I have a complete set of Bose speakers and a large powered subwoofer. I currently run all signals to my sharp 60" aquous tv then simply use the optical out from the tv to my surround receiver. If I want stereo/surround sound I simply turn on the receiver. So, my receiver is overkill and too big. Does anyone know if there exists a very basic surround amp with only the following:
1. 5.1 surround out
2. On/off and volume only
3. Optical audio input
Not quite understanding the point of this "simpler" setup. AFAIK, to get 5.1 surround there is a minimum feature set that includes most of what your current receiver has so in terms of simpler, not really. They'll pretty much all have the same basic steps for setup then they have the same basic steps of power on/off and volume.
Given that, is the point really just to get something physically smaller?
Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
There are of course lots of multichannel amps, but AFAIK, they are all typical power amps. They may or may not have input stage gain controls on each channel but will not have an overall volume control, and few if any would accept digital input. You'd basically need to design a significant part of the heart of a receiver.preamp -- the digital decoding system that figures out which codec is coming in, decodes to PCM if necessary then goes to the DAC, which is not something that I think many power amp buyers want (if only because of the RFI and heat problems a high output power supply not to mention multiple power amps might cause the more delicate processing section). It can be done, at least theoretically. IIRC, at least Mackie had a fine-sounding biamped self-powered studio monitor that would take pcm (although I don't recall if it was optical, coax or both) but also used regular old analog connections. But that's a one channel per device thing . . . .
So I'm pretty sure the answer is just plain no. But if one existed you could count on it being priced at the bleeding edge of the high priced stuff, if only because after you've designed the thing, spent a few tens of thousands of dollars to get UL or whatever EU or asian approval you need to sell the thing, set up a manufacturing line, etc., you're not likely to sell 100 of them . . . and somebody has to pay to recoup those sunk costs unless they're in the narrow market audio charity business.
You're basically asking if there's a way to only convert the optical digital signal to analog audio, and amplify it.
One way is...
External DAC -> Multichannel Amplifier. If you search AVS for "external DAC" you'll see how others have crossed the same path. The DAC will be very high quality, although typically expensive. Likewise on the multichannel amplifier.