If you can get an adapter that let's you use your own rca's the 5501 is better than the 1001's written up in Stereophile, just for the fact that the laser is upgraded and more stable. They both sound the same because they both use the coveted AKM dac chip that gives it the killer analog sound. I love that little thing, it just belts rich tones and kick ass rhythms. It does not have the "I heard a mouse fart" detail but it just makes really enjoyable fun music. It is my favorite.
I bought 4 because 3 of them were $5-10 each and I want to mod them. Poultry this is the player for you: cheap and the mods are waiting!!!! It kicks arse!! Hunt the Goodwills.