Dual modding is considerably cheaper (and much more space effective) than owning two sticks. Not to mention, a dual-modded stick is much easier to carry around to a friends place. A ChImp board (a board that gives you both Ps3 functionality and an automatic 360/ps3 autodetection switch, though you WILL need a 360 board, either gutted from a madcatz controller/fightpad/TE/SE, etc.) You can buy the ChImp as a $30 kit @ lizardlick, or $45 assembled. I personally recommend the kit, but soldering is required… Another advantage is allowing you to use your custom high-quality sanwa/seimitsu items “twice,” which can easily run you $50?90 a stick.
Another awesome kit to check out to learn how to solder is?http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-AmeriKit-Learn-Solder-Kit/dp/B0009Z3JJA
It’s only about $13, and all you need is a set of pliers and a 9V to test it afterwards (Soldering iron included! I personally use the soldering iron from the kit myself!) You’ll need to buy some additional wire, but there’s enough leftover solder from the kit that you may be able to mod your stick afterwards.
I personally don’t know the prices on TEs. I prefer the SE, since I only want the box and the board.
Modding sticks isn’t terribly hard. Switching out pushbuttons or joysticks is mostly screw/unscrew. The hardest part is the dual system mod. There’s plenty of guides online, and around SRK, plus there’s plenty of members willing to lend a helping hand. You can always ask around. They’ve helped me a lot =) One video/walthrough you may find helpful is:
The video has all you need to see about switching out parts without modifying much else. It’s at the bottom of the page.
The SE tends to be avoided because the stock parts aren’t too amazing. TEs are nice in size for lots of art, but I prefer the SE because I’m going to throw out the stock parts, and since all I need is a box and the 360 board, there’s no need for the extra price tag. Not to mention, you can print out the art as a home-job on most 8.5x11 QUALITY paper. Just stick, cut, and laminate. It all is really preference, though. The TEs are great unmodded, probably pushing up the preference quite a bit.
All-in-all, soldering is required. Minimally, this is the guide to look at: http://www.donovanmyers.com/2010/02/dual-mod-a-mad-catz-fightstick-tournament-edition-using-toodles-chimp/
Some soldering will always be required with the dual-system mod, but I think if you get your feet wet with soldering and realize how easy it actually is, you’ll be like me, and would rather save on the kit rather than ordering it pre-assembled.
Think of soldering like metallic hot-glue gunning. You have an iron, and solder. You apply the heat to the solder, melting it. Now, melt it over holes in a circuit board, sticking and binding the wire/passive component (Such as capacitors, resistors, etc), Integrated circuit (“chips”), etc. to a circuit board. And you can always desolder, as well. You just need a desoldering pump/braided copper wire. You just melt the old metal on the board, and place a braided wire next to it, or suck it away with a pump. Really, I just suggest you get your feet wet with the kit above. You’ll realize how easy it is. A decent soldering iron only runs about $8, and it comes with one, so ~$5 is well worth every penny to learn an invaluable skill.
I know I didn’t answer all of your questions, but I hope this helps.