there are a number of very good reasons why an upgrade from Orville to H8000FW is a must, even though you may not end up using the FW connection.
-Orville is no longer in production. It won't get any more development and improvements.
-H8000 is much more powerful so you'll be able to run all the Orville presets at 96KHz. Many of them couldn't on Orville.
-such bigger power allows for larger algorithms and even to run a single monster one, loaded on a single bigger DSP. Monolithic Mode automatically switches the 2 dsps in a bigger one for extemely large presets. These would take the power of 2 or 3 Orvilles, even though there are other things 3 or 3 Orvilles wouldn't do anyway in this regard.
-each dsp allows for 8 inputs/outputs; so you get multichannel presets, including 5.1 surround, multiple stereo machines (2/3/4 stereo parallel effects in a preset), octal mono FX channels.
-you get about 1900 presets, a lot of system enhancements, superior WC, many new modules not available on Orville…some new amazing EQ are worth the switch.
-you get 12 AES/EBU I/O (8 on DB-25 and 4 on XLRs), 8 channels on ADAT, 16 ch on FW400, S/Pdif and analog.
-it's a much better unit, simply. And for 1/2 price you'll get a brand new unit as practically everything in your old Orville will be replaced.
The FW streaming would work well with DAW software that supports multiple FW drivers (Logic/ProTools) if you are also using a FW audio interface. You'd typically send audio to the H8000FW from channel Aux Sends and then back to the computer, for fx processing. FW connection should have a dedicated BUS for every FW device connected to a computer. As an example of bad habit, the Mac G5 and PRO computers offer many F400 and 800 ports but they all share the same bus (how wrong that is!). So, installing PCI firewire cards is mandatory to have the right performance. In addition to that FW performance on G5s and first MacPro generation is lower than it shoulkd be. The new just released MacPro has this issue fixed.
AES/EBU still remains THE professional audio standard and it doesn't add work to the computer. But having a FW connection can help those who don't have many channels available and the H8000FW can also work as an audio interface…great for recording with a laptop, for instance.
Midi will eventually work on the FW connection.
I'll try to have more info on the upgrade posted.
8 channels means that each DSP has 8 I/Os so you could have 8 stereo fx, spread across the 2 DSPs. The unit though only uses 8I/O from/to the external world, so these FX can be submixed internally or you can have them from a single DSP or from 2 DSPs, running 2 presets, each one with 2 stereo FX in each. So, yes you can load 2 stereo FX in each dsp.
hope this helps