I don't mean to be contrary, --but it sounds like you reviewed any one of the large number of Chinese knock-offs of this extremely popular & well received headphone.
This is probably one of the most counterfeited headphones of all time. It is rampant!
As you know, -Consumer Reports check rated the MDR-V6 model in the late '90's. That's when I was 1st exposed and I tested the phones in a very high-end audio store against others costing upwards to $300. After owning dozens of phones previously, --the V6's got my vote that day in the store even though I could have easily afforded more pricey models. In the early 21st century, my headphones got soaked with cola (long story) -- so I ordered another pair from E-bay and they sounded horrible. It turned out that they were very authentic looking Chinese knock-offs.
After reordering from a vendor in NYC, --I got the real-deal back and I've got to tell you: The Chinese knockoffs sound like you describe (and I still have them). The Sony's, on the other hand exhibit none of the harshness you described. To date, --I have exchanged dialog with a large number of people who have been the victims of this rampant counterfeiting. This model headphone is knocked off so much that there is even an eBay forum for catching the fakes!
So ... with all due respect: Please test the genuine mccoy sometime.
From my experience and the evidence I have on hand: I am absolutely positive that your review was of a knock-off pair of phones. The real-deals sound waaaay too good to get such a poor rating.