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Great Phono Carts: The Audio-Technica AT-3600L

Dana Puopolo
[September 2022] Probably the majority of stations no longer have turntables in the control room. However, many do have them – and many more in the production room, to either load songs or sound effects into the automation, or to audition part of the station’s library.

But, when a stylus gets bent or worn out, what can you do? The workhorse Staton’s are hard to find unless you are prepared to pay a lot, even if you take a chance on used ones. There is a very good alternative, as Dana points out.

This just has to be the most popular phonograph cartridge in the world circa 2022 – The AudioTechnica AT-3600L.

The AudioTechnica AT-3600L

At the same time, it also has to be one of the best kept secrets in HiFi.


How can it be so popular?

Just about every turntable under $250 includes this cartridge. Millions of them are made every year. These are rugged, spherical styli. Sound-wise, in terms of reproduction, they blow the Stanton 500 and 681s away.

… and you have never heard of them, have you?


Take a look: here are the specifications for the Audio Technica AT3600L Phono Cartridge:

– Output voltage: 4.2 mV
– Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
– Channel balance: 1.5dB
– Channel separation @ 1kHz/10kHz: 24/15dB
– Tracking force: 2.5 – 3.5 g
– Stylus type: Highly polished and shaped .0006 inch conical diamond
– Stylus construction: Bonded round shank
– Weight: 5.7 g
– Dimensions: 17,0 (H) x 16,3 (W) x 31,0 (L) mm

Many higher end (up to $500.00) turntables also use this series of cartridge with elliptical styli. If this implies to you that the base cartridge can be upgraded by using a better needle – you are correct.

By the way … the “plain” AT-3600L still costs around $25 bucks … or less, when on sale. The stylus itself is the ATN-3600L.

So now you know what to buy if and when you need a phono cartridge.

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Over the years, Dana Puopolo has been in markets large and small. His emphasis on audio purity is well-known. He is also the source for Dana’s Daily Deals on the BDR. You can reach Dana at

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