One of the main factors determining burn quality and compatibility is the quality of media. So, the first thing you must suggest to your friend is to buy only quality discs.
Besides the discs, a good choice is the Pioneer 112 or the 115, both IDE drives with excellent writing quality, also for DL discs.
For Audio CD ripping, the best option is a [B]CD[/B] burner, possibly a Plextor Premium, but this drive is not easy to find (because not more produced) and really costly. The Pioneer drives I mentioned above, however, are excellent rippers
If your friend is interested also in DVD scans, then a liteon drive is a must, because is the easiest drive to find in the market able to do reliable scans