In acoustics, comb filtering can arise in some unwanted ways. For instance, when two loudspeakers are playing the same signal at different distances from the listener, there is a comb filtering effect on the signal. In any enclosed space, listeners hear a mixture of direct sound and reflected sound. Because the reflected sound takes a longer path, it constitutes a delayed version of the direct sound and a comb filter is created where the two combine at the listener.
In signal processing, a comb filter adds a delayed version of a signal to itself, causing constructive and destructive interference. The frequency response of a comb filter consists of a series of regularly spaced notches, giving the appearance of a comb.