Having now tried everything under the planet, EAC is definitely the way to go for ripping wav files. I've now re-ripped about 50 CDs flawlessly, despite huge skipping and other problems with MM, Realplayer, and Audiograbber. After some research, I've also been using LAME 3.92 with the "--alt preset extreme" commandline arguments for generating mp3s from wav files. EAC, as far as I can tell, is the only ripping software that lets you call LAME as an external program, thereby enabling you to use the commandline arguments. I gather the commandline "presets" are the coding community's efforts to provide some tags that give optimal sound quality for a given compression factor. The preset extreme is a variable bit rate coding scheme that generates mp3s that are roughly the same size as 128K CBR files, but sound a *lot* better (actually, they sound better than the 192K CBR files I had made). Seems a good compromise between compression/quality.
Now, only 800 or so more CDs to go.