The world of DAE has only recently captured my interest so I admittedly have a limited knowledge of the subject; however, I have been doing a lot of experimenting over the last couple of weeks by extracting audio from my CDs to HD for archival purposes. Since I want to be sure I'm not compromising my results, for each CD, I've been extracting the audio from each CD several times, and with a wide variety of the popular software programs out there. In addition, I've been using multiple source drives. For each unique combination of CD/Drive/Software/Extraction Speed, I've recordered the results by calculating the CRC32 of the sound from the WAV file. I found a program which seems to do this quite nicely, and for free from the following URL: http://www.kagi.com/cyberdyne/
For obvious reasons a regular CRC32 file checking utility will often report different results even with identical audio.
The drives I've been using are a LiteOn-LTD63D (GHR7 firmware), and the Plextor 48/24/48A (ATAPI).
Thus far, it hasn't seemed to make a difference which software package, drive, ripping or recording speed I've used. E.g. even ripping/burning on the fly at 40x and then extracting the wav files off the copy has yielded "bit-for-bit" perfect copies of the WAV files. There has been the odd track that does not compare 100% equally, (perhaps there is a fraction of a microsecond difference), but that is the exception to the rule, and doesn't seem to follow any pattern.
I was shocked to find out that my $40 piece of crap LITE-ON LTD63D is actually highly regarded (so it seems) in the various forums for its DAE ability.
Anyway, would be interested to hear anyone's comments/feedback on my experience thus far...