that can't be right.
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Underdog...check out this thread: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1238953223&read&keyw&zzvpi=classic
Go to page 2 and read the entries from Nolitan. He mentions two issues when he got the Classic: 1) he needed to give the platter a push to help it get up to speed and 2) he heard a squeeky sound on start-up. I don't know if it's similar to what you are hearing but you may want to send him an email because I believe the fix was to get a new motor. Other threads have mentioned a "popping" sound from the motor when you first start it up. It sounds like there is a break-in period to the motor until it settles in. This may still not be what is causing your "grinding" sound but just a thought. Finally, have you tried calling VPI or your dealer and asked them about this?
I have the same "problem" with my Linn LP12. I was told that even though the speed is dead on, the belt is approaching the end of its useful life. Until I replace the belt, I have been doing what Elizabeth suggested above. In doing so, the noise is diminished significantly while the platter gets up to speed, after which there is no noise that I can hear.