Occasionally, a panicked client may call with a request for 500, 1,000 or even more DVD copies of a video and need them in two or three days. If you are working in a video business where you have to make many disc duplicates, it’s a good idea to consider what your duplication needs might be.
Know Your Needs
As with any purchase, you should first make a list of your needs before settling on a particular model. Are you primarily interested in speed? Do you need to produce 500 discs or 50? What about printing? Do you need a duplicator with integrated LightScribe, inkjet or thermal printing capabilities? What sort of discs will you be duplicating? Once you have your list, search for models that meet your needs and compare them to your budget. You may find yourself having to trim back on that list a bit.
Recently, we had the opportunity to test one of Vinpower Digital’s Aero series of duplicators. The Aero VI is a six-target, or six-burner, automated SATA Blu-ray/DVD/CD duplicator. As a robotic autoloader, it allows you to set up a project and walk away. And while it doesn’t have an integrated printer, it does make short work of several stacks of discs while you’re off taking care of other business.
Just shy of two feet square and weighing in at 50lbs., the duplicator requires a sturdy bit of real estate upon which to sit. A stack of six disc burners, each capable of handling a plethora of CD, DVD and Blu-ray formats, dominates one corner. Opposite the drives is the control panel, consisting of an LCD display and membrane keypad, and rising out of the center of the unit is a rotating tower that houses the robotic arm. Situated around the tower are a number of upright rods for holding up to 660 discs. Tucked away inside the case is a 500GB hard disk drive.
The Aero VI is a standalone duplicator and does not require a computer for operation. Our machine, however, came with the optional USB 3.0 with Multi-File CopyConnect & Copy Protection software. CopyConnect allows you to connect the Aero VI to a computer via USB cable. The computer recognizes the duplicator’s hard drive, making it easy to drag and drop files onto it for later burning. The Aero VI will not duplicate copy-protected discs; however, the copy protection software lets you add copy protection to your own original material, which the unit will then recognize as okay to copy.
As a standalone duplicator, you can copy from a single master disc or from multiple masters. In single master mode, the disc’s contents are loaded onto the hard drive before duplicating. Using the control panel, select single master, load the master onto a new or existing hard drive partition, set the counter for a specific number of discs and copy away.
When using multiple masters, place the unit in multi master mode. Load blank discs onto the input media bin, followed by the first master. Next, add more blanks followed by the second master and so on. The final master disc should be at the top of the stack. When you start the duplication process, the robotic arm will load discs into the drives beginning with the final master. The unit will copy the master onto the hard drive and all the successive discs until it finds another containing existing content. It will recognize this as a new master, copy its contents onto the hard drive, overwriting the previous master, and begin the process all over again until the input bin is empty. Successful discs go onto the output media bin and any bad discs are placed on the optimistically small spindle at the base of the drive tower.
Using the Aero VI was a pleasure. We found setup to be quick and easy and the control panel fairly intuitive. The user’s manual was very useful in explaining the unit’s many functions and clearing up the not-so-intuitive areas. Transferring files with the CopyConnect feature was a breeze, though we did discover that it is necessary to switch the unit out of external mode before attempting to duplicate content. Copying from both a single master and multiple masters was a simple task with the machine doing all the hard labor; the actual operation was smooth, efficient and fun to watch – a veritable symphony of motion.
If you need to deliver large quantities of accurately produced CDs, DVDs or even Blu-ray discs then check out the Aero VI, it will definitely get the job done.
Operating Type: Standalone Automated
Target: 2, 3, 4, or 6
Maximum Disc Capacity: 220 (2 or 3 Targets), 660 (4 or 6 targets)
Display: 20×2 blue LCD
Featuring Recorder: 12x Blu-ray/DVD/CD Writer(s)
Hard Drive: 500GB (as configured)
Copy Speeds (depending on format): Blu-ray: 2x and 12x; DVD: 6x, 8x and 16x; CD: 24x and 40x
Firmware Upgradeable: Yes
Burn Proof Support: Yes
Support: Optional USB 3.0 w/Multi-File CopyConnect & Copy Protection and five licenses – $599
Capacity Discs Per Hour – Six Target: 350MB CD at 40x: 78; 2.5GB DVD at 16x: 48; 12.5GB Blu-ray at 6x: 30
Size: 22″ W x 20″ D x 20″ H
Weight: 50 lbs.
- High capacity
- Fast, efficient operation
- Multiple disc formats including Blu-ray
- Use with or without a computer
- Multi-Master Recognition Technology
- Might be too costly for non-commercial users, however other versions at lesser prices are available.
For professional users who need to knock out large quantities of discs in a hurry, the Aero VI from Vinpower is a media publisher’s dream.
Contributing editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.