Switches, Springs and different button brands can drastically change the way yourcontroller feels and affect your gameplay experience. Typically, prebuilt arcade style controllers are sent out with cheaper parts, that would never be even considered for by top players or businesses operating arcade machines.
The benefits of individual premium parts include improved lifespan, better tactility, setup flexibility, and a more pleasant sound profile. While a default setup serves newer players well, eventually it is recommended to upgrade to higher quality parts to retain the genuine feel of the arcade cabinets, as lesser quality parts will hinder your progression.
Arcade button setups are typically comprised of three pieces. The button, the microswitch (or just switch for short) and the button spring.
The button type that you choose can have a huge impact on your game-play experience, as it will dictate the sound and feel of your setup. If you’ve ever watched a recording of an arcade cabinet and wondered why the buttons sound so crisp, the button type is the reason why. The best button choice across all games is Sanwa buttons, as these are what is used in all Japanese arcades.
The microswitch is a small on/off switch that lies inside of each button, and this is what the button casing pushes on when you tap your buttons. There are many different switches and different quality of switches, but you should generally avoid cheaper switches (such as honeywells) as these have low durability and poor feel. There are 2 main types of switches, like switches for a keyboard. Linear microswitches, such as the Omron D2MV-01-1C2, feel consistent all the way through your keypress, and don’t have a noticeable bump. This is similar to a Cherry MX Red switch. Tactile microswitches, such as the Omron VX-01-1A3, have a noticeable and tactile click once your keypress registers (actuates). This is similar to a Cherry MX Blue switch. Springs are housed inside of the button and affect how resistant your setup feels. Higher weight springs will require more force to press, but make your buttons feel ‘springier’ and bouncier. This is good for jackhammer patterns, and especially important for games like Sound Voltex. Alternatively, having a higher weight microswitch will make your setup feel heavier, but not as resistant.
While a players switch and spring setup is completely subjective, some common weight setups include:
50g Switch (VX) / 50g Spring
This is the default setup in Lightning Models, and our personal favourite. It's been widely adopted as the gold standard. Some people may prefer a slightly heavier (60g) or lighter (40g) spring. I personally enjoy using 40g springs for BMS as the patterns are typically much denser and require more stamina and 50g for IIDX. A great setup for players starting out.
25g switch / 20g spring (25/20 for short)
This is an extremely light setup, optimal for hitting very dense and fast patterns due to the impact of the lightweight setup on your physical stamina. This setup does, however, compromise on accuracy as it can be hard to notice when the button is actuating and release it completely.
50g Switch (D2MV) / 60g Spring
A very popular setup before the introduction of Lightning model cabinets! This used to be the community gold standard for a setup pre 2019.
100g LHS1F switch / 20g spring
The default setup on the new Valkyrie Model cabinets. Most players adore this setup, as the heavy switches work very well with the larger buttons, and this setup has a great sound and feel overall. When playing with this setup for the first time, the buttons may feel stiff and heavy at first but after a week or two of break in, you can start to feel them smooth out and feel nicer!
100g V-10-1A4 switch / 20g/40g spring
A very solid and affordable setup for all players, as these switches don't require SANWA buttons to operate! it feels close to arcade, some players recommend 40g springs instead of 20 but its personal preference.
We encourage you to interact with your local community and ask around for weight recommendations too, and experiment with different switch and spring weights to find the right balance to your personal needs. Everyone has a
different preference, and these setups listed here are just commonly used. There is no right or wrong setup. (Except 10g switches. there's a reason we don't stock them!)
Sanwa buttons are without a doubt the most expensive part of any controller upgrade, and they may not be the most cost efficient if you’re on a budget, or not a hardcore player. Sanwa Buttons feel amazing, provide a great sound, are the arcade standard and will last you a lifetime. They are not necessary until higher level play (10dan and above for IIDX, 11dan and above for SDVX). It is however recommended for all players to upgrade their springs and switches from the default configuration, as the increased longevity and accuracy of these switches is necessary for an ideal playing experience.