on windows i use CDex and DAC to rip mp3s from cds. i dont wana use itunes as the latest version doesnt allow use of the LAME encoder. can anyone recommend a good ripper, that also will get the album/tracknames automatically from an online database?
LAME encoder provides better quality mp3's( this is debatable and im not getting into it now, but its my choice). I dont like using Itunes as it has nasty little habbits about where it stores the files and stuff. i know all this can be overcome, but its so much easier and flexible with a 3rd party converter like CDEx. Those are the two reasons i dont want to use iTunes.
Panic's Audio (http://www.panic.com/audion/) is free now and offers Lame encoding as well as a lot of other features. I believe it was the main music software app for the Mac before Apple introduced iTunes.
What I would do in your situation is use iTunes to make WAV files from the CD, then use LAME to turn the WAV files into MP3s. I do something similar to this when I make MP3s, since I prefer LAME over iTunes's MP3 encoder.
When I'm concerned with audio quality and need MP3s, I rip using xACT's cdparanoia mode (it provides a useful log output), and encode with the LAME encoder in V0 mode in X Lossless Decoder (XLD). However, for my day to day needs, I prefer ripping and encoding to 192 VBR AAC in iTunes.