Originally Posted by faileas
If you can recommend a 'better' encoder, .....
Uhh, iTunes? AAC is Apple's baby, and Apple will definitely not put a merely adequete AAC encoder in iTunes, their flagship music management application. There was a time, back in iTunes version 6 for the Mac, that there was even a LAME MP3 plugin for iTunes. I used to use that alot. It was very good. LAME is well regarded as one of the best MP3 encoders out there. Despite that, IMO, the best AACs made within iTunes sounded better that the best MP3s made from the LAME plugin.
Oh, and don't worry about DRM. DRM only applies to music bought from the iTunes store. That's a huge mis-conception that has been eagerly spread about iTunes.