Well the review compared the SRH440 with the XB700.
As you can see from this graph, it's not really a fair comparison. The XB700 was designed for personal portable audio using the keyword "bass" while the SRH440 was designed for studio use with the keyword "true". The SRH440 is a popular headphone in radio station studios, and I would openly laugh at any studio that uses the Sony XB line.
To be fair, I'd say these two headphones complement each others. It would make sense to own both, and use one or the other depending on your mood and the genre you're gonna listen to. Comparing these two is simply silly. One is analytical while the other is a subwoofer.
I still use my SRH440 on a daily basis, just as much if not more than my Q701. The 440 do sound alright without an amp, but they sound even better with one. Or is it the DAC? Anyways, they sound better out of a real DAC/amp than out of a PC sound card. But then anything would. For me the most significant difference was the noise floor. The 440 is very sensitive, and reveal the noise floor out of everything. They have a constant white noise out of my laptop's HP out, but are black out of the NFB-12. Don't consider using a Starving Student amp with these, as this amp is simply too noisy. My Starving Student has been in a constant state of upgrading ever since I fired it for the first time, all in the goal of lowering the noise so I can use my SRH440 with it. Strangely the Q701 has no trouble, and is quiet out of my laptop and the Starving Student. At the last Montreal meet, people were drooling over the Bryston BHA-1, a brand new 1400$ headphone amplifier. They said it was dead quiet at any level... "Challenge accepted!" I connected my SRH440 to it and turned to volume to the max while nothing was playing, and I could clearly hear background noise. I admit though that at this level I would have destroyed my hears if something was playing, and at normal listening level it was dead silent. It just goes to show how ridiculously sensitive the 440 is.
I did revert the foam plug mod to stock. I have to admit that they sound cleaner stock. But now I am at a loss, as both my headphones are bass light. Maybe next summer I may allow myself to get a 3rd pair to complement these two, with the keyword "bass". Just for fun.