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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Higher Certificate: Audio Technology 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
83488  Higher Certificate: Audio Technology 
ORIGINATOR
Academy of Sound Engineering 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Higher Certificate  Field 04 - Communication Studies and Language  Communication Studies 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:

The purpose of the Higher Certificate: Audio Technology, NQF Level 5 is:
  • To provide the learner with a relevant and appropriate basic qualification in fundamental audio technology, that addresses the complexities of a rapidly evolving and technologically complex industry and provides for the attainment of competencies required of support personnel working at a basic level in the audio field.
  • To contribute towards the alleviation of the skill shortage within the sector by providing learners with knowledge and the necessary theoretical and practical skills, experience and expertise demanded of novice support personnel working in a professional audio field at a fundamental level. This level of knowledge is also required, for example, by personnel working in other related fields such as film, video, broadcasting journalism and corporate communication.
  • To provide an access qualification to the Sound Engineering sector, which will allow learners who do not satisfy the entrance requirement for access to the Bachelor of Science: Sound Engineering the opportunity to study in this field and thereafter progress to higher levels of academic achievement.

    Rationale:

    Wherever aural communication takes place there is a potential job for the audio technician or sound engineer, be it in the board room, shopping centre, hotel, art gallery, telecommunications company, music recording studio, or in the home of the consumer.

    The audio industry, or what is often generically referred to as the field of sound engineering, serves several sub-fields such as communications, music, performing arts, film, television and video. Distinction is made between audio technicians, who are trained to NQF Levels 5 or 6, and sound engineers who have attained a higher qualification, such as a degree at NQF Level 7. There is a clear need for both audio technicians and sound engineers, functioning at different levels in the audio industry.

    The Higher Certificate: Audio Technology enables learners to obtain a basic qualification in sound technology which will equip them to fulfil the support function in a range of audio sub-sectors and to study further at a higher NQF Level. The qualification adds a valuable intermediate set of skills to the audio industry. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that the learner is competent in Communication at NQF Level 4.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    This qualification may be achieved in part through the recognition of relevant prior learning and through prior experience as a practitioner in the area of audio technology, or sound engineering.

    Learners can receive partial credit towards the qualification, through the recognition of prior learning. This facilitates learner mobility and efficient progression through the qualification. Recognition of Prior Learning can also be used to admit into the learning programme, certain learners who do not meet the full entry requirements for the programme.

    Access to the Qualification:

    Access is open to all learners in possession of a National Senior Certificate or equivalent qualification granting access to higher certificate study. 

    RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    All modules are compulsory, and all Learning Units that constitute a module are compulsory. 

    EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Demonstrate basic skills in the use of a digital audio workstation application.

    2. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of the important techniques and practices in the audio industry.

    3. Demonstrate a rudimentary theoretical and technical understanding of electronics to assemble and repair cables and connectors.

    4. Demonstrate understanding of the day-to-day tasks of an audio technician, or sound engineer, in four broad vocational areas.

    5. Demonstrate understanding of the rudiments of music theory.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:

    The qualification addresses all the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:

    1.1 The digital audio workstation (DAW) is used to capture, edit and process audio in the digital realm, demonstrating knowledge of the DAW user interface and the function of the crucial software and hardware modules of the DAW.
    1.2 The graphic user interface and file management systems of both Mac OS and Windows operating systems are efficiently navigated.
    1.3 Audio paths are managed and configured.
    1.4 Musical instrumentation digital interface (MIDI) and audio is recorded, edited and mixed making appropriate use of plug-ins.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:

    2.1 Demonstrate a realistic insight into the trends and practices in the audio industry.
    2.2 A personal research portfolio of a variety of practices in various sub-fields of the industry is compiled.
    2.3 Musical instruments are set up appropriately and microphones and related sound equipment are set up, connected and operated in order to store or further propagate the sound of a variety of sound sources in the context of a variety of productions such as basic pop ensembles, choirs and voice recordings.
    2.4 Captured sound is processed by converting the analogue form or digital data structure, and by manipulating dynamic, timbre, pitch and time domain attributes of the captured sound, using hardware and software based sound processing devices.
    2.5 The operation of a basic mixer is demonstrated by configuring, routing and mixing audio.
    2.6 Multitrack music recordings are mixed and processed using a variety of sound processing devices.
    2.7 Signal flow diagrams are drawn for a basic mixing systems to describe the function and integration of constituent components.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:

    3.1 Effective soldering techniques are applied when building electronic circuits. Proper use and placement of electronic components is executed.
    3.2 Audio cables and connectors are assembled and repaired.
    3.3 Basic electronic test equipment is used in conjunction with circuit diagrams, to identify faults.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:

    4.1 A report is compiled on observations made in basic work-place experience, observing and participating, where capable, various jobs involving audio technology.
    4.2 Vocational applications of sound engineering and audio technology skills are identified, the roles of key players within the sound engineering and related industries are described and the vocabulary and jargon of these industries is understood.
    4.3 A stage and basic trussing structure is erected.
    4.4 A sound reinforcement system is set up with appropriate interconnection of audio elements, lights, digital multiplex (DMX) control system, video playback devices, video screens and projectors.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:

    5.1 Written music theory exercises are completed.
    5.2 Music notation is read and interpreted.
    5.3 Simple dictated rhythms are accurately notated.
    5.4 Pre-recorded samples of audio waveforms and various musical instruments and musical genres, triads and intervals are identified aurally.
    5.5 Intervals, triads, major and natural minor scales and a simple song are performed on a musical instrument.
    5.6 A guitar is successfully tuned.

    Integrated Assessment:

    No single assessment method can adequately demonstrate the range of competencies required for the qualification. A complete, holistic and wide-ranging set of assessments must therefore be employed. The assessment strategy must demonstrate evidence through a variety of methods:
  • Written and computer based examinations.
  • Problem-solving assignments and exercises.
  • Case studies and research projects.
  • Sound engineering practice in simulated and in situ contexts.
  • Electronic construction projects.

    These should assess the extent to which learners can function in a supporting role in a professional audio production environment. In other words, assessments should measure applied competence.

    Assessments should assess whether learners are able to:
  • Perform basic audio production tasks competently, utilising accepted professional workflows (practical competence).
  • Understand the theoretical basis of the technologies, practices and procedures commonly encountered in the audio industry (foundational competence).
  • Reflect on and adapt to circumstances, demonstrating an ability to identify, evaluate and solve defined, routine and new problems within familiar audio technology and related contexts. The learner must be seen to be applying appropriate solutions to problems, based on established and relevant audio production procedures and practices. (reflexive competence). 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    School of Sound Recording - Manchester:

    The School of Sound Recording in Manchester, offers several degree, foundational degree and short course programmes with outcomes that substantially overlap the outcomes of this Higher Certificate in Audio Technology. However, their programme entitled "Audio Engineering Techniques and Technology" provides the greatest overlap of outcomes. The first year of this Programme offered by the School of Sound Recording is in most respects very similar to the Higher Certificate in Audio Technology.

    The School of Sound Recording also offers a short course, which completely satisfies the outcomes of the Learning Unit 101 Introduction to DAW and which is embedded in their "Audio Engineering Techniques and Technology".

    Pulse Recording College - Dublin:

    Pulse Recording College offers a full time, one year diploma in sound that includes the following qualifications:
  • City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Music Technology and Sound Engineering (7503).
  • City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Music Technology and Sound Engineering (7503).
  • FETAC Level 5 Award in Media Production (EMPXX).

    This diploma includes 101 Introduction to DAW and 110 Essentials of DAW.

    The Pulse Recording College Diploma in Sound very closely resembles this Higher Certificate in Audio Technology.

    Future Works - The Manchester School of Media:

    The Future Works diploma includes 101 Introduction to DAW and 110 Essentials of DAW and very closely resembles this Higher Certificate in Audio Technology.

    Alchemea College of Audio Engineering - London:

    This school, based in London offers a Diploma (British QCF) at level 3 on the UK National Qualifications Framework. This diploma includes 101 Introduction to DAW and 110 Essentials of DAW.

    Adam Smith College - Fife:

    The Adam Smith College Stenton Road Campus in Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, offers a Higher National Diploma in Sound Production. This HND is approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) at SCQF Level 8, or SHE Level 2 and includes 101 Introduction to DAW and 110 Essentials of DAW.

    Conclusion:

    This qualification compares very favourably with highly respected qualifications and courses offered in the United Kingdom. 

  • ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Vertical articulation:
  • Diploma: Audio Technology, NQF Level 6.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Any cognate qualification at NQF Level 5. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    Moderation of examination marks serves as a vital function in ensuring that required standards are consistently met. All examinations are moderated by random selection of papers and inspection of pass and fail rates by qualified individuals other than the primary examiner. 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. Academy of Sound Engineering 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.