This MP3Pro codec sounds excellent! Especially if it is made backward compatible with original Mp3 devices.
As for the raging debate about bit rates, VBR, etc?
I agree that ripping/encoding with quality software such as: EAC and LAME is a must! It really does make the difference! While Musicmatch is ok, it can't compare to the quality of these two dedicated proggies! As for Bit Rate? I personally encode at 192kbps, Full Stereo. Haven't been using VBR, but from what I hear, it provides a good mix between quality and compression, as it automatically lowers the bit rate for parts of the mp3 track that don't require high bitrates to sound cd qualityish. I have found that anything ripped/encoded with the EAC/LAME combo at CBR 192Kbps or higher won't sound any different to the original cd track, even on a decent stereo system.
So unless you've got a very high end stereo system, 192 CBR or 192+ VBR is the shit!
sorry, for this very long post!