New Gear Review: McDSP SA-2 Dialog Processor Plug-In

McDSP’s SA-2 is an emulation of Mike Minkler’s Sonic Assault dialog processor box. It has five bands of dynamic equalization with separate threshold controls and bypass buttons for each band. Although the SA-2 was designed for processing dialog tracks in film, TV and videos, I found it very useful for vocal tracks, instruments, drums and loops in my mixes.

SA-2 has two settings that govern the strength of the processing. The top Mode control selects between three different combinations of compression ratio, attack and release times: Assault, Normal and Gentle. The Band Mode button selects (globally) the bandwidth of frequencies covered by each of the five bands. They are Narrow, Normal, Wide and Variable—the deeper the processing, the narrower the bandwidth.

I had great fun trying SA-2 on vocals—where it is an excellent and nearly transparent de-esser because of the five frequency bands are useful to “zero in” on the problem frequencies. It also worked well for drum overheads for taming overly loud cymbals or for any overly shrill and bright source that needed mellowing out.

McDSP’s SA-2 is part of the McDSP Everything Pack and also sells for $149 individually for the Native version or $249 for the DSP version. It uses double precision processing, has ultra low latency, requires minimal DSP and comes in both mono and stereo versions.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com