Best drive to test burn quality?

background info:
i have a nec 3550a, and a pioneer 111d flashed to the dang bros 8.29 firmware. after i got the pioneer and flashed the firmware, my burns were great at 6x. everyone on these forums told me it’s not good to test the quality of the burn on the drive you burned the disc on, so i used the nec with Nero cd-dvd speed at 5x to test the quality of the burns on the pioneer. the nec would report all high 90s test scores, then all of the sudden my test scores got very bad. i thought it was the pioneer going on me, but today i put an old data disc in the nec and it was making loud noises as the disc was spinning, so now i’m thinking the nec drive is just going, and it’s giving me bad scores because the drive is messed up. if i test the discs on the pioneer i get like 99% test scores, whereas the nec will give me 70-80s on the same disc. however, as i stated before, everyone has said not to trust the tests done on the same drive as the burn.

my question:
right now the nec drive is only a testing drive, and the drive i use to pull stuff off discs, i don’t use it to burn at all. the pioneer only burns, nothing else.

assuming the pioneer drive isn’t just going bad, what drive would be the best for reading/ripping and most importantly testing the discs burned with the pioneer, or testing burns in general?

i do a lot of video recordings with my friends, small movies type stuff. i back up a lot of raw footage that builds up fast on my HD that i clear off frequently, so to know the quality of the burn is reliable is very important to me.

thanks for any reponses.

In my opinion there’s nothing gained by explicitly avoiding using the same drive for burning and scanning, as long as the drive is good for both tasks.

Neither the NEC or Pioneer drives are particularly good DVD scanners however.

If you can get the NEC drive to scan in a sensible and reliable fashion (which isn’t at all guaranteed), I’d prefer using that. You can experiment with different scanning speeds and different drives even of the same type can have a different optimal scanning speed. My NEC 4551 which is almost identical to your NEC 3550 scans most reliably at 12x, so I suggest you try that and then try other speeds.

The Pioneer can be made to scan quicker and some think more accurately, although I’m not so sure about that. Click on the Advanced button on the Disc Quality tab and change the Scanning Interval to 1 ECC and move the slider all the way towards Speed (not Accuracy).