The Sknote Realthing is one of those products that you might invent yourself while drunk in the pub. "Wouldn't it be great," you say, "If you could have some analog synth bits in a box - oscillators, filters and stuff - but you'd plug it into your computer and control the whole thing from a VST plugin?". And here it is - a 1U rackmount box which comes with a VST interface. Specs are still hazy, and there's no price yet, but apparently the Italian developers have 8 manufactured prototypes in hand. The connections look a little bit clunky - MIDI ins and outs + analog ins and outs for your soundcard. If the concept was tidied up so sound, control and power went through USB, it could be a hit.
And a concept this obviously appealing isn't a completely new idea. The first ever 'Analog Plugin' was the Waldorf AFB16, a rackmount box with 16 analog filters and a USB cable. It was very expensive (£1,699) and Waldorf went bust pretty soon after it was announced.
If your tastes are more exotic, you might also want to try the HardSid, a $229 card which can host up to four Commodore 64 SID sound chips on a PCI card in your computer. There's no VST interface yet, though. (via Analog Industries)