2) Thanks for identifying the 0.01uF cap, I will source a suitable replacement. In the picture, the northernmost terminal of this (missing) cap appears to connect to Pin 8 of the regulator. Are you able to determine what the southernmost terminal connects to? I ask as I think the copper trace may be damaged here, and it may no longer be a suitable soldering point for terminating the 0.01uF cap.
Not sure what you are getting at, post a photo with a markup of the area you are talking about
If you had the choice, b0bb, would you try out the MkII version (the one with the ES9028 chips) or stick with the older model? Both are still available, it seems.
The mods I have described are for the 9018. The 9028 is an unknown quantity.