So I've got a Model 1 Mega Drive, and this came with two 1650 pads with white start buttons and short leads.
I've also got a Model 2 Mega Drive with the longer leaded controllers with the red start buttons, these are model 1650's also.
I've also got another 1650 white short leaded and a short leaded SJ- 3500 with a blue start button.
The reason why I'm posting these is because they all seem to perform differently and I'm really looking for opinions on the best controllers so I can go out and buy the highest quality ones, as well as confirm any extra information I have so that the SEGA retro wiki can be updated.
The white start buttoned controllers all seem to be really nifty, well built with strong solid d-pads. I've never had any problems with them, though they've been used less than the others.
The blue start buttoned control seems to be built very basically, internally there's not much to them, though they seem to be of fair quality. The d-pad however is more pushed in and there's less of a clicking feeling when pressing the buttons. However in many ways this helps because the Mega Drive controllers were prone to wearing d-pads and this issue doesn't seem to affect this model as much because it's softer to press and move. 8-way directions are also a breeze because the definition between each click of a direction is less and thus you can glide it in a 360 rotation with your thumb and not stick the d-pad.
The red ones, though having a longer lead, are a fucking nightmare. They're built with larger rubbery internals for the d-pad, meaning that pressing is soft yet also loose and difficult. The d-pad is attached to the innards by a tube mechanism which slots together with the d-pad presser inside, which seems to also cause more of an issue because it leaves too much space for the pad to slide around. They're prone to breaking and they don't seem to push down fully either. All in all, they're not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, I probably sound like I've answered my own question here, as I own the three main types of Mega Drive controllers, but I don't know what other types are out there. Am I best sticking to white start buttoned ones? Are there extra ones out there which are even better build? What about the official 6-button controllers? What experience have you guys had with them? Are they reliable?
It would be nice to document this further for future use as well as figure out which ones are the best out there.
I'm open to unnofficial, though I really would prefer official ones. I'm an official whore.
(here's a pretty picture because I like having them in my topics)