1) Dont know about philips, but BenQ OEM with G7P9 fw scanned very well at 8x. If you dare you can always crossflash to BenQ retail.
2) I think all of the media you mentioned is fine with the BenQ based drives. Search this forum for media. I use the MCCs myself and did not have any problems (besides my BenQ being junk, of course).
3) Dont know about scratched audio CDs as I still read them with my trusty old Plextor PX40Tsi - and dont have any own scratched CDs at all (I take really good care of them!).
Be sure to get such a device with good return service and long warranty. There were some quality issues recently as you may see in this Forum. My 1620 bulk died as well, waiting for replacement, but I will try on until I get one DW1620 which is good as I think it is worth it.