EM's Mike Levine (L) and David Crane, Universal Audio
Universal Audio UAD-2 Solo/Laptop (Mac/Win, $499)
Universal Audio is well-known for making top-notch emulations of analog studio gear from Fairchild, Harrison, AMS Neve, Pultec, Teletronix, Trident Audio Developments and other esteemed manufacturers, as well as modeling its own vintage hardware. Opening the door to UA's entire line of Powered Plug-Ins requires a UAD card, and for laptop owners, the ultimate solution is the UAD-2 Solo/Laptop. This high-performance DSP accelerator takes the load off your laptop's CPU, just like the UAD-2 Solo does for desktop computers. It plugs into your ExpressCard slot and comes with four essential plug-ins to get you started: UA 1176SE Compressor, Pultec EQP-1A, CS-1 Channel Strip and Realverb Pro.