Hmmm...your profile says you don't actually have that certification yet.
Yes. I am officially like 4 weeks from it. Most of my coursework is done however. Take it for what it is. I have my EIT, and a bachelor of science, not art.
MrSpeakers has used the Schiit Lyr to amp the Alpha Dog at meets, which on paper is a better (i.e., more powerful) amp than the Asgard 2 and doesn't cost as much as the Mjolnir. That might be one to consider and in that case, the obvious Schiit stack would be the Lyr + Bifrost. There's also the Garage1217 Project Ember DIY kit amp (which can be ordered built as well as a kit), which also has the specs on paper to drive the Alpha Dog, and is more than $100 cheaper than the Lyr.
No need to worry about tube amps either, and with Schiit you're guaranteed to get a reliable product. It even says on their site that "Tubes are covered by a 90-day warranty. They should last 5000 hours or so, but they do wear out. They will need replaced. Do not panic. Humans lived for many decades with this technology."
Btw, don't skimp on the DAC with a Modi, if you can afford the Bifrost. In some ways the DAC is more important than the amp, and in my experience AC-powered gear has always outperformed gear not powered by AC, most commonly in the bass area. I've rarely heard good bass from non-AC-powered gear. Try not to get a USB-powered DAC, if you don't need the small size or convenience of one. They almost always trade sound quality for that convenience.
As for the Mjolnir/Gungnir, the main feature of those is the balanced design, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense for someone on a budget. I'd argue that balanced gear is for people who have the resources to balance everything and are looking for the proverbial last 1% of sound improvement. No need for the average person to get balanced gear, IMO. I previously owned a bunch of balanced gear myself and eventually sold all of it and went back to unbalanced gear. Balanced is overrated IMO, especially when there's a great variety of really good unbalanced gear.
I'm looking at buying the Alpha Dogs as well and trying to research a good dac/amp to go with it. I really want to get something that can natively play 32bit 384khz files (like DSD files). I'm not sure that I could ever actually tell the difference from those files native vs having them down converted when using a 24/96 amp - but I like the idea of actually being able to play them natively and see if I can find any difference or not. Never know unless I can actually try it, right?
Anyhow.. So I was curious if anyone knew of some good USB dac/amp devices that would play all the high-end digital audio formats you can download today? I've read about the Yulong DA8 and it looks like a possibility. Anyone have any thoughts on how well that might pair with the Alpha Dogs or any other options?