"Seeing I've not had any problems yet (touch wood) is it still advisable to update the firmware? Got to admit I'm a bit wary.."
If it works without problems and you feel uncomfortable updating the firmware then don't do it. The firmware upgrades are usually correcting any bugs that may have existed in prior versions, as well as adding new compatible media recognition to the drive.
Before doing any firmware upgrades do some reading and follow the instructions closely or you can possibly damage your burner by replacing with the wrong firmware.
Here is a link to get you started regarding Pioneer Firmware, as a beginner, I would concentrate on using the Pioneer Official Download Site rather than any other hacking software links available.
â€œAlso just out of curiosity, apart from AnyDVD and Clone DVD2 what other software do people use. Simplicity, ease of use and good success obviously important?â€
Two very popular ones are, DVDDecrypter and DVD Shrink, both are free programs but in my humble opinion, not as easy as CloneDVD.
I have tried them all and my favorite is still CloneDVD and AnyDVD, you must use AnyDVD to remove the copy protection. The two programs offer me consistency, and simplicity.
One more thing if I may suggest, I would advise you to disable any antivirus software and screensavers you may have running while burning, never hurts to be overly cautious.
If you have any questions regarding the firmware just post on the link I provided and Iâ€™m confident you will receive the help you seek.