April 10, 2017 - Robert John Hadfield

Replacing the Pressure Pad

When you take the time to repair the small things, the big things work better.


It's amazing how often life's problems are caused by the small things that we barely notice. And what's even more amazing is how simple they are to fix - you just have to be aware of the problem. The pressure pad in your cassette is an example of that.

The most common concern we hear from potential customers is that their tape will break due to age. It's a valid concern too. This is the first time in history that we have had 50 year old cassette tapes!

Ironically, the problem with aging tapes is rarely the tape itself, but rather it's something much less obvious - the pressure pad. The pressure pad is a little piece of felt-like material that sits just underneath the tape in the cassette housing. It's purpose is to ensure that the tape makes a solid contact with the play head in the cassette player.

When the play head touches the tape to read the magnetic data, the tape is literally "sandwiched" between the play head and the pressure pad. The problem is - as tapes age, pressure pads fall off. When the pressure pad falls off, one side of the "sandwich" is missing!

We have literally received hundreds of thousands of cassettes in our studio, and a missing pressure pad is by far the most common problem with cassette tapes.

Because cassette audio tape is so thin, it has a tendency to curl and bend, as a result, the tape often does not make a solid contact with the play head in the cassette player. The pressure pad ensures a solid contact. When cassettes arrive in the studio, that's the first thing we look for, and if it's missing, we replace it.

If your tape sounds bad, there is a good chance it's caused by something very simple like the pressure pad. Hundreds of feet of audio tape and all the electronics in the cassette player are being wasted if this simple little piece of material is missing.

When you take the time to notice and repair the small things, everything works better. Is the life-lesson obvious? :)

Watch our video about the pressure pad an how to fix it. https://youtu.be/xpxK5uNU7Js

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