However after installing XBMC I discovered it was possible to amplify the volume and save the setting. Everything in XBMC sounds great so it's not a hardware problem. I think it is a problem with KitKat. I've tried searching fruitlessly on the internet but cannot find anything on this. I don't know if this is a normal problem with tablets in general or Allwinner based tablets or KitKat running tablets or if there is a fix available.
Anyway to get around this annoyance I've ordered some wireless bluetooth speakers so I can actually hear my tablet at a decent level