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Music Duplication/Replication Companies?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by kb7, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    I'm not sure which term to use, but I am looking at releasing an EP here shortly. I was going to just do 100-300 CD's, but I realized that the price jump to 1000 per CD actually seems to make more sense (300 cost like 615 before shipping, 1000 cost 890 before shipping).

    I was looking at those prices through discmaker but I began reading reviews that I found on google that was really bashing discmaker's quality and customer service. I am having trouble finding great prices and a reliable company to go through. I don't want to spend $1000 and get 1000 crappy looking CD's out of it.

    Are there any ideas, or companies that you guys know of that do a good job?
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Replication would refer to a professionally manufactured disc, where tiny holes or "pits" are pressed into a thin aluminum disc which is then encased in it's resin shell. The laser on your CD player derives the stream of 1's and 0's by just reading pit or no-pit.

    Duplication refers to CDs that are burned onto a blank disc just like you do with your computer CDR. The black dots burnt into the photo-active layer react enough like a pit to the laser on your CD player to result in the stream of 1's and 0's.

    Replicated discs are the professional route, but it usually doesn't pay for short-runs of 100 -300. There are usually too many set-up costs the manufacturer has to pass along. But who knows, you might find a replication plant that is hungry for work and doing short runs. A pressed CD will be much more durable and should have superior silk-screen graphics/text.

    Burned discs may not survive a day in a hot car, and some duplication houses may use inkjet or thermal printing - if not silk-screened. Inkjet printing can look good, but is prone to smearing if it gets even slightly wet - unless you pay extra for special water-shield discs or do a clear coat finish. Thermal can look good and should be water-resistant. Burned discs, should theoretically be less expensive and more practical for short-runs.

    Also note, the weight of 1000 CD's is substantial, so picking a manufacturer geographically near you will be a big factor in the total cost. Have them provide a quote for the freight too.

    If you tell us generally where you are located surely someone will have a company they can recommend near you.

    We've used at least a dozen different companies over the years for one reason or another (including Discmakers) and were reasonably satisfied with all of them. Missing the delivery date is the most common ailment I've seen with all of them. Location, turn-around time, delivered-cost, packaging options, graphics capability bundled extras are the things we consider when choosing one.
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Try Mike McCool at Professional CD Duplication Replication Services Duplicators CD in Virginia

    or Chris at Cleveland Ohio CD/DVD Duplication/Printing,CD/DVD Duplication,Blank CD/DVD Media,Direct CD/DVD Printing,CD/DVD Equipment and Supplies! in Ohio

    Lots of good advice ^^^^ from dvdhawk
  4. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    Hmmm that makes sense. I just talked to a friend and he told me that he went through discmakers and was happy with what the received. I noticed that it is probably going to be cheaper for me to just buy jewel cases from discmaker, then have the CD's made somewhere else, then do the shrink wrapping myself.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I can sympathize - over 20 years I've tried every combination. There are times in life when you've got more time than money and doing things yourself makes perfect sense. Hopefully you'll be able to build on the experience and eventually be in a position where you would gladly pay a little extra to have someone else do it. It's like they say, it's hard to beat someone who specializes in something at their own game.

    Here are a couple sources I've used for blank CD and DVD media, DVD cases, and jewel cases. Polyline and Americal.

    Other may know cheaper sources they can add to the list. Again location will be a factor in freight charges and delivery time.

    Don't forget the printed inserts - tray card, and __ page booklet/cover. If you're printing your own, factor in cutting and folding them exactly to size and assembling everything. In which case, it's better to buy the Jewel cases unassembled and put them together as you're putting in the artwork. If I'm packaging something that needs to look good in limited quantities I go to my local printing & litho shop and have them print and cut them. On a piece of high quality paper with virtually 100% ink coverage, they can do it cheaper than I could at home. The cutting alone is worth the very reasonable cost for the whole job. They've got a gigantic cutting table that can perfectly shear cut through an 8-inch stack of paper to dimensions with .001" accuracy in less than a minute. It's something to behold, especially if you've ever cut that sort of thing out by hand you'll be doubly impressed. They can hand you a stack of 1000 in the time it would take you to cut 1 by hand.

    DIY shrink-wrapping is tricky. It's hard to get the clean edges like the pros do.

    Best of luck.
  6. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    I actually found a local place with excellent prices. I will be back home all summer (Washington state) and I read of a great place in Woodinville. Very competative prices along with NO shipping charges since I'll be able to pick them up in person. That will work out perfectly.

    One thing I would like to ask. I am just going to be doing a 5-7 song EP, and I was originally going to just have jackets made for the CD's because it's such a short project. But I read an interesting thing about "perceived" value, like having the item shrink wrapped or having a jewel case or digipak. So in your opinion, would putting such a short EP inside a jewel casing or digipak look somewhat awkward rather than just having in a jacket if this at all makes sense...
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    That's cool.

    Local pick-up will save you a small fortune. But, you may need to make sure you know your state's law on sales-tax. I think in most (if not all) states CDs are subject to sales tax. Some CD plants will either need to charge you sales tax for the whole lot - or require you to show paperwork proving that you are registered to collect tax from the end-consumer. (which you would then collect on each sale and send to the state like any other legitimate retailer).

    I don't think there's any doubt that a good looking retail-ready CD shrink-wrapped in a jewel case gives you a certain amount of credibility. But I've seen some artists pull off the cardboard sleeve (mini LP jacket), because the eco-friendly 'green' vibe fit the band's personality.

    The fact is, the whole thing is horribly wasteful and you can make that work for you one way or the other. [Big time image or eco-friendly]
  8. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    In Los Angeles Rainbo Records (Chatsworth, CA) is the way to go. They've been in business for like 60 years.

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