|A CreativeCOW Hardware Review|
||David Roth Weiss|
Los Angeles, California USA
©2008 David Roth Weiss and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
Recently, CreativeCOW leader, David Roth Weiss purchased his very first CD and DVD duplicator. After a lot of research he chose the ILY SpartanPro, and it didn't take him long to realize that he shouldn't have gone so long without one.
|Every spring, like clockwork, one of my oldest and dearest clients calls me and orders two hundred and fifty DVD copies of a very successful project we created that has literally saved the knees of thousands of female soccer athletes around the world. Other clients are always wanting twenty DVDs here or fifty there, on short notice, and it can take lots of time getting them out the door. So, after burning thousands of "one-off" CDs and DVDs over the years, I finally decided the time had come to splurge a little, and so I bought my very first CD and DVD duplicator. It didn't take me very long to realize that I should have had one of these puppies ages ago.|
After a quick search at www.newegg.com, my favorite purveyor of computer parts and hardware, I settled upon the ILY brand of duplicators simply because they looked good and the price was right too. Newegg always seems to have the best prices on the Internet, even with California sales tax added. And, they deliver amazingly fast too, at least they do here in the Southern California area. Merchandize typically arrives at my place via UPS only twenty-four hours after placing an order. You just can't beat that.
The ILY SpartanPro unit I purchased is a standalone duplicator that can function without a connection to a computer. In its simplest mode, you merely place your master CD or DVD into the tray of the top Master Drive and fill each of the other Write Drives with a blank CD or DVD. Then, just shut all the drive trays and the unit automatically creates copies, quickly and easily. In fact, it couldn't be any easier, and when its done, the LCD readout on the front panel displays a message that tells you exactly how many copies passed or failed the write process. So far, none of mine have failed and every one that I've tested has played perfectly in a variety of set top players. According to Gregory Carter of Ily, there is also a very robust compare function built-in to these units. For mission critical DVDs, it can compare duped discs against the master to insure that copies are identical to the original, bit for bit.
My unit also came with an internal hard drive, an optional feature that's not on all models. It's very cool, allowing you to copy and save a disc image directly off of a finished CD or DVD master, which is saved to the internal hard drive, where it can be stored indefinitely and used as a master for creating duplicates anytime you need additional duplicates in the future. If you want to feed a CD or DVD image directly from your computer to the duplicator, you can do that too quite conveniently via the rear USB-2 port that's available on some models. In that case, your disc image is first recorded to a disc on one of the target burners on the duplicator, and from there the image can be stored to the internal hard drive. My duplicator came with a 250Gb hard drive capable of storing two hundred and thirty master CDs or forty-six master DVDs. That's probably enough storage for me for a lifetime and it should even be plenty for many facilities that do a ton of duplicating, however, if you need the storage, Ily duplicators do support hard drives up to 400Gb.
After UPS dropped off my new Ily duplicator, I unpacked it and was burning discs just minutes later, making five dupes at a time. The simple directions in Ily's Quick Start Guide shows you how to make dupes right off a master CD or DVD disc. My master DVD was only 765Mb, and I was cranking out five copies every two to three minutes. I haven't tried duplicating a full 4.7Gb DVD yet, but Gregory, a guy at Ily's factory in City of Industry, who happens to really know his stuff, assured me that full DVDs averaged five and a half minutes total when duplicating straight from a disc. And, it's even faster than that when making dupes from a disk image on the internal hard drive.
ILY makes several different models of its Spartan duplicators. Its models range from "one to one," with a single CD/DVD player and a single "target" CD/DVD burner, all the way up to models with as many as eleven targets, for burning eleven CDs or DVDs at once. I opted for the DM-ILY-ADP1805HU, Ily's one to five model, populated with Pioneer CD/DVD burners (my favorite) and as I mentioned earlier, a 250Gb hard drive. It burns up to five dupes at a time. Ily also makes models that incorporate either Plextor or Sony burners if you happen to prefer those. Another Cow member, Mitch Ives, who also owns an ILY, suggested buying an extra burner or two to keep on hand, identical to the ones installed in the duplicator. As these units require matching burners in every slot, that sounds like very good advice to me.
I was able to burn the entire order of two hundred and fifty DVDs for my client in just a few short hours, without a single hiccup or failed disc (see the note below). So, it didn't take long to become thoroughly sold on my new duplicator. There's no doubt about it, ILY makes superb products for video and audio professionals that look great and function flawlessly. So, I give Ily 5 Cows for their entire line of Spartan duplicators.
*****I use only Taiyo Yuden premium blank media, which reportedly have the lowest error rates of any brand on the market. Ily tests all major brands of media with their equipment and they too recommend using Taiyo Yuden.
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