Same problem here, using mint 14 cinnamon and an acer aspire laptop
Fix for microphone = Remove pulse audio, reboot, use alsamixer to manage settings, it will work
HOWEVER, this removes the audio control from the tray, and volume buttons will no longer work.
"Audio on linux is a mess"
Scratch all that junk.
Sound settings > Hardware > Change the profile to analogue stereo duplex
Worked for me