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What is the difference between duplication and replication?

Duplication is the process of burning a copy of your master to a CD-R, DVD-R or BD-R. Replication is where the copies are manufactured or “stamped” using a glass master. Replication was the original and only way to make copies before the CD-R was developed. Duplication came along after the CD-R made its debut. Back then, most replication companies did not do short run. You had to order at least 1000 copies to order CDs.

Duplication came along to fill the gap. With duplication you could order fewer copies of your project. With the advent of recording technology, more and more local bands were able to record their music easily and then needed a way to get their music out to their fans. In many cases they didn’t need  1000 copies, especially at the cost of replication back in those days. Before duplication, cassettes were the only option since there were plenty of companies that would do 100 or 250 cassettes making it the most cost effective way to distribute your project.

When CD-Rs first hit the market they were expensive and there weren’t any print systems to print on the disc in small quantities. Printing was expensive and the cost per disc was high, but you could do a small quantity and at least have your project on a CD. As prices came down and technology improved it became a viable alternative. The only catch was that some players didn’t playback CD-Rs very well and you never knew when a customer was going to have a problem. It wasn’t a huge percentage but it was an issue you had to be aware of.

Today, CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and BD-Rs work in almost all players without any problem. There is, however, the risk that certain players, especially older players, may have a hard time reading a disc correctly. The type of compatibility problems range from the player not seeing the disc at all, to the player having a hard time reading portions of the disc, resulting in glitches or dropouts etc.  It is a very small percentage and many of our customers don’t get a single occurrence, but it is not 100%

The number of players that reject these discs is always declining, but we want you to be aware of the possibility of certain players not reading the disc correctly. Often when someone calls and thinks the disc is defective it actually is not. It is the player they are using that is giving them difficulty. We stand behind our discs and will replace them if they are defective but if they play in most players, they are not considered defective. In these cases, replacing the disc with a new one will not solve the issue.

Replication typically has no such issues. Replication is only superior in this aspect, 100% compatibility. The actual sound quality (or video quality) is the same as long as the player is compatible with the burned disc.