What is the best drive for reading audio CDs?


I am looking for the best optical drive to read audio CDs to PC HDD. Audio quality is essential, speed less so.

I’ve read through CD Freaks postings and found the Pioneer DVR-110 (or DVR-110D, not sure what the difference is), Benq 1640 and Plextor Premium drives recommended, but all the reviews seem to be for using the same drive to both read from CD and record to CD. I am interested instead in using 1 drive to read, and another to record, as I assume that no single drive can be best at both of these. As for the drives recommended, I would pass on the Plextor Premium as I am looking only for current models.

I will use EAC to rip the files and have read that this guarantees the same quality of end files regardless of source optical drive. Also, I read that CAV should be better than CLV at reducing jitter, and that Pioneer drives seem to be favoured in audiophile CD players because they are very well balanced, mechanically. But when I read the reviews here there seem to be significant differences in error rates, and the focus seems to be on C1 errors (I assume these are different to jitter), rather than jitter. If I’m wrong on all of this, sorry :confused: .

My main PC is a ThinkPad T42 with a Panasonic removable CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. If this more or less matches the best I may as well stick with it.

Many thanks :wink: