monkey audio compression is lossless.
i prefer lame 3.9x with vbr, 192 = minimum bitrate. VBR actually examines the audio samples, and chooses the proper bitrate to reproduce them. if size is an issue, but you still desire high quality encoding, this should be your choice.
if size doesnt matter, i would try monkey audio, or a constant bit rate in lame. the type of music you are encoding also matters slightly in your quality choices.
razorlame is a great frontend for LAME, and using it + lame, i have over 2500 songs ripped to my drive. i think they sound pretty damn good.