I found the earlier version easily enough, clicking a few links from audacity.sourceforge.net, but it seems a hassle to manually install the depended-upon other files so I'm 'bearing with' the latest beta. I'm not having the same faults as you, but it's not stable. I can use the program, but I'd be quite wounded if I didn't get to save work before a very frequent crash. I've changed to different audio drivers with my Toshiba laptop (there's a choice of five), via the Mint volume control, and depending on what combo of output and input driver I'm using both my USB mic and normal mic and my speakers/ headphones work. It's just a bit too fiddly having to experiment, they really need to get these things working before they're pushed as the new product, it gives Linux a bad name.
I think it would be a good policy to exclude all beta software from the repositaries where there is a stable version available. The other one that bugs me is Picasa, I have to keep manually deselecting it during updates.