The vast majority of my MP3's are encoded using Exact Audio Copy, or EAC, from the original source CD. I use EAC to rip the CD to a WAV file and then I use LAME to convert the WAV file to MP3. In my opinion there is no better way to convert CDs to MP3 than using these two programs. I use the alt.preset.extreme setting in LAME which means:
"The highest quality mp3 - in fact the same as the "insane" - with the smallest file size. The bitrate usually averages around the 256 kbps, but achieves CBR 320 kbps quality. Depending on the complexity of the sound wav, the resulting mp3 is about 224-256 kbps on the average. In case of old recordings, I found file sizes around 160 kbps."
When I have ripped a whole bunch of CD's I have found a program called Razor LAME which uses the same LAME encoder but allows you to do batches. So what I would do is sit at my computer ripping CD after CD and then before I went to bed I would load up all those WAV files into Razor LAME and when I woke up in the morning they would all be converted to MP3.
You can find these three pieces of software right here.