Do you need any "special equipment" to get high quality CD rips?
All i have is a $30 basic drive on my computer.
Ripping has nothing to do with playback.
It is making a copy from one digital medium to another
All that is needed is a reliable drive.
Your best bet is a ripping program supporting AccurateRip.
This enables you to verify if your rip is indeed accurate.
Have a good look at dBpoweramp