Jon Ormesher | Ultimate Ears Stories from the Feild

Jon Ormesher has been doing monitors for nearly 35 years. He’s worked with a staggering variety of music and situations. From TV to Arenas Jon has seen it all. Most recently he’s been doing monitors for the amazing Florence and the Machine.

We caught up with Jon while he was on the road on the summer festival circuit after a triumphant Glastonbury performance where Florence and the Machine filled in for the recently injured Dave Grohl.


Hey Jon we really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell our readers how did you get your start in live sound?

It came from an interest in live music, playing in a band and helping out friends with there equipment. While at college I used to crew for major acts in the UK and actually enjoyed it. From that I was asked to help out with a small PA company and the rest is history.


Where you ever in a band?

Yes when I was 14/ 15 years old


You started in the business working with a wide variety of music, from Three Johns to Commodores to WASP. What do you think you learned from such a cross section of genres?

I think I still work for a variety of genres in the industry. It all comes down to the people involved to me.


What was it like doing monitors on The Jonathan Ross show live TV back in the day? 

Live television has its own set of stresses. I found it a useful learning curve.

How did you get involved with Arcade Fire?

They were getting through monitor engineers like a hot knife through butter. The production manager at the time asked me to get involved as he was trying to get them on IEM’s and I had previously worked with him on a band that solely used IEM’s.


How did you get involved with Florence and The Machine?

I think the Arcade Fire’s Tour Manager put my name forward. Amy Davidson, whom I have known for several years.


How much of your year do you spend on the road?

In an ideal world it would be 6 months however, for the past 9 years its been more like 11 months of the year.


How did you come to hear about and decide to use Ultimate Ears?

I have been using IEM’s since Chris Lyndrop developed the Garwood system. In those days we just used Sony ear buds in a plastic generic mould. Over the years UE’s and others have made massive strides in the development of personalized ear moulds. This has made the use of IEM’s a lot better in the audio reproduction. UE has always been a name you can trust and has excellent back up, which you need in the live world.


How does UE Pro fit into your workflow?

They provide excellent aural reproduction of the mix I send.


How has doing monitors changed for you, technology wise, over the years?

Well digital desks, IEM’s and much better wedges have made a massive difference to my working day. It also means you can tour the world and faithfully reproduce what you had on the previous show. Having all of a band on IEM’s does produce some “ problems “ in that you now need to have mixes for the backline crew as well as for each band member. This can bring your total mix output up to levels previously unheard of. Like 30 or so stereo mixes.


As far as musicians are concerned can you tell us some thoughts about using IEMS vs. Wedges?

Some musicians are put off using IEM’s as they worry they will feel “ cut off “ from an audience, also they are just plain used to wedges. There are ways around these worries. Sometimes however, they will just never go on to IEM’s. It's their choice.


What’s one thing you can tell young engineers that are starting out?

If you are prepared to work very hard, for very long hours with very little sleep and enjoy being part of a live show. Then go for it.If you just want the glamour, high pay, sex, drugs and rock and roll then DON'T do it.
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