First of all, my trusty 166S died today. The drive itself (stock firmware, I have tried flashing it with various versions) is recognized by Windows, but it won't recognize any disc at all. When a disc is inserted, it makes the unmistakable shhh-shhh-shhhhhh sound, spins up... then it spins down, and up, and down, and up ("shhhh"ing occasionally) about 8 times and then just gives up and reports a "no disc" state.
On the exact same day, my Sony 700A burner (CY58) developed a ripping problem. Near the end of the disc (or at the layer change on dual layer) the PIFs go through the roof! The below image is a pressed single layer DVD with no visible surface defects... and it is ripping at about 0.01x right now. I have DVD Decrypter set to read each sector 1000 times (20 hardware x 50 software) which is the maximum setting. So far it hasn't encountered a sector that it couldn't read (yet), but the drive is going into a cycle of hundreds of retries at approximately 200 KB intervals...
No, it's not the firmware hack... I've been using CY58 since it was released and never had this problem before.
I also cleaned the 166S lens with isopropyl alcohol (drive was out of warranty).... no effect.
What's the verdict? Two drives dead? :a