In my opinion still the best encoder for ripping CD's.
Sadly, at least in my view, CD ripping will eventually become a thing of the past.
For a good amount of time now, studio recordings exceed what are currently offered on CD's.
Nero already offers the HD AAC as part of Nero 11. Eventually, other software will offer the same.
I think the only major holdout in the case of major software is the when, not if, when both iTunes for Windows and Winamp include HD AAC.
People still wonder why not many companies offer either .ALAC (Apple Lossless) or .FLAC albums. Simple really, they are holding off until cloud providers get more well etablished (i.e. like iCloud from Apple), and two they are waiting for more major countries (including the U.S.) to have a more nationwide pure fiber-optic Internet setup (similar to Japan).
Then both uploads and download speeds will make what most people consider "high-speed" broadband seem as slow as people see a 33.6kb/ps dial-up modem seems to them now. At that point, the mere concept of CD's or even Blu-Ray discs seem completely obsolete.
I still love LAME, but someday, maybe sooner than expected, disc based media will become something a thing of the past.