Unit of competency details

CUSSOU501A - Develop sound designs (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 02/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) Replaced29/Oct/2010

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUASOU503 - Develop sound designsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor edits to performance criteria to clarify intent. 14/Jan/2016
Supersedes and is equivalent to CUSSOU16A - Develop sound designUnit has been updated and is equivalent to CUSSOU16A. 28/Oct/2010

Training packages that include this unit

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
CUS60209 - Advanced Diploma of Sound ProductionAdvanced Diploma of Sound Production 1-2 
CUS50209 - Diploma of Sound ProductionDiploma of Sound Production 1-2 
CUF60107 - Advanced Diploma of Screen and MediaAdvanced Diploma of Screen and Media 
CUF50207 - Diploma of Interactive Digital MediaDiploma of Interactive Digital Media 
CUF50107 - Diploma of Screen and MediaDiploma of Screen and Media 
CUE60303 - Advanced Diploma of Stage ManagementAdvanced Diploma of Stage Management 1-2 
CUE60203 - Advanced Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events (Technical Production)Advanced Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events (Technical Production) 1-2 
CUE60103 - Advanced Diploma of Design for Live Production, Theatre and EventsAdvanced Diploma of Design for Live Production, Theatre and Events 1-2 
CUE50303 - Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events (Technical Production)Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events (Technical Production) 1-2 
CUA60213 - Advanced Diploma of Live Production and Management ServicesAdvanced Diploma of Live Production and Management Services 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031303 Electronic Engineering  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031303 Electronic Engineering  02/Aug/2010 
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Modification History



Release 2

Created to fix formatting errors only.

Released with CUS09 Music Training Package version 1.2

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to develop sound designs from production briefs. Thorough understanding of the physical nature of sound is essential, along with research and creative-thinking skills to develop a range of options in response to design briefs.

Application of the Unit

Sound designers apply the skills and knowledge described in this unit. They work in live theatre, film, television and radio and are responsible for collaborating with other creative personnel to develop the overall sound or musical identity of productions.

Skills associated with managing the process of sound design are covered in:

  • CUSSOU601A Manage production of sound designs.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


Not applicable

Employability Skills Information

Not applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Interpret and confirm sound design briefs

1.1 Participate in preliminary concept meetings with relevant personnel  to discuss creative and technical sound requirements of productions 

1.2 Continue liaison with relevant personnel until all sound requirements have been confirmed in the context of overall production requirements 

1.3 Identify and confirm additional personnel needed to fulfil the sound design brief

2. Break down components of sound design briefs

2.1 Identify and document the sound sources  specified in the design brief to determine the content, quality and duration of the required sound components

2.2 Determine and where necessary document  the creative and resource requirements for each sound component

2.3 Confirm and document the role of personnel required for the process of developing sound design projects

3. Experiment with sound components to express ideas

3.1 Cultivate and create an energy and environment that will promote the generation of ideas among team members and provide the motivation and incentive to bring ideas to fruition

3.2 Gather information from a variety of sources and generate, explore and record a range of ideas and options as a creative base for developing the required sound design

3.3 Transform and manipulate the ideas generated and select those ideas that have the most potential for technical and creative development of the required sound design

4. Assess creative ideas

4.1 Contemplate and consider the ideas selected from the creative base, reflecting on and evaluating their viability, cost, technical feasibility and suitability to meet the requirements of the design brief

4.2 Continuously evaluate and verify creative ideas for the components of the design brief based on the overall sound design concept

5. Design sound elements

5.1 Develop sound design concepts taking into consideration the brief and the ideas generated

5.2 Determine the relevant sound components required to implement the sound design in line with creative and technical requirements

5.3 Establish a clear relationship between the use and integration of sound components and the function, context and objectives of the work to determine the sound design

5.4 As required, hold ongoing discussions with relevant personnel to consider, confirm and incorporate additional or changed production requirements and new ideas to achieve best sound design concept

5.5 Present the sound design in a specification  that best conveys the concept to relevant personnel, including those responsible for implementing the design

5.6 Confirm final design concept with relevant personnel to ensure that implementation is consistent with the design and that potential difficulties are addressed

6. Evaluate completed sound designs

6.1 Discuss and obtain agreement from relevant personnel on evaluation techniques  to evaluate the completed sound design

6.2 Focus the evaluation on whether the sound design meets all aspects of the design brief, and on the viability of the implementation plan

6.3 Obtain detailed information and opinions from legitimate sources and document results for evaluation

6.4 Communicate results of evaluation to relevant personnel and use results to improve future practice

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • research skills sufficient to locate and use relevant sources of sound and information to respond to creative requirements of sound design briefs
  • communication and literacy skills sufficient to:
  • read and interpret design briefs
  • write reports documenting the design concept evaluation
  • develop sound design concept specifications
  • initiative, enterprise and creative skills sufficient to:
  • listen critically to and continuously evaluate aspects of sound to fulfil and exceed the requirements of sound briefs
  • interpret music appropriately to ensure a sympathetic and appropriate approach to sound production
  • think laterally when developing concepts
  • shape music and sound imaginatively
  • communicate the production vision and concept within the constraints of production requirements
  • problem-solving, planning and organisational skills sufficient to:
  • prioritise work tasks
  • meet deadlines
  • build contingencies into sound designs
  • provide appropriate and timely documentation
  • teamwork skills sufficient to work cooperatively with and provide leadership to personnel involved in sound design and implementation
  • technology skills sufficient to work with a variety of sound recording, production and playback equipment

Required knowledge 

  • well-developed understanding of psychoacoustic principles, including:
  • spatial hearing
  • direct sound
  • early sound
  • reverberant sound
  • studio and control room design
  • ergonomics
  • techniques for developing concepts and enhancing innovation, such as brainstorming andmind mapping
  • techniques for conducting evaluations of concept designs
  • industry knowledge, including:
  • musical styles, forms, elements, systems, practices and customs
  • styles of musical interpretation and sound production
  • relevant musical terminology
  • varied characteristics of sound in a range of recording and performance environments
  • physics and physical nature of sound
  • copyright legislation and permissions
  • issues and challenges that typically arise in the context of developing sound designs
  • OHS principles of safe listening, including safeguards against hearing loss

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • develop at least three sound designs that:
  • fulfil the requirements of design briefs
  • combine a mix of sound sources
  • develop specifications that clearly communicate sound design concepts to relevant personnel
  • work effectively as a member of a sound design team.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • access to a range of industry-current equipment as listed in the range statement
  • access to sound briefs for a range of productions
  • use of culturally appropriate processes, and techniques appropriate to the language and literacy capacity of learners and the work being performed.

Method of assessment 

The following assessment methods are appropriate for this unit:

  • evaluation of sound designs documented by the candidate and of their quality in terms of meeting creative briefs
  • written or oral questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required knowledge section of this unit
  • case studies to assess ability to develop sound designs for different types of productions or events
  • observation or recordings of team meetings where the candidate is presenting and seeking feedback on sound design concepts.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • CUSSOU503A Implement sound designs
  • CUSSOU504ACreate a final sound balance.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant personnel  may include:

  • clients
  • artists, musicians and performers
  • audio personnel:
  • sound engineers
  • sound technicians
  • sound editors
  • sound designers
  • sound effects personnel
  • post-production editors
  • foldback mixers
  • front-of-house mixers
  • recordists
  • re-recording mixers
  • audio stagehands
  • broadcasters
  • broadcast engineers
  • directors
  • producers
  • photographers
  • program managers
  • stage managers
  • floor managers
  • film/video crew.

Productions  may include:

  • live performance or event
  • commercial
  • print advertisement
  • corporate video
  • feature film and/or video
  • filmed event and/or performance
  • interactive media product
  • internet production
  • electronic game production
  • music recording and/or video
  • promotional trailer
  • radio broadcast
  • short film and/or video
  • television program
  • training film and/or video
  • voice-over.

Production requirements  may include:

  • technical
  • creative
  • artistic
  • attributions
  • audience
  • budget
  • confidentiality
  • content
  • contractual arrangements
  • copyright
  • deadlines
  • direct quotes
  • duration
  • intellectual property
  • interviews
  • location
  • purpose
  • schedule
  • style.

Sound sources  may include:

  • dialogue and voice-overs
  • special effects
  • music
  • walla
  • ambient sound
  • atmospheric sound
  • foley.

Documentation  may include:

  • pre-mix scripts
  • mixing sheets
  • track sheets
  • de-noising documents
  • cue sheets
  • dubbing sheets
  • queries
  • notes
  • manuals.

Specifications  may include:

  • dubbing charts
  • cue sheets
  • scripts
  • storyboards
  • scores
  • oral descriptions
  • recording formats.

Evaluation techniques  may include:

  • interviews
  • surveys
  • questionnaires
  • focus groups
  • demographic data
  • feedback
  • reviews
  • evaluation may include:
  • clients
  • stakeholders
  • audience
  • project personnel
  • specialists.

Unit Sector(s)

Media and entertainment production - audio/sound

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