Best dvd to divx/xvid option

for a long time now I have been trying to find the best ( for me) option for taking dvd title/chaper extracts and putting them into divx/xvid format, prefereably preserving the original audio and removing any black bars/masks.

I make these extracts mostly of music videos so that I can do a lot of stop ,start forward, back, zoom, frame by frame etc playback for transcribing

I have tried 3 solutions in the past - please bear with me for naming competitor products here:

  1. dvdfab (v4 & v5)
  2. imtoo/xilisoft dvd ripper
  3. Divx converter ( from , after extracting vob with dvdfab.

all have pluses & minuses, I’m hoping here that others with experiences of dvdfab v6 will comment on my previous findings & wish list (below) to save me a lot of new research.

so pros & cons:
imtoo/xilisoft - good av sync, good picture quality, does not remove black borders [ big annoyance]. audio volume normalisation broken in v5 [showstopper], cannot preserve source audio

divx converter: new version can preserve audio, but vlc player chokes occasionally on the results with audio starving bug [probably a vlc bug but potential showstopper] - - oher video players OK. .Other downsides is that is is slow & it is a 2 stage process - I have to extract the VOB files beofre using it to convert, and had to pay for an extra add-on to handle VOB.

dvdfab. I always use this for DVD to DVD , but my previous experiences of DVD to generic were that 2 pass was broken & that not all audio sync bug has been fixed. plus it only does xvid, not divx though that is not a showstopper as compatibility & quality seem similar

so- & this is where I’d like feedback -

how good is DVDfab latest v6 dvd to mobile now when assessed on my must have list:

  1. preserve original audio wherever possble ( given that I only want 2 channel audio)
  2. excellent AV synch
  3. good video quality via 2 pass encode at circa 1500 bit rate.
  4. remove black bars & masking e.g. where a fake 16:9 aspect is actually a 4:3 with huge top & bottom bars on the DVd source
  5. complete compatibility with VLC player

Also - should I abandon divx anyway in dvdfab in favour of H264+audio passthough, as I’ve now quit wanting compatibility with windows media center interface

is there any objective, rather than subjective, way to measure video conversion quality ?