Ultimate Encoder 7 Free is a tool which accepts audio in various formats and converts it to MP3 or WAV files.
The core function is the CD ripper. This uses the CDDB to recognise your CD, supports a range of encoding rates (8-320Kbps), and provides a few encoding options (you can choose VBR or CBR, set the VBR encoding method, minimum and maximum bitrate, set MP3 audio options and more).
There are a few less usual twists, though. So for instance you can set the program to encode only the intros for each track (the first 30 seconds, say, or whatever period of time you like). There's error correction support, and you can save the tracks to WAV as well as MP3 files.
You also get batch encoding tools which can convert an entire folder of audio files from WAV to MP3 (or vice versa).
There's also a simple MP3 ringtone creator, and Ultimate Encoder 7 Free can also record from your line-in or microphone to MP3.
The interface for most of this is a little odd, and doesn't always work as you'd expect. (The CD ripping screen has a Play button, for instance, but we couldn't get it to play any CD tracks on our test PC.) The program has free, has plenty of options, and successfully created MP3 files for all our test discs and files, though, so if you're in need of an audio encoder then it may be worth a try.
The interface can be annoying, but once you've figured it out then Ultimate Encoder 7 Free provides a reasonably straightforward way to create MP3 and WAV files.