Generation 1 cabinets can be identified by their 29” CRT display and marquee that sits atop the base with two legs. While different variants came with 1st through SuperNOVA 2, upgrade kits to newer mixes are available. These cabinets use the JAMMA wiring standard for input/output.
Black cabinets are the most common types outside of Japan and big chain arcades. They have black sides.
Japanese cabinets, or J-cabs for short, were built by Konami of Japan, generally for Japanese use. They shipped with 1st through Extreme. They are usually identified by having a single coin slot, two separate pieces of metal comprising the panel underneath the screen (with memory card readers in some cases), or the lack of a black bezel around the subwoofer area. There are bolt heads on the sides of the monitor (originally Toshiba) housing to support its brackets. The amp/PCB units stand vertically in the center portion of the cabinet.
Picture of the control panel inside the coin door of a J-cab.
A variant of J-cabs, US cabs were distributed in America without memory card readers. They shipped with the US release of DDR 1st.
Another variant of J-cabs, with a 220v to 110v step-down transformer included. They shipped with versions of Dancing Stage 1st through SuperNOVA.
Korean cabinets are likely the most ubiquitous subtypes that you will find. They originally shipped with 3rdMix, but were changed to DDR USA when shipped overseas. They generally have two coin slots, a button panel underneath the monitor made of a single piece of metal, and a black bezel completely surrounding the subwoofer area. They are considered to be inferior to J-cabs due to the cabinet being built from MDF instead of plywood, its wires lacking proper grounding, the monitor (Hong Eun brand) being secured via wood blocks instead of metal brackets, and the monitor bezel artwork placed on top of the glass instead of underneath it. Other than wiring differences, the pads themselves are generally identical to J-cabs, having been manufactured by Konami of Japan. The amp/PCB units are laid horizontally, stacked in the center portion of the cabinet.
Picture of the control panel inside the coin door of a K-cab.
A newer type of US-built cabinet, Betson cabinets are similar to K-cabs in many ways, but can be identified by the front of the marquee being flat instead of curved. The cabinets themselves also have slightly less depth. They were distributed by Betson in America with SuperNOVA or SuperNOVA 2. Generally have better wiring - certain connectors were changed or removed for the purpose of easier servicing. Also have a better screen (Kortek tri-sync) than K-cabs, mounted to a metal frame. These cabinets are also the only DDR cabinets that can cleanly split the monitor box from the base without a crowbar, making them significantly easier to move. Both Betson and red cabinets use an EXT-IO board instead of the game PCB to handle panel/neon lighting.
Red cabinets are less common outside of Japan. They have red sides. They are newer than black cabinets, having begun shipping with SuperNOVA. Their CRTs are superior in that they are flat, more flush, and have Toshiba monitors that output 480p instead of 240p/480i. They also shipped with e-amusement card readers bolted to the sides.
DDR Solo cabinets are single-player, with two additional upper-diagonal arrow panels. Like black cabs, they have 29” CRTs and generally support the same PCBs. Their panels lack lights and have two sensors placed in the center of each panel instead of four around the edges. Two styles of pads were produced; a “deluxe” model with a uniquely shaped bar that curves toward the player, and a cheaper model without a bar at all.
Generation 2 cabinets shipped with DDR X through DDR X3 vs 2ndMix. They are often confusingly referred to as “black cabs”, but also “black HD” or “X cabs”. They have 37” 720p LCD screens and marquees that are flush with the rest of the cabinet. They have integrated e-AMUSEMENT Wavepass readers in the bezel of the monitor.
Japanese black HD cabs have light spires on the sides of them. These cabinets also use JAMMA.
X cabs in America, built by Raw Thrills under contract with Konami, lack the light spires that Japanese cabs have. While its screen and I/O are of high quality, its pads moved to a one-piece design intended to keep the insides cleaner. The traditional sensor design was replaced by four rubber D-shaped moldings with aftermarket green sensors stuffed inside. The acrylic panels rest directly on top of this assembly. The bar also had its height shortened significantly, and it was coated with a textured rubberized finish. The amp unit has significant latency, and the arrow panels are awkwardly wired to act as both selection and arrow buttons. These pads were universally panned by both operators and players alike, forcing a redesign for X2.
The cabinet itself is identical to the original Raw Thrills X cabinets, however the dance platform was redesigned to improve maintenance access and improve performance. The pad now uses metal sensor holders and a unique rubber sensor design with a bump to poke out of the holder. The acrylic panels sit directly on top of this assembly and use corner brackets to allow easy service of the pads. They also include hardware improvements to fix sync issues.
Generation 3 cabinets shipped with DDR (2013) through DDR A. They are referred to as white cabinets. They have 42” 1080p LCD screens and smaller subwoofers with a platform to store belongings. They lack lights underneath the arrow panels. You can find them throughout Japanese arcades as well as Dave & Busters and Round1 locations in America. White cabs are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan, or Korea (Uniana). They are generally of the same quality regardless of origin, but certain hardware such as screen manufacturer and sensor connectors might be different. In Japan, they come with generic “Dance Dance Revolution” marquees whereas ones shipped to America have DDR A marquees.
Generation 4 cabinets ship with DDR A20. They are called gold cabinets, or officially “20th anniversary model”. They have 55” 1080p LCD screens and look very similar to Dance Rush cabs.