My Liteon LTD-165H is a pretty good reader, although it fails on me the last weeks. I think it’s worn out. But then there are some discs that even the Liteon doesn’t read. But the Teac Combo in our previous, now broken, BenQ laptop read everything you put in it, nearly including cardboard coasters It’s really amazing what’s readable by this drive!
Continuing the burner story: I’ve just succesfully crossflashed a new Philips DW1650 to BenQ DW1650. Discs burned in this drive read mediocre in my NEC ND4551 (which is not too picky and reads almost everything): the TRT graph in CD DVD-Speed is really ugly. The same disc scanned in the Philips/BenQ gives an almost perfect graph.
The Liteon burners I had in the past (411S@811S, 451S@832S and a 1613S@1653S in an external enclosure at my work) all aren’t very good readers.
So, besides a good reputation, it also seems to depend on luck to get a good reader.