Typically the session is recorded digitally, often times live two-track, and then mastered for whatever application is required. So in the case of Analogue Tape, the recordings are mastered with zero limiting and minimal if any processing. This is because Tape bakes all of the things in that we love, like de-accelerated "S's" and the natural harmonics that richen the tone and add vibe to the music. It does this naturally without manipulation, other than the tape bias during recording which if skillfully monitored can take things up a notch.
So this digital master is then run through our holy grail D to A converter and on into our proprietary tube mastering electronics connected to the tape machine which then prints a first generation analogue master tape.
We do not offer this digital master for download. The reason is because it is mastered for tape. When you master for digital you do it quite different. The simpler more natural way that avoids any DSP manipulation of the music is to simply create an analogue master and then record that master back to digital, also known as throwing it back to tape.
So to create the digital downloads, we do a high res recording of the analogue master tape itself. This way, your digital copy has the same vibe and compelling harmonic as the tape version. A sound that is not found in the digital master for the tape.
This has two distinct advantages, A) it sounds better and B) fakes or copies can be easily spotted or heard. This is because a second generation copy of analogue tape doubles the "effect on the sound" that tape has creating additional losses and distortions. Simply taking our digital "single-pass analogue" recording and comparing it against the tape on competitive electronics would reveal the fake as thicker sounding with less clarity.
With the massive fake master tape industry alive and well, High Fidelity Sound Labs has made it virtually impossible to make convincing copies of our tapes, which preserves the value of your investment indefinitely.
If someone were to take our non-limited digital download and print that to tape it would double the harmonic content and audibly and measurably change the sound. Easily detectable, less desirable.
And in the end, unless you have a DAC as good as ours, the tape will sound better than the digital download. Even on a modest but calibrated machine. This is why you spend 5X more for the analogue tape whenever possible.