Returning to this, I must apologize- I neglected to greet and welcome the newbie.
And I was far too brief. So unlike me........
Hello and welcome Nvincible!
I guess what I was hoping to hear was you use the "pretty red box" as the sound IN sound card and a nice PC sound card for the playback sound card so you could use your PC like normal except for recording (in).
No, thats not ideal, part of the purpose of using the interface is to allow low latency monitoring, along with all those I/O options and controls, and mic preamps and so forth.
And I am not making fun of your "pretty red box", I think its an attractive unit. With its flexibility, (supposedly) quality pre-amps and such, it should be a great place to start!
The reality is that most people tire of switching back and forth between on board and outboard soundcard settings and learn its desireable to have a dedicated recording/mixing rig. Others get accustomed to it and its no problem.
Plug the speakers you have connected to your computer to the Focusrite, the two outputs on the back. You'll be able to hear everything from your computer. That'is what those outputs are for, speakers.
Monitors are speakers but the word is used a lot as if they were another kind of device. They do have special "properties" but they in essence are just speakers.
Well maybe, First, the reason I suggested using the headphone output to plug in your computer speakers for monitoring is that it would at worst take a relatively simple adapter that would likely not be too hard to round up. I didnt look but the Focusrite headphone output is likely a 1/4" stereo, and most computer speakers are 1/8" stereo plugs. Not too uncommon to adapt.
On the other hand, while possible, the outputs on the back of the interface for monitors (Yeah, speakers) are a pair of 1/4" jacks, intended for TRS Balanced cables. Also keep in mind these are line levels intended to either go into the input of an active speaker with its own built in amplifier, or an amplifier then speaker, not just plug into a speaker. So even with a Y-adapter and such, it isnt really the recommended method. Although in theory it should work with computer speakers since they have a little built in amplifier too.
Some people are using Wave RT and on board soundcards, how that works out seems to depend on factors from computer O/S to soundcard brand and model, but even so, you may lack the options of the controls and settings on an interface designed for the purpose, multiple channel capability, mic pre's, etc.
Now, the final part of your original question, monitoring with plug-ins active.......
Sorry, have to get back to that-time to get back to work for now!