Depending on the size of your CD or DVD order there are two different ways your discs get made.
1) Replicated Discs
The most common way to manufacture CDs is to replicate them. This involves a process where we mold each disc from melted polycarbonate (plastic) pellets. Before we replicate your disc we create a metal stamper that contains all the data (music or video) that goes on your disc. This stamper gets mounted in the disc molding machine, and when we inject the liquid polycarbonate into the mold, the disc that is replicated already includes your music (or video) content! Disc replication is a highly efficient process, with a disc with your content on it molded every 3 to 4 seconds. However, there is a significant amount of setup work required to make the stamper, and for that reason there is usually a minimum order required of 500 to 1,000 discs. Because Disc Makers specializes in small orders for independent artists, filmmakers, and business, we are (to our knowledge) the only US factory that will replicate discs. Replicated discs are preferred for larger quantities (quantities of 500 units and up).
After your discs are replicated we will print on the disc surface using either silkscreen or offset printing technology, depending on the type of artwork you have.
2) Duplicated Discs
If you need less than 300 discs, we will duplicate them. Instead of molding a disc from polycarbonate pellets we start with a blank CD-R or DVD-R, and burn your content on it. We use automated duplicators that can burn multiple discs at once for a very fast and efficient process when you only need a few discs. We will also print on your discs using either an industrial inkjet printer, or using silkscreen printing.
Is there a quality difference between replication and duplication?
Your order size determines whether Disc Makers replicates or duplicates your discs. In terms of the audio or video quality a consumer experiences, replicated discs are identical to duplicated discs. However, there is a very small possibility that if your discs are duplicated there might be some older generation disc players (including in cars) that experience errors when playing the duplicated disc. That is because disc duplication is a more recently developed process than disc replication, and some older CD and DVD players that pre-date the duplication specification may not be able to read all the content.
It is very infrequent that this happens. And to make sure your Disc Makers discs perform better than anyone else’s discs we use only the highest grade blank discs for all our disc duplication needs.
There is a clear difference between replicated and duplicated discs, but they each serve useful functions in bridging the gap between your content and fans.
Why are vinyl records black?
Think back to the first vinyl record you ever owned. Reverently sliding it out of its sleeve for the first time, taking care to only hold it by the edges so as not to damage it, admiring the ambient lighting dancing off of the delicately crafted grooves. Your first record is uniquely personal, varying in artist, genre, album artwork, title, theme, and countless other things that make it special to you. Chances are, one thing remains near-universal: that record is black.
Why is it that vinyl records are generally black? PVC (polyvinyl chloride), the material that vinyl records are made of, is clear in its natural form, allowing records to be manufactured in just about any color imaginable. Despite this endless array of choices, black is still overwhelmingly the most common option, leaving the burning question: why?
A number of theories have been suggested, but each falls short of a satisfying explanation. One theory is that the carbon black material that provides a record’s pigmentation also increases its structural integrity. In the late 19th and early 20th century, manufacturers used shellac, a brittle resin-like substance produced by insects, to press their records. In order to ensure that the shellac held up, manufacturers would add ground up stone and carbon black powder to the mix in order to strengthen the otherwise brittle material. Of course, this is unnecessary in modern record pressing. Vinyl is tough enough on its own. And even if such supplements were necessary, there simply isn’t enough carbon black added to today’s records to make a difference on its own.
Another school of thought, also perhaps inspired by the origins of record pressing, is that the deep black color hides flaws in the vinyl. While this may have been necessary in the days of shellac records , modern technology allows for perfectly clear, defect-free records. Unlike when manufacturers pressed records with a mixture of shellac and ground-up stone, modern vinyl makers don’t need to worry about bits of bugs and dirt making it into the final product.
Still others think carbon black could reduce friction inside the groove and improve audio quality. Carbon is used as a dry lubricant in a variety of fields, but there is simply no documentation of such usage in records. This theory may have come from the fact that shellac records contained a small amount of other lubricants to ensure they released from the mold easily. One of the reasons that PVC is a perfect material for pressing records is its smoothness, which minimizes friction between the record grooves and the needle and eliminates the need for additional lubrication (although groove lubricant does exist).