Jay it might help if you gave some indication where you are in the world, it is quite a big place, even though it may not appear so to other galaxies. I'm always amazed that Americans (I suspect that is where you are) consider their continent to be the centre of the universe.
As Eric indicates, compression applications vary tremendously and terms such as 'high end' mean little. Why don't you download software such as BitVice (they may currently have an offer of some sort) and do some tests yourself. You can then experiment with bit rates and one or two pass runs. You may well find that you can do as good a job as anyone else.