Before you read my dissertation, my short answer is also Hayabusa (aka “H-stick” in my writing)!
That’s the best-performing, best-feeling “Seimitsu” joystick I’ve used that’s on the market.
Too bad Seimitsu isn’t making this one themselves!
If you’re located in the US or Japan, you can only buy the Hayabusa direct from Hori’s US/Japanese websites. They don’t ship internationally, though… Sorry!
I’ve used the LS-32-01 and the Zippyy clone, the LS-40-01, and the LS-58-01…
Add Hayabusa to the Seimitsu joystick list, too.
Apparently it’s possible to create a “JLF clone that handles like a Seimitsu joystick!”
The Zippyy LS-32 clone is the lowest quality build of the 4 and probably the least consistent… Okay for Pac-Man and Donkey Kong but not the joystick to use if you’re in a tournament and need consistent performance.
Those issues aside, it’s possible to upgrade the Zippyy to at least -32 level with -32 spec parts. The same springs, microswitches, LS-32/-40 Mounting Plates, and general -32 parts are compatible with the Zippyy clone. It’s questionable whether you’d want to buy one knowing what I’m telling you right now, though! LOL
LS-32 – very good joystick overall, more comfortable than the JLF IMHO but it has quality problems in manufacturing, and some questionable build aspects (re: the pivot joint)… Some people do “pop” the pivot occasionally. I’ve been having more issues lately in general with doing diagonals on SOME games. That seems to affect the joystick more with some games (mid- to late-1990s fighting games which are faster-paced than most current fighters) than others. It’s perfectly fine for SF IV and Soul Calibur games. I’d question whether you’d want to use it for SF Alpha games or most Tekken games, though…
All those issues aside, it’s a sentimental favorite of mine… and I DO use it on the days when the LS-40 doesn’t work for me, too!
LS-40 – tighter activation than the LS-32 without the pivot issue… However, again, there are questions on the build and quality of the parts. (The part quality issue affects most Japanese joystick parts AND the Korean joysticks – it’s not just Seimitsu or clone joystick thing.)
Tighter activation as a I define it = less muscle force needed to execute moves; you simply don’t have to move the shaft around as much or as quickly… The throw is definitely less on a joystick with tighter activation. Downside of that is that on some days when you’re not relaxed it can actually be more difficult to use the joystick, too!
LS-58 – unbelievably tight activation, very loose stock spring, no discernable benefits over the LS-56 which it’s based off. My least favorite Seimitsu joystick that I use… This is the one I’m thinking of selling all the time now! LOL
Most Seimitsu users go with the LS-32 or LS-56/-58. They’re at polar extremes in the Seimitsu line in terms of handling and activation force/input.
The LS-40 handles most like the LS-32 but with a better pivot, less throw, and tighter activation but not as extreme as the LS-56… It’s looser-feeling than the LS-32 despite having the same spring; stick tension is lower by default. Microswitches on the LS-40 are not quite the same as the LS-32 and don’t have the same “engage” feel.
Put a gun to my head, and I’d tell you that even if you try BOTH the LS-32 and LS-56 that you should for your best interests go and ahead and at least try the LS-40. It’s “sort of” in-between the other two joysticks in terms of performance and feel. It’s a bit of the best of the LS-32 and LS-56/-58 traits. It has a “gotcha” though (see my definition of “tighter activation” above) that keeps me from using it more than the LS-32, though…
Advice – !!!TRY a Seimitsu first before you buy one.!!!
It should be easy enough to practice with an LS-32. That’s by default the second most popular joystick after the JLF. The LS-56 shows up as third most popular with more people starting to get into the LS-40.
I would try at least two of the LS-joysticks (LS-32 or LS-56 are easiest to demo due to availability at tourney’s) and see which end of the performance spectrum you like better…
You have not-so-tight LS-joysticks (LS-32, LS-40, LS-33 from what I’ve read) and the tighter activation/ultra-tight LS-55/-56/-58 series.
If you really, really don’t like the JLF, my advice would be to stay away from the LS-33… it’s supposed to be closest in feel to the JLF among the Seimitsu joysticks. I haven’t played with the LS-33 myself but the most authoritive arcade parts FAQ’s and people who HAVE played with the LS-33 are saying it’s JLF-like, “JLF-lite.” It’s JLF-lite because it’s also the smallest production Japanese control you can buy supposedly… The JLF itself is not a big joystick. By comparison, the LS-32, LS-40, AND Hayabusa have bulky bodies.
The major performance difference between the LS-56 and LS-58 are the stock springs… All other factors are generally the same except for the mounting plates that are incompatible between the two otherwise identical designs. I hated the (way too loose IMHO!) LS-58 stock spring and replaced it with a higher-tension LS-56 spring! The LS-56 and LS-58 in general have too-tight activation inputs for my comfort zone… I prefer the LS-32 or LS-40 for fighting games, period…!
I did a little bit more experimenting recently and it seems to be that ‘quality’ control in joystick build is more of an issue on some games that have questionable input control laws than more recent games where you’re “not fighting control inputs.” Control inputs aren’t just a matter of muscle coordination and hardware, guys… There are games that are infamous for BAD input controls and companies do tweak controls constantly between titles – even within a series! The original SF2 title (“World Warrior”) had notoriously bad character balance and control issues. The control and character balance on SF2 games actually got better until SSF2Turbo which had the worst character imbalance and control in the series since the first SF2 game! Some SNK Neo Geo games and half the Mortal Kombat games also have their share of power balance and control issues. You have characters with the same movesets that are notorious for not only power-balance issues (ex: Ryu versus Ken) but also for having moves that execute faster and with noticeably different timing patterns/rhythm involved (Ken’s Dragon Punches come off consistently faster and easier in Super SF2 Turbo HD than Ryu’s).
Sure, a higher-quality joystick can help with the issues I illustrated but it’s not the end-all solution. You have to practice, practice doing moves the right way, too! I personally have a HATE-HATE-love relationship with Super Street Fighter II Turbo but it’s been a great game to use to assess the performance of some joystick hardware, too, in ways where I think the most recent SF games (the slower-paced IV series) are generally useless…
!!If money and part availability isn’t the issue, the best-built, most consistent-performing joystick I’ve used is the Hayabusa.!!
The Hayabusa is a hybrid of Sanwa JLF build sensibilities but with better parts in the base and a feel more like a Seimitsu joystick. The stock Hayabusa has a throw that’s in between the LS-40 and JLF… Definitely more comfortable than the JLF.
The stock microswitches on the Hayabusa are unlevered like the JLF’s. The funny thing is that in spite of that, it really does feel more like a cross between the LS-32 and LS-40. I don’t think in retrospect that the activation forces are that much different from the LS-32 but I felt it had a tendency to hit diagonal movements (Dragon Punch) more consistently and I was able to use it for longer periods of time without my performance faltering as quickly as it would on the LS-40 for sure!
The Hayabusa definitely has a slightly longer throw than the LS-joysticks. Throw isn’t a bad thing as long as the joystick recenters comfortably and fast enough for you… It’s not bad like the JLF where the shaft struggles to recenter and doesn’t perform very well on older-style Capcom CPS-2 fighters. The H-stick recenters fairly well – as least as good as the LS-32 and LS-40 – and faster dash moves seem to come off consistently. Whereas I was struggling to get off weaker Dragon Punches with *Ryu in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD with the LS-32 and LS-40, they were executing well over 80% of the time with the Hayabusa. Very, very solid joystick.
- [details=Spoiler]Yeah, the weird thing I noticed with Ryu in SSF2T HD was the inconsistent Dragon Punch… The strongest-force “Hard”/“Fierce” Dragon Punches were coming off fine but I was having issues with the “Weak” and “Medium” force Dragon Punches… I went back to Training Mode and did some more experiments and found there was definitely a rhythm issue in the game – it’s NOT totally me!
Went back and tried the same movements with Ken and I was executing ALL force levels of Dragon Punch regardless of whether I was using the Hayabusa or LS-32 control lever. I felt in my case at least that the H-stick was more consistent with Ryu…
SSF2T HD isn’t exactly like its original arcade counterpart but it shares enough of the same control and character balance quirks to still be useful for judging control levers.
Capcom’s programmers are definite sadists on occasions when it comes to their games! It can be definitely said that you had to be very alert with the earlier Mega Man and SF games compared to most of what’s been released new in the last 3-5 years.[/details]