After much searching and testing I have finally found a great converter that not only looks good, but allows audio gain adjustments as well.
Get Any Video Converter from here (Free):
They also have a paid version to rip DVDs if you would like to support the developer and have a nice all-in-one app.
Setup is pretty easy with AVC...
(after you select video to convert and set up output file directory etc)
Click on output profile
Select customized mp4 movie
Scroll down to frame size and manually input 854x480
Scroll down to video bitrate and manually input 1100
Click on Edit tab up at the top of the screen
Set volume control to 8db
Click Convert button
Just wanted to share what I have found to be a great alternative to Handbrake
Let me know if you like it or hate it...