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The Driving Range: Primera DUP-07 Tower Duplicator
Posted Dec 2, 2005 Print Version     Page 1of 1
  

     These days it seems that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is cobbling DVD and CD copiers in their basement workshops. So it's reassuring to have options available from established vendors. Best known for its Editor's Choice-winning Bravo line of automated systems, Primera Technology has expanded its offerings to now include a manually operated standalone tower duplicator.
     The new DUP-07 is a combined DVD/CD copier capable of turning out up to seven discs at once. For the time taken by someone manually loading and unloading discs, tower duplicators offer much greater throughput than robotic systems. This quick-turn capability makes the DUP-07 well-suited for everything from on-the-spot event jobs to studio and office copying and is practical by itself or as a complement to an existing autoloading unit. As well, Primera offers several bundles pairing the tower with its Bravo color inkjet autoprinters to handle disc labeling.
     The DUP-07 is housed in a smart black metal and plastic case roughly the size of an ordinary PC. As a self-contained unit, it's ready to go out of the box equipped with seven Plextor PX-716A DVD/CD recorders, an 80GB hard disk, and a modified ASUS DVD-ROM drive. A front-mounted eight-key membrane control panel and 40-character backlit LCD screen control the system and check on its status.

Experience has taught me to be a minimalist when it comes to duplicator design. Pretty styling elements and doodads can get in the way as they sometimes did in the DUP-07. For example, I found disc loading and unloading to be a little awkward due to the recessed position of the unit's recorders and their cosmetic bezels. Other accoutrements, however, were on the money including an easy-to-read display, well- spaced control keys and a conveniently placed power switch.

The DUP-07 makes copies in a couple of ways. The fastest is to operate on the fly, using the DVD-ROM drive to read the original disc while simultaneously writing to each of the recorders. Over multiple test runs the unit performed competently, taking, on average, 4:08 to copy full CDs while single-layer DVD-Rs clocked in at 8:51 and DVD+R DLs at 19:15. However, while disc-to-disc copying is convenient, it's also fussy. Writing time and success depend upon a host of factors including the reading limitations of the DVD-ROM drive, the quality of the master discs, and any number of other anomalies.

For most copying I prefer to first transfer original discs to the unit's internal hard drive (which has the capacity to store multiple images), as it provides a more stable platform from which to work. Although this adds additional time up front, the hard disk feeds the recorders more consistently and faster than does the DVD-ROM drive, thus shortening the time of some larger jobs. For example, it took roughly 7:32 to load and copy the first pass of CDs, with subsequent runs completing in an impressive 3:11. Similarly, DVD-Rs transferred and copied in 20:48 with successive turns in 8:48 (8X-rated discs) and 7:21 (16X-rated discs). Not surprisingly, these times increased under less than ideal conditions since it took only one recorder in the chain throttling back to drop the speed of the entire unit. This was a regular occurrence using multiple brands of 16X DVD±R media. Eventually, I settled on the unit's 8X setting as it proved to be more predictable and often faster than 16X. In fairness, this is not unique to the DUP-07 but rather relates to the realities of high-speed recording.

The DUP-07 offers some attractive features in support of its standard duplication modes. These include quick one-button auto copying, bit-for-bit comparison, a disc counter, password management, selectable read and write speeds, and audio CD compilation, as well as handy disc identification (including ATIP and MID codes). On the quibbling side, it's tiresome to navigate through each of the 14 menus used to access these additional functions. The unit's shutdown routine is also inconveniently buried among the options.

With good performance and well-rounded features, the DUP-07 is a credible first stab by Primera at a standalone tower duplicator, albeit at a somewhat higher price than its competitors.

PRICING
DUP-07 $1,695
DUP-07 with Signature Z1 printer $1,795
DUP-07 with Bravo II Autoprinter $2,995
DUP-07 with BravoPro Autoprinter $3,495

Hugh Bennett (hugh_bennett@compuserve.com), an EMedia contributing editor, is president of Forget Me Not Information Systems, a reseller, systems integrator and industry consultant based in London, Ontario, Canada. Hugh is the author of Understanding Recordable & Rewritable DVD and Understanding CD-R & CD-RW, both published by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA).

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