I’m kinda tired, so sorry if I completely screw up this post.
Booktype: setting a DVD+R’s booktype to DVD-ROM can make it more compatible with some (older) DVD players. I don’t see any downside to using a Pioneer firmware that always bitsets.
Lead-in / Lead-out: Here’s a pretty succint description.
Why look for a drive that can read the Lead-in and Lead-out sectors of an audio CD-R? Because most drives do not go straight to a point on a disc and start reading exactly there… they’ll start reading either a little early or a little later than the point they were shooting for. This is a drive’s read offset. If you’re ripping an audio CD, that means that you’re going to be missing some audio data from the very beginning or the very end of the disc unless you can tell the drive to read a portion of the Lead-in (for drives with a positive read offset) or into the Lead-out (for drives with a negative read offset).
Most recent Pioneer DVD-RW drives have a read offset of -48. That means they start reading a bit earlier than the point they’re aiming for on an audio CD. Fine. They have no problems getting the very first pieces of audio data, but they stop reading 48 samples before the audio data at the end of the disc runs out. That would be easy to fix if the drive could read into the Lead-out, but the Pioneer cannot do that. So there are 48 samples that you CANNOT get from that audio CD no matter how many different ways you rip it with the Pioneer.
A bit of perspective: we’re talking about 44100 samples per second on a Red Book standard compact disc… dropping the last 48 of those isn’t going to hurt, especially since most discs end with silence. A decent audio grabber like EAC can be set to insert silence for missing samples as well as shift the audio data to compensate for the read offset. So you end up with a 1:1 copy of the audio CD despite the Pioneer’s inability to read into the Lead-out.
Whew. Sorry about the novel. Anyway, I agree with the previous posts: Pioneer’s latest DVD-RW drives are solid CD burners and excellent DVD writers.