The organisation and response properties of the rat auditory cortex were investigated with single and multi-unit electrophysiological recording. Two tonotopically organised 'core' fields, i.e. the primary (A1) and anterior (AAF) auditory fields, as well as three non-tonotopically organised 'belt' fields, i.e. the posterodorsal (PDB), dorsal (DB) and anterodorsal (ADB) belt fields, were identified. Compared to neurones in A1, units in AAF exhibited broader frequency tuning, as well as shorter minimum, modal and mean first spike latencies. In addition, units in AAF showed significantly higher thresholds and best SPLs, as well as broader dynamic ranges. Units in PDB, DB and ADB were characterised by strong responses to white noise and showed either poor or no responses to pure tones. The differences in response properties found between the core and belt fields may reflect a functional specificity in processing different features of auditory stimuli. The present study also combined microelectrode mapping with Nissl staining to determine if the physiological differences between A1 and AAF corresponded to cytoarchitectonically defined borders. Both A1 and AAF were located within temporal cortex 1 (Te1), with AAF occupying an anteroventral subdivision of Te1, indicating that the two neighbouring, physiologically distinct fields are cytoarchitectonically homogeneous.