There are several cost saving measures in place with these units, including similar chassis design and carry over technology from the Bifrost such as the USB DAC board means one less thing to redesign. The other factor regarding price is that Schiit has always maintained they were looking to make and sell quality at a reasonable price, no gouging. So their profit margin is probably smaller than most audio companies in this niche, but their quantity of sales makes up for it. Last I heard they were nearing #1300 on Bifrosts and that was a couple months ago. Who else do you know of that sells 1300+ DACs in 3-4 months?
As for your list:
1 - I was just talking to Jason about this (separate power supplies in general), and also Drew at Moon Audio (about a different amp)
and they said (paraphrasing) that they weren't worth it in most cases. I doubt any Schiit products will ever have a separate PSU.
2 - Don't know for sure, but possibly not. Balanced does bring some inherent advantages, and since it seems they are doing completely separate channels (double the parts) the price is in line with a doubling of the Bifrost.
4 - The images you see are computer generated. I doubt any of these units are fully cased and ready to use yet. This has been the case in the past with Schiit, and real pictures do come later, including the rear. I too am interested in the rear, I'd like to see Schiit start to include the rear computer generated image in their initial picture layout such as now.
5 - Read the pages. They talk about methods and such that are new and unique. The statement products have been billed to be even more unique from the start. We can only guess at this point.
I too have not been impressed with the Asgard or Lyr (or Valhalla), though I never owned them. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket though and will be picking up the Bryston BHA-1 to pit against the Mjolnir and if the Bryston wins, eventually against the statement amp as well. I have really enjoyed my Bifrost, so I fully expect the Gungnir to be excellent also. Schiit came along at a great time for me, since I was beginning my journey from mid-fi to higher-fi. Changing my DacMagic for the Bifrost was a lateral change in price, but sound quality was improved. Now I plan on stair stepping to their top products, but I'm also not going to blindly follow. I'm bringing in competing gear and seeing who wins. Right now I'm a fan of their DACs but not their amps, we'll see if that changes.
Perhaps Jason will respond, himself, but these are things I've noticed having followed Schiit from the beginning.Edited by Maxvla - 3/29/12 at 3:29pm