10 Tips for Better Disc Duplication

By · Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Today I’d like to share with you a couple of tips I have picked up along the way for making the best possible copies with your DVD/CD duplication equipment.

1) Use Quality Media
It might seem like a great deal to buy a case of 500 discs from your local membership-based retailer, there’s a reason why they can sell them so cheaply. High quality CD-R discs like those from Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim, are made with a premium dye which will produce an extremely low error rate, typically 2% or less. Cheaper discs may have failure rates of 5% to 10% or worse, depending on the quality of their dye. This is one market where price is a strong indicator of quality.

2) Burn First, Print Later
As I have previously mentioned, it’s a great idea to burn your discs before printing them. If one of your discs should fail during the burn process, you will save a whole disc’s worth of ink by not printing on it first.

3) Have a hard drive in your duplicator? Use it!
A lot of customers just cannot see the point in using the hard drive inside their duplicator when they can make their copies “disc-to-disc.” Believe it or not, hard drives spin faster and have much larger memory caches than optical drives, and they can send the data to the burner drives much faster than an optical drive. The best way to prevent buffer underruns (which cause burn failures) is to use the hard drive, if you have one.

4) Obey the Speed Limit
It is important to understand that the speed rating of your discs is a maximum theoretical speed, as explained in this Tech Guy article. Just because they say 16X does not mean you will be burning at 16X from start to finish. In fact, the slower you burn your discs, the fewer errors they will contain. For best results, just recall the old Foghat song: “slow ride, take it easy.”

5) Go Automatic
If you plan on doing a lot of disc duplication, you may find it time consuming to stand there loading and unloading the trays after each burn cycle. Fortunately, there are plenty of automated CD/DVD duplicators out there that can burn and print discs for you without supervision. With an automated duplicator, you’ll be free to get other things done while your discs are copying.

6) Don’t Mix and Match Surfaces
While there’s no law prohibiting you from serving a Cabernet Sauvignon with a halibut dinner, most wine experts would recommend against it. The outcome is simply not appetizing. With disc printing, it’s a similar story. You can try printing on thermal discs with your inkjet printer if you really want to, but I can guarantee the results will be poor. As long as you use inkjet-printable discs in your inkjet printer and thermal discs in your thermal printer, you’ll be safe from the horrors of indigestion…and bad prints.

7) Use High Resolution Artwork
Maybe you thought that image of a kitten you saved off the Internet would make a great background for your new CD, only to find out that the printed version looks nothing like it does on the screen! All of a sudden, your adorable picture has been distorted and pixelated like some kind of digital Picasso. What happened? Images from the Internet are often low-resolution graphics that are extremely compressed to save space and bandwidth. For best results, always use high-resolution artwork such as a picture from a digital camera. It is common for label design software programs to include a sample library of high-resolution background images as well.

8) Don’t Procrastinate
While Thomas Jefferson was not referring to disc duplication when he said “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today,” his advice can be applied to any kind of situation with a deadline. If you need to produce 100 discs by the end of the week, don’t wait until the night before to get started. You could run out of ink, your printer could jam, or your computer might suddenly decide it doesn’t feel like working properly. By allowing time for unforeseen problems, you will save yourself in the long run.

9) Make a Good Impression
One thing that media professionals often forget is to visualize their product in the hands of their audience. From a software program to a demo of your band, what message will people get when they see your product? While paper sleeves may cost a few pennies less than a plastic jewel case or DVD case, clients can tell when a product looks “cheap.” Don’t disappoint them by cutting corners.

10) Remember to Have Fun!
Disc duplication does not have to be a dreadful job, unless you make it one. Watch a movie while you insert sleeves into cases, or have a friend help you out. Be creative and remember that like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

If you have some tips of your own, please feel free to contribute by posting your comments. Thanks for reading!

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