Mark this one solved
I enclose the following from alsa-base : options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=vaio
Open mixer applet and add the following controls- Master, PCM , Front, Microphone.
Mute "Front" and adjust the volume controls for appropriate level in the headset. The speakers remain muted and the master control in the bottom control panel has no effect-but the volume control for the media player app does work.
This could be considered a "feature"
All in all Mint 6.0 is awesome, I couldn't be more pleased.