) and then machine assembled into a case with the album artwork. In Australia there are very few replication factories left (2 by memory if both are still going), and most of this type of work is done overseas in Asia.
Pros: Very minimal data corruption, a more durable product, most record stores will only stock replicated CDs, less likely to fade, and much cheaper per unit to make
Cons: It is a significant investment to make the minimum 500 units usually required and the turnaround time is much higher - usually an extra week for manufacturing and then shipping from overseas.
Duplication (Data is Burnt on to a CD-R)
Duplication on the other hand is much like burning a blank disc on your computer. The CDs are bought in as pre-made CD-R's without any data and then burnt by a burning machine (there are many types of these available) before it goes on to be printed. Sometimes the duplication machine may do both the printing and the burning in in the one unit. However, this does not usually result in the best quality, and a seperate digital or offset printer is best used.
Pros: Requires less investment to produce a run of CDs and the turnaround is much quicker (often 1 day).
Cons: Although minimal, there is more likelihood of corrupt data, the CDs tend to not last as long, most record stores do not like to stock duplicated CDs and
If you have the cash on hand, I do recommend investing in a replication run of 500+ units as you ultimately get a better product.
Some Advice to Bands/CD Producers
Most record stores and retailers do not like to sell duplicated discs for the reasons given above. However, these are perfectly fine if you are just looking at selling some CDs at your gigs or for friends. We fully understand that many bands have limited budgets, so please don't dismiss the idea of duplication completely. In fact, unless you are really well known to the point where you are selling your CDs in stores, duplication could be the best option if it firstly enables you to get your CD out there with limited investment, and secondly to sell each CD at a lower price to spread the word. The same goes for businesses looking at making a CD to distribute amongst prospective clients or end-users. Duplication in such purposes could be fine if you only wanted a limited number and are not fussed by how the long the disc will last for.
Our Own CD Manufacturing Services
We duplicate and replicate CDs for clients as part of our services. Put simply, we have the best prices going around. This is because we are actively involved in the production of the CDs with our partner company rather than just being a forwarding agency. If you would like some advice on which option is best for you please get in touch and we can guide you in the right direction along with a very sharp quote.