Be assured that Blade is a very very very outdated codec. Even at high bitrates it is nowhere near as good as lame or even the Fhg codec. Lame is by far the way to go. It has also seen extensive testing. Use version 3.90.2 even though there are newer versions (this is the most tested version). With --alt-preset standard, you will end up with the best sounding mp3's available. Most people cannot distinquish between this and cd. I'm not trying to belittle anyone that is using any other codecs, just trying to spread knowledge. So, please use LAME with the --alt-presets. And tell anyone you know of this.
Maybe if the word got out, the world would be rid of the crappy mp3's that are floating around the net.
Also, if you are interested, I can provide some links to listening test that prove Blade, Xing, QDesign et. al. are no where near the quality of lame. Spend a few minutes to accquaint yourself with LAME and I'm sure you'll love the sound.
The only downside is the encoding speed. On my P3 933, I encode at about 3.4x realtime.
Also, for ripping i suggest Exact Audio Copy. CDex can also hold it's own. No more mp3's that have "clicks" from scratches or fingerprints on the source cd.
That's my Public Service Announcement for the day!