I like Optiarc, which WAS a joint venture between Sony and NEC. Unfortunately, those are no longer made.
My main two multi-drive/burners are LG and Plextor. While very good (LG leads a little here), there are discs that one can read better, and others that work best in my second multi-drive.
The Pioneer brand used to be very highly regarded, but it seems that things have changed a bit. I see as many problems, and kudos, but have not had one in years, so have no direct experience with recent versions.
Now, the first thing that I would do would be to go to the mfgr's. Web site for your brand (I did not see that), and check for a firmware update for your model. That will insure that your burner is "as good as it gets." VERY IMPORTANT: be sure to read the instructions for flashing the ROM in the burner to update the firmware. I print those out, and use them as a checklist, making sure that I do things, just as instructed.
Next, as burn speed can affect the quality, I would first Burn to Folder from PrE. Then, use the great free ImgBurn, to do the physical burn, and lower the burn speed (something that you cannot do in PrE). Using Verbatim blank media will be about as good as it gets. Two other brands, Taiyo-Yuden and Falcon Pro, are highly recommended. The Falcon Pro gets the highest marks of any blank media.
All of that said, as you have discovered, there ARE major differences between players. I use about six different ones (from bargain basement to an esoteric Marantz) to test discs. No DVD players are certified to play ANY burned discs - only replicated/pressed discs. Some (especially older ones) just do not do well with any burned discs, though most do, so long as the blank media is high-quality, and the burn speed is not too fast.
Good luck, and other than the LG and Plextor that I have in my workstation, with very few issues, I do not know the "hottest" multi-drive right now.
Thank you Bill. As aways, you're a fountain of good advice.
You are most welcome. I just wish that I had some firm hardware recs. for you.
Good luck, and please let us know what you decide on, and how well it works.
I ended up with an LG BH14NS40. To date I've burned some 50 Verbatim BDs without any issues. So far , so good!
BTW, these are 50 BD-ROMs. I decided to back up all my miniDV tapes to BD (now that there's a relatively cheap media to hold the approx 13Gigs on a tape). I got real nervous when I realized that miniDV recorders were going out of style.
I have had nothing but success with my LG DVD multi-drive. Have not tried their BD multi-drive yet, as I just got it. My older LG is my "go-to" DVD multi-drive, and it has been almost perfect - where it fails (in reading some discs), my Plextor, or my Optiarch in my laptop, seem to step up and work just fine.
I also have a Memorex (never cracked the case, to see who actually made the multi-drive), and an HP (same thing - do not know what's inside that case), and both are USB 2.0/FW-400 externals. They see little use, but have both worked OK, though they are now very, very old.
Good luck, and glad that your new LG is working for you. Thanks for reporting.