I work with high quality felt pads and Straubinger pads. I do not install but can work with some other pads. If they can work on your instrument, I may recommend that you install Straubinger pads. For your flute, Straubinger pads require a high degree of precision in the instrument construction. Ideally, the instrument body will also be a single alloy and not plated. If your instrument was not made or cannot be adjusted to acceptable tolerances, then you should stay with felt pads.
The Straubinger pad for piccolos are made differently than their counterparts for flute and can allow for slightly less precision in tone hole manufacturing than felt pads. On many student piccolos, however, tone holes are so uneven that you must either use the softest of felt pads and press hard or else level all the tone holes. Leveling tone holes on a plated student piccolo, however, will result in peeling.
For both flutes and piccolos, Straubinger pads allow for a lighter playing touch and effect positive sound change in the instrument. In flutes, Straubinger pads pop an instrument’s sound. They do not change the sound as a louder headjoint would, but make sound more immediate. In piccolos, Straubinger pads significantly mellow sound and may improve overall responsiveness of problem notes.
If you have an exceptionally heavy touch on your flute or only plan to get your flute worked on once every five or more years, then I would recommend felt and not Straubinger pads.
Some manufacturers have their own proprietary pads (e.g., Muramatsu). In some cases I am able to special order these pads, but in other cases they will only sell pads to their certified dealers. If I am able to special order these pads, it will require more time and expense but will result in a more consistently adjusted instrument. If I am not able to order these pads, then depending on the pads that require replacement I may recommend that you see another repair person who is able to order these pads.
Unfortunately some flute pads are not made to be finely adjusted and therefore there are limits to how well I can make your flute play. This is particularly true for pads that have metal backs. If you have this kind of pad in your flute I may opt out of working on the instrument: it’s simply too frustrating for me to work on an instrument and not be able to stop it from leaking.