I played two records back to back today - a first pressing of a Blue Note record from 1955 that had just come in the mail, followed by a later "New York USA" pressing from the early 60s that I've had for a month or so and have cleaned 2-3 times because one side has considerable distortion in some portions involving loud saxophone, etc.
The 1955 record played like a dream, even though it was marked up and I didn't clean side A before I played it. There was a background crackle but compared to the fidelity throughout, especially after the very beginning of the side...whoa, just awesome.
I then played the other record, and noticed after playing the second side - the side that has been giving me trouble - that it was covered in little dust balls. When I got one between my fingers the crud was a deep grey color but not necessarily black. There was also some on the stylus, which I took off with Magic Eraser.
I checked the other side of that record, and there was maybe one or two of the same thing. I then checked the record I played first and didn't find any of that crud anywhere.
MY QUESTION is, is this crud just dust and dirt being brought up from the grooves that I haven't been able to get out with my brush? OR, is this actually some sort of shaved off pieces of damaged record grooves? I am leaning toward the former because I thought that, if the grooves were being cut into with the needle, it would come out as more of a solid shaving, or as sticky residue on the diamond. The reason I ask is because I purchased a used Technics SL-1700 a few weeks ago and have been satisfied with it...I'm pretty sure the cartridge on it is an AT-440...and the owner, who seemed to know plenty about audio equipment, said there was plenty of use left in the stylus. I'm sure some will say "just change the stylus" but that's too expensive for me right now...I would like to get a year out of this one unless I see/hear some major issues. So what do you think? Crud, or carnage?