The nature of the links between speech production and perception has been the subject of longstanding debate. The present study investigated the articulatory parameter of tongue height and the acoustic F1–F0 difference for the phonological distinction of vowel height in American English front vowels. Multiple repetitions of /i, ɪ, e, ɛ, æ/ in [(h)Vd] sequences were recorded in seven adult speakers. Articulatory (ultrasound) and acoustic data were collected simultaneously to provide a direct comparison of variability in vowel production in both domains. Results showed idiosyncratic patterns of articulation for contrasting the three front vowel pairs /i-ɪ/, /e-ɛ/, and /ɛ-æ/ across subjects, with the degree of variability in vowel articulation comparable to that observed in the acoustics for all seven participants. However, contrary to what was expected, some speakers showed reversals for tongue height for /ɪ/-/e/ that were also reflected in acoustics, with F1 higher for /ɪ/ than for /e/. The data suggest the phonological distinction of height is conveyed via speaker-specific articulatory-acoustic patterns that do not strictly match features descriptions. However, the acoustic signal is faithful to the articulatory configuration that generated it, carrying the crucial information for perceptual contrast.