Siren Opticopy Multi-disc Duplication Station test and review

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Siren Opticopy Multi-disc Duplication Station

Since 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?

Producing small 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.

Conclusion

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.

Peter Wells


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Dazzle DVC90
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Serious Magic DV Rack
Serious Magic Ultra
Siren Opticopy

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