CD Duplication

Whether it’s the High Street, an exhibition, a business conference or a merchandise stall, CD still remains one of the best ways to get your content out there.  Whatever your project is, we will ensure your CD plays, looks and is packaged exactly how you want it.

To discuss your project or get a quote, call us on 0800 731 7042 or use our contact form.

professional cd duplication

The Difference Between CD Duplication and CD Replication

Although the terms ‘CD Duplication’ and ‘CD Replication’ appear the same they are are in fact two distinctly different processes that are used to make multiple copies of CDs.

CD Replication

CD replication requires a longer set-up time than duplication.  The process begins with the creation of a flawless glass master or “stamper” disc. This disc contains all of the audio or data master files. This content is replicated or “stamped” onto all subsequent discs. In the replication process the discs are made by injection moulding a plastic called polycarbonate.  This plastic is then metallised, (giving the replicated CDs their reflective surface). The whole disc is then encased in a transparent lacquer to protect the content. Replication is preferred for longer disc runs; typically 500 or more CDs.

CD Duplication

Far faster and more flexible than replication, CD duplication is ideal for fast turnaround times.  Discs can also be produced in much smaller quantities, generally speaking 500 and under. Duplication involves loading content onto a master CD-R (Compact Recordable-Disc). The CD-R is then loaded into a duplication tower (or other such device) where a laser “burns” the master disc’s content directly onto blank discs.

We Provide Both Duplication and Replication Services

Although duplication and replication methods differ, the quality of the finished CDs are to all intents and purposes, the same. Both processes have their own advantages. We provide both replication and duplication services and choosing the appropriate method largely comes down to your needs. Our team can advise on which we feel will be the best option. Our duplication facility is capable of duplicating over 45,000 discs a day.

Putting Quality First

We only use Grade A media discs in conjunction with high quality CD duplicator towers.  All of our CDs conform to the Red Book or Yellow Book standards.  This is the industry guide that governs the specifications and parameters of CD manufacture.  We also cross-verify every single disc that we duplicate and batch check them for playability to ensure there are no errors.  Our ISO 9001 accredited quality systems in place guarantee that quality is at the heart of every aspect of your CD duplication project.

CD Duplication Process

It doesn’t take a lot to get the duplication process underway. First we need your master disc and the relevant artwork. We’ll also ask a few simple questions:

  • How many CDs do you need?
  • What packaging would you like?
  • Do you need any help with the mastering?

If there’s anything that you’re not sure about, we will happily talk you through the process. We’re here to help!

Getting Your Master to us

We can receive Masters as physical discs, via a download link or by FTP.  Visit our page on supplying your master for further details.

If you don’t yet have a master it’s no problem, we can create the master from files of the tracks. If you would like us to put your CD together for you, simply send us the audio files and we will build the master. We can also send you a physical copy of your disc to check before we start any duplication.

CD Artwork

A print-ready PDF is our preferred artwork file type, although we can work with files from most design packages. Once your artwork is ready, send it over to us. Like the master, it is essential that the artwork is correct before we start making copies. To make sure you are happy with the artwork, we will send you a final proof to approve before printing. Do not worry if you are not a designer expert, our artwork team will work with your artwork files or brief to make sure your finished discs look as good as you imagined.

CD Printing

We can print on your discs in three different ways:

CD Packaging Options?

Often the packaging of a CD makes the most impression visually, so it’s important to get it right. With Alpha Duplication you have a huge range of options at your fingertips, from jewel cases to the many styles of discpacks and card wallets that we manufacture in-house, whether you need 50 or 50,000 units! We can even create customised designs so your packaging is a real one-off.

CD Card Wallet - mailer style

CD Card Wallet 4 panel

CD wallet – vinyl style with thumbcut

Browse around our CD packaging on this site or visit our online store. Nearly all of our CD packaging styles are available to you whether you need fifty or fifty thousand units!

Incredibly Fast Lead Times

Our standard turnaround for CD duplication is an impressive 2 to 3 days. There are of course factors which can affect this, such as quantity (replication is a longer process). We will advise you of this when you place your order. If you need a super-quick turnaround or you need to have your discs by a particular day, let us know. We’re generally flexible enough to fast-track a job where necessary and we always relish a challenge!

For more info and a quote, call us on 0800 731 7042 or use our contact form to get in touch.

Useful Links

Frequently asked questions

How many tracks can I fit on to a CD?

An audio CD can contain up to 99 tracks, though obviously they would need to be very short ones. The total length of audio that will fit on a CD is 74 minutes (designed to match the length of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, fact-fans). Modern CDs can be extended to up to 80 minutes, though this has the potential to cause readability issues on some older players.

What are ISRC codes, Gracenote & CD text and do I need them?

These are three types of metadata that contain information about your CD. They all run independently of each other and do not affect how your CD plays. All of them are optional but it is necessary to include them if you would like the features below.
  • Gracenote is a database of information about recorded music. When your disc is inserted into a computer with suitable software, it will recognise the CD and download the artist, album and track names. Gracenote is most notably used by iTunes and also by other audio systems such as BlackBerry MediaManager and Philips® Wireless Music System.
  • International Standard Recording Codes, or ISRCs, are codes that are used to uniquely identify sound and video recordings. ISRC codes are 12 characters long and include identifiers for the country of recording, the registrant’s label, year, and a unique song or video code. This information is used by PRS, the body that is responsible for distributing royalty payments back to the artist.
  • CD Text is a way for players to obtain track and artist details from a CD. Rather than accessing an external database, the information is stored on a tiny portion of the disc. CD Text is often used by car stereos.

Why can't I just copy my files to a CD to make a master?

Although it is possible to copy audio files such as .wav, .mp3 or .aiff files to a disc, they will not play in a standard CD player. The tracks on a CD are not files per se and the master needs to comply with the ‘Red Book Standard’. There are many free programs that can be used to create a CD master, such as iTunes, although may not give you all the options you need to include CD Text, ISRC and Gracenote information.

Is it possible to include data or video files on an audio disc?

Yes, an Enhanced CD (aka CD plus or CD Extra) is divided into two parts, one to hold audio (like a normal CD) and the other containing data (like a CD-Rom). On the extra part you can include band photos, links to secret parts of your website, video clips or Bonus songs, in fact anything you would put on a normal CD-Rom. It’s worth noting that video files need to be fairly low-resolution in order to play without buffering or stuttering.

Does Alpha Duplication produce vinyl?

Although we do not manufacture vinyl ourselves, we work in partnership with companies that do. Through them we are able to get you better prices and faster turnarounds than many of our competitors.