In a multicentric study involving 4 European cochlear implant centers, the speech perception abilities of 20 native German-speaking individuals implanted with the Nucleus 22 Channel Cochlear Implant System when using a new spectral peak (SPEAK) speech coding strategy were investigated. This strategy continuously analyzes the speech signal using 20 digital programmable bandpass filters and presents up to 10 spectral maxima to the 22 implanted electrodes. Each subject's performance on a variety of auditory perceptual tasks was evaluated with the experimental encoder (SPEAK), relative to his or her performance in a reference condition. An ABAB experimental design was used whereby each strategy was reversed and replicated. The reference levels of auditory performance were established using the multipeak (MPEAK) speech-processing strategy of the Nucleus speech processor. Only subjects who achieved open-set monosyllable word recognition in the reference condition were included in this study. Significant differences in group mean scores for most speech recognition subtests were obtained for the SPEAK versus the MPEAK strategy. The largest overall improvements were observed for the sentence tests under noisy conditions.