- This really depends upon your preferences and perceptions with regard to time, cost, convenience and quality.
For best possible quality, a back-up with no compression (i.e. dvd 9 to a dual layer dvd 9 with the layer break being retained in the same position) can’t be beaten. You can use AnyDVD/CloneCD, AnyDVD/Dvd Decrypter or DvdFab in clone mode for this purpose. The drawbacks are that dval layer blanks are comparaively expensive and some stand-alones don’t care much for burnt dual layer discs even if well burnt.
If you want to reduce a dvd 9 to a dvd 5, then it’s a question of whether you use a transcoder (e.g DvdShrink) or re-encode (e.g. Dvd Rebuilder with an encoder). Many of our members will tell you that re-encoding will produce superior quality output. However, re-encoding will take much longer than transcoding (hours longer, in fact) and the improvement in quality, if any, may be difficult to notice unless you ahve a very large screen. You may wish to give re-encoding a try and see if any improvement is worth the effort for you.
Otherwise, DvdShrink is as good a transcoder as any and its price is unbeatable. You may, however, want to try the convenience and additional featues of the various commercial transcoders (e.g. CloneDVD, DvdFab Gold or Platinum, Dvd2One, etc) that you find on our Copy DVD Movie forum. All have free trial periods.
With suitable hardware, your sofyware combination will more or less do everything that can be done. However, for certain limited specific tasks with respect to copy protected data cds (e.g. games), other software arguably is superior. Each of blindwrite, CloneCD and discjuggler (a superb general mastering program but one with a steep learning curve) will perform some limited duplication tasks better than your combination. That said though, you may never run into a situation where your existing software combination will fail but one of the other programs will mentioned will succeed. Insofar as copy protected audio is concerned, you should definitely add Exact Audio Copy (freeware) and/or cdex (open source) to your arsenal if you don’t use them already (or use discjuggler if you have it already). They will produce sigbificantly better quality than anything you can get from a straight duplicator such as akcohol unless the original cd is in mint condition. CloneCD also has its advantages in copying protected audio cds but really, if possible, you should always use a digital ripper than a dumb copier where possible for audio. If karaoke is your bag, then I recommend CloneCD or discjuggler.