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Multi-disc Duplication Station
we last saw them, Siren's DVD duplication towers have become bigger,
faster and cheaper. But are they a good choice for medium-run replication?
to medium runs of a DVD project can be a frustrating business. Commercial
pressing only really becomes economically viable for quantities of 500
and above, and the process of burning a big stack of recordable discs
can be tiresome and monotonous.
Automated duplication is naturally a must for professional producers
with more to do with their lives than burn discs one at a time, and
solutions generally come in one of two flavours - the robotic (as seen
with Primera's Bravo II DVD Publisher burner/printer and Microboards'
Gemini burner), and the duplication tower, such as Siren's Opticopy
Duplication Station, reviewed here.
Our take on the first Siren duplicator we saw - the Duplication Station
- was very positive. Since then, however, the device has become bigger,
cheaper and more versatile. While Primera's Bravo and Microboards' Gemini
rely on expensive robotic arms, the cost of Siren's offering depends
on the price of DVD burners. As burners become cheaper, so does the
duplication tower. So while Primera's and Microboards' offerings remain
at around £1,900, Siren's latest top-end duplicator sits just
below the £1,000 mark. What's more, the model reviewed here has
nine burners, rather than seven, and also contains an 80GByte hard drive,
partitioned into 16 sections for storage of DVD disc images, when the
Primera has none and the Gemini's HDD is of an unstated size.
The burners used in this Siren model are Pioneer DVR-107s, offering
a claimed maximum write speed of 8x for write-once DVD media and 4x
for rewritable, plus 24x CD burning. Since our tests, however, Pioneer
has replaced the 107 drive with the 108, and Siren's duplicator will
use the 108 and feature faster burn speeds for DVD, as well as Double
Layer DVD+R support. For that newer model of duplicator, the internal
hard drive will feature large and small partitions to accommodate Double
Layer projects as well as single-layer.
Unlike Primera's duplicator, Siren's machine is a standalone unit that
works independently of any computer - a bonus for users who don't want
their computer systems tied up during disc replication. As with the
Gemini, though, users will have to make separate arrangements for disc-face
printing, so won't be completely independent of their computer systems.
Considering everything that's under the hood, Siren's Opticopy Multi-Disc
Duplication Station represents excellent value for money. It performed
extremely well in our tests, and even though it doesn't match Primera
Bravo's functionality for all-in-one copying and printing, we do consider
its standalone approach to be a bonus - leaving the user's PC free and
also removing any danger that a host computer might crash and ruin a
run or slow down production in an unattended duplication session.
Some good thought has gone into the unit's development, too. The ability
to select single-speed burning will be welcomed by many video producers,
and the inclusion of an internal hard drive is a bonus. What's more,
the cost of the duplicator is almost half that of the seven-drive Siren
model we reviewed in February, leaving us with a very positive feeling
indeed. We're yet to see a DVD duplication solution that can be all
things to all people, but Siren's offering is an impressive and cost-effective
choice - even though it would be better still if the display gave decent
information about what's being copied.
Reviewed in this issue:
Red Giant Magic Bullet Editors
Serious Magic DV Rack
Serious Magic Ultra
In December's news:
Ulead CD & DVD PictureShow