I rip stuff to FLAC for archival (and eventual media server) purposes, but also to the highest quality VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 setting using LAME. VBR only uses as high a bitrate as is necessary at any point in the track. It usually results in a substantial saving in file size compared to a fixed-bitrate MP3, with no loss in quality. I've only found one hardware MP3 player that balked at VBR, the Genica MP3 CD discman.
You should also insist on using a ripper that verifies quality using the AccurateRip database. EAC and DBPoweramp are a couple. CUETools can verify wav or flac files against the AR database, and tries harder than EAC to find the correct offset.
With files acquired from "other" sources, quality rips should be accompanied by a log file that confirms there were no errors in ripping. Choose albums encoded in FLAC, APE, or other lossless formats if possible. (If you get an album that's compressed as a single track with cuesheet, and want to split it into tracks, CUETools can split it.)
Just one thing, though. Bitrate and bandwidth are not directly related. A 20 kHz sine wave could be encoded perfectly adequately with a very low bitrate MP3. More complex high frequency waveforms like cymbals require much higher bitrates to encode transparently.