Résumé : The primary tone phase variation (PTPV) technique combines selective sub-averaging with systematic variation of the phases of multitone stimuli. Each response component having a known phase relationship with the stimulus components phases can be isolated in the time domain. The method was generalized to the frequency-following response (FFR) evoked by a two-tone (f1 and f2) stimulus comprising both linear and non-linear, as well as transient components. The generalized PTPV technique isolated each spectral component present in the FFR, including those sharing the same frequency, allowing comparison of their latencies. After isolation of the envelope component f2 - f1 from its harmonic distortion 2f2 - 2f1 and from the transient auditory brainstem response, a computerized analysis of instantaneous amplitudes and phases was applied in order to objectively determine the onset and offset latencies of the response components. The successive activation of two generators separated by 3.7 ms could be detected in all (N = 12) awake adult normal subjects, but in none (N = 10) of the sleeping/sedated children with normal hearing thresholds. The method offers an unprecedented way of disentangling the various FFR subcomponents. These results open the way for renewed investigations of the FFR components in both human and animal research as well as for clinical applications.