A DAW is your main piece of recording software and stands for Digital Audio Workstation, which is not a great description of what it does. A DAW will usually enable you to do a few things. The Digital Audio side will let you record sound from a microphone like you imagine studios would do. It’s great for recording bands, musicians and singer-songwriters.
Once you’ve recorded your performance you can then edit the audio, add effects and mix it all down as a track or song. The other side is MIDI sequencing which is all about using virtual (or hardware) synthesizers to create tracks, songs and rhythms. Somewhere in between, you can work with samples and loops. A DAW brings these ways of making music together so you can produce music in any way you want from recording orchestras to generating beats with a mouse.
As a bedroom producer, you’ll probably be working with virtual or software synthesizers and sounds that are already in the computer and you can do that just with your laptop and headphones. However, if you want to record audio, guitar, instruments or your voice then you’re going to need an audio interface to give you the right inputs to plug yourself into. For more information on that check out our article on the best audio interfaces.