The audibility of partials was measured for complex tones with partials uniformly spaced on an ERBN-number scale. On each trial, subjects heard a sinusoidal "probe" followed by a complex tone. The probe was mistuned downwards or upwards (at random) by 3% or 4.5% from the frequency of one randomly selected partial in the complex (the "target"). The subject indicated whether the target was higher or lower in frequency than the probe. The probe and the target were pulsed on and off and the ramp times and inter-pulse intervals were systematically varied. Performance was better for longer ramp times and longer inter-pulse intervals. In a second experiment, the ability to detect which of two complex tones contained a pulsed partial was measured. The pattern of results was similar to that for experiment 1. A model of auditory processing including an adaptation stage was able to account for the general pattern of the results of experiment 2. The results suggest that the improvement in ability to hear out a partial in a complex tone produced by pulsing that partial is partly mediated by a release from adaptation produced by the pulsing, and does not result solely from reduction of perceptual confusion.