Alas I seem to have solved the problem by reverting back to BCFC firmware. I am now able to burn discs at 16 and 12x on discs I was unable to before. I can only remember getting one disc (the MCC 03RG20) to burn at 16x before, even though I had lots of other media which burned at 16 to 20x on other drives.
The UME01 disc also burned at 8x like it's supposed to, although an AML002 disc of mine burned at 4x even though I told it 8x. Oh well, it ended up with horrible scans, burns much better in my other drives so I don't even care.
I updated the firmware before I started using the drive (this is a rebadged CompUSA brand) so I never got to see what it was like on a firmware older than BCIC. It seems like a completely different burner now, with much better quality scans. So for those with any issues, I recommend against the use of BCIC. The old scans with this same media produced horrible amounts of PIE's (often 100-200), and above average PIF, likely due to certified media being slowed down to 4x, and even 2.4x with some 8x media.
Here's some scans with the new firmware: