Yep, tonality being off can greatly amplify unpleasant response at higher frequencies.That's not only harsh,that's painful,or to be precise can cause pain (round headache) specially when combined with thin sounded midbass.
Has nothing to do with taste,it's physical.
An old live-sound / PA experiment with audiences really proves it.
When playing music comfortably loud, just turn off the subs and watch peoples faces scrunch up some.
If the mids are cut too, fingers go into ears, you might get shouts, and folks head for the exits.
With highs never changing volume.......