CDRLabs did some tests in our of their reviews of a Plextor drive and came to the same conclusion as you did, VariRec doesn't reduce jitter that much or at all when you look at the graphs produced by PlexTools and a Premium drive. It seems to me that in your case, Varirec II -2, burning 4x produced the best result. Weird.. Personally I've always burned my audio at 24x or faster and until now I never encountered a drive that couldn't play the discs after they were recorder. I must also say that most of the time I use quality media like Taiyo Yuden or Maxell, two brands the Plextor drives work very well with.