The phonemes /о/ and /а/ in the second prestress syllable are neutralized after hard consonants, coinciding in the single sound [ә]. Traditionally, it was assumed that the phoneme /и/ in this position is pronounces as [ы] after hard consonants. However, since the middle of the 20th century it was noted that, similar to indistinguishability of unstressed vowels /о/ and /а/, the vowel /и/ also becomes involved in neutralization, i.e. pronunciation д[ә]рокóл becomes possible. An experiment was carried out to study the process of neutralization of the phonemes /и/, /о/ and /а/ in the specifi ed position. The experiment analyzed pronunciations of fi ve pairs of words that differ in one phoneme in the second prestress syllable. The results of the experiment suggest that the phonemes /а/, /о/ and /и/ in the second prestress syllable after hard consonants may be neutralized not only as the sound [ә] but also as the sound [ы]. Selection of the sound depends on various factors: what vowel phoneme is represented by the sound, the quality of the vowel in the following syllable, the phrasal position of the word. Special focus is placed on the phonemes /а/ and /и/ appearing in the position after a hard hissing consonant. Words жаровой and жировой allow for three pronunciation variants: along with [ы] and [ә] the phoneme [э] can appear.