Yes, simplepie is pretty nice as well.
Even now when I think about it, dowloading a feed with an HTTP header claiming it's UTF-8, an XML header claiming it's ISO-8859-1 and then it turns out to be CP-1252, I still get the shivers a bit.
At one point I'd even written a function that kept ut8_decode'ing until it introduced extra question marks at which point it took the text from the last step as the final text. Brrr.
Parsing RSS sucks.