Replication or Duplication, Which is better?

A professional disc copying company uses both Duplication and Replication for your CD and DVD jobs. Depending on quantity, turn-time and quality, there are circumstances that dictate the most cost-effective way to copy your CDs and DVDs. There are also many different methods to print CDs and DVDs. However many people question the two types of copying methods, the following information should help you to determine the best copy method for your job.

As we discuss the differences between duplication and replication services, keep the following in mind:

  1. When mastered and duplicated correctly, a duplicated disc has the same quality as a replicated disc.
  2. Different print options can be used on the two duplication processes to give your disc the best appearance.
  3. Depending on your disc copying service, you can choose all the same packaging and shrink-wrapping options.
  4. Quality checks are used with both copying methods to ensure quality.


Duplication is typically used for smaller quantity or quick-turn copying jobs. Duplication is typically used as the standard method when copying quantities of 1 - 1500 discs. Using duplication, a master disc is used to burn(transfer) your data to blank recordable discs(CD-r or DVD-r). The information is verified and the copy then accepted or rejected. Because disc-burning speed has increased greatly over the years, a professional duplicator will use the appropriate speed while duping different types of CDs and DVDs. For example, CD Duplication for music will be slowed to ensure quality.

Also, depending on the amount of CD and DVD duplication and printing equipment you or your service providers have on hand, generally duplication is a faster method to produce 1-6000. A quick-turn is more manageable because the set-up time is minimal. When provided the correct content and print ready artwork (see our next article), a duplicator can start pumping out burned and printed discs immediately.

Steps needed for Duplication:

  • Customer supplied art and content
  • CD / DVD .pdf proof for face art
  • CD or DVD Media
  • Printing and Duplication
  • Master testing and quality check
  • Packaging


Replication is used to produce mass quantities (starting at over 1,000) of disc's. The replication process is equipped to handle large quantities and keep costs low because the process does not start with an already manufactured CD-r. The process starts with a "glass master" of your original content. Having a glass master made can take up to 1-3 days. The glass master is then used to stamp out or replicate CDs or DVDs from bulk poly-carbonate. The disc is then either screen-printed or offset printed.

Replication generally takes longer then duplication because of the extra steps of creating a glass master and creating screens for printing to complete your job. Another factor is that a "clean room" environment must be maintained for proper mastering and replication. The process does take longer, but if you have a large quantity and a few extra days to spare, replication is a cheaper and better alternative for your copy job.

Check Replication Pricing

Steps Needed for Replication:

  • Customer supplied art and content
  • CD / DVD .pdf proof for face art
  • Glass master for replication
  • Film output for CD / DVD art
  • Offset / Screen-print full-color printing on CD / DVD
  • Replication of desired quantity
  • Master testing and quality check
  • Packaging


*Key tip for perfect mastering and burning a duplicated disc:

When creating your master, use these proper mastering formats for duplication/burning that help a burned disc match the process and quality of a replicated disc.

Use the below formats:

CD - Mode 1 closed, disc-at-once
DVD - UDF closed, disc-at-once

There is little difference in the CD / DVD duplicated and CD / DVD replicated finished product. In older readers, there has been a slight compatibility issue between the two processes. A replicated disc will work on all CD and DVD players and computer drives. A duplicated disc will work on players that will read a DVD-R or CD-R disc. Using new technology, almost all CD and DVD players can support a duplicated CD or DVD. In today's world, there is minimal to no difference between a duplicated or replicated disc. Customers are usually tied to one method or the other based on their quantities. However, requesting either replication or duplication based on cost, time saved and the ever-decreasing compatibility issue can help the consumer make an educated decision.

Please Call QuickTurn Duplication @ 952-451-7939 with any questions.