These experiments investigate how the identification of vowel-like harmonic complexes, similar to those used by Leek et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 81, 148–154 (1987)], is affected by spectral contrast, overall level, component phase, and fundamental frequency (F0). Four normally hearing subjects were required to identify which of six vowel-like harmonic complexes was presented on each trial. The test stimuli were complex tones containing the first 35 harmonics of a 100-Hz fundamental or the first 70 harmonics of a 50-Hz fundamental. All of the harmonics with frequencies below 3000 Hz were equal in amplitude except for three pairs of successive harmonics which were located at the first, second, and third formant frequency values, and incremented in level by 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 dB relative to the other components. Three overall levels were used, 85, 65, and 45 dB SPL, and harmonics were added in either cosine or random phase. The results indicated that identification was better for cosine phase than for random phase, except for the 100-Hz fundamental at 45 dB SPL. The difference between the two phase conditions increased with increasing presentation level and with decreasing fundamental frequency. The results are explained in terms of the waveforms that would occur at the outputs of different auditory filters. It does not appear necessary to invoke nonlinear enhancement mechanisms to explain the results, although an influence of such mechanisms cannot be ruled out.