Auto EQ is not designed as a limiter, nor is it its purpose to reduce sudden level jumps to the AGC.
Auto EQ balances the input spectrum. So if there's little bass and loud mids, it may cut the mids a bit and boost the highs. The total level remains unaltered, so it's not a compressor. This results in a more consistent sound even before the multiband compressor is hit.
Normally Auto EQ reacts slowly, but in case the spectrum suddenly changes completely, it may have to move faster temporarily. That's what sudden jump protection is for.
understood but still, the way you describe Auto EQ is similar to the actions of a 9-band peak limiter if the boost level is kept at 0dB.
the goal was to "smooth" out the AGC using Auto EQ despite having the AGC configured in such a way as to *not* to move too much in level adjustments in order to prevent "pumping" to MB1 but some media content has great levels of sudden change which clearly affects the AGC, the configuration of Auto EQ significantly reduces this effect.
as it stands now, this configuration works quite well after testing which is why i made the suggestion about Auto EQ as there can be some content sources with greatly varying degrees in sudden volume levels at different audio frequency spectrum's.
to better understand, the configuration i use for ST is simple and designed not to be the "loudest" but to have loudness while preserving the dynamic peaks of the sound.
ive included the AGC & MB1 settings to give a better idea why i am using the Auto EQ to act as a peak limiter, i only use Auto EQ, MB1 and clipper.
AGC & MB1 was configured with white noise (without using Auto EQ) so the top end of the frequency spectrum for MB1 from 1Khz to 16Khz remains at the same level as the AGC output when MB1 is turned off.
i prefer the deprecated version of AGC as it has better handling of the incoming content using three bands instead of a single band.
in closing, it still would be nice if Auto EQ did have the option to be configured in such a manner to operate as a peak limiter prior to the AGC, this would further stabilize the AGC but preserve the peak dynamics.
feel free to test.
PS - abrupt change protection on Auto EQ really does not work too well when i test it, though the display shows better action, it seems to be quite weak when working.
seems to perhaps be a bug, when using my STS config for Auto EQ, setting "reduce effect" to 6dB and then activating abrupt change protection seems to work properly but turning it off and then back on, it stops working (white measurement lines at the top of the display disappear) - if you have trouble reproducing this effect, i can record it for you.