ONKYO TA-6211: The end for single decks

Submitted on: 08 Jan 24

Website Address:

Category: Analog recorders/players

Website Rating:

Author's Description:

The Onkyo TA-6211 is the last single cassette deck remaining in the lineup of the renowned, albeit now former, Japanese manufacturer with an impressive history.

It appeared in catalogs in 1997 as a continuation of the 6xxx series (TA6711 and 6511) and remained in production until 2001. Its price was around 450 DEM, approximately 225 EUR, placing it in the lower middle category of devices.

In appearance and options, it closely resembles a stripped-down version of its larger sibling – the TA-6511, although it has virtually no similarities with the TA-6711, which is in a category of its own.

Compared to the 6511, the 6211 model lacks auto-calibration and Dolby S, and honestly, I expected everything else to be identical.

However, it isn’t: although they share an identical display, transport, and heads, as well as casing, differences are still present: the cassette door cover is plastic (whereas the 6511’s is solid metal), there’s no song search (interesting!) but there is block repeat from the cassette (which the 6511 lacks). The counter is equally accurate, four-digit, and very precise. Unfortunately, like the 6511, there are no more counter mode options, such as real or pseudo-real time, estimated time to end of the cassette, etc.

Internally, the main board for audio and control electronics is quite different and seemingly less complex than that of the 6511 (excluding additional modules for Dolby S circuits).

Overall, for 75 EUR less, some nice features have been removed, but at least the same transport and very decent display remain. Although made with apparent cost-cutting, this deck still exudes quality in its price category.

As I’ve mentioned before, the ALPS (most likely…) transport in the TA-6511 and 6211 is a modest version of a two-motor mechanism, assisted by an electromagnetic actuator using a gear on the main flywheel as the servo drive (colloquially, raising and lowering the heads), similar to Technics, Yamaha, and Pioneer decks that used similar, albeit slightly more robust, older-generation mechanics.

However, the main drive flywheel is more solid, not quite the basic version, and that’s good. Maintaining such mechanics, replacing rollers and belts, is straightforward and doesn’t require serious knowledge, just disassembling the front metal mask of the deck, then the plastic mask behind it, being careful not to damage connectors, especially the flat ribbon cable.

There’s not much more to say about this deck; it’s a well-designed basic model that does the job as it should.

The sound is in line with the price and has a good number of quality characteristics, but also flaws: bright and quite detailed, as well as very clean – the spatiality is good but lacks a dose of naturalness, perhaps warmth and mass on the bass, which is “thin,” somewhat more modest than on the 6511 model. It reproduces foreign tapes very correctly.

There’s nothing bad to say about recordings, except for a few aforementioned flaws… but still, one shouldn’t be too harsh – the TA-6211 is a basic model. I expected the same sound as the TA-6511 but that didn’t happen: the 6511 smoothes out most of the 6211’s flaws, with some additional details in the high tones, but also a stronger bass. Interestingly, a recording from the TA-6211 on my faithful Sony WM-D6C Walkman sounded quite correct and musical, with very solid dynamics and good bass (which, of course, didn’t go all the way down but was quite good).

All in all, this is a device for cassette enthusiasts who want to buy a cheap and decent device, without pretensions to top-notch sound, but decent in every sense. The Onkyo TA-6211 isn’t a star but it does its job correctly.


Comments are closed.