Review:Disc Makers Pico Automated CD and DVD Duplication System
$699

Disc Makers

7905 North Route 130

Pennsauken, NJ 08110

www.discmakers.com

Affordable Automated Duplication

The last thing you want to do once your video project is done is spend more hours in front of the computer babysitting CD or DVD copying. Enter the Pico from the folks at Disc Makers. The Pico is a single-drive automated CD/DVD duplicator that sits neatly on your desk and, by way of its robotic arm, feeds discs to the drive and removes and stacks them when they're done. The Pico weighs 6.6 lbs. and offers automated 16X DVD and 48X CD duplication with a footprint measuring 7.1"x15.75".

Out of the Box

The unit ships with the robotic arm already attached to the drive chassis so the only user assembly required is to snap the disc guide posts to the feed tray and snap the feed tray to the chassis — easy enough. Now plug in the power cable, hook up the USB cable to your computer, load the software and you're ready to go. Right? Wrong! Read the instructions and you'll see that it's necessary to install the Discforge software first, and then hook up the USB cable and power up. If you don't follow the correct sequence, the Discforge software won't recognize the drive and you'll have to uninstall and start over like we did in our tests.

Feed Me

Anxious to get burning after our initial delay, we loaded up the feeder tray with 5 DVDs and started a new job in the Discforge software. We selected a 4.2GB ISO file on our computer's hard drive and let it go. (The software will also read .IMG files or simply copy from another disc in a DVD drive on the computer.)

The Pico worked flawlessly on the first try: the robotic arm clicked into place, picked up a disc and placed it in the awaiting tray. Burning complete, the robotic arm then followed through, and removed the burned disc, placed it in the upper tray and loaded the next disc. About 53 minutes later, all five DVDs checked out as playable. We repeated the process with a stack of CDs, this time copying an audio CD and received the same results only with greater speed. The Pico claims to burn 6 full (4.7 GB) DVDRs per hour and up to 12 full (700 MB) CD-Rs per hour. Monitoring the time, the copy times we logged verified these speeds.

The feed tray has a 25-disc capacity and is driven entirely by the Discforge software – there's no stand-alone operation like the Pico's higher capacity big brothers, the Elite or Reflex line.

But Wait, there's More

Also included with the Pico is Riptastic! MP 3 Ripper software. Riptastic allows you to fill the feed tray of the Pico with 25 pre-recorded audio CDs and convert their content to your hard drive as MP3s or any other format of your choice. The user-friendly software even logs artist, album, and track titles automatically while connected to the Internet. We have a music library of over 1000 discs at the television station where I work and I can't wait to turn the Pico and Riptastic! Software loose to get it all converted to our production server.

Support

The Pico comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty and, as with all its duplicators, Disc Maker offers free lifetime technical support. They also boast their "Perfect Fit Guarantee": if the Pico does not fit your needs, Disc Maker will give you full credit towards a system that does.

Not Finding a Downside

Quick record times, powerful and intuitive software and lifetime technical support; it's difficult to find any weaknesses with the Pico. The only thing really missing is the ability to print on the media as part of the automation process. For those with this need, the Disc Maker's Elite line has models with disc printing solutions.

TECH SPECS

OS: Windows XP

Minimum Processor Speed: Pentium III 500 MHz

Minimum Memory: 64MB RAM

Minimum Hard Drive Space for Instllation: 9GB free disk space

Recommended Display: 800×600 display with 16 bit color

CD/DVD drive for Installation: USB 2.0 port

Drives: One 16x DVDR/48x CD-R drive

Capacity: Input bin holds 25 discs

Throughput: Duplicates 6 full DVDs per hour or 12 full CDs per hour

Media Compatibility: Burns all media

Warranty: Includes one-year parts and labor, and free lifetime technical support

STRENGTHS

  • Small desktop footprint
  • Speed
  • Affordable
  • Powerful, intuitive software package

WEAKNESSES

  • No automated print capability

SUMMARY

The Pico allows users to back up audio and home-movie DVD collections, archive personal data, or create and duplicate CDs and DVDs for home, business, educational, or ministry projects.

Richard Gray is the Production Manager for a network affiliate TV station.

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