CD Duplication And CD Replication – What’s The Difference Anyway?

DDuplication and Replication are two terms which you’ve almost certainly heard bandied about before, but what exactly is duplication and what exactly is replication? And what’s the difference between the two?!

The answer to this question, is that CD duplication and CD replication are two separate processes which achieve essentially the same end, though the two finished products are in fact slightly different from each other, with replicated CD’s being the more superior in terms of the quality of the disc and printing – this is because duplication involves making a copy onto an existing blank disc whereas replication involves stamping out a whole new disc from scratch.

If you think of the process involved when you want to make a copy of a disc on your home computer, you’re basically thinking of the process of duplication, though of course on a much larger scale, with high quality blank media and multi-disc duplicators that ensure fast burning speeds. After burning, the discs are then printed, sometimes with an inkjet but preferably with a thermal printer, and packaged.

The following video demonstrates the duplication process:

In a completely different process, replication uses an original glass master disc as its original product from which to stamp out and create finished discs. This far more involved process has better playback and results in a disc with a silver bottom, whereas duplicated discs have a more blue/green tint. Replicated CD’s are generally printed with offset or silkscreen printing which results in a better print quality than thermal or inkjet printing. It’s a lot more complicated and takes more time but replication equals a more professional product.

The following video demonstrates the replication process:

Duplication has a faster turnaround and is a lot better for a smaller run, so if your band needs 200 copies of your disc made for a couple shows you have coming up, then duplication is probably the best route for you, whereas replication can take slightly longer and is better for larger orders, the product comes out slightly better quality (though duplication by a professional company such as Mixonic ensures the highest quality duplication possible) and is a much better option if you are looking to order a couple thousand CD’s to take out on tour or self-release.

This is a guest post by Pandie Suicide) of Mixonic, a CD duplication service based in San Francisco.