Dynatek – CDM3500 review

stand-alone CD duplicator
Photo of Dynatek – CDM3500
£999 + VAT

Creating CDROMs and audio CDs is a tedious and often wasteful process. Even with a supposedly perfect setup, it is still possible to make mistakes, turning a fresh, new, blank CD into a useless piece of circular plastic. CD duplication is even more tiresome, since it ties up the host PC for hours or even days on end. This large beige box from DynaTek should alleviate at least some of the stress associated with CD creation and duplication.

At its heart, this box contains a 32-speed Teac CDROM drive and a 2/4/6-speed Yamaha CD-R/RW drive, capable of writing CD-R disks at 4-speed and CD-RW (re-writeable) disks at 2-speed. You can, if you wish, simply attach it to a SCSI-equipped PC or Macintosh and, using the supplied software, create new CDs just as you would with any other CD-R or CD-RW drive. But that would be rather a waste of a thousand pounds. Instead, the CDM3500 should first be used in the normal way to create a CD master. After that, it can be disconnected from the host PC, leaving that computer free to do other things.

With the master now prepared, it can be duplicated at will. All the user has to do is insert a new, blank CD when the previous one is ejected, press a button on the front panel and the CDM3500 does the rest. It takes just over a quarter of an hour to copy a full CD in this way. There is one drawback, however. The machine can copy data CDROMs and audio CDs, but not the ‘mixed-mode’ disks that combine a data track with one or more audio tracks. Not likely to be a problem in the workplace, we feel, but it makes the CDM3500 essentially useless for the mass-market games pirates. Coincidence?

Company: Dynatek

Contact: 01256 331111

If you were thinking that this was the ideal solution for pirating all those PlayStation and PC games, then think again. It may just be a technical oversight that the CDM3500 can't copy mixed-mode CDs in stand-alone mode, but then again it may be intentional. Whatever the reason, this is still a useful tool for companies requiring low-volume production runs of CDs containing corporate data. In the right situation, it could be well worth its price tag.