Checked my permissions on C:\Users\***\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe PDF\Settings and everything is fine.
Taking that info and some google work I came across this: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/photoshop/cs/using/WS23B45D06-1977-4006-8BEB-2DBB08CA502Ea.htm l#WSA79FA899-BC95-401e-BD44-5B26BC31B369
Apparently, there should be PDF settings files in C:\Users\***\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe PDF\Settings; however, my folder was empty, but the article above also says to move them from an 'Extras' folder located within ProgramData. Copied the settings over, tried again, same result.
Am I supposed to have Acrobat installed for this to work properly? I don't have Acrobat, nor do I even use Reader (I use a different program for in-browser PDF).
Apparently it was in my settings on the PDF save dialog. I removed the settings that I moved over and tried again. This time I actually fiddled with the settings and used Smallest File Size instead of HQ Print, and that seemed to have worked. Messed with things some more, and narrowed it down to the Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities option. As long as that option is UN-checked, then everything works smoothly, including HQ quality.
Is there any chance you might have mixed Adobe-supplied plug-ins from an earlier version of Photoshop into this one? I mean by copying them from one Photoshop installation area to another, or by setting an Extra plug-ins folder configuration to point to them in another Photoshop installation area?
Not to my knowledge. When I upgraded from CS5 to CS6 I read how to migrate things over, and I only use the Extension Manager to install/uninstall them. The only things I've directly taken back and forth were Presets (brush/gradient/etc). I do not have any secondary plug-in folders enabled in the preferences.
CS5 does not have this issue. I can leave "Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities" checked and not have this problem.