What is the difference between CD Duplication versus CD Replication?
CD Duplication in simplest terms means to create a copy of a CD by burning a CD-R. Whereas CD Replication means pressing or stamping the data on the CD. The process of stamping of data requires us to melt the plastic and mold it against a die (Stamper) to create microscopic grooves representing your data in the plastic CD substrate just like in the Vinyl records.
So, is there any difference in how my music sounds if I duplicate vs replicate?
Short answer is, there is no difference in how the music sounds. A CD contains music data in a binary format represented as a string of Zeros and Ones. In case of a CDR the laser dye inside a CDR creates the zeros and ones when a CDR is burned by a laser beam inside your CD-R drive (also caller burner).
When the CD is pressed or replicated the Zeros and Ones are actually indented in the plastic at the time the CD is molded. Then a molded CD gets a layer of Aluminum to reflect these Zeros and Ones when laser from the CD reader shines on them.
In both duplication or replication, the zeros and ones are read by the CD player and converted into audio signal played by the speakers making it sound the same. To a CD player it does not matter how the Zeros and Ones were created.
So what is the difference between a CD or CD-R or CD-RW or CD-ROM?
CD is the general term used for all of the above. However there is a difference is in the manufacturing process. For a CD-R a laser dye used can only be burned once, where as for a CD-RW the laser dye can be re-burned over and over hence the term re-writable. Where as a pressed or replicated CD is a CD-ROM and can only be read and not written to.
Which one lasts longer?
Real-life (not accelerated aging) tests have revealed that some CD-Rs degrade quickly even if stored normally. The quality of a CD-R disc has a large and direct influence on longevity—low quality discs should not be expected to last very long. According to research , CD-Rs are expected to have an average life expectancy of 10-20 years. At one time the brands made a difference in the longevity of a CD-R but after the market consolidation, a lot of name brands do not manufacture their own discs, instead their discs are manufactured by someone else and sold under the popular brand name.
Burned CD-Rs suffer from material degradation, just like most writable media. CD-R media have an internal layer of dye used to store data. In CD-R media, the dye itself can degrade, causing data to become unreadable. Since Gold is inert a Gold CD dye has a life expectancy of close to a 100 years. However, lately it is rare to find a Gold CD-R.
CD-ROM on the other hand do not face the same issues. Poor handling of the CDROM would be the main cause a CD-ROM failure. Such damages could be a huge scratch on the data read side or a scratch on the ink label and the lacquer layer exposing the aluminum layer to oxidize. A CD-ROM has a life expectancy much more than 20 years.
Since the content is so valuable and if the CD-R duplicated discs don’t last more then 20 years…
Why can’t I get a CDROM for 100 copies?
Yes you can get 100 or even 10 copies of CD-ROM if you are willing to pay the price. The process of creating a CD-ROM is such than it is uneconomical to do a short run. As a result, replicators generally require a minimum of 500 CDs to be replicated at a price of around $320.00-$350.00 each. You can get 1 copy or 500 copes at that price. We have done as few as 25 replicated at that price since our customer required a CDROM since those were going to go in a mission critical field equipment. Another consideration on whether to duplicate or replicate is based on when the product needs to be in your hands. Generally duplication can be done in as fast as One to Two days however replication typically requires at least 5-7 days. If you have sufficient time the decision would then be based upon what you are willing spend. The following table shows some representative pricing for duplication versus replication. Actual quotes from your vendors may be different than below because this is a very competitive market and sometimes a manufacturer quotes at a nominal price just to fill the capacity of the production machines.
In summary – The decision to duplicate or replicate is yours based on what your requirements are and your costs are dependent upon the supplier you are working with.