Francis Deck, Bassist

String Bass | Electric Bass

Music | Electronics and Speakers

HPF-Pre piezo preamp with adjustable high pass filter and phase switch

"You played great, as always. You have a natural ear, plus good knowledge, and your jokes are sometimes marginal." -- Dan Barker


Thanks for visiting my page. If you are looking for a versatile upright or electric bassist you have come to the right place! My experience includes more than a decade of freelance jazz gigs, symphonic and chamber groups, pit orchestras, ethnic dance bands, and so forth. I offer a complete range of skills, including fluent sight-reading, improvisation, knowledge of the standard jazz repertoire, and simply being easy to deal with.

I moved to Madison in 1997, and have played with numerous local groups, on a regular or substitute basis.

By day, I am a principal optical systems engineer at the Madison outpost of Thermo Fisher Scientific Corp., the world leader in serving science. It's a great place to work, in a wonderful town. I have a PhD in physics and extensive experience in development of optical and electronic instrumentation systems.

Electronics and Speakers

Related to music, I have a bit of an electronics hobby. As I accumulate results, if they are interesting, then I write them up to share. Often, I find that writing a brief report helps me critique my own ideas, and also attracts helpful comments that improve my knowledge. What follows are some of my recent projects.

Speaker Theory: What started out as a simple project to build a bass speaker turned into a quest to understand the physics of how speakers work. I have written up some of my notes to share with others who might be interested:

New!Physics of speakers: Theory of sealed and ported speakers
Measuring response: How to measure ported system response without an anechoic chamber
Note on transient / phase response: Can speakers with the same frequency response have different transient response? No.
Compact 12" bass speaker: My latest design, documented as a general text on "small box" bass speaker systems.
Construction drawing for compact speaker
Internal detail of compact speaker
Even better construction drawings for compact speaker

Speaker Design Programs: Once I figured out the speaker analysis equations, I decided to test my knowledge by writing an analysis program that should produce results similar to widely available software. Then I got the idea that I could use multi-platform open source tools to provide a design program that can run on MacOS as well as Linux and Windows.

New!Speaker design program in Javascript My latest program, open source, should run on phones and tablets.
Excel spreadsheet: My design analysis program (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, known bugs as of 5/25/09)

Preamp Electronics: This is a collection of preamp design ideas, ranging from real and tested, to hypothetical.

BBBB -- Bare Bones Bass Blender: Complete 2-channel preamp for piezo pickups and general use
BBBB doc and support files
Quick and Dirty Piezo Preamp: An eminently buildable piezo preamp, and some speculative design ideas

Gear Review: Right now, there is nothing like Consumer Reports for bass gear. There are lots of "reviews" consisting primarly of subjective listening and playing experiences, but practically no information on the technical merits of products. I decided to take an unabashedly entry-level product and analyze its performance.

Gallien-Krueger Backline 600 Bass Head: Professional quality amplifier hidden in an entry level package.