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Yes I have the routing utility. Couldn't get it to connect to my H8000FW yet but I guess I'd need a serial cable (didn't work with midi yet). That's another story though.

It is the utility that brings me to the conclusion: I cannot use all analog ins, 2 firewire ins to use in the DAW for clean A/D (cirumventing the DSP's) while still having a reasonable number of DSP channels for effecting. I have read the routing sections in the manual up and down but such a use case is nowhere to be found, even though I thought it would be the most commonly desired way of using the unit. Using it as the main audio interface (much like any other sound card). After all, that's what the firewire is for right?

Checked the page you mentioned in the routing utility manual. It neither uses firewire nor analog ins. I cannot use AES or ADAT, for that I'd need another audio interface and then drive the H8000FW from there. At that point there would be no reason to use it as a firewire audio interface anymore at all though. My goal was to use the unit as the main audio interface, connected directly to the PC through firewire.