Indeed, I remember in the days I start to visit this page long time ago, I would vow CDFreaks was like a LiteOn-fanpage
Remember not the names, but two guys here start to modify LiteOn-FWs and had much feedback by many users. LiteOn were the brand which overhelmed CDFreaks.
The only similar thing I remember from here were Liggy and Deedee (Dexters sister?) with the modified NEC-FWs
I were also not a LiteOn-fan, much bad experience with old CD-ROM-drives and CD-RW-drives, noisy and short lifetime, but mostly real fast. So I wait long time till I bought my first DVD-writer from LiteOn, the 1653S. High quality burns were rare, but I used it for scans and to read bad burned media.
After that I switched back to LG, Pioneer, Asus, NEC, Benq, all of them were better burners than the 1653S.
Next I bought a 18A1H which was a good drive, and it still works, but gets rarely used. With some 20x-models I had much problems, so I stayed again away from LiteOn and used mostly LG and Pioneer.
In the 24x-era I start to give LiteOn the next chance, and my 122W (yep, came out after some 24x-writers) showed good performance. Other series like B and C also not bad, but overall the LG and original Pioneer till x15-series were better.
Now I have the 124 and 324 F. Loud, similar grinding noises like my old DVD-ROM drive 166s, not so good like an actual LG in writing-quality, but still OK. Some amonth ago I made a quick check of the DVDs I´ve scanned so far with my 124 F and it´s more than 800 DVDs, and the drive still works; only the eject-button have ro pushed harder.
You see, I have a long history with LiteOn and mcúch bad experiences, but there were/are also some good drives.
Now not many manufacturers left, only LG, LiteOn and Pioneer. Pioneers BDR-drives were IMHO the best drives, LGs DVD-drives still good in writing-quality but showing problems at reliability; the LG BD-drives are a bit picky with specific BD-media, even with MBIR06 which worked very good in the 16NS40.
LiteOn only have DVD-writers now, not so good as LG and Pioneers BDR-writers, but solid performance and rarely problems
Plextor was expensive, the PX-1210A were my most expensive drive, but it worked long and good. For a standard-user Plextor was the wrong choice, but if you used Plextools these drives were awsome.
I also tried it a short time because of the possibilities of scanning, but I stopped because it takes to much time