DVD and CD Duplicators – Tower Versus Automated

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A DVD or CD duplicator is a machine that copies optical discs. It consists of a reader drive where the contents of the original, or ‘master’ disc is read, and one or more burner drives where the information from the master disc is ‘burned’ onto subsequent blank discs. There are many different types of DVD and CD duplicators available for purchase in today’s market that each possess different strengths and weaknesses depending on an individuals disc production needs.  Let’s review the basic types of duplicators and the basic features of each, so you can make an informed decision on what equipment will be best for you.


Tower Duplicators: Tower duplicators (also referred to as manual duplicators) are machines that resemble tall computer towers, consisting of a reader drive and several vertically stacked burner drives (typically anywhere from 5 to 50). The user must manually load the master disc into the reader drive and the blank discs into each burner drive and the tower will burn each disc. Tower duplicators are able to produce quality, flawless optical disc copies, but because the user must manually load and unload the discs, tower duplicators are considered best for shorter duplication runs.

Automated Duplicators:  Automated duplicators, like tower duplicators, consist of a reader drive, and one or several burner drives, but they also consist of an input bin, where a user loads a stack of blank discs, and a  robotic loading mechanism that transfers the discs from the input bin, to the burner drives, and to an output bin where the completed discs can be retrieved. This automatic process makes automated duplicators ideal for higher volume duplication needs

Both types of duplicators act as standalone machines, without requiring a connection to a computer or other operating system. They can also vary by burn speeds, which is also affected by the type of media (DVDs and Blu-rays take longer to burn than CDs) and the number of burner drives.  Automated duplicators can obviously save time and labor costs, but require a larger initial expense. For more information on DVD and CD duplicators and to discuss individual needs, feel free to call or e-mail Total Media, Inc.