I'm going to try cleaning out my hard to press B button, but if I don't manage that, I still feel I want the SG pro pad just for nostalgia and because it was a responsive pad. Even if looks ridiculous.
I also think it's helpful to have basically the same controller layout for everything SNES and up (apart from N64 and to some extent GC). But maybe I'm trying to homogenise stuff too much.
Personally, although I like the firmness and decent amount of vertical travel on the MD buttons, they were always a bit too much to mash for me, and I notice it starts to hurt my thumb nails after a while. Those buttons are so deep. The SG propad doesn't have this problem.
So I just beat Thunder Force's first 4 levels (the ones you can select to play in any order) which is basically the 1st tier of completing the game, and then it gets strawberry floating insanely hard and basically no ordinary person can do it.
Have you considered picking up a Supergun and some Jamma boards for running some classic arcade titles through the monitor? So many fantastic shmups in the Arcade that console just never got. Hell a PC running Mame would look great on it.
I have the Gradius remake on backwards compatible PS3. I think it can simultaneously output composite signal so I could try that or use one of the 3 ps1s/2s I have lying around. I know there are some decent Playstation and Dreamcast titles as well but I'm not sure where to draw the line for what's suited to the CRT and I'm not a huge fan of the quasi 3D stuff either.